Black Widow 1 (January 2001)

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Now, I generally like Scott Hampton—well, in theory anyway, I remember he’s done some good Vertigo stuff—but who thought he’d be a good fit on a Black Widow book? All of the art, because he’s not doing fully painted backgrounds, looks way too designed and artificial. There’s zero flow to it. It’s like Marvel hired a painter and asked him not to really paint, just paint by numbers.

Still, it’s sort of impossible not to be interested in the title because it features Natasha and S.H.I.E.L.D. kidnapping the blond Black Widow and doing a Face/Off procedure, switching the Widows’ identities. Grayson and Rucka don’t get to an explanation, just the immediate aftermath of the change. It’s compelling.

Of course, since it’s Grayson, there’s this terrible Daredevil characterization (he’s basically just a horny dimwit who follows Natasha around and works freelance for S.H.I.E.L.D.).

It’s bad, but definitely diverting.

CREDITS

Breakdown, Part One; writers, Devin Grayson and Greg Rucka; artist and colorist, Scott Hampton; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, Kelly Lamy, Nanci Dakesian and Jimmy Palmiotti; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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