Warning: SPOILERS for Web of Black Widow
Natasha Romanoff is known for taking plenty of criminals down as the infamous Black Widow. As a member of the Avengers, a former Russian assassin, and star of her own upcoming Black Widow film, she's fought some of the most famous villains in the Marvel Universe. However, her latest mission remains a massive mystery. Someone is going on a murderous rampage, taking out Natasha's old targets. And just as Natasha is getting used to her recently resurrected clone body, she needs to stop this killer--but the prime suspect is actually Natasha herself!
Nat is currently starring in a 5-issue mini-series titled Web of Black Widow. Written by Jody Hauser with art by Stephen Mooney, the series tells the tale of a recently-resurrected Natasha dealing with the damage the process brings. For starters, the more resurrections someone goes through, the less memory comes back with them. Not a unique concept when it comes to bringing characters back to life, but it's an intriguing idea to make an already fragmented mind like Natasha's even more chaotic. Now, as she struggles with her very own memories, she's forced to confront one of the most dangerous killers in the world--herself.
While Black Widow's history is strange and captivating, she's been working hard over the years to make up for all of that "red in her ledger." So when several of her old criminal associates wind up dead, she has a right be a wee bit upset that she's being set-up to take the fall. Thankfully, the murderous Black Widow that finally appears in the pages of Web of Black Widow #3 has left plenty of clues to their true identity.
While normally out on missions, the story depicts Natasha training a younger and naive assassin named Toma--which could be a reference to famous Marvel villain and Russian General, Toma Zaslon. As Natasha trains Toma, the two are sent on a mission together that the younger assassin, unsurprisingly, does not return from. But when does anyone in comics stay dead? In the current timeline, Natasha recruits former Black Widow Yelena Belova--who may be joining Natasha in her stand-alone film--to help hunt this mysterious figure posing as Natasha. After discovering the trail of bodies that was left behind, Natasha finally comes face-to-face with... her own face.
While it could be an evil clone, that glitch on the left side of the panel says otherwise. The would-be Natasha is likely using some sort of facial-masking technology to hide their true identity. Could this new assassin be the mysterious Toma that Natasha was just training? Or is this some new villain? Luckily for Natasha, she was able to rule out her own prime suspect by having Yelena come with her. That also means that whomever is wearing this particular face was able to best both Natasha and Yelena in a brief but brutal fight.
Natasha's search for peace and resolution after a life of conflict and warfare is always endearing to read. She's an incredible character, which is why she's become one of the foremost heroes in all of comics. The worst thing that could possibly happen to her, is for her good reputation to become sullied once again. Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow, is no longer a murderer. But someone wants the world to think that she is. Is this Black Widow the former protege "Toma" that was killed off-panel, or could this be a devious plot from another former student of the Headmistress? Hopefully, Natasha can stop them without having to add more red to that ledger.
Web of Black Widow #3 is available now from your local comic book shop.