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Black Widow (Natalia Romanova, aka Natasha Romanoff) is a Marvel Comics superheroine. Introduced in the Silver Age of Comics in the pages of Tales Of Suspense #52 (April 1964), she has been a regular supporting character (and occasional lead) ever since, including stints on The Avengers (as the chairperson, for a time), The Champions (again as the leader), and as a partner to Daredevil.
Natasha began her career as a Femme Fatale spy in the service of the Soviet Union, sent to seduce famed American industrialist Tony Stark, to which end she also manipulated the young Hawkeye. Hawkeye eventually joined the side of good, and eventually Natasha followed as well, beginning a long career as a superhero in the United States of America. She has no particularly enhanced physical abilities beyond suppressed aging, relying instead on being an all-around awesome spy and martial artist.
Bring her up in comics fandom and inevitably one of the first things to be mentioned is her numerous Love Interests (or, in most cases, the characters that she was a love interest to). Apart from the aforementioned Iron Man and Hawkeye, she has also, over the years, been romantically linked to Daredevil (even getting billed alongside him on the title for a while), Hercules (while they were on the Champions), and her most recent boyfriend, James "Bucky" Barnes.
Natasha has had various miniseries in the past, and recently had an ongoing series.
She provides examples of:
- Action Girl: In her first appearances as a villain she was mainly just a seduction agent who relied on incompetent minions to handle the violence, but over time she’s been retconned into always having been a total badass.
- Animal-Themed Superbeing: Of the Animal Alias variety.
- Anti-Hero Substitute: Yelena Belova. Though Natasha herself is already an Anti-Hero.
- Badass Normal
- Battle Couple: Has been one half of a number of them. See the Casanova examples below.
- Black Widow (also Femme Fatale): Sort of; the name arguably hasn’t been a great fit for her since she gave up being a Honey Trap for the USSR back in the 1960s.
- The Casanova (see also Really Gets Around, Launcher of a Thousand Ships): Her famous love life has led her to be involved with a number of superhero suitors: Hawkeye, Daredevil, Iron Man, Hercules, and Bucky Barnes (as Captain America). In her first appearance, she was also the wife of the Russian Captain America Expy, the Red Guardian.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: At times.
- Dark and Troubled Past: See also Expansion Pack Past.
- Development Hell: Where her movie has been languishing for years. David Hayter (better known as SNAAAAKE!) has been trying to get it made for ages with no luck.
- Maybe the luck has finally materialised.
- Distracted by the Sexy: As mentioned above, Scarlett-as-Black Widow in Iron Man 2 threw off the filming for a few minutes during her first appearance.
- Expansion Pack Past: There was originally nothing in her backstory to suggest that she was quasi-immortal. This only developed (confusingly) in order to keep a famous late 1980s team-up issue of Uncanny X-Men set in the 1940s that had her as a young girl meeting Wolverine and Captain America in continuity. This concept has had some rather large implications for the character’s background.
- Fiery Redhead/Redheaded Hero
- Heel Face Turn
- Heroes Want Redheads: As demonstrated by how many heroes have wanted to date her.
- Legacy Character: There's another Black Widow: Yelena Belova.
- Sensual Slavs
- Spy Catsuit: Has been rocking one for 40 years and counting.
- Older Than They Look: Thanks to a Soviet supersoldier serum derivative, she’s around 80 years old and still looks fabulous.
- Same thing with her boyfriend James Barnes (aka Bucky, aka Captain America). He looks like he's in his mid 20s, but he's really roughly 90.