"Part 1: Right to a Life"
Writer: Richard K. Morgan
Artist: Bill Sienkiewicz
As a women are being murdered across the country we see the Black Widow finds the peaceful life she's found for herself in Arizona is interrupted by an attempt on her life by a killer who refuses to save his own life by revealing who hired him. As she makes contact with a former ally we see Natasha decides to investigate this attempt on her life, but her efforts to remain off the radar are cut short when she has to deal with a pair of truckers attempting to rape a young woman.
Daredevil readers are likely to feel like they've seen this story before, as the Black Widow finds herself targeted for elimination by a mysterious organization and she turns to an old ally for help. Now this plot is a pretty common one as I'm sure if I put my mind to it I could come up with a dozen spy films that could be described using the above plot summation. In fact the only reason I mention it is because it does strike me as odd that such similar plots would be used back to back. However, Richard K. Morgan looks to be taking a more ambitious approach as the Black Widow will be travelling the globe, and the group that is after her appear to have a wider agenda than the simple elimination of Natasha. I also rather enjoyed the fact that this issue seems to understand that Natasha has a decidedly sharper edge to her than our average heroine, as she has no problem killing the agent that was sent after her, and in a chilling display of violence, we see her deal with a pair of truckers in a manner that can only be described as downright ruthless. I also have to say I rather enjoyed the partner that Natasha pulls into the action, as Richard K. Morgan offers up a pretty engaging character who comes across as an average joe who is allowed to provide an entertaining commentary on the action that is playing out before him. There's also a nice little scene where the subject of why this former agent left his job is brought up, and this makes for a genuinely compelling mystery.
I'm a big fan of the Black Widow but the real reason I was looking forward to this miniseries was the presence of Bill Sienkiewicz of the art, as I've been a devoted fan of his work since his brief but highly memorable run of the "New Mutants". I mean Bill Sienkiewicz providing the art pretty much guarantees that book is going to stand apart from the crowd, as I can't think of another artist who is as effective when it comes to capturing the darker side of the human condition. I mean the book opens with a wonderful sequence where we see the murder of three women, before cutting to the face of a sleeping Natasha, and this alone makes for a great bit of foreshadowing. The big action sequence of this issue is also worth a mention, as how can one not be impressed by the visual impact of Natasha's gut shot to the trucker, which is followed by a powerful sequence where we follow the path of a knife that she throws at the second trucker.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!