Black Widow is a femme fatale created by Stan Lee in the Marvel Universe. She debuted in 1964 as an antagonist to Iron Man but eventually became a vital member of the Avengers team.
In the Marvel Studios Black Widow movie, she is played by Scarlett Johansson.
Black Widow Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics explored the amazing adventures and deadly origin of Natasha Romanoff, or Black Widow, extensively through many different realities. She remains somewhat of a mystery, though, as not much is known about her past.
The comics look into her many different lives, like being schoolteacher Nancy Rushman, as well as her romances with Bucky Barnes (Winter Soldier), Matt Murdock (Daredevil), and even Tony Stark (Iron Man), introduce her and Captain America’s son, her brief life in San Francisco, and friendship with Director Maria Hill.
Natasha Romanova Black Widow 101
Natasha Romanoff (or Natalia Romanova) was born in the Soviet Union and was raised by a man named Ivan Petrovitch Bezukhov, as she lost her birth parents in the Battle of Stalingrad . She might be related to the Romanovs, the reigning imperial house of Russia, but this was never confirmed.
Powers & Abilities
A young Natasha was trained in the Black Widow Program, a secret Russian spy program in a facility called the Red Room. She progressed in ranks and became Black Widow Natasha after World War II.
The Russian government program, headed by a man named Dreykov, trained the young girls — Black Widows — to become Soviet Super Soldiers and used psychological conditioning to make them obedient. The girls were also enhanced with super-soldier serum, which gave them peak human strength and stamina and slowed their aging.
In Natasha’s case, she doesn’t have any inherent superpowers like Thor or Scarlet Witch, but she is an expert in handling advanced weaponry and highly skilled in martial arts. One of her weapons is called the widow’s bite.
She has superb intelligence, is quite unpredictable, and is very calm and collected.
Because of her past, Natasha has a difficult time trusting people. Hawkeye is one of the few people she trusts. They were even briefly romantically involved in the comics, and he was actually her influence for defecting to the Avengers.
Another ally — and at times, enemy — is Yelena Belova, who trained in the Red Room sometime after her. Although Natasha refers to her as a sister, Yelena is not exactly devoid of all evil as she had been involved with HYDRA and even became the Red Room’s deadliest assassin.
It was hard for Natasha to think of Ivan Petrovich, the man who raised her when she became an orphan, her most dangerous enemy. After all, the man took care of her during her formative years.
However, Natasha discovered that he developed less-than-welcome feelings for her, which she rejected. He took this rejection personally and faked his death, eventually returning as a cyborg who wanted to take over the world. Natasha had no choice but to kill the man who raised her.
Natasha has no known blood relatives in the comic books aside from her mother leaving her with Ivan Petrovich and dying shortly afterward in the Battle of Stalingrad.
It is rumored that she may be part of the imperial Romanov family, but this was never confirmed.
Aside from Avengers and SHIELD, Natasha became the leader of a short-lived group called the Champions, consisting of Johnny Blaze (Ghostrider), Hercules, and X-Men members Angel and Iceman. She was also recruited to the Secret Avengers by Steve Rogers.
Other Comic Versions
Black Widow 2099
Black Widow 2099 is portrayed by an African American woman named Tania. She was a solo hero approached by Alchemax, a corporation that controlled the Avengers in 2099, and asked her to become a team member. She’s been mentioned as a cannibal as she literally eats her partners after having sex with them.
Claire Voyant was actually the first woman trained to become the Black Widow. Not much is known about her but that she was a small-time medium who was killed by one of her clients in a ritual gone wrong.
She was brought back to life by “Satan,” who gave her magic and supernatural powers and used her to hunt down evil sinners, who would then be offered to him so he could draw strength from their souls.
Yelena Belova is Natasha’s Black Widow successor in the Red Room Academy, and one of her first missions was to capture Natasha. Although she doesn’t see eye to eye with the rival Black Widow at times, Natasha still has a soft spot for the younger assassin.
Monica Chang-Fury, Nick Fury’s ex-wife, is the second Black Widow in the comics after the untimely death of Natasha. She and Nick Fury divorced after she found out he had cheated on her multiple times. She is a regular woman with no superhuman powers, although highly skilled and trained in combat.
Ultimate Black Widow
The Ultimate Black Widow is referred to as the female Spider-Man by some. Jessica Drew is a female clone of Peter Parker who takes on the Black Widow persona and is the third in succession after Natasha and Monica.
In an alternate universe, Peter Parker has a romantic relationship with Natasha Romanoff, aka Red Cat.
Red Cat is an alternate reality version of Black Cat, wears a red suit instead of a black suit, and is a jewel thief instead of a super spy.
Age of Ultron
Most Avengers die in a nuclear attack in a dark alternate universe wherein Ultron ruled the world. Natasha is one of the few survivors, and she’s back to being a spy, but this time she’s going solo. She eventually teams up with Marc Spectre, aka Moon Knight, to take down Ultron.
Who does Black Widow marry in the Marvel comics?
Natasha was once married to Alexei Shostakov, a test pilot, while she was still in Russia. The KGB faked his apparent death so he could become the Red Guardian, Russia’s version of the new Captain America. He was forced to cut ties with his wife.
Does Black Widow have a child in the comics?
In one of Marvel’s many universes, Black Widow and Captain America have a son named James Rogers. However, it is unclear whether this child was conceived through natural means as Natasha was sterilized as a child as part of the KGB Program.
As one of the few Marvel girls in the lineup, Avengers Black Widow is one of the strongest and most important characters in the Marvel universe.
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