Black Widow is trapped in a fake happy ending of her foes’ design, but some elements have proved to be shockingly real…like her new child.
In the current Black Widow series from Marvel Comics, Natasha Romanoff is dealing with a threat unlike any she’s ever faced before: her own happy ending. Nat has a job as an architect, a fiancé, and most shockingly, a son that’s about a year old. However, it’s quickly revealed that this happy life apart from her often dark work as an operative is a false one, as she’s been brainwashed to forget her true self and be content. However, this personal matrix made for Natasha has begun to crack and fall apart in the latest issue, though some elements have been revealed to be more real than fans might have thought…like her child.
Three months prior in the series, Black Widow was shot outside of her apartment and subsequently went missing. Now, her exes Hawkeye and Winter Soldier have managed to find her in San Francisco, though they’re unsure how to proceed. This is because Natasha doesn’t appear to be in any sort of danger apart from being brainwashed and not knowing who she really is. Instead, she has a whole new life that’s been built around her, keeping her out of the game as the Black Widow, which is precisely the intent of those who put her there. Apparently, Black Widow’s happy ending and paradise is the work of a group of her foes, including Arcade, Viper, a new Weeping Lion, Snapdragon, and the Red Guardian (Widow’s ex-husband). Seeing the futility of trying to kill the formidable Black Widow, they’ve come together to craft this gilded prison in order to keep Natasha happy, content, and out of their plans.
Now, in Black Widow #3 from Thompson with art by Elena Casagrande, Clint and Bucky don’t know what they should do. On the one hand, they’re pretty sure that Natasha is brainwashed and something sinister is at work. However, because she’s so happy they don’t know if they should try and wake her up. Furthermore, Yelena Belova, another graduate of the Red Room and sometimes ally of Widow makes her appearance known to the two heroes. She reveals that she’s already been on the inside, posing as a babysitter. She was even able to conduct a secret DNA test on the child, and the results are definitely surprising.
The reveal that the baby is indeed Natasha’s does muddy the waters even more, though it’s possible that something even more complex is happening beyond just Natasha having a kid. With special consideration to the fact that Natasha has only been gone for a few months, while her son Steve appears to be almost a year old, the concept that Steve is in fact a male clone of Natasha could be a strong possibility. The Russian Red Room where Natasha was trained did have clones of Widow at the ready, which is why she’s currently alive in the first place (this Natasha is actually a clone body with all of the original’s memories that was activated after the original Widow’s death). Red Guardian is among the coalition of foes who manufactured this fiction for Natasha, so perhaps he provided the clone baby via the Red Room?
While this is all theory and conjecture at the moment, it does seem likely considering the time discrepancy. In any case, Natasha has bonded and treated the child as her own, and those memories are unlikely to go away. While the end of the issue sees Natasha starting to remember her true identity and life, one has to wonder what will become of her fiancé and son going forward. Will she stay with them and continue living the life that was so good to her despite the lie it’s based on, or will she re-embrace her identity as the Black Widow once more? Perhaps a combination of the two? In any case, fans will no doubt learn more as Black Widow continues from Kelly Thompson, Elena Casagrande, and Marvel Comics.
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