Hey, Natasha: say "where are moose and squirrel?"
Natasha Romanova is the quintessential spy who came in from the cold. Formerly an agent of the Soviet Union, the felonious femme fatale tangled with a number of heroes - including Iron Man, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, Spider-Man and Daredevil. Now, the Black Widow uses her amazing acrobatic abilities and fearsome fighting skills for good. Lured by her beauty, many a man has felt the Widow's sting!
When Black Widow debuted, she was simply a sexy spy - sort of a 1960s version of Sydney Bristow. She didn't wear a costume, but rather an elegant evening gown with a veil. She first tried to steal the secrets of Stark Enterprises, and when that failed she was paired off with another Iron Man supporting character, the semi-heroic Hawkeye. He was having troubles with the law, and she duped him into helping her steal American secrets. Unfortunately (for her Commie overseers), Natasha encounter with Hawkeye changed her more than him: she was soon defecting to the US and following Hawkeye into the ranks of the Avengers. She even served as team leader for a time.
Black Widow has gotten short shrift as a potential action figure. She had one Marvel Gold figure (a repainted AoA Jean Grey) and one Famous Covers doll. Maybe she was working under deep cover or something, but she finally reappeared on the grid in Marvel Legends 8.
The Widow tops out at just a little bit above the 6 1/2" mark, because her hair is so tall. Like all the early ML women, she's based on the Elektra body, so she's got the same backpack hole in her spine. One nice addition is that she's got the same hips that the box set Invisible Woman introduced - making them the only two figures who had them. That really is a terrible shame, because most female action figures' hips look terrible, and this is probably the best ever designed. Yet it only gets used on two characters? What the hell!
The Elektra-based bodies have always had a truly ugly neck, and Black Widow is no exception, poor girl. Of course, her problem is just exacerbated by the fact that her pale skin really stands out from her black uniform, so your eyes are drawn to this hideous hinge. The head really seems to rest on top of the neck, rather than connected to it. The face is nice, with a definte eastern European structure, but her hair really floats far away from her back to allow the joint to move.
Actually, her costume isn't really black, it's more of a dark grey with a bit of a metallic navy blue mixed in. Her big flared collar is a separate piece that's glued in place, as are her belt and bracelets. There's a thin silver zipper on the collar, and the belt and bracelets are golden. It's a simple costume, but that's as it should be - Black Widow knew the sexy simplicity of plain black leather way before Trinity did.
Black Widow doesn't come with a detailed display base, as most of the other Marvel Legends do. Like her ML8 compatriot, Ultimate Captain America, she's just got a big disc with a Doop stand sticking out of it. The base is 4 5/8" across, and has the red hourglass symbol on the top. There are two lines of silver bullet holes sculpted in the surface, and footpegs if you don't wnt her to float.
The figure is packaged with a reprint of 1971's Daredevil #81, which is where the DD/Widow pair got its start. That's a pretty good choice, considering that it's only Natasha's ties to ol' Hornhead that have kept her from comicbook limbo - she's a regular guest-star in his title even to this day, allowing authors to keep her in readers' minds between her starring roles. If not for his stewardship, Black Widow would have become one of those "hey, whatever happened to..." characters decades ago.
Natasha is one of the ML8 figures to receive a variant - and no, it's not her with short hair and her gray costume. The chase Widow is the second woman to claim the name, Yelena Belova. Yes, we've already had a figure of the Blonde Widow, but that was in the Marvel Select line, so the scale was all off. However, this variant has a lot to live up to.
The body is exactly the same, ignoring Yelena's costume differences. Heck, even her face is the same, though changes to the paint apps help hide that. They did a nice job on her short blonde hair, but really, this isn't a must-have variant unless you're a big fan of the character; the Marvel Select version is better. But still, get them both and you can have them duke it out for your pleasure.
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