Marjorie Liu & Daniel Acuna
Black Widow #1 is paced wonderfully, beginning with Natasha's meeting with another spy, Black Rose. It's an interesting meeting that leads very quickly into a mystery that Natasha is looking into involving some clues that have been very obviously left for Black Widow to discover, including a black rose that led her to seek out her former comrade. But the reasons behind the clues are as-yet unknown, and as Widow is soon attacked and put through quite an ordeal, we see Tony Stark, Logan and her lover James try to sort things out as well. The relationships between all of the characters is intriguing, and the plot is pretty riveting, but I think Liu is especially skilled at making Black Widow herself a very likeable character. Many former interpretations of the character have left me a little cold, but Liu knows how to work Natasha as an interesting person, which makes all of the difference in storytelling. It certainly doesn't hurt the book that Daniel Acuna's artwork is stunning. It's very pretty and stylized, with some panels that are flat-out amazing. A few action scenes are a little murky, but for the most part, it's clear and quite exciting. I hope this is the beginning of a real presence for Black Widow in the Marvel Universe. She has a lot of potential, and it's nice to see someone tap into that potential once again.