Black Widow’s New Family is Everything She Could Have Asked For

WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Black Widow #15, available now from Marvel.

Life in the Marvel Universe is never easy for its foremost heroes, but the last year for Black Widow has undoubtedly been one of the worst. Despite currently facing her most fearsome nemesis in the midst of uncovering a sprawling superpowered conspiracy, Natasha can't help but think back to the idyllic life she was given and how it was all taken away. Thankfully, Black Widow still has plenty of allies who refuse to give up on her. In fact, the extra-lethal family she has unwittingly built for herself might just be the one she has needed all along.

While Natasha herself is reeling from a gruesome encounter with the Living Blade in the pages of Black Widow #15 (by Kelly Thompson, Elena Casagrande, Rafael T. Pimentel, Elisabetta D'Amico, Jordie Bellaire, VC's Clayton Cowles, and VC's Cory Petit), the titular hero's allies are busy escaping from and subsequently dismantling the maniacal machinations behind the Golden Gate Gala. Though the others are supposed to stick to the plan, it doesn't take long before they have all turned their attention to regrouping with Natasha and mending her wounds. This doesn't stop them from catching up with the villains behind the Gala plot, and even gives Natasha a chance to get back into the fight for herself rather than suffering another untimely demise. Not only that, but when Black Widow finally overcomes the Living Blade, she does so with the people she has grown closest to at her side. In the aftermath of the battle, sitting around a table with the others, Natasha realizes that this family she has chosen may even be what eases her near-constant pain over the family she lost.

When Natasha first returned to the spotlight in 2020's Black Widow #1 by Kelly Thompson and Elena Casagrande, she did so as Natalie, an otherwise ordinary woman living a seemingly perfect life. Natalie was introduced with a bright career, loving home, and caring family consisting of husband James and son Stevie. All of this came after a sudden disappearance, and when Natasha's friends finally caught up to her, she had no idea who any of them were. As it turned out, everything about her new life had been carefully orchestrated by her most ruthless enemies, all in a bid to destroy Black Widow in mind, body, and spirit. Even more shocking than that revelation was the fact that the man she found herself married to truly did love her, and the boy who couldn't possibly be her son really was.

In uncovering these truths, Natasha also came to understand the danger her mysterious family would be in if they stayed together. Because of that, James and Stevie were sent away both in the hopes of making new lives for themselves and of never seeing their wife and mother again. The emptiness that Natasha has been suffering from ever since sending James and Stevie away is one that she hasn't been able to shake. Beyond that, is an underlying feeling that has driven her to put all of their lives at risk by seeking them out once already. The knowledge that her perfect life with a perfect family is almost attainable has been more than Black Widow has been able to bear. Luckily, the likes of the Winter Soldier, Hawkeye, and the budding young heroes under her wing have helped pull her back together, even when Natasha was ready to give up on herself entirely. Yelena Belova, aka White Widow, might be the only one genuinely related to Natasha, but they are all still taking on that same familial role nonetheless.

On the surface, this situation doesn't seem all that dissimilar from the close-knit relationships that Black Widow has formed with some of her friendlier colleagues from organizations such as S.H.I.E.L.D. or the Avengers, but even those have never been able to provide her with the kind of catharsis Natasha is experiencing now. That isn't to say that the sorrow she feels for James and Stevie is gone.

Rather, Natasha is once again surrounded by people who care for her unconditionally, and who she knows are always going to be there for her. Considering the tumultuous if not deadly personal connections she is used to making, this is certainly the most stable things have ever been. Assuming another grave threat isn't waiting for Black Widow just around the corner, they might even stay that way long enough for her to enjoy it.

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