Black Widow has done it all. She’s been a secret agent, an assassin, an Avenger, and has saved the world more times than can even be counted. She is one of Marvel’s most kick-ass characters and is probably the MCU’s most underappreciated hero, something emphasized by her getting fridged in Endgame.
The super spy-turned-superhero finally has a movie of her own coming out that’s scheduled for release this November, but for a woman who spent her entire life operating from the shadows, her big-screen starring role will only be able to show so much. These 10 facts show just how epic the Black Widow really is.
10. Cost Of Her Operations
Natasha Romanoff has been operating as a spy since her childhood. Long before she became the Black Widow, she was killing people twice her size in the streets of Moscow and performing every form of spycraft imaginable. As a world-class agent, she has pacified, and created, some truly explosive situations.
Maria Hill once mentioned that there is an entire line item in the S.H.I.E.L.D. budget just for the cost of Natasha’s fieldwork, presumably meant to cover property damage, rehabilitation of people rescued, medical expenses for those injured, and spinning stories to the media. That’s not even taking into account the equipment she uses.
9. Pioneered Time Travel Miniaturization Technology
Natasha has been on a number of different Avengers teams, including the Secret Avengers, a black ops group that Steve Rogers put together to covertly handle threats the world should never learn about.
After her entire team was killed, she escaped by using the time machine in War Machine’s armor. She then traveled back in time and had the very same time machine constructed so that it would exist to be used by her in the future. She also manipulated a series of other events so that her team would be stunned instead of killed, altering things ever so slightly that it was impossible for anyone else to know she changed anything at all.
8. Her Age
One reason that it is difficult to know Black Widow’s real age is that she has been involved in time travel endeavors like the one described in the last entry. Another is that she has taken a biochemical serum that slowed her aging process.
Natasha was born in Stalingrad when the city was part of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, an independent socialist state that existed from 1917 to 1922 before being absorbed into the USSR. In other words, she could very easily be more than a century old.
7. Soft Spot For Children
There is very little that the Black Widow will not do when pushed to it. However, for all the red in her ledger, Natasha genuinely cares about the well-being of children.
When Daredevil once threw a baby off a building under the belief that the child was the Antichrist, she saved it. And more recently, when she learned of an underground dark web snuff site targeting children, Black Widow infiltrated it to shut the whole operation down, providing care, hope, and prostheses to the children she helped rescue. Beyond this, when child assassins were unleashed against her, she worked hard not to injure them as she incapacitated the murderous children.
6. Child Killer
Natasha was still a child when she took her first life. In fact, there are enough examples of her killing someone while still a child that it can be hard to pin down which was her first.
That said, she had a checkered enough past that questions arise. She has almost certainly killed children, given her long history of human rights violations. It is known definitively that she has killed whole families, including the pets. Presumably, children were among them, meaning that her soft spot for children isn’t always enough to save them, unfortunately.
5. The Red Room
The Red Room Academy took in orphans and trained them to become spies and assassins. This program was run by a severe instructor known as the Headmistress who trained Natasha and the other girls, having been created by Department X (the Soviet program designed to create super soldiers).
4. The Black Room
All things come to an end, and so was the case with the Red Room. But after it was shut down, a new program and facility emerged called the Black Room, which was essentially the same thing. Run by the Headmistress and her daughter, the Black Room continued to train orphaned girls in black ops work.
Natasha managed to shut it down. Twice. She even helped to rehabilitate the children who had been enrolled in the program.
3. She Defected For Hawkeye
It is no secret that Black Widow and Hawkeye have a lot of shared history together. In fact, the entire reason she stopped working for the Soviet Union and came to work for S.H.I.E.L.D. (and the United States) was that she was in love with arrow-loving Avenger.
Cupid might have struck, but it didn’t last, resulting in years of tension, conflict, friendship, and complicated feelings. She managed to remain her strong and independent self throughout her changing relationship with Hawkeye. She also ultimately remained on the side of good, even after her feelings had faded, meaning things worked out for the best in the end.
2. Lack Of Ideology
Natasha does not seem to have any observable ideology. She grew up under Stalinism and yet she does not seem particularly loyal to either the Soviet state or any of the Marxist philosophies of the 20th Century. Despite defecting to the West, she also has no real use for capitalism and seems skeptical of the exploitable flaws of democracy. Religion also has no hold on her, but since she’s teamed up with Thor, one can hardly call her an atheist.
Essentially, Natasha’s philosophy comes down to protecting the vulnerable and the innocent from those who would hurt them and trying to stop those who threaten society. It’s a simple morality, but it works for her, and after the jaded life she’s lived, it’s hard to imagine she could believe entirely in any one system of thought.
1. There Have Been Other Black Widows
While Natasha Romanova is the most famous example of a Black Widow, there was another who took the title much later on. Yelena Belova, the second Black Widow, was actually trained in the Red Room by Natasha’s teachers, making her a perfect fit to take up the mantle, though the two have a long rivalry.
There are a handful of alternate versions of Black Widow from across the multiverse, but the most interesting example of another major comics character to bear her name is Claire Voyant, a secretive heroine with mystical powers who was Black Widow back in the 1940s, and who’s actually not even a Marvel character at all!
By Theo Kogod