"Part 3: Now That's What I Call A Woman"
Writer: Ricard K. Morgan
Artists: Goran Parlov (p), Bill Sienkiewicz (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
After seeing the injury that left Natasha unconscious at the end of the previous issue was merely a flesh wound, we follow the character the rest of the issue as she employs various techniques to secure information about the group that has targeted her for death. As the path would seem to lead to Moscow, we see that a deadly traps awaits Natasta in her former homeland, as snipers stand guard over a seeming empty field, that Natasha believes holds a clue to the mystery.
I have a general rule when it comes to cliff-hangers and that is that if a writer ends an issue with a character collapsing in a heap after being shot in the belly, they need to offer up a better resolution to this crisis than to have the character dump a bottle of disinfectant on the wound, before claiming it was merely a flesh wound. Now perhaps Natasha is merely putting on a brave face, and this injury is going to come back to haunt her in later issues, but given this issue has her clambering up the side of a building with no seeming discomfort, I'm guessing Richard K. Morgan is hoping that we'll simply accept his half-hearted explanation for how his main character survived getting shot in the stomach. However, even if I'm willing to accept the action hero logic that a character can run around taking out the villains after being shot, this chapter also suffers from the fact that it spends far too much time providing various links in the conspiracy theory that has Natasha being targeted for elimination, while utterly failing to offer up any real compelling reason why this mystery organization has gone out of it's way to take out our hero. I mean one would think that the entire point of a mystery organization is to do as little as possible to draw as little possible attention to oneself, and going after former members of a previous incarnation of the organization would seem to be the surest way to send up the red flags that you had resurrected an organization that no longer exists. Still, the final page does set up what looks like a pretty exciting situation for Natasha to walk blindly into.
I have to say I found the cover image that Greg Land offers up for this issue does mark one of the rare moments where I felt his take on a character seemed to be at odds with character, as Natasha looks to be having a grand old time as she fires those guns, and frankly Natasha has never struck me as a character who openly expresses her good mood. As for the interior art, I have to say I'm somewhat disappointed that Bill Sienkiewicz's style has been toned down, as while the art is far easier to follow than his normal style, it lacks the visual impact. However, there are some nice flashes of visual imagination, with the scene where we see the hallucination of one of Natasha's victims being a particularly effective sequence. There's also a nice little sequence where we see a man looks to have jumped to his death., and the final panel of the issue does a great job of selling the danger that Natasha is walking into.
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