I feel kind of like this today:
Then again, this is pretty much every day. 😉
An interesting choice was made when the Black Widow was chosen to represent women in The Avengers. I cannot deny that the Black Widow has a long and distinguished Marvel history. Well, a long history, anyway. Would you recognize the Black Widow if she looked like this?
Because originally she did. She was conceived as a femme fatale working for a certain Eastern European government. Back in those days, Hawkeye was her dupe, and the two of them attempted to wrest information out of Iron Man.
Thanks to the phenomena of Steed and Peel’s Avengers, however, Natasha received a makeover.
Much more mod. Of course, there’s also this look from the 80s, but we don’t talk about this one much…
The Black Widow has gotten around. Starting off as an Iron Man villain courtesy of the Cold War, she morphed into the savvy martial arts using vigilante partner/girl friend of Daredevil, Man Without Fear , and quite frankly, was one of the reasons I read Daredevil as a girl. Hey, anyone who dressed as Mrs. Peel had to be as cool as Mrs. Peel.
She was pretty cool. Penitent Russian spy who could beat up the baddies regularly, yeah, that was cool. She has also done stints in the Defenders, the Champions, and the Thunderbolts as well as the Avengers.
What is intriguing is the transformation of the Black Widow from seductress to super spy. It’s interesting that she uses her feminine wiles in The Avengers movie to get information from Loki, and also from Loki, she gets called nasty, pejorative things based solely on gender, but overall, this character’s trajectory has been a steady progression away from using sex as a weapon. Yeah, I can say that with a straight face, even though she’s wearing that costume.
Was she a good choice for the only female representative in the Avengers? Canonically, no. I loves me some Black Widow, make no mistake, but in terms of Avengers history, she was preceded by the Wasp (who often doesn’t get the love she deserves) and the Scarlet Witch (another of my favorite heroines, for very different reasons than BW). She even has 70s contemporaries that could have been relevant choices: Moondragon, Hell-cat, and Ms. Marvel.
Of course, of all these choices, the Black Widow makes the most sense, given her agenting ties to SHIELD, an organization she was also involved with.
Still, what would it be like if other Avenging women were considered? Who would be a good choice? I’ll be talking about the history of these other five choices in subsequent articles this summer.