Stan Lee and Jack Kirby – when teamed up to launch Marvel Comics – had thought of not only male superheroes but also of female ones. The curvaceous and ferocious female superheroes, thus from the inception have added immense value to comic books alongside a plethora of male superheroes.
The character of Black Widow, the alter-ego of Natasha Romanoff created by Stan Lee and Don Rico with artist Don Heck possesses attributes that are more ‘human’ unlike those with the inhuman Medusa or Susan Richards (Fantastic Four).
In Marvel movies Scarlett Johansson’s portrayal of the Black Widow has caught the attention of a chockablock of true believers around the world. Some would look at her as a serious fighter with emotions while some would enjoy on big screen rhythmic swaying of her sensual hips.
She is romantic too. From time to time Black Widow had had soft corners with Daredevil, Hawkeye and also with Dr Bruce Banner.
Black Widow’s untimely passing happens in ‘Avengers: Endgame’ which was depicted as a sacrifice.
The 2021 movie ‘Black Widow’ that focuses on the origin of Black Widow tells the story of the transformation of Russian born Natasha Romanoff to Black Widow. She who has had alliances with S.H.I.E.L.D and the Avengers is now on the run to evade arrest for assaulting The Black Panther, king of Wakanda and violating Sokovia Accords.
“Your pain only makes you stronger” says Melina the ‘mother of the incarnate’ to the baby girl, Yelena when she falls while playing, while her elder sister Natasha Romanoff looks on and nods in approval. This incident takes place in Ohio in 1995.
Twenty-one years later the two surrogate daughters of Melina, Natasha and Yelena (Black Widow and Crimson Widow) trained in Red Room and now become fierce fighters, reunite in Budapest. (Natasha pronounces it as Budafesht which she says is correct)
The two sisters team up with their surrogate parents Melina and Red Guardian to terminate the Red Room’s leader Dreykov. The plot of the movie is too complicated for a fresher to fathom with although a true believing Marvel fan would still like it. Too many widows with super powers tend to distract Natasha’s (Black Widow) presence. Yet Scarlett Johansson’s grip on her character is robust.
Yelena, the little sister of Natasha, is depicted as a more emotive figure than her sister. Though Yelena is a fierce killing machine, she is also a bit of a kid in her temperament. Yelena tends to get emotionally attached to her proxy family members and seeks warmth. She is funny too. She often teases her sister Natasha on her unusual fighting stances by saying…” Such a poser”. Hence, at times Yelena would catch viewers’ attention more than Natasha.
We see a Black Widow ‘on fire’ in this latest movie. However, Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow ought to have gotten a stand-alone film for herself before her demise in ‘Avengers: Endgame’.
Scarlett Johansson is still alive and kicking. She could have portrayed the Black Widow on screen for some more years. Was it Stan Lee’s decision to keep Black Widow always running with a pack without letting her act as a lone wolf?
In 1960s and 1970s ‘Marvel Comics’ creators were hesitant to terminate superhero characters in this magnitude. Stan Lee and cigar-smoking Jack Kirby, back then stuck to the basics and constantly thought of bringing new superheroes, demi-gods, inhuman beings to the Marvel Universe. They did produce huge hardcover ‘Marvel Comics’ annuals in which an assortment of superheroes appeared to thrill the readers.