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Black Widow: The Name of the Rose [Paperback]

Marjorie Liu , Daniel Acuña
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
List Price: CDN$ 18.50
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Book Description

July 6 2011 Black Widow
The deadly super-spy from IRON MAN 2, INVINCIBLE IRON MAN and CAPTAIN AMERICA in her own action-packed tale! Natasha Romanoff is not a super hero. She's not psychic. She doesn't fly. And yet as the Black Widow, she manages to hold her own against a world of incredibly powerful enemies and allies. But now someone has tried to kill Natasha and almost succeeded.

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Black Widow: The Name of the Rose + Black Widow: Kiss or Kill + Black Widow: Deadly Origin
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Now this is a comic March 15 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Beautiful art (wonderful mood-setting colouring, no Escher girls poses), well-written (kept me so interested I plowed through it in a couple of hours) and Natasha makes an excellent lead heroine. If you're already a Black Widow fan, this is a must have. If you're not, it'll make you one.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  37 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not to be confused with the works of Umberto Eco. Dec 18 2010
By Sean Curley - Published on Amazon.com
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). Natasha's on the run, cut off for a time from her most reliable allies, and a number of prominent Marvel characters put in appearances, including Elektra and Lady Bullseye. Liu adds her own new episodes from Natasha's past as well. The final plot resolution isn't especially revelatory (Liu ultimately backs away from some new villain on a personal vendetta to bring in an old Avengers foe), but it's a good story nonetheless.

Every solo series needs a strong character voice for its lead, and Liu's greatest strength is giving Natasha a very good and recogizable one. She's a believable product of her decades of experiences, tough and extremely capable, compassionate but also not without a vengeful streak. And Liu writes her relationships, particularly with Bucky, very well; their romantic attachment and partnership as superheroes comes across very well. The various guest villain characters from the Marvel Universe are well-done, particularly Lady Bullseye in her first appearance outside a "Daredevil" comic. Daniel Acuna's art surprised me quite a bit; I wasn't previously a fan of his work, but he does a great job of rendering Natasha's world as a mix of spy noir and superheroics.

Recommended.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sadly under appreciated gem April 26 2012
By Bradley P. Valentine - Published on Amazon.com
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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book! Feb. 23 2013
By Lauren - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I LOVED this book. It's so well written and the art is gorgeous. I'm pre-disposed to like Black Widow books anyway, but this is really one of the best. A friend of mine (who doesn't read comics but liked the Avengers film) also borrowed it and really enjoyed it, and followed the story pretty well considering that she didn't know Natasha's back story.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spies, superheroes, what's not to like? April 11 2011
By E. Wong - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Excellent book. Seems a bit over-priced and maybe I should have waited for the TPB to come out, but I didn't pay list price and it was a fun read. One of the draws of Black Widow books is that the superhero is a spy, so essentially this is a spy thriller in graphic novel form, with some popular superheroes as sidekicks. As a bonus for those of us who have been in the Marvel Universe since we were kids, we get some interesting background material on BW.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The heart of the Black Widow Feb. 23 2014
By NF - Published on Amazon.com
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.
- Based on personal experience, you don't get your abdomen sliced open, then stitched up again, then immediately go out and get into a fight.
- The motivation of one of the secondary villains was, frankly, a bit suspect.
- You really have to suspend your disbelief when it comes to how the major villain found out a crucial bit of information.

Note: I'm being vague because I don't want to spoil anything here. These are all fairly minor issues, though, and just require a bit of the usual "willing suspension of disbelief." Overall, the graphic novel is very good and it really gets to the heart of Natasha's character, as well as offering plenty of mystery, action, mood, and even a little romance and fun. I can recommend it unreservedly if you're a Black Widow fan or if you just like an enjoyable moody mystery and an indomitable character.
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