The Black Widow: an especially venomous spider, the female of which eats the male after mating; an Alice Cooper song featuring Vincent Price praising the same arachnid; a beautiful and deadly Russian superspy from the Marvel universe.
Natasha Romanova, once a top Russian agent before moving to the West, is retired, trying to lose the bad dreams that her past causes by indulging in her love of climbing, but for spies and superheroines the past is never a closed door and always something will sneak through… This graphic novel collects the six-issue mini-series which picked up some excellent reviews and word-of-mouth. I’ve been keen to get my hands on it since Richard Morgan is one of my favourite authors and I was very interested to see for myself what he had made of this, his very first outing as a comics writer.
Well now, I am biased, since he is one of my favourite writers, but I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed Black Widow: Homecoming. It is full of Richard’s trademark mixture of high-octane action and violence (there are bodies on the floor by the end of the first page!) mixed with intelligent plotting. He avoids the pitfall of many novelists turning to comics, that of putting in too much dialogue and also avoided turning Nat into a female version of his Noir-ish anti-hero, Takeshi Kovacs, although I think its fair to say if you love those novels (the third of which is just out recently, Woken Furies) then you will really enjoy his take on the Widow – not bad for a man who once told me he didn’t really read comics until a friend at university passed him some 2000 ADs! My tip for both Marvel fans and readers of Richard’s novels who are not regular comics readers.