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Black Widow: The Name of the Rose Paperback – July 6, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Black Widow
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Marvel (July 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785147004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785147008
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #592,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Sean Curley on December 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Natalia "Natasha" Romanova, the Black Widow, has been a fixture of Marvel Comics since her debut in the 1960s, but rarely as a headliner character. She started out as a villain in the pages of "Iron Man", and over the years has been a frequent guest star and partner to such heroes as Daredevil (with whom she co-starred for a good run of issues in the early 1970s), Iron Man (again), and Hercules (when they were together "The Champions"), as well as a member of the Avengers. She's had a few miniseries of her own as well, but has never quite managed the audience for her own solo title. Following her appearance in "Iron Man 2", Marvel decided to give it a shot, with this being the first and ultimately only story written by Marjorie Liu (with art by Daniel Acuna). Based on this, it's unfortunate that Liu didn't have more time with the character, because it's quite good. Spoilers follow.

Prior to the launch of this series, Natasha has spent the last few years as a major supporting character in "Captain America" under the pen of Ed Brubaker (who now also writes her in the pages of "Secret Avengers"), and is now the girlfriend of the new Captain America, James "Bucky" Barnes. Natasha tends not to stay in one place for long, so her supporting cast is pretty much all other superheroes (Bucky, Wolverine, Iron Man, Hawkeye - all but Wolverine being current or ex-boyfriends), which Liu runs with here: a mysterious new presence appears on the scene, who exposes Natasha's secret data collection efforts and attempts to frame her as a spy (similar to the JLA "Tower of Babel" storyline, but refreshingly, Natasha's friends aren't surprised by this nor do they have a problem with it).
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Format: Hardcover
Been on a Marvel reading jag the last several months. Been getting to know certain characters very well, following their evolution over the years in back issues mostly bought on ebay. Black Widow came into view for me when she became involved in Bucky Barnes' story, which I love. I became a big fan of the Widow from Brubaker's Captain America, mostly. What a great character. What isn't there to like? But what I don't like is how often it seems Marvel let's their creative team play her out as a sexual fantasy. I admit there will always be an element of that in her character, and that's fine. But for me Black Widow: Origins went too far in making her a sorta bimbo who kicks ass, eh, somehow? Because the script needs her to and we'll just say she's a strong women from that? That blows. And I don't know how that became a well respected "classic" and how this series fell off the radar so damn quick. Because frankly I think what the writer began to do with Black Widow here...well without getting into something that will take me all night to write, it just seemed so exciting to me. And on par with whatever Brubaker is up to these days. Seeing Black Widow take the pain of surgery while awake, meeting her old friends, following her on her "this time it's personal" (and isn't it always?) spy mission, it was everything it should have been. And it had Bucky Barnes as her weepy bimbo! The art was nice, too. Not exactly what I would have chosen to go with Majorie Liu's script, but it works. And it seemed down and dirty, which itself is absolutely appropriate for a Black WIdow story.

Please don't hold the limits of my reviewing against the book. I could go on about it, really. Lemme just say, if you want to know the Black Widow at her core, this is the story to read. Skip the Origins. Or at least get this one first.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Black Widow, as imagined by most of the Marvel writers thus far, has been something of an odd character. She's too good to simply throw away but, so far, she hasn't been good enough to stand on her own, so she's been a long-running major supporting player on Iron Man, the Avengers, Daredevil, and Captain America, in turn.

The Name of the Rose graphic novel captures the five-part Black Widow mini-series, where the Widow faces one of her toughest challenges, one that will assault her on a myriad of levels, physical, emotional, and mental, and that will nearly kill her. And that will resurrect people and events that she thought were long buried and forgotten.

The series begins with the Widow being sent a faded black rose and a ribbon. She has some inkling as to what they mean but will not tell even her closest friends and associates. This is her mystery and her fight and she will pursue it alone, on a quest that takes her all over the world as well as to decades in her past. There are some good interactions between the major players in this mini-series, including gems like:

Wolverine: Just a flesh wound, right?
Black Widow: Bleeding stumps are flesh wounds. What I've got is a scratch.

And a lovely bit very reminiscent of a scene in the Avengers movie where Natasha ... well, I won't say any more. This mini-series also understands that, at heart, the Black Widow is first and foremost, a spy, and that continues to have ripple effects through her entire life even after she has, in theory, given up the profession.

So what didn't I like?
- Natasha got taken out far too easily early in the mini-series.
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