The acclaimed writer behind fan-favorite series Captain Britain and MI-13 sets his eyes on the Russian spy Black Widow to tell her origin in time for the new Iron Man film coming out next summer. The opening scene is pretty neat, that of Black Widow aboard a space shuttle with the man who stole it, and revealing herself as having replaced his partner. The two then have a little shit-talk where they try to up the other one about what they're going to do to each other, leading into a scuffle that ends with the two of them parachuting over a casino. Very fun. Then the book regresses in time to show Natasha as she's slowly drawn in to The Red Room, beginning with having been raised by a soldier she treated as her father, then training under the tutelage of a man who wishes to train her as a weapon. When Natasha is chosen for the "icepick protocol," which threatens to destroy everyone close in her life, she vows revenge. The art by Raney is competent all the way through, but nothing to really brag about, although when John Paul Leon takes up art chores in the flashback scenes between pages 13 and 19, things get much prettier, making me wish that he'd taken up penciling the entire series. But then we're back to Raney by the end, which is fine because he is a fine artist - I just preferred the more interesting-looking art by Leon. Cornell does a fine job of building an origin for the character so far, but it's mostly set-up at this point. The real test will be the subsequent issue. He's already proven that he can bring out the bad-ass in Black Widow with that opening scene, so I'm ready to see Natasha cut loose and become the woman she is today.