Natasha Romanova, Black Widow and Squirrel Girl go on an adventure to discover their own meaning in Marvel Comics’ anthology Women of Marvel #1.
It’s no surprise that the famous Black Widow would take a starring role in the special Women of Marvel #1 comic one-shot, but it isn’t Natasha Romanoff’s military career being questioned, it’s the true meaning of her superhero codename. Or, more specifically, what the ‘spider’ codename doesn’t mean, courtesy of the one and only Squirrel Girl.
Black Widow’s names have come under question multiple times over the years, for a number of reasons (Natasha’s last name being ‘Romanoff’ defies Russian surname conventions). After nearly sixty years, Marvel is revealing that more than a few superheroes have some misconceptions about her power set. While it’s true that Black Widow does have superpowers, her choice of codename is misleading in a world with an entire Spider-Verse of arachnid superhumans.
The Women of Marvel anthology comic collects stories from seasoned veteran and up-and-coming female talent. They provide their own spin in fun character building adventures on powerful females in the Marvel Universe and their relationships as they fight evil and solve problems that have been in the minds of comic book readers for decades. For “Comb Foot,” one of the short stories from Charlie Jane Anders, it’s wondering if Black Widow’s name makes sense with Natasha Romanoff’s abilities.
Jody Houser’s Web of Black Widow #1 explained the name was intended to associate Natasha with the spider’s notorious deadliness, along with its ability to escape notice (and strike all the faster and deadlier for it). Since then though, Natasha is remolding the name for her own purposes — a mission to reclaim her past and identity in name, just as much as in substance, psychology, and morality. The story explains Natasha is taking the name (given to her by “very bad people”) and giving it a meaning she decides.
Whatever Black Widow’s name means to her can evolve and change with the character as she sees fit. Like Iron Man, not only being a description of his hard outer shell, it is a fitting name for someone who possesses similar interior emotional qualities. With fandoms evolving and inclusion being more acceptable now than ever, many fans will second Natasha’s words to Squirrel Girl, Doreen Green: “That’s the thing about identities: You can make them your own by living as hard as you can. And screw anyone who tries to define you.”
Women of Marvel #1 is available in comic book shops now.
Next: Marvel Heroines Celebrate Women’s History Month With New Comic Covers
Supergirl’s Grossest Power Would Actually be Perfect in a Fight
About The Author