The Black Widow, aka Natasha Romanoff aka Natalia Romanova, is one of the Marvel Universe’s fiercest fighters and stealthiest spies.
Making her comic book debut way back in 1964 in an issue of Tales of Suspense, the Black Widow was originally a femme fatale who made trouble for Iron Man and his Avengers.
Over time, she became an ally, an Avenger, and even a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
As a result, Natasha held her own against gods, aliens, and otherwise enhanced human beings in battles that spanned decades.
It makes sense that she’s a master martial artist and an impressive marksman. She’s trained in a variety of fighting styles and in how to use countless weapons. She has a lot of other powers and abilities and that readers and movie fans alike might not remember though.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Widow doesn’t appear to have any superpowers: she’s just highly skilled thanks to her training.
In the comics, however, her time in the Red Room, a Soviet facility that trained young women to be assassins, made her an enhanced individual. Many of her abilities come to her as a result of the experiments completed on her when she was very young.
Even if you know your Red Room history, there might still be a few surprises with the 17 Powers Only True Fans Know Black Widow Has.
17 Delayed Aging
With Scarlett Johansson playing the role of Black Widow on screen, whether or not this particular power applies to her hasn’t been made clear.
In the comics, though, her aging process is delayed just like Captain America.
In the case of Captain America, the super soldier serum he was infused with caused his cells to grow even faster than they break down, making him appear young indefinitely. The same is true of Black Widow.
Though she appears to be as young as ever in the comics, she’s actually nearly as old as Captain America.
Natalia Romanova entered the Red Room’s program at a young age. Throughout her life, she was trained to be an assassin, but the program also gave her a few medical upgrades.
Their biotechnology made her body resist aging altogether.
16 She Climbs And Swings Like Spider-Man
Black Widow and Spider-Man have more in common than just their arachnid namesake. They can both climb walls and swing between buildings.
The difference is that Black Widow’s abilities are thanks to her suit, while Spider-Man’s, in most continuities, are biological.
Not long after she was introduced in Tales of Suspense, Black Widow demonstrated her abilities. She climbed walls with the help of her custom designed suit, which included suction built into the hands and feet of it.
Her Widow’s Line, which was essentially a grappling hook and cable, allowed her to swing from one building to another. The Widow’s Line was one of the many provisions hidden inside the gauntlets she designed for herself.
This particular set of abilities hasn’t made its way into the movies either. Instead, she prefers to hitch a ride on alien aircraft or fly a quinjet herself to make it to rooftops.
15 Super Speed
No, Black Widow isn’t a speedster. You won’t find her competing with the likes of Quicksilver or The Flash, but she can certainly outrun the average villain.
Because of the combination of biological “advancements” from the Red Room, as well as her physical training, Natasha can run pretty fast to chase down an enemy - or escape one.
Comic book appearances put her run at up to 35 miles per hour when she’s really putting her feet to pavement.
In fact, she’s even chased down a jet in the middle of takeoff during some of her adventures.
In this instance, she even managed to get on board, while anyone else would have to chase it down with a car.
She might not be quite that fast in the MCU, but she has managed to outrun the Winter Soldier on a crowded highway.
14 Enhanced Healing
The same medical procedures from the Red Room that cause her to age slowly also mean that Black Widow can heal faster than normal.
When the Black Widow finds herself injured in a fight, which happens often in her line of work, it might only take her a matter of hours to recover.
The average person might take days. The process of cellular regeneration means that her cells grow rapidly, repairing any damage done.
She cannot, however, regrow a limb like the healing capabilities of Deadpool allow.
Because of the medical procedures that allowed her to heal faster and age slower, Black Widow cannot have children.
That detail did make it into the movies, so it’s entirely possible we’ll find out more about just whether or not she heals and ages differently than normal humans.
13 Widow’s Bite
Also known as the Widow Sting in S.H.I.E.L.D. files that were marketed with the Phase One DVD Box Set of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this weapon certainly lives up to its name.
If the Black Widow didn’t nearly always wear this, it probably wouldn’t count as one of her powers.
In the comics, the Widow’s Bite is tucked inside her gauntlets, able to give an electric shock to those enemies she needs to get off her back.
She first used them in an issue of The Amazing Spider-man. Similarly, in the MCU, The Widow’s Bite is actually her bracelets themselves.
The Bite first appeared in the MCU in The Avengers, though Natasha sported a similar design in bracelets in her Iron Man 2 appearance.
Since their first appearance, Natasha upgraded to actual charged discs she can throw from her bracelets as well as carrying electric batons.
12 Accessing Old Identities
Part of her “training” as a Red Room operative meant that Natasha didn’t just take on cover identities to carry out covert missions: she became them.
Red Room operatives were actually brainwashed into believing their covers were their real identities.
Though periodically in the comics, Natasha’s brainwashing has come back to haunt her, on occasion those identities come back to help her.
She’s become able to access those old identities without completely reverting to them, allowing her to access their skills and knowledge without compromising her sense of self.
Clones created of her by the Red Room can also access those old memories and identities though, which can make things pretty complicated for her.
The movies provided a nod to one of her old covers, giving her the name Natalie Rushman in Iron Man 2. Natalie was a cover she had in the comics, one of a teacher.
11 Enticing Enemies
Modern comics and movies see Natasha Romanoff rely on her ability to knock an opponent out, but her early appearances relied on Natasha’s ability to allure them instead.
She turned her wiles on both Iron Man and Hawkeye in those first few issues of Tales of Suspense to feature her -- the latter with more success than the former.
Eventually, the comics moved away from her ability to attract others to her, but there are still plenty of nods to that ability for female spies in other books.
In the Ultimate Marvel Universe, Black Widow double crosses a few of the heroes. Enticing Iron Man, and even becoming engaged to him, was part of what allowed her to do it.
It seems like every superhero and villain has this particular trait. Not only can they accomplish feats us mere mortals cannot, but they can also withstand quite the blows.
Despite not having a particularly offensive power set, Black Widow can go toe-to-toe with villains much larger and stronger than her as a result of her cunning and durability.
She can also survive falls from great lengths.
During her stint as a supporting character in the Daredevil series, Natasha found herself fighting against Daredevil’s enemies when his identity was exposed.
The duo went up against a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent on a rooftop. Natasha should have seen the worst of the fight - shot at and thrown from the roof.
Black Widow, however, fell the multiple story distance into a dumpster, then walked it off, running straight back up to the fight.
9 Copying Other Abilities
Natasha Romanoff is the Black Widow readers know and love best, but she’s not the only Black Widow. Other women have held the title upon graduating from the Red Room.
One of those women succeeded Natasha for the title after the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent believed the program had been shut down.
Yelena Belova was obsessed with proving herself as better than the Black Widow that came before her. Often bested and psychologically manipulated by Natasha during confrontations though, she didn’t often get the upper hand.
The group AIM offered her a way to do that. After becoming severely burned in a fight, a man from AIM turned her into the new Adaptoid.
The original Adaptoid was a robot designed to mimic the powers of everyone it came up against. Yelena was modified with the same ability to mimic, making her a formidable opponent.
8 Super Reflexes
Having quick reflexes might seem like a relatively normal skill, but in the case of Black Widow, it’s especially impressive. Her reflexes are so great, she can even dodge bullets fired in her direction.
While facing off against former S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Quinn in an issue of Daredevil, the man was surprised that Natasha didn’t even move out of the way of his gun, asking if she was bulletproof.
That wasn’t the case, but she was able to dodge his bullets while landing a few blows.
Movie fans have also seen her put this skill into practice.
During a chase sequence in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it was Natasha who, from the backseat of the car, used her own body to move Sam Wilson out of the way of flying bullets while he was driving.
If she hadn’t, the bullets fired on them by Hydra operatives, would have gone right through him.
7 The Widow’s Kiss
One of the early weapons in Black Widow’s spy kit in the comics, she put this one to use when she needed to get out of sticky situations. It would knock someone out for nearly a day.
A gas stored in her gauntlets, all she had to do was push a specific button to release the Kiss in the direction of an enemy, and she would be free and clear.
The use of it has faded from the comics as Natasha often kicks or shoots her way out of things in more modern comics.
The Widow’s Kiss hasn’t been used in the Marvel Cinematic Universe either, though the MCU series Agent Carter might have taken some inspiration from it.
Peggy Carter had her own “brand” of lipstick on the series, called Sweet Dreams, that accomplished the same feat, though she had to get a little closer to use it.
There are versions of Black Widow in other realities that have slightly different skill sets in the one in main continuity. One version of Black Widow exists that actually has “spider-powers” like Spider-Man.
This version of Natasha occurs in the Mutant-X reality. It was visited by readers when one hero’s mind in the main continuity was switched with one in the alternate reality.
The Natasha of that reality was a team leader and could walk on walls and spin webs without the aid of mechanics. She could also utilize hypnosis. (Some fans have theorized that she’s able to in the modern continuity as well.)
The Black Widow program being associated with hypnosis has been touched on in the MCU.
The first appearance in the timeline of a figure like Black Widow is Dottie Underwood in Agent Carter, a woman trained in a Red Room and allied with a hypnotist.
When your spy career starts before the days of the internet or electronic file transfers, it can be difficult to learn new tech savvy tricks. Not for the Black Widow.
While most of Black Widow’s powers and abilities are related to her strength and stamina, hacking is a result of her keen mind.
She’s an accomplished strategist and leader (even if she’d rather work alone), speaks several languages, and quickly picks up new skills. Over the course of her career with S.H.I.E.L.D., hacking is one of them.
In the MCU, she carries the goods with her to allow her to siphon information from secure servers, as audiences saw in The Winter Soldier. In the comics, she does the same thing, though sometimes, she needs a little help.
She’s posed as a computer programmer, a virus developer, and more during her spy work. She’s also managed to lull Tony Stark into a false sense of security to get the jump on him and gain access to his facility, allowing her to hack his database.
4 Mental Resilience
Natasha spent a lifetime being trained, tortured, and brainwashed by an organization that used her as a pawn.
The experience might have messed with her head, but it also hardened her and allowed her to develop ways to withstand similar abuse in the future.
As a result of her experiences as an agent of the Red Room, Natasha is capable of withstanding the kind of torture that would make the most seasoned of spies fold. It isn’t, however, just pain, that she can hold out against.
Natasha is also able to put up resistance to mental attacks.
She can keep a clear head for longer than most when an enemy attempts to hypnotize or brainwash her. Part of that skill comes from her working long and hard to overcome the Red Room’s original programming.
Mjolnir is the name of Thor’s most trusted weapon - his hammer. In order to wield the hammer, one has to be worthy of its immense power. It’s rare for anyone - let alone a spy with a questionable moral code - to pick Mjolnir up and use it.
Marvel’s “What If” comic line examines what happens in a reality where one detail changes.
In the case of this particular story, the detail that changes is that Thor is suddenly, and inexplicably, destroyed or removed from his reality.
As a result, most of the Avengers perish fighting his enemies and it’s left to Nick Fury, Black Widow, Silver Sable, Falcon, Microchip, and Shang-Chi to save the world.
It’s Natasha who goes after Mjolnir where Thor fell. It’s also Natasha who becomes a goddess and saves the world.
The rest of the heroes become her version of the Valkyries and they’re all immortalized in statues.
Calling resurrection a superpower might be stretching things a bit when it comes to Natasha Romanoff. Like many comic book characters though, it seems like she never really passes away.
Enemies friends-turned-enemies have claimed the life of Natasha on more than one occasion. When Marvel’s many comic book universes collide before ultimately being reset, Natasha passed away.
Upon the reset, she was one of the hero’s whose life was restored. Lucky.
In a recent story arc, Natasha passed away at the hands of Hydra’s Captain America. When she mysteriously resurfaced, Hawkeye and Winter Soldier thought she was brought back to life.
In reality, her clone took her place, with all of the memories of the previous Natasha. That’s one way to avoid destruction.
In the Marvel Zombie universe, Natasha was one of the many bitten and infected with the virus. Even when the virus took her out, she lived.
To be fair, teleportation hasn’t been a power we’ve seen Black Widow use just yet. In the current comics though, she’s certainly got the potential for it.
Coinciding with the release of Avengers: Infinity War on the big screen, the Infinity Gems have returned to Marvel Comics for their own big story.
In Infinity Countdown, the gems are under guard by several different characters. Black Widow, initially, wasn’t one of them. But the gem was left in her possession.
At the end of the first issue, Nathasha attempts to take herself on a little vacation. Returning to one of her safe houses though, she discovers that someone has left her a message in her drop location, which happens to be the tank of her toilet.
Inside is the Space Gem along with a note from Wolverine instructing her to keep it safe. One of its many powers is teleportation.
Did you learn something new about the Black Widow? Or did we forget one of Black Widow’s powers that you think deserves a spot on this list? Let us know in the comments!
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