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Monday, September 14, 2015

Black Widow Key Issues Part 3

This is Part 3 and the last part to this Black Widow key issues list. We'll definitely be leaving the Bronze Age and seeing a few Modern Age key comics regarding the Black Widow.

Not too many though. Well, let's wrap this up. If you missed Part 2, just click that link. Otherwise, here's the last bunch of Black Widow key comics.

1st appearance of Darkstar
1st appearance of Alexi Bruskin
1st appearance of Yuri Petrovich

More details and ghosts from both Black Widow and Ivan Petrovitch's past resurface in this issue here. So who is this Alexi Bruskin?

Well, during this time, Alexi Bruskin was the KGB trainer of Soviet agents. Thus, he is the one who trained Natalia Romanoff back in the day to become a spy. Well, at least, during this period of comics and in this telling he is. I'm sure some comic writer afterward has muddled things up concerning Black Widow's past.

Alexi also trained another agent named Laynia Petrovna, who would become Darkstar. In this issue, Darkstar is part of a super soviet team that was tasked in bringing back the Widow to Russia.

Her twin brother is Nikolai Krylenko, who would be known as Vanguard and later take up the mantle of the Red Guardian. Both would become part of the Soviet Super-Soldiers team that would later appear in various titles.

I remember first seeing that team during the Copper Age in Captain America #352 and in the X-Men vs. Avengers limited series during the late 80s. Although a villain to Black Widow in this issue, Darkstar would switch sides and become a member of the Champions.   

Yuri Petrovitch is Ivan's son of course, but this guy is also the 4th Crimson Dynamo. If there was one Iron Man villain I became a fan of while reading comics in the Copper Age, it was Crimson Dynamo.

I have no idea why. Just thought he looked bad ass. Yuri and his father were separated during his youth, and both presumed the other dead. Wrong!

Under intense training, Yuri became a KGB assassin and was given the Crimson Dynamo armor to go and kick some Western ass since he was brought up and trained to despise the West. In this issue, he is also another villain tasked with capturing the Black Widow.

Yuri was not the Crimson Dynamo who joined the Soviet Super-Soldiers. Under the radar key issue? Yep, absolutely. Champions #7 was published August, 1976. This issue has a 30 cent variant.

1st new grey Black Widow costume

It's time for another Black Widow make over which she gets during the end of Frank Miller's classic run on Daredevil. This time, Natalia Romanova gets a grey, skin-tight one-piece.

A small black spider emblem is place on her left chest and her hair is lopped off and short.  Like Spider-Man, she also gets a big ole black spider decal on the back of this outfit.

Not sure if Frank Miller or Klaus Janson or both are responsible for this redesign. Not the most classic of looks for the character but it is remembered. Whether that's a good thing or bad thing, I'll leave it up to you.

Black Widow would go back to her iconic look later anyways. Daredevil #187 was published October, 1982.

2nd Black Widow solo feature
Black Widow begins in 4 part story arc

Marvel Fanfare #10 would be the 2nd solo feature that Black Widow has in a comic title, but the run would only last until issue #13. This story line does introduce some new baddies in it, but most are pretty obscure or minor villains.

Still, when it comes to Black Widow comics, the Marvel Fanfare issues are always mentioned. Not the most impressive or significant of Black Widow key issues, Marvel Fanfare #10 was published August, 1983, and it is a decent read for any fan just getting into the character.

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1st appearance of Iron Maiden
1st appearance of Black Lotus

How about we get into some obscure keys for some pretty obscure characters or villains here? Definitely not the cream of the crop, but as we've all seen with the cinematic or small screen shows, who knows who the creatives will use for an on-screen debut?

Some of these lesser known characters just may be used for something, and we'll see their first appearances have a short but nice spike in demand and value. It makes good flipping, no?

Iron Maiden is definitely a Black Widow villainess, and is a former agent of the U.S.S.R. that lived in the shadow of the legendary Black Widow. A jealousy and hatred grew towards Natasha because of it.

Melina Vostokovna as the Maiden would later join the Femizons like Black Lotus. The character of Black Lotus is another Black Widow villain, but has a short-lived comic career as such. Marvel Fanfare #11 was published November, 1983.

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1st appearance of Snapdragon

Snapdragon was created by Ralph Macchio and George Perez, and in her first appearance, she was hired to put a beat down on Black Widow while she was in Japan. Not the most notable of Black Widow villains, but she does join the all-female super-villain team called the Femizons, which was inspired by Thundra's Femizons.

Sheoke Sanada is Snapdragon's real name, and she was supposedly killed by Rachel Leighton or Diamondback as she is more known in comics. Snapdragon is the sister of Kono.

Marvel Fanfare #12 was published January, 1984.

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1st retconned meeting Captain America & Wolverine
More Black Widow backstory

This is a comic that I still have, bought when I was in my teens and when it first came out. Yep, I was a fan of Jim Lee's run on the Uncanny X-Men back in the day, but to be honest, I had no clue what the hell was going on when I first read this comic.

Only 'till years later when I decided to read again did I get it. So, apparently, this is the first retconned meeting of Captain America and Wolverine as the story switches back and forth from the present and the past. It also should be the first meeting between Logan and a young Natalia Romanoff.

In 1941, Cap and Ivan Petrovitch are in Madripoor searching for a kidnapped Natalia. Baron von Strucker and The Hand are the culprits behind the kidnapping. The Hand want to train a young Natalia to become a master assassin for their cause.

The three rescue the young Natalia and Logan is seemingly killed as he shields her from various bullets. However, instead of bringing Natalia to Seraph, the little lady who owns the bar that Logan often frequents, Cap and Ivan take Natalia to the U.S. embassy only to find out that the U.S. ambassador to Madripoor, Geoffrey Sydenham, is a Nazi supporter.

Sydenham believes America's destiny lies with Germany in an Aryan hegemony (leadership or dominance). Of course, Logan saves the day and Cap, Wolvie, and Ivan duke it out with The Hand minions again.

I think this is the first issue where Black Widow calls Logan "Little Uncle" and establishes that Wolverine is connected to young Natalia's origins. In later comics, it would be revealed that Logan and Black Widow would be further connected as he is one of the many who trained her and became another protector of her for a brief while.

Uncanny X-Men #268 was published September, 1990.

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1st brief appearance of Yelena Belova

Fast forwarding here, and a Black Widow key issues list without featuring the 1st appearance of the 2nd character to take on the Black Widow codename just wouldn't be right. Yelena appears briefly in this Inhumans issue, but she does appear as a Black Widow.

Yelena Belova is another Red Room trainee and agent. Since her first appearance, she has become a recurring foe and ally of Natasha Romanoff. The two would soon meet and battle for who deserves the legendary codename. Inhumans #5 from the 2nd series was published March, 1999.

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1st issue to headlining comic series
1st Black Widow self-titled series
1st full appearance of Yelena Belova

Wow, it would take Marvel that long to finally give Black Widow her own headlining comic, even if it's only a 3 issue limited series. Still, this issue and this series marks the 1st full appearance of Yelena Belova.

In this series, Yelena Belova believes she is the rightful successor to take up the mantle of Black Widow, and she would challenge Natalia to become the premiere Russian spy. Black Widow #1 was published June, 1999.

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Origin of Black Widow

When it comes to Natalia's past, this series try to clear things up. In the Daredevil series when Black Widow becomes a regular character, Ivan Petrovitch says to Matt Murdock that he became Natalia Romanoff's guardian in 1942. Her mother had given a young Natalia to him just before she died during the Battle of Stalingrad.

In this re-telling, he apparently finds a baby Natalia in 1928. Before Logan becomes Wolverine, he is still known to her as "Little Uncle" and trains her briefly in this series. That should take place after the events of Uncanny X-Men #268 since that issue first introduces the relationship between Black Widow and Wolverine.

Four part limited series, and Black Widow Deadly Origin #1 was published January, 2010.

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Alright, that concludes this Black Widow key issues series. There is a Black Widow volume 2 six issue series that sheds light on Natalia Romanoff's training in the Red Room, and she discovers secrets behind that. Apparently, she was never a ballerina, and some sources say that Black Widow #4 from the 2nd volume or 2004 series has the first appearance of the Red Room. 

Not entirely sure about that though. Most in Part 3 are pretty minor key issues in terms of comic investments. The exception might be Champions #7 30 cent variant.

Don't know about it as a comic investment, but Uncanny X-Men #268 is a fun read.

Though the Black Widow is a pretty old character, she has mainly been a supporting character for the likes of the Avengers and especially Daredevil. Obviously, this has changed during the Modern Age where she begin receiving her own titled series more often.

Still, some of these keys may be worth checking out for fans of the character. Some of her earlier appearances are already up there in high grades. 

I still think a Black Widow movie would be a cool watch. Plenty of espionage and things to uncover considering Black Widow's origins in a flick, but that's just my humble opinion. Would be pretty cool to see Yelena Belova be the villain in a Black Widow solo film also.

Good luck on your hunt or selling. See ya next time.


  1. thank you mayhem for this great list. much appreciated JW

    1. No problem, JW. Good to hear from ya, bud and thanks for the suggestion.

  2. Hey Mr. M.,

    funny, I just realized that the Widow never had an ongoing series. That' s really strange when you think what kind of characters got themselfes an ongoing series. I mean Nomad for instance or Thunderstrike, the Thor clone. I think even the US Agent got one. Marvel should think about that. I lost my interest in the multiple Widow mini series, allthough I have to say the art was top notch most of the time.


    1. I think she has one now, but you're right...took 'em long enough.