Black Widow and the Marvel Girls #1 review

I’d not heard of this book until I saw the iFanboy listing for this week’s comics, but the prospect of Black Widow teaming up with four other Marvel women has a certain appeal. First off we have the Asgardian Enchantress – that’s Amora – teaching the young Natasha Romanov a lesson that will stand her in good stead. The flashbacks to Tasha’a training alternate with her current mission, getting a fatcat arms dealer out of his panic room (if he learns a lesson, it’s to hire gay security men).

Paul Tobin’s script is terse and full of character, as efficient as Natasha herself. The story is clever and satisfying, with Amora the magical minx she should always be. Her reasons for helping Natasha through training camp are her own, and when they come they’re smart and make perfect sense for her personality. I wouldn’t ever have thought of teaming these characters, but this story works beautifully and has me panting for a sequel.

The dialogue both moves the story on and reveals character, while the art by Salva Espin and colourist Veronica Gandini is unshowy but attractive and stylish. Whether we’re talking quieter moment or action sequence (click to upsize) they nail it. I’ll take good storytelling over flashy but headscratching any day. And I bet, given the needs of the script, this team could throw in some flash too.

The cover, by Salva and colourist Elizabeth Breitweiser, is just gorgeous, though I swear it’s upside down. Happily, it takes the eye away from the awful series title.

Not that I ever look (ahem) but it’s hard to find anything bad to say about this comic. There’s a grammatical error in a large font on the title page, but it hardly ruined my day. The word balloon pointers could be moved a few degrees? The staples are the wrong colour? Aha, there’s no story title where we could have had ‘Spies and Spells’. Too picky (but feel free to add that in come trades time, Marvel people).

Nope, this is a thoroughly entertaining, well-crafted one-off issue that’s likely to be the standard for the two issues that follow. Even the sound effects, courtesy of Dave Sharpe – who gets to use that lovely old Asgardian font for Amora – are above par, jumping off the page without detracting from the art.

And surprise surprise, even though this is a Marvel Comics mini, it’s a relative snip at $2.99. If you’ve ever liked the Enchantress of the Black Widow, snap it up, then come back for Natasha’s encounters with the Wasp, Ms. Marvel and Storm.

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