Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Travel Foreman
Cover: Andrea Sorrentino
After being presumed dead at the beginning of the story by the Winter Soldier, it appears the Black Widow is back. She announced her presence at the end of the last issue by shooting an ex-Red Room Agent our protagonists were talking to…maybe we’ll get some answers…
Black Widow wakes up in a hologram room with a talking bear. After questioning where she was and who the bear was it comes out that it’s Ursa Major who is guiding Black Widow on the path to find out what happened to her earlier. After leaving the simulation, she meets a point of contact who reveals that the Red Room training simulations are beginning again. Black Widow is shocked as she was a product of this training herself. She also finds evidence that she is a clone. Not understanding what she is while possessing memories leads to another startling revelation – that her memories were fed to her. Using another member of their operation, Yurgei Ivanov – codenamed Epsilon’s Psychic Gift, he can impart memories to newer versions of the agents including Black Widow. We also see they as a whole are trying to become a player on the national stage trying to take HYDRA and SHIELD down as they continue their war against each other. The country of Chernaya was mentioned as well showing a link to the Punisher’s ongoing run where he is currently operating. During another talk with Ursa Major, he reveals he wants Natasha to destroy the entire program which she starts setting out to do. We then flashback to earlier events in the story where we see Black Widow was actually in the mix the entire time messing with events behind the scenes. We see her actually save the SHIELD agents Bucky and Clint, who was believed to have died after the car explosion in another issue. Black Widow begins fighting Clint and Bucky but gains the upper-hand due to Clint not taking a shot at her out of shock. After breaking away from them she runs into a safe round expecting our heroes to follow her, they do ending up trapped in there. Black Widow sets off an explosion that appears to kill them as the issue ends.
This issue was pretty good to me. It’s nice to finally have clarification on Black Widow’s situation and seeing the birth of the Red Room again. I like how they’re trying to come back on the world stage and hope at the end of this series they aren’t forgotten. I also liked the Chernaya mention as well showing them linked to that but no mention of the Punisher who is currently operating in that area under Nick Fury. This issue is set to conclude with the next release and so far it’s been a pretty good ride.