The record of how Nick Fury originally recruited Black Widow to work at SHIELD is quite disturbing.
Today, we take a look at the disturbing retcon that Marvel used to reveal how Nick Fury recruited Black Widow to work at SHIELD.
In each section of Abandoned Love, we’ll examine stories, plots, and comic book ideas that later writers left without actively conflicting with previous stories (so a more passive definition of retcon is anything that is added retroactively to continuity, even if there are no special conflicts with past stories). Feel free to email me at email@example.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.
As you all know by now, Black Widow debuted in the 1960s as a Soviet operative, essentially a riff on Boris and Natasha from Rocky and Bullwinkle. Only Russian spies are exaggerating. You really couldn’t be more generic than a villain. The first kind of twist for the character is when he seduces the American archer known as Hawkeye and manipulates him into a supervillain and tries to kill Iron Man. It failed several times and the Soviets forced him to be an ACTIVE operative rather than just someone sending someone else on missions and in Tales of Suspense #64 (by Stan Lee, Don Heck, and Chic Stone), he teamed up with Hawkeye (it’s pretty funny how he all, “Come on, I don’t like being a traitor,” but he’s all, “But you love me,” and he’s all, “Yeah,
Well, Jack Kirby and Stan Lee decided to make Hawkeye a superhero after that and beyond, in Avengers #16 (by Kirby, Lee, and Dick Ayers), though there’s no indication that Black Widow was thinking about defecting at all in her final appearance. (This ends with him punishing Hawkeye for messing up their mission), Black Widow tries to defect and is shot dead instead, causing Hawkeye to join the Avengers in his memories…
You just have to admire Hawkeye’s position here. “He was shot. He was still alive when they took him away, but uh, who wants to follow up? I’ll just assume he died for…a reason.” Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense if he was killed right away? As I write this I realize it’s possible that Kirby meant for him to die and then Stan threw a “Well he didn’t die when they took him away” just in case he still wanted to. to use it later, and that’s why Hawkeye sounded strange and callous. Ah… The Marvel Method.
After all, Black Widow turns out to be alive in Avengers #29 (by Don Heck, Stan Lee, and Frank Giacoia), only being brainwashed and teaming up with Power Man and Swordsman to destroy the Avengers, starting with Hawkeye.
You have to like how many random criminals were willing to work for the Communists in the 1960s. I understand they are super villains, but you would think there would be a bit of patriotism mixed in there.
Luckily for Hawkeye, his love for Hawkeye frees him from brainwashing in the following issue and he returns to the side of the angels…
Once he was free of programming, he wanted to try to show that he could be an asset to good people, so he brought Sons of the Serpent to the Avengers’ attention (which is funny, they never explained how he knew about the Snake Children. him at one of their meetings and he’s all like, “Geez, I better tell the Avengers about this.” So is he just hanging around random gatherings?). He then helped them take down Snake.
Roy Thomas then took over as series writer and he toyed with the idea of him joining the Avengers (I’ll be doing a bit about the odd Avengers journey later today), but the other Avengers were wary of him because he was still willing to kill. However, he was ready to argue with the team in Avengers #38 (by Roy Thomas, Don Heck, and George Roussos) when he was confronted by Nick Fury on his way to the Avengers Mansion and Fury made a pretty convincing argument. that he should join SHIELD and he did…