[Marvel Comics, 7.0]

Jason Urbanciz:
After a bang-up first arc from Marjorie Liu, the writing reigns are turned over to Duane Swierczynski for the next three issues and an uncertain future beyond that. This issue is essentially one long fight/chase scene as Natasha attempts to save a journalist who has been tracking her and has drawn attention from bad people for knowing too much. It was a good issue, but I can’t say too much since we haven’t gotten into the full story yet. Still, it certainly isn’t a let down after the first arc, so I’m sticking around.

Dan Faust:
I was blown away by this issue. I read the first issue of the new Black Widow ongoing and was a little annoyed that the main character was hospitalized a third of the way through and her boyfriend and his pals had to go find the people responsible. Duane Swierczynski’s first issue gave me exactly what I wanted from a Black Widow story: car chases, fisticuffs, Natasha disguised as a dude and hanging out in the men’s room. I have no idea if I should know who Fatale is, but that doesn’t really matter. I’m hooked and I’ll be back next month.

Caroline Pruett:
Duane Swierczynski, who did great work on Immortal Iron Fist and Punisher MAX seems like a good choice to take over Black Widow, but this first issue is rocky. There are complex things going on here involving dopplegangers, and a lot of the issue features my pet peeve, narration boxes that don’t make it clear which character they belong to. All this makes the story hard to follow, and the art — unattractive, murkily colored, and, like way too many books centered on female character, full of pointless T & A — doesn’t help matters. I do trust Swierczynski’s storytelling in the long run, though. The basic premise about a political scandal and a son’s quest for revenge is a compelling one, and this issue has a few neat twists. I’ll hang around for the rest of the arc, at least, and hope that the plotting and art issues get cleaned up.