Fans may die while waiting for Black Widow’s solo movie, but there’s no doubt that she steals the scene both on and off screen. Played by Scarlett Johansson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Widow is a multi-skilled superhero who has more gadgets than Bond, more moves than most of her Avengers teammates and complete nerves of steel. It’s a wonder why she is the most hated member of the team when she’s arguably the most versatile and skilled one of all.
Even so, like any good superhero, she’s not without her issues, and we’re not talking about how she used to wear the letter “B” on her earrings and cape. Black Widow has had a long, hard past of being untrustworthy. This is largely due to her brainwashed condition, which led her to be a Russian spy.
She has played with many a superhero’s heart, from Hawkeye to Daredevil, to get what she wants and get the job done, and she can slip into any persona, which also makes her difficult to trust while simultaneously an absolute necessity for a successful team. Many of her most mind-boggling moments, however, have stemmed from some pretty careless writing, too. This ethical conundrum lead us to the 15 Most WTF Things Black Widow Has Ever Done.
15. She Invaded The United States
During The Ultimates series, Black Widow betrayed the Avengers and helped with an invasion of America. When Natasha Romanova and Tony Stark hook up, it seems as though it might be a palatable story line; his ego is bigger, but she is a pretty tough woman who can handle anything. But before anyone could get the chance to wish the pair well, in an explosive reveal that nearly rivaled the recent Captain America as a Hydra agent moment, Black Widow used their newfound intimacy to destroy Jarvis, hold Tony hostage, and allow his tech to help invade Manhattan.
When Iron Man insists that he can’t believe she’d ever betray them, Romanova remarks, “Oh, please. The Russian spy? Yeah, I can see why you’d think I’d be the last person to betray America’s defense force.” Ouch.
Why, Mark Millar, why?
To be fair to Natasha, this story line felt like a brutal attack from all angles, not just her betrayal. From watching the Ultimates carry out actual murders to seeing Hawkeye’s family killed, Avengers fans certainly felt gut-punched while reading The Ultimates.
14. She Attacked Spider-Man To Steal His Spider-Gadgets
Spider-Man can be very annoying. So can his secret identity, Peter Parker, for that matter. But that’s no reason to stoop so low as to pilfer the kid’s tech, Black Widow! Natasha is used to going after anything she thinks she needs to complete her mission, however, and she’ll do just about anything to get it, including stealing it from young Spidey.
Granted, if you count most of the instances where Natasha had a case of sticky fingers, it was usually for her mother country, not for her own personal gain. Since she was brainwashed to do so (more about that later), most of us can agree that she should be forgiven for stealing tech– most of the time.
Her own tech is impressive enough as it is. In her gauntlets alone, the super spy has explosives, a taser, a grappling hook, knockout gas, a radio transmitter, and tear gas pellets. It might as well be the Marvel equivalent of Batman‘s utility belt.
13. She’s Aged Super Well
There’s no denying that Black Widow is a beautiful woman. Even her haters usually give her that much. She’s also always been super young-looking over the years, and there is a big reason why she hasn’t aged much since her birthday back in, oh, 1928!
Like Captain America, Black Widow has been genetically enhanced with a serum that not only keeps her looking young, but also gives her super strength. The serum, given to her in Russia by the Red Room, provides her with healing abilities, extra stamina, and enough agility to literally dodge a bullet.
Although the writers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have yet to really address this huge detail, Black Widow fans are hoping to have it featured as part of her backstory once she finally gets her own film. Given that it’s not only a huge part of her past but also accounts for many more abilities than we’ve witnessed on screen, plenty of fans are even irritated that she’s portrayed more as a skilled spy than a hero with super abilities of her own.
12. She (Maybe) Killed Her Own Brother
Natasha Romanova has a brother? Well, maybe. In the Marvel world, long-lost family members are always possible, especially if you were saved by a Russian soldier from a burning building, as Black Widow’s origin story goes.
In the black and white anthology series Shadows and Light, it was revealed that Black Widow may have had a brother called Vindiktor. Insisting that she was saved by their mother from the aforementioned fire and left the rest of the family to die, Vindiktor swore that he’d get revenge on his sister. He apparently named himself after his vow, too?
Whether or not Vindiktor, whom Natasha took out by the end of the comic, is really her brother was never revealed; however, had he really been searching for her all these years, he should’ve aged while Black Widow’s super serum kept her youthful. Given that he was never brought up again, Vindiktor may have simply been a crazy person talking nonsense, but what point would that even serve?
11. She Went Into Fashion Design (And Bombed)
Once upon a time, Black Widow shacked up with Daredevil. They were a believable couple, but writers decided that Daredevil was better off alone than with a sidekick who was far better qualified than he to fight crime. Think that one over. While working as Matt Murdock’s “sidekick” (that sounds so wrong), Black Widow decided to create a secret identity for herself, much like Matt’s lawyer side. Except it was nothing like Matt’s cool lawyer persona and everything like a failed fashion designer.
Yep, Natasha Romanova, darling of the KBG and all-around spy extraordinaire, decided to work as a fashion designer. It’s really not that big of a deal had she really enjoyed the job and done well for herself, but she bombed embarrassingly. Sure, her movie outfits have been pretty amazing, but have you seen the different costumes she’s worn over the years? This was such a WTF moment not because fashion design itself is a joke (in fact, it can be a pretty cutthroat biz), but because it made Black Widow a bit of one. Why not give her a cool day job, too?
10. She Was Brainwashed, Made Into A Killing Machine, And Rendered Infertile
Obviously Natasha Romanova is able to have children. Based on several realities, we know that she has a child at some point (see further down the list). In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, however, Black Widow painfully reveals that part of her “training” included having her ability to have children stolen from her before she was even old enough to make the decision for herself. Things were made worse when the non-canon story line defined her character, rendered her another “monster on this team” and served no purpose other than making The Hulk feel better. Is this the best you can do, MCU? Do you really need to alter her entire identity in order to fit a mold for a relationship that doesn’t even work (and is also non-canon; see below)?
In both the comic and the films, Black Widow was designed to be a killing machine for Russia. She was genetically enhanced, brainwashed and molded into the perfect weapon by Soviet Intelligence. She later obtained her own name from the Black Widow Program in which she trained beneath the Winter Soldier, and she later continued training with the Red Room Academy, making her one of the most elite agents in the history of Marvel.
9. She Tried To Start A New Avengers Team (And Bombed)
There was a time when Black Widow was the only official member of the Avengers, making her the leader of the team. When Onslaught killed the rest of the team, the job of organizing missions, recruiting new members and forming a new team fell on Natasha, and for some reason, she failed miserably.
Given her history of failed missions, it’s not as surprising on the surface. She’s failed on missions on both sides of good and evil, so maybe she’s just not following Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective Superheroes to the letter. That said, someone as skillful and capable as Black Widow should be able to create and maintain a decent group of superheroes, so it makes you wonder if she simply got the shaft again. (Does someone just hate her behind the scenes, too?) To make matters even worse, she was sued by the Mary Stark Foundation for infringing upon the Avenger logo by attempting to use it with a new team! That’s sort of ridiculous.
8. She Has Her Own Weapons Line
Did you know that Black Widow has suction cups on her costume? She has plenty of cool gadgets and weapons because she has her own weapons line. Now this is more like it: a weapons line makes so much more sense for Natasha than a fashion line does. Well, okay, so she did not design any of the weapons herself; fair enough. But between her people in the Soviet Union and her people at S.H.I.E.L.D. Natasha may have had more weapons designed for her than any other character.
From explosive discs to tear gas, aerosol knock-out gas to her trademark guns, the woman is packing in many more ways than one. One major request from fans regarding the Black Widow movie, if it ever comes to fruition, is to see her handle more of her cool gadgetry that we see in the comics than just the pistols we typically watch her wield on screen.
7. She Made A Sex Tape With Iron Man
Yes, Tony and Natasha made a sex tape. Marvel’s known to reflect plenty of pop culture (if not too much pop culture; remember the death of Karen Page?), and if they are going to have two superheroes make a tape, it might as well be two of their most confident characters. Naturally the tape was leaked to the press (because of course it was), but it was made even more painful because not only had Natasha the betrayer just killed Hawkeye’s child right in front of him, but Hawkeye, in return, murdered her as a result.
The Ultimates storyline was just not a high point for the team (remember Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver as a couple?). Seeing the sex tape of your murdered lover who murdered your teammate’s kid and betrayed you all was probably not a high point on Stark’s row of bedpost notches. Even Iron Man has a heart.
6. She Lifted Mjolnir
There’s not a huge list of people who’ve been able to life Thor‘s magical hammer, Mjolnir, but it does include one of Marvel’s most amazing heroines: Black Widow. Sure, it only occurred in one of Marvel’s off-the-wall yet wildly entertaining What If? Series, and it’s after Thor is dead due to Ragnarok, but there are no special tricks involved (like there are when Freya changes the inscription). It’s simply a case of the world is in trouble (yep, it’s the Frost Giants again) and the person worthy of using Mjolnir is none other than Natasha.
Even though it’s an alternate reality, this may be one of Black Widow’s finest moments because not only is she seen as a capable and courageous hero, but she seems to have earned it by the contents of her character rather than manipulation, sheer strength or other means. Even so, it was a surprise to most readers, although not as much of a surprise as the time…
5. She Ate Spider-Man
Okay, so this entry is really based on a single photo in the Marvel What If? Series, but it’s just too laughable to exclude. She’s the Black Widow, he’s a spider… If they got married, it would only be natural that she have a midnight snack that consists of his Spidey bones! Her emphatic “Burp!” secures the image in its impossible glory. You have to love the background imagery, too; was that fireplace a big part of the scene before Black Widow grew peckish?
Imagine Black Widow with the voice of the honey badger, picking her teeth after mating with Spidey and devouring him afterward: “Thanks for the babies, stupid!” The completely ridiculous, out-of-this world scenarios are endless here and it’s funny enough to almost warrant an Easter egg. Hey, if Marvel’s giving us #2 on this list in the MCU, why not? It would seem that anything is possible.
4. She Was Tricked Into Being A Criminal By the Android Version Of Her Ex-Husband
For a partner in an arranged marriage, Black Widow’s husband sure has a hold on her even long after they’ve split. In fact, she’s so loyal to him that his own android was able to trick her into returning to a life of crime! Alexei Shostakov, AKA the Red Guardian, was one of the KGB’s most beloved test pilots, which made him the perfect arranged hubby for their top spy, Natasha Romanova. She grew to care about him deeply enough that the KGB faked his death in order to exert more control over her. Perhaps this is the reason why she is so adept at faking her feelings to manipulate others.
Using those same feelings that Black Widow harbored for her long lost husband, Russian dissidents manipulated her once again by using an android of Shostakov in order to trick her into stealing from S.H.I.E.L.D. Luckily Black Widow was clever enough to ruin their plan, destroying the android and sending the whole KGB team that had used her to prison, courtesy of Nick Fury.
3. She Had A Child With Captain America
Marvel fans mostly don’t consider this canon, but in the animated Marvel film, Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow, Black Widow and Captain America do have a child together, and that child did eventually become a part of the comic books (sort of). In the animated movie, Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanova have a son called James. Given that their baby boy is named after James Buchanan Barnes, AKA Bucky, AKA Cap’s BFF and Natasha’s main squeeze. Yeah, that’s not weird.
What’s weirder is that the comics eventually embraced this alternate version of reality, giving James an appearance in Avengers #1 in 2010. The “Kid Avenger” has some high-tech weapons like his old man and lady, as well as enhanced genetic skills. Unlike his mom and pop, who were treated with serum to obtain said powers, he was born with them. Weirder still? He’s being raised by Iron Man.
2. She Hooked Up With The Hulk
Hulk smash… lime in mojito for Black Widow on honeymoon! As far-fetched as this painfully awkward pairing sounds to any comic book reader, it happened in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Watching Black Widow adopt some tender lingo to help tame the “Big Guy” was not only seriously weird, but it also made Bruce/Betty fans go berserk and detracted from Natasha’s story a bit. These two had never expressed interest in each other before and now Bruce is falling head-first into Natasha’s cleavage? This is why we can’t have nice things!
Just because she’s The Female on the team doesn’t mean she has to be romantically linked to any of her teammates. It’s a tired, overused theme that writes typically use for any double-x chromosomes in films– especially when said female is the only one in the movie to begin with. Thus, the sinking ‘ship known as “Hulktasha” (groan) was born.
1. She Tried To Assassinate Iron Man
If anyone could pull it off, our vote is on Black Widow–but none of us really want to see Tony Stark assassinated anytime soon. Back when Hawkeye and Black Widow identified with the bad guy crowd, way before their S.H.I.E.L.D. days, they bonded over other things– like their attempt on Iron Man’s life.
This is one of those instances where Black Widow used her charm to manipulate Hawkeye into going against his instincts and joining her to off the king of arrogance and robotics. To add insult to injury, she had already romanced Stark for an ulterior motive as well: to steal his technology. Not only did the duo’s mission to off Tony fail, but they embarked on another mission to take on Spider-Man, which also ended in flames.
So you might say that their careers as superheroes only started because they sucked so bad at being bad guys! Maybe they’ll take that as a compliment.
Are there any crazy moments from Black Widow‘s history that we missed? Share them in the comments!