On a mission that goes bad, Steve Rogers, War Machine, and Sharon Carter are dead. It’s up to Black Widow to make sure it never happens.
Secret Avengers #20
When a mission against the Shadow Council goes wrong, Rhodey gives Black Widow a bracelet that will send her back in time to five years before the mission. She learns from Hank McCoy that she shouldn’t change the future, but there are ways she can change the outcome without making it look like she did so. So, with this new info Black Widow bounces from year to year over a span of 18 weeks and sets wheels in motion that will prevent the death of her teammates.
I’ll go ahead and say it… Warren Ellis has a second straight book that I really enjoyed. While last issue ended somewhat quickly, this issue is well paced and measured excellently. The whole twist and turns of the time travel plot, all Natasha has to do to put the proper pieces in place was exciting and fun. It seems so far outside the usual expectation of a comic book taking place in the regular Marvel Universe, but that’s not what I kept thinking about when I read it. Instead, I was engrossed in how Natasha was going to pull all this off. It really was exciting to see her used in this way. She didn’t have to be a super spy, or a sexy distraction, or seduce secrets out of a bad guy. She just looked at the problem, knew what she needed to do, and just put it all together. This issue was simply fascinating to see play out. It took its time to tell the story. It didn’t get to page 18 and feel like it was saying “Oh shit, we gotta wrap this up!” It was evenly balanced and told the complete story.
This is what I wanted out Ellis’ run. The one and done format can work, but so many of his earlier issues seemed too rushed and gave us little to go off of. All in all, those earlier issues just felt like it started us in mid action and wham bam, thank you ma’am, it was done. This book was so far opposite of that, I wish all of Ellis’ stories could have been this strangely interesting without tipping too far over into just being strange with little interest in the plot.
Alex Maleev’s art isn’t exactly for everyone, but to this guy, it’s perfect for this type of story. I loved his work on Daredevil during that great run with Brian Michael Bendis. It’s gritty, and interesting. It’s perfectly fitting for a book like this one that has a little less action and a ton of intrigue.
It took a long time to get to this point, but this issue is exactly what I hoped to get from Warren Ellis’ run. This is what I knew he was capable of and the pay off was a perfectly interesting story.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Great plot, fun premise, expertly pulled off from Ellis and Maleev. Excellent Black Widow story.||None.|
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