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Comic Book / Black Widow

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Black Widow (Natalia Romanova, aka Natasha Romanov) is a Marvel Comics Super Heroine. Introduced in The Silver Age of Comic Books in the pages of the Anthology Comic Tales of Suspense #52 (April 1964), she has been a fixture in the Marvel universe ever since, graduating from a Bronze Age socially conscious solo feature and a co-lead in Daredevil and the Black Widow to The Leader of the Champions, and even The Avengers for a time.

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 Super Hero 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. Apart from the aforementioned 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 Bucky Barnes.

Black Widow has appeared quite often in other media, most notably in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as portrayed by Scarlett Johansson. First introduced in 2010's Iron Man 2, she's since become a major recurring player within the franchise, appearing in a total of seven films to date. As a result of her popularity among audiences, in January 2018, Jac Schaeffer (Olaf's Frozen Adventure, TiMER) was tapped to write a film featuring the character, and in July, Cate Shortland was announced as the director. It started to film in May 2019. In July 2019, the film's release date was announced as May 1, 2020, as the first film in Phase 4 of the MCU. However, it was later delayed to November 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and then delayed again to July 9, 2021.



  • Amazing Adventures Vol. 2 (1970)
  • Daredevil & the Black Widow (1972)
  • Champions (1975)
  • Black Widow Vol. 1 (1999)
  • Black Widow Vol. 2 (2001)
  • Black Widow Vol. 3 (2004)
  • Black Widow: The Things They Say About Her (2005)
  • Black Widow and the Marvel Girls (2010)
  • Black Widow: Deadly Origin (2010)
  • Black Widow Vol. 4 (2010)
  • Black Widow Vol. 5 (2014)
  • Black Widow Vol. 6 (2016)
  • Tales of Suspense: Red Ledger (2017)
  • Black Widow Vol. 7 (2019)
  • Black Widow Vol. 8 (2020)


    Video Games 

    Western Animation 

She provides examples of:

  • Absolute Cleavage: Several of her costumes expose a fair deal of cleavage, sometimes up to her stomach, especially in the early 2010s.
  • Aborted Declaration of Love: In Mark Waid's Black Widow #8, Natasha meets up with the Winter Soldier, whom she doesn't remember her relationship with. Just before she leaves, he calls her back and is clearly about to tell her that he loves her, but tells her to stay warm and be careful instead.
  • Action Dress Rip: Natasha does this in Issue #2 of the Kelly Thompson run before engaging some crooks that have accosted a woman in an alley.
  • 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.
  • Affirmative Action Legacy: In the Ultimate Marvel universe, Natasha has a successor in the form of Monica Chang, a young Chinese American woman who ends up taking over the Black Widow identity.
  • Agent Provocateur: During her years as an agent for the Soviet Union, she was a Cold War Femme Fatale Spy who worked against the USA to create political turmoil.
  • Agents Dating: This is the crux of the relationship between the post-2005 version of Bucky Barnes and Black Widow. They go back to their time training in the Soviet Union in the 1950s.
  • Amazonian Beauty: She usually has an athletic build, but Depending on the Writer her muscle tone can be very noticeable on her skintight catsuit, sometimes she even has a six-pack. All while still remaining a Head-Turning Beauty.
  • Amicable Exes: She usually gets along well with all her former Love Interests.
    • She has a good working relationship with Hawkeye despite their past. They didn't date long, but they're still so close that the two have been jokingly referred to as each other's "Work Wife/Husband".
    • With Matt Murdock. The two get along great even after their relationship ended and Natasha has helped Matt a number of times.
    • She also gets along well with Hercules whom she dated while they were on the Champions (1975).
    • Depending on the Writer she can also be this with Bucky Barnes.
  • Analogy Backfire: In the opening issue of Ultron Forever, Natasha and The Vision are talking about the latter's synthezoid nature, and he remarks he's no more programmed than Black Widow, to which she points out she spent her youth as a brainwashed assassin.
  • Animal Motifs: Spiders, natch.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Of the Animal Alias variety.
  • Anti-Hero: Varies depending on the storyline. In some stories, she is depicted as a straight hero who shoots stun pellets from her gauntlets. In other stories, she's a cold-blooded killer. In still others, she's a mixture of both. And some adaptations make her an outright villain.
    • For example, in one graphic novel, she tells two thugs that if they don't walk away from a confrontation with her, neither of them will walk ever again. She kills one of the men, and knocks the other unconscious. But she proceeds to break the unconscious man's spine to keep true to her word, greatly disturbing her companion. So in some respects, she's a hero for staying true to her word, but ... really?
    • Very obvious in Avengers #11 under Hickman's pen. Natasha shoots and kills the men they've been distracted and Jessica Drew (whose past work includes both SHIELD and HYDRA) is horrified, proclaiming Natasha's executions unnecessary.
    • The MCU film version of the character states several times that she doesn't consider herself a hero, and claims one reason she is with SHIELD is to clean the "red from her ledger", the nature of which is left unrevealed.
  • Arachnid Appearance and Attire: Black Widow carries this through with her weaponry and costume. Her Spy Catsuit is equipped with suction cups that allow her to Wall Crawl and Ceiling Cling like a spider and variants of her costumes have included a spider logo or web motifs. Her weaponry is also has a name motif: Widow's Bite (Her wrist gauntlets that fire paralyzing bullets reminiscent of a spider's venom), Widow's Line (Her wrist gauntlets grappling hook cables reminiscent of a spider's web) and the Widow's Kiss (Her wrist gauntlets fire an instant knock-out drug which is also reminiscent of a spider's venom).
  • The Atoner: One of the motivations for her becoming an Avenger is to atone for her past as a Soviet agent. Played up more in the MCU movies than in the comics.
  • Badass Normal: Like Nick Fury, beyond her slowed aging, most of her badassery is from training. Might cross into Empowered Badass Normal, Depending on the Writer.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: As a former villain, she's more open to performing morally ambiguous actions, having done quite a few questionable things for SHIELD or for the greater good.
  • Battle Couple:
    • First, when she worked together with Hawkeye as a supervillain pair against Iron Man. This was reflected in Ultimate continuity and the movies with the two working together as SHIELD partners.
    • Later, after her costume change and her stint as a New York solo heroine, she saved Daredevil's life and sparked a fairly long-lasting partnership and romantic relationship.
    • Most recently, she dated the newly returned Bucky Barnes, and fought alongside him in his capacity as Captain America and later, when he returned to the Winter Soldier identity.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted reasonably often in Natasha's case. She's had her nose broken at least once and has received her fair share of black eyes, facial cuts, and bloody noses in her line of work.
  • Black Widow: Natasha is actually a notable subversion: in the pages of the Avengers, it's revealed that her husband's death was faked in order to manipulate her into becoming a spy for the Soviets. Later stories continued to play with this theme by introducing the concept of the Widow's Curse - all those who got close to her died (similar to Daredevil, although this was before the days of Elektra). The introduction of her Expansion Pack Past doubled down on this; she didn't kill her loved ones, she survived and outlived generations of them.
  • Boobs of Steel: She quite well endowed and is a deadly physical fighter.
  • Brainwashed: A lot of her training in the Red Room consisted of brainwashing her into being an effective and devoted Soviet operative. This included creating Fake Memories to better manipulate her, and she would get severe headaches if she started to notice contradictions in her past.
  • Building Swing: Natasha can do this thanks to grappling cables she fires from her gauntlets. Given she shares a spider motif with Spider-Man, it's likely her gauntlets were inspired by his web-shooters.
  • Car Cushion: In #2 of the 2014 series, the Widow dives off a skyscraper in Shanghai to avoid an assassin. After attempting to slow her fall, it eventually ends with her landing atop a car.
  • Carnival of Killers Marvel Fanfare #10-#12 had Black Widow dealing with a Gender-Equal Ensemble of six, internationally diverse assassins employed by the main villain. They were:
  • 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 original redemption arc, it was revealed that she was the widow of the Russian Captain America Expy, the Red Guardian.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: At times. It's Depending on the Writer how strong she actually is.
  • Chest Insignia: In the 80s and 90s, she wore a chest insignia of a Black Widow spider (along with a larger matching one on her back). Modern stylings of her costume generally prefer to put an hourglass on her belt instead.
  • Child Soldiers: In one version of her backstory, she was trained as a spy and assassin from a young age, although this was later altered so that she had fought in World War 2 as a child. Invoked by her MCU counterpart, who offhandedly mentions she began spying at somewhere around eight years old.
  • Code Name: Black Widow, which was her codename as a Soviet agent and as a Super Hero.
  • Color Animal Codename: A Zig-Zagging Trope in the sense that the animal's name isn't 'widow', it's specifically the 'black widow' (spider), which incorporates the color black into it.
  • Color Character: Black Widow.
  • Color Motif: She's usually associated with red and black.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Natasha is ruthless in combat and will use any dirty tricks she can to get an advantage over her opponents.
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: In her pre-Avenger days she would often wear a trenchcoat over her Spy Catsuit when walking in public, which only made her look slightly less conspicuous.
  • Consummate Liar: She's an expert liar, being able to fool even Daredevil, who can't tell when she's lying since she can control her heartbeat so it never varies when she speaks.
  • Convenient Miscarriage: One of the effects of the Red Room's Super Serum is to instantly cause a miscarriage in case she gets pregnant, since a pregnant spy would be an inconvenience.
  • Crazy-Prepared: As expected of a spy, Natasha often comes prepared to get herself out of seemingly hopeless situations.
  • Dark Action Girl: She used to be a super spy for the Soviets and a villain for Iron-Man prior to doing her Heel–Face Turn.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: She suffered a lot during her time in Russia, being orphaned at a young age, enduring years of Training from Hell in the Red Room and doing all sorts of morally questionable acts as a Soviet spy.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Natasha wears a black Spy Catsuit, has an overall red and black color motif and her moniker references an animal known for eating its mate. She did start out as a villain but has long since reformed.
  • Damsel out of Distress: While she's been a Badass in Distress a couple of time, she usually manages to escape some dangerous situations by herself thanks to her espionage skills. Not to mention that many times she lets herself be Captured on Purpose or is a Play-Along Prisoner as part of the plan.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Her Widow gadgets were specifically made in order to make her a Evil female counterpart for Spider-Man in the brief period of time she was a villain to him, as she was able to Wall Crawl and Building Swing just like him. He even straight up called her a "Female version of himself". Their connection has been Downplayed over the years, as her espionage skills often have more focus over her spider motif gadgets.
  • Distracted by the Sexy:
    • Natasha is prone to Show Some Leg in order to take advantage when her mark ends up distracted by her sexiness.
    • A Running Gag has Natasha needing to change outfits on the back of a car, while telling her chauffeur Ivan to "Keep his eyes forward".
    • An issue of X-Men: First Class detailing Natasha's first foray into catsuits had several concussed members of A.I.M. taking the time to discuss her, rather than their severe Natasha-inflicted injuries.
    • In Daredevil 1998 #64 a bunch of Mooks storm Matt's apartment, only to find it empty save for Natasha who's fresh from the shower in just a Modesty Towel and is pretending to be a French girl who doesn't speak English. They get distracted by the sight and as soon as their guards are down, she quickly kicks all of their asses, while clad in just the towel.
  • The Drag-Along: How she joined the Avengers in the first place. They'd gone looking for Daredevil for help dealing with Magneto (who was using his powers to control most of the team), and she came with. Afterward, she opted to join them.
  • Dye or Die: She usually dyes her hair when going undercover, given her red hair is one of her most distinguishing features.
  • Early Installment Character Design Difference: Natasha originally had black hair and wore a much more flamboyant costume that included a mask, fishnets and a cape. Natasha would bring the costume back years later just to tease Tony Stark at the end of a mission in Russia in an issue of Iron Man.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: When she was first introduced as a Iron Man villain, she was a Red Scare Agent Provocateur with no fighting abilities who relied on Mooks or a manipulated Hawkeye to be her muscle. It was later, around the time she pulled a Heel–Face Turn that she adopted her Spy Catsuit and Super Wrist-Gadget that she became a proper Action Girl, but she was later Retconned into having been a Soviet super-spy since the Cold War era, making her early non-action villain characterization inconsistent.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: It's a case of Depending on the Writer how much the Super Serum she took actually empowered her beyond slowing down her aging. At most, she's around the same strength level as Captain America.
  • 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.
  • Exposed to the Elements: On at least two occasions she was seen wearing only her iconic Spy Catsuit in a cold snowy environment. Particularly ludicrous as one of those instances was showing Absolute Cleavage.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: At the very least, Mockingbird has a crush on her. Going from their internal monologue when they first met, it's not entirely one-sided. Rogue also thinks she's a good kisser.
  • Fake Memories: Her past as a ballerina was revealed to be a lie created by the Red Room. It turns out she was an orphan taken in by them and raised to be an assassin. The reason for the fake memories as a ballerina was to instill happy memories of Russia in her and thus make her feel more patriotic.
  • Famous-Named Foreigner: Romanov/Romanova? Various writers have penned stories suggesting that she is a descendant of the Russian imperial family to justify the name, but it's not actually implausible for her to be both named Romanov/Romanova and not be related to the imperial family - during the imperial reforms, Russian serfs lacked surnames, so were given the surnames of their liege lords. In other words, Natasha could just as easily be the descendant of peasants who happened to live on land owned by the Romanovs.
  • The Fashionista: She actually has some passion for a passion she doesn't often indulge and even attempted to become a fashion designer during the period of time she was Daredevil's partner.
  • Femme Fatale: Check the codename. Though tempered by the conservative era of comics in which she debuted, the trope looms over her background, but it's only one of many skills she has.
  • Fiery Redhead: Though she is usually calm, she is still a rather aggressive fighter.
  • Fights Like a Normal: Black Widow's powers are slowed aging and an unusually powerful immune system against diseases and sickness. In battle, she relies on her martial arts, cunning, and weapons.
  • First-Name Basis: Has this on both sides with Bucky Barnes, to demonstrate their intimacy. She's one of the few people who regularly called him "James" while he's similarly one of the few to call Natasha by her real name, "Natalia".
  • Friendly Neighborhood Spider: Invoked. She also has a spider inspiration as Spider-Man but with a different scenario and origins (a Badass Normal Femme Fatale Spy instead of a superpowered being), being part of The Avengers as well S.H.I.E.L.D., even when she's not so nice as Spidey.
  • Form-Fitting Wardrobe: Her Spy Catsuit is usually extremely skintight, which is used to highlight her curves.
  • Gambit Pileup: When Natasha stops the hijacking of a NASA space shuttle she and the agent in charge of the hijacking keep one-upping the other after they reveal a part of their scheme to the other, each explaining how it "changes the game". First, she reveals that she is working with the CIA and has been impersonating the man's partner. The man, commenting that that changes the game, explains that he has just detonated the explosive in his partner's head, probably killing a few of his interrogators. Widow, saying that that changes the game, explains that she is still going to take this man in for questioning, though now she will make sure to hurt him while doing so. The hijacker, after commenting that that changes the game, explains that he is now crashing the shuttle to stop her. After that the game stops changing and Widow just beats the tar out of the man, but you have to wonder what game they started with and what they were playing when they finished.
  • Genius Bruiser: Having been given Training from Hell to peak human levels and a Super Serum, Natasha is a deadly combatant but she's highly tactical as well as an expert hacker, weapons expert, a master of disguise and fluent in multiple languages. In earlier comics, Natasha actually focused on outsmarting her foes, until Xenafication kicked in and she balanced smarts with ass-kicking.
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: Natasha had a bob cut when she started out as a villain.
  • Good Is Not Nice/Good Is Not Soft: Varies Depending on the Writer and the venue. The comic book version is more likely to be the former (while occasionally crossing the line into Anti-Hero territory, again depending on the writer and storyline - see the What the Hell, Hero? entry below), whereas the MCU version so far seems firmly in the latter category (she's everybody's buddy, has a crush on Dr. Banner, is great with kids, but if you're a HYDRA mook, you're dead).
  • Guile Hero: Natasha is just as good at outsmarting her enemies as she is at outfighting them.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: Her Super Wrist-Gadget is equipped with the "Widow's Line", a 100-foot spring-loaded cable that functions as a grappling hook with a retractable line, which allows her to swing along rooftops.
  • Gratuitous Russian: Depending on the Writer she will sometimes throw in a Russian word or phrase in the middle of her dialogue, such as using "Spasibo" to thank Iron Man. She also has a tendency to call people "comrade" when pissed off.
  • The Great Politics Mess-Up: This is why Natasha was Retconned into possessing slowed aging. Marvel wanted to keep her Cold War ties and her back story as a Soviet super-spy without having to retroactively make her appear decades older.
  • Head-Turning Beauty: She's known for being one of the most gorgeous female characters in Marvel Comics and is a Lust Object to many characters because of it. This is helped by Red Room's Super Serum she took, which has their subject effortlessly retain their good looks. Her hair never falls out and always remains shiny, her skin cannot be damaged by wind or sun and always remains healthy.
  • Healing Factor: Downplayed, the Red Room's Super Serum makes her heal her wounds five times faster than a normal human being, but it will not regenerate lost limbs, organs or body parts.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Started out on the wrong side of the law as a Russian spy before switching sides and eventually joining the Avengers. Notably, in the Ultimate Universe, the opposite happens!
  • Heroes Want Redheads: As demonstrated by how many heroes have wanted to date her, and how many that have.
  • Heroic Seductress: While on the side of the angels, Natasha still uses sex to obtain information at times.
  • Hidden Weapons: After having been captured and disarmed, Natasha revealed she actually has a small bow concealed in her back, behind a patch of fake skin, which she uses to escape.
  • Home Porn Movie:
    • A+X #13 has Emma Frost requesting Natasha's help to take down a blackmailer who has uncovered a sex tape from Emma's past before she joined the X-Men.
    • In the Ultimate Marvel continuity, a videotaped tryst with of her Tony Stark goes public.
  • Honey Trap: Black Widow originally got her start as an Iron Man villain, sent by the Soviets to seduce him in order to learn his secrets. This was pretty much her MO as a villain, and likely how she originally got her name, before pulling a Heel–Face Turn and joining S.H.I.E.L.D. and become more of an Action Girl, though she does work as a Heroic Seductress when necessary.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: Black Widow is one of the most well-known Avengers, but she was originally an Iron Man villain and she didn't become an official Avenger until issue #111.
  • Iconic Outfit: Her black Spy Catsuit is her most well-known attire.
  • Ideal Illness Immunity: The Red Room's Super Serum augmented her immune system making her immune to diseases and making her body heal faster from injuries than a normal person.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: Her "Widow's Bite" wrist gauntlets, which shoot out energy blasts.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: While not used as often as the likes of Hawkeye or Deadshot, Natasha has occasionally displayed incredible marksmanship. She once shot out Hawkeye's bowstring while he was in the middle of firing causing him to miss his target.
  • Improvised Weapon: Part of being a master spy is being able to turn anything in her surrounding as a potential weapon. For example, in Issue #2 of the Kelly Thompson series, Natasha uses her necklace as a weapon when fighting off some alley thugs.
  • Instant Sedation: The "Widow's Kiss" is an aerosol instant knock-out drug that can be fired from her Super Wrist-Gadget. When used it appears to be purplish pink fumes that can knock out a person for more than twenty hours.
  • Interrupted Bath: In an issue of Marvel Fanfare she had a square of goons break into her apartment as she was showering. She manages to avoid a Deadly Bath by turning off the lights and making a dive for her costume, quickly putting it on quite the goons scrambled in the dark and by the time they got the lights back on she was already fully quitted out (if still dripping wet) and made short work of them.
  • Karma Houdini: Natasha has never really had any backlash from her initial manipulation of Clint (she started dating him in order to set him against Iron Man) and they're still friends.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Played With in an issue of Black Widow, which sees Natasha and X-23 raiding a hotel and casino, while dressed to the nines. Laura makes a point of ditching her heels and earrings before the shooting starts, though she's still wearing a very nice top and pants that wouldn't be the most practical to fight in.
  • Killed Off for Real: In the Ultimate Marvel universe, she was killed by Hawkeye because she killed his whole family.
  • Kind Hearted Cat Lover: Natasha doesn't exactly admit to this, at first. In the 2014 series, a black cat keeps showing up at her apartment. Nat eventually warms to the animal, naming it "Liho".
  • Legacy Character:
    • Recent stories introduced a rival Black Widow from Russia, Yelena Belova. Various stories have played with the idea of Natasha coming from a group of multiple Black Widow trainees.
    • In Ultimate continuity, Monica Chang and Jessica Drew both take up the Black Widow codename after Natasha Romanov.
    • Marvel's predecessor, Timely Comics, published stories starring a character named the Black Widow in the 30s, although they share little in common beyond the name.
    • Done explicitly in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as a predecessor Black Widow was active in the 1940s as a major enemy in Agent Carter.
  • Lighter and Softer: Waid & Samnee's run of the character seems to be heading in this direction, much like how they reinvented Daredevil into more of a swashbuckling figure after years of darker tones with the character.
  • Literal Man Eater: Played for Laughs in one of the gag comics in Marvel's What If? Vol. 1 #34; using the suggestion "What if Spider-Man had married the Black Widow?" as its basis, it consists of a single panel with Black Widow picking her teeth with a bone and emitting a Burp of Finality, whilst Spider-man's emptied costume and a few scattered human bones make his fate evident.
  • Long-Lived: Despite looking like she's in her late twenties, she was actually born in 1928, but she took the Sovier version of Captain America's Super Serum that slows down her aging as part of the Black Widow Program.
  • Lost in Character: In a 1970s Marvel Team-Up story, a combination of psychological conditioning and PTSD left Natasha mentally "stuck" in her cover identity as mousy schoolteacher Nancy Rushman. Spider-Man was forced to protect her from Hydra assassins while she was all but helpless in that persona, but she eventually snapped out of it in a couple of issues.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Natasha's mentor Ivan Petrovich had unrequited feelings for her for almost as long as he knew her, despite her only seeing him as a friend and father figure. Eventually, this caused him to snap and concoct a plan in which he faked his death, unleashed nanobots that targeted everyone Natasha knew and cared for including her former lovers, transferred his brain into a cyborg body and intended to unleash nuclear devastation upon the world. Natasha was forced to kill him to put an end to his evil plot and as a result, lost her oldest and dearest friend.
  • Male Might, Female Finesse: Bucky Barnes and Natasha had this dynamic as a Battle Couple. Bucky had a cybernetic arm and used guns and his shield whereas Natasha was an acrobatic fighter with a Super Wrist-Gadget.
  • Magic Skirt: Natasha and Valkyrie both demonstrate this in the first issue of Secret Avengers, doing an impressive amount of She-Fu against a troop of armed guards in short cocktail dresses without flashing their underwear.
  • Master Actor: Especially when going undercover, she can swap roles on the fly to adapt to the situation, being able to switch from The Stoic to The Charmer in seconds, depending on who she's talking to.
  • Master of Disguise: Natasha is one, being able to pass unnoticed in almost any crowd without any serious effort, despite her stunning good looks and global fame as an Avenger.
  • Parental Substitute: Natasha was raised and mentored by Ivan Petrovich after he rescued her as an orphan, and even after her Heel–Face Turn he served as her chauffeur while she was on missions with Daredevil or The Champions. But he secretly actually harbored romantic feelings for her, which eventually drove him to betray her to become a Cyborg villain.
  • Movie Superheroes Wear Black: Inverted/played with; in Iron Man 2, her Spy Catsuit was made dark blue, rather than black like the comics, to make it look more like a SHIELD outfit. Then The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, her suit is black, but also redesigned to look more like tactical gear than a simple catsuit.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Under the pen of certain artists, she's drawn with the Most Common Super Power and Impossible Hourglass Figure with a lot of Male Gaze, all of that while wearing a skin-tight black catsuit. Several of her stories have at least one fanservice scene.
  • Mundane Utility: She once used her "Widow's Line" just to pick up the phone.
  • Murderous Thighs: She has choked or Neck Snapped quite a few people with her legs, to the point it became her Signature Move in the MCU adaptation.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Recent depictions of Black Widow have occasionally made reference to a past action from her assassin days that continues to haunt her. In the comics, it's the fact she once destroyed a hospital during a mission, killing many innocents inside, including children. The first Avengers movie also references the hospital, among other acts, for which the film version of Natalia is shown to be The Atoner.
    • Another one from the Avengers movie that fans latched onto is the vague reference to 'Budapest'. Though the exact nature of what the incident is wasn't discussed beyond the fact that she and Clint 'remember Budapest very differently', but Captain America: The Winter Soldier has an extended scene where its revealed to have been one of the many atrocities she committed and regrets.
  • Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: Has this dynamic with Yelena Belova. Natasha is around 80 years old thanks to the serum that slowed down her aging and is far more experienced than the younger Yelena. Natasha even sometimes refers to Yelena as "little one".
  • Older Than They Look: Thanks to a mysterious Soviet chemical, she's around 80 years old and still looks fabulous.
  • Old Friend: With Wolverine, given they're both The Ageless a Wolverine: Origins story reveals they both worked together back in the Cold War years and he even helped her train in martial arts.
  • Omniglot: She proficient in every major language spoken in Earth.
  • Overt Operative: Natasha has been a member of two very public superhero teams (the Champions and The Avengers), wears a very distinct Spy Catsuit (which doesn't come with a mask) and has a tendency to reveal who she is on her missions (assuming the people she's interacting with aren't already aware of who she is). She has been the subject of at least two nationwide manhunts and a limited series by Devin Grayson features a scene that shows a gossip magazine with Natasha and Daredevil's break up on the cover - even her love life is a matter of public knowledge.
  • Pin-Pulling Teeth: Natasha does this in Secret Avengers #31 as she tosses a grenade into the engine of a plane, her other arm being occupied in clinging to the outside of the plane.
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot Amazing Spider-Man #86 was meant to set up the short-lived Black Widow solo series that appeared in Amazing Adventures.
  • Pretty in Mink: To play up her Russian Femme Fatale look, she has worn some flattering furs, from a brown mink stole in her very first appearance in Iron Man, and a white mink coat and hat, over a slinky purple dress, in a mid-90s issue.
  • Professional Killer: The majority of her work as a Femme Fatale Spy has been assassinations, and even after her Heel–Face Turn she still works as an assassin for SHIELD from time to time.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Mandrill had Natasha and other women completely under his control using his powers. Making them love him. Natasha was forced to give out Daredevil’s secret identity. But it wasn't the only thing she gave Mandrill.
  • Ready for Lovemaking: She's fond of sneaking into the quarters of her paramours to surprise them in a seductive manner. It doesn't work on Matt though, since he can hear and smell her in his bed long before he walks in the room.
  • Real Life Superpowers: Her beauty, intelligence, and fighting skills are legendary.
  • Really Gets Around: She has been accused of this time and again, though the actual number is not that large, and is mostly done for missions and obtaining intel. Also notable that her many conquests include such notorious womanizers as Iron Man, Hercules, Daredevil, and Hawkeye, as well as Bucky Barnes, the fifth Captain America.
  • Red Is Heroic: She began to use red as part of her Color Motif along with black after her Heel–Face Turn.
  • Retcon: Started out with black hair and was only "revealed" as actually a redhead in her ASM #86 makeover.
  • Rogues Gallery: Damon Dran, Iron Maiden, Ex-husband Red Guardian, ex-mentor Ivan Petrovich, rival red room member Yelena Belova, Snapdragon, Mandrill, Recluse, Viper, Weeping Lion, Imus Champion, Black Lotus, and Bullseye.
  • Roof Hopping: She's able to keep up with the likes of Daredevil and Spider-man by using a combination of her acrobatic skills and Grappling-Hook Pistol to Building Swing.
  • Sensual Slavs: She is a Russian Femme Fatale. Certain writers really play up the Russian-ness in combination with sensuality and take it to some really stereotypical and creepy places! Rule of thumb: if she's being written with a Russian accent, she's usually being written as fanservice.
  • Sex Goddess: As a trained expert in the field of seduction, she's very proficient at pleasuring others and has been regarded as a skilled lover by past paramours.
  • She-Fu: Natasha is a skilled acrobat and gymnast and frequently incorporates those skills in her fighting style, such as performing many flips and cartwheels.
  • She's Got Legs: Most of her outfits, from costumes to regular clothes, show off her legs in some way.
  • Sinister Silhouettes: She's presented as an intimidating silhouette on the cover of The Amazing Spider-Man #86 where she first debuted her Spy Catsuit costume and fought Spidey.
  • Sneaky Spider: She is named for the famous spider and has weaponry themed around it. She fittingly started out a manipulative Femme Fatale Spy.
  • Spy Catsuit: Her "hero" outfit is a black, full-body catsuit. It's made of an advanced synthetic stretch fabric that is highly resistant to damage, such as blunt attacks, small arms fire and high temperatures. It also has microscopic suction cups on it that allow her to scale walls and cling to ceilings, much like a spider.
  • Static Stun Gun: Her wrist gauntlets fire electric shocks called the "Widow's Bite."
  • Stealth Expert: One of her skills is how to sneak around, usually being The Sneaky Guy of The Team. She's able to infiltrate high-security places either unseen or unnoticed, either via pure stealth or using disguises. She once manages to sneak up on Tony's bedroom, even though his house has one of the best securities in the world.
  • The Stoic: Depending on the Writer, she can have a demeanor of chilly professionalism.
  • Stock Foreign Name: "Natasha" is a stock female name for Russian's.
  • Strong and Skilled: Natasha spent many years going through Training from Hell in the Red Room to become a Professional Killer and super spy trained in many forms of combat, long before she got a Super Serum which made her strong enough to snap a man's neck with one kick. She also frequently fights super-powered beings, and once ripped off a lizard man's tail and used it as a weapon.
  • Superhero Packing Heat: Given she's an Empowered Badass Normal Super Hero, she often resorts to firearms for combat.
  • Superheroes Wear Tights: She wears her Spy Catsuit outfit when she's doing her Super Hero work.
  • Super Reflexes: She has enhanced superhuman reflexes that allow her to Dodge the Bullet at a medium range.
  • Super Soldier: Received a mysterious formula from her Soviet masters that was shown to slow her aging. Some writers have implied that it also was responsible for placing her in peak human condition or gave vague enhancements to her strength and speed.
  • Super Wrist-Gadget: Natasha's gauntlets can fire grappling hooks, knock-out drugs, stun gun charges, explosives, and Tracking Devices. They were inspired by Spidey's web-shooters In-Universe (and doubtless out of universe as well).
  • Sympathy for the Devil: A one-shot story by Jim Starlin has Natasha and Daredevil going up against a Serial Killer named Rose who has murdered at least 40 telepaths. When Rose captures Natasha, it is revealed that Rose is a telepath herself and that as a child she was sexually abused by her father while her mother refused to believe her. Eventually, Rose's mother was killed by her father which caused Rose to snap and use her powers to make him commit suicide. When she discovered other telepaths existed she began a killing spree because she "wanted to be special". Despite the depravity of Rose's crimes, the fact that one of her victims was an old friend of Natasha's and that Natasha herself kills Rose, the Russian spy cannot help but shed tears over how a little girl was twisted and broken into becoming such a monster. That Rose was sharing her memories with Natasha telepathically might have contributed to Natasha's reaction.
  • Thrill Seeker: She often enjoys the thrill of being in action, and the first time she donned her iconic Spy Catsuit and fought Spider-Man it was purely because she was bored of her civilian life.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: She once ended up Bound and Gagged after Deadpool captured the Secret Avengers. After freeing her, Deadpool remarked that she seemed to be enjoying herself while tied up. Widow's response? "A little, yes."
  • Underestimating Badassery: Natasha runs into this from time to time. There are adversaries who dismiss her for being a woman, lacking in superpowers or who just don't think the Black Widow was anything other than a Cold War myth. In issue 3 of Black Widow and the Marvel Girls she says that she prefers when people underestimate her and fears that anyone knowing her full potential robs her of a disadvantage.
  • Underhanded Hero: Even as a Super Hero, deception and manipulation are still some of her most valuable skills and she isn't above using many of the dirty tricks she used as a Femme Fatale Spy.
  • Unknown Rival: The Iron Maiden (Melina Vostokoff) was a Russian agent who has been living in the Black Widow's shadow for years, which caused Melina to hold a grudge against the clueless Natasha.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Natasha gets one from Spider-Woman after she executes five people in Avengers #11 who were all mass-murdering terrorists and/or criminals, but still...
    Jessica: Unnecessary! Unnecessary!
    • Yelena Belova gave one to Natasha in Greg Rucka and Devin Grayson's Black Widow miniseries. The story has Natasha subject herself and Yelena to Magic Plastic Surgery to make them look like each other and frame Yelena for Natasha's (false) murder. While the secondary plan involved capturing Yelena's corrupt superior, Natasha's true goal was to make Yelena see how cruel and harsh the life of an espionage agent was. Yelena is furious with Natasha's mind games but given that she eventually did retire from the spy life (for a while at least) it seems the plan did work.
  • Working the Same Case: A common scenario for having her teaming up with different heroes, given her espionage skills can have her working on a vast array of villains anywhere in the world. In the "Death of the Dream" storyline in Captain America she said this word for word upon learning she, The Falcon and Agent 13 are all looking for the Winter Soldier, but for vastly different reasons.
  • With My Hands Tied: After a Carnival of Killers managed to tie her up, they start squabbling over what to do with them. Natasha takes advantage of their distraction to start kicking their asses with just her untied legs.
  • Workout Fanservice:
  • Xenafication: Natasha originally was just a Femme Fatale Spy whose main weapon was seduction and let other people do the fighting for her. When she switched to the good side it was retroactively made apparent that Natasha was always combat-trained due to the Training from Hell she got in the Black Widow program along with a Super Serum that made her One-Woman Army super-assassin capable breaking a man's neck with one kick. The Ultimate Marvel and MCU versions ditch all her early characterization and make Nat an Action Girl from the start, though she’s still very skilled at seducing.


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