The first issue of the new Black Widow run by Kelly Thompson and Elena Casagrande was a good start, but it left the distinct impression that the next chapters would be even better once the story got rolling. Now that Black Widow #2 is out, did the creative team follow through?
Yeah. They really did. Black Widow #2 is a hell of a read, deepening the mystery of how Natasha has found herself in this new life, clashing parts of her old, forgotten self with her current situation, and showing cracks in her veneer as she is plunged into situations where Black Widow would kick ass… and kick-ass she does, only to be left wondering how she did it and why it thrills her so much. Thompson's writing is clever and fun and, at times, disarmingly funny. There's a certain levity to Black Widow that was unexpected due to the seriousness of the situation, but the truth about this is put into words by Hawkeye and Bucky who, through spying on her in attempts to find out how to save her, realize that she seems happy. This scene with Hawkeye and Bucky is incredible in its attention to detail, nuance, and humor, with Thompson showing that she has grown into one of the best character architects writing for Marvel right now.
The artwork is stellar, with Elena Casagrande's expressive characters and action given a new dimension by Jordie Bellaire's soft, perfectly chosen color palette. Down to small bits, like the way the flash of gunfire looks, the detail in Black Widow rewards those who take a closer look. From the more obvious visual metaphor of the panels where Natasha remembers who she was appearing to resemble shattered glass, to the incredible character work in Bucky's expression when he asks "…How did she seem?" the art in Black Widow is every bit as good as the top-notch writing.