Captain America: Civil War has changed the status quo of the Marvel Cinematic Universe yet again, but standing tall — and on the run — is Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanov, a.k.a. Black Widow. Until 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, Johansson’s Widow was the sole feminine representation and fan favorite among burly movie-Avenger bros. But after Civil War, it looks like bomb-proof Marvel Studios may at last produce Black Widow, a solo blockbuster starring Johansson’s ex-Soviet assassin.
“Of the [Marvel] characters [to not have a movie] I would say certainly the one creatively and emotionally that we are most committing to doing is Black Widow,” said Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige in an interview with Deadline. “We think she’s an amazing character. We think Scarlett Johansson’s portrayal of her is amazing. She’s a lead Avenger and has amazing stories in her own right to tell that we think would be fun to turn into a stand-alone franchise.”
Feige isn’t wrong in the slightest. While there haven’t been as many Black Widow books or arcs compared to her superhero counterparts, there’s a key few that a single Black Widow movie can, and definitely should, lift from.
Black Widow: Deadly Origin by Paul Cornell
Released in 2009, Deadly Origin does what many prestige superhero graphic novels tend to do: explore a character’s origin. But in Deadly Origin, Black Widow’s past comes back to haunt her and target her friends in a mystery called the “Icepick Protocol.” Though the MCU’s Natasha can’t claim too many “friends,” it would be a hell of a motivator for Widow to protect what’s left of a vulnerable and disparate Avengers, especially when the threat of Thanos looms ever closer.
Black Widow: The Name of the Rose by Marjorie Liu
Marjorie Liu is one of mainstream comics’ premiere women writers, and seeing her tackle a hero as legit as Black Widow was pure dopeness. In 2011, Liu explored Widow’s mortality as a hit-and-run left the super spy critically injured. Barely finishing to lick her wounds, Widow hits the road to find out who, or what, wanted her dead so bad.
Yet another beautiful set-up for a Black Widow movie, a loner Natasha — now separate from the government-led Avengers post-Civil War — having to take care of herself is one way to get fans rooting for Romanov without her Avengers peers.
Black Widow by Mark Waid
No other book would be better suited for Black Widow’s current place in the MCU than Mark Waid’s ongoing Black Widow. Sporting beautiful illustrations by Chris Samnee, the post-Secret Wars tale sees Widow on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D. and blackmailed into working for a new information broker known as the Weeping Lion. How great would that be as a Jason Bourne/James Bond-style action movie, but with superheroes?
A true comic book spy thriller that sends Natasha in a new emotional and character state, the must-read series single-handedly proves that not having a Black Widow movie is downright criminal.
As long as it isn’t a romantic comedy.