Widowmaker #4

A comic review article by: Ray Tate
Trapped between an erupting volcano and an army of the former Red Guardian's troops, Hawkeye, Mockingbird, Black Widow and Dominic Fortune must choose their certain doom.

The most surprising thing about Widowmaker, despite the presence of Duane Swierczynski, is that it's readable. Certainly, Swierczynski continues to write dialogue that would embarrass juveniles and taints the historical characterization of our heroes, but at least he researches. His study of volcanoes makes the Widow's ploy memorable rather than risible.

Natasha -- not Natalia as two characters (who should know better) refer to her -- pulls a fast one to escape their admittedly incompetent pursuers. The scheme depends just as much on luck as it does on acumen, and normally that would be considered a deus ex machina. However, if you accept that black Widow is on a James Bond level of spying, then the luck, the chances swinging in her favor, become palatable.

Manuel Garcia makes the fruition of Natasha's plan spectacular. His depiction of the elements is just as accomplished as his illustration of kinetic combat. It's a pity he's stuck with a grim and gritty inker and a colorist that uses mud as his primer.

Swierczynski really should have stopped at the volcano. He should have simply swept all of the opposition under lava. The duel pitting Black Widow against her ex-husband is laughable. I'm puzzled by the Red Guardian's astounding stupidity. Does her really believe Natasha's simply going to surrender, kneel before him and let him slice off her head? I'm also troubled by Hawkeye being hit in the head by a heavy, modern flail and basically walking that off. He should at the very least be concussed.

Widowmaker was an uneven miniseries. I can only fully recommend the chapters by Jim McCann, David Lopez, Alvaro Lopez and colorist Nathan Fairbairn. You know, Hawkeye and Mockingbird team. Manuel Garcia really deserved better.

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