The Black Widow by Stuart Immonen

Character: The Black Widow
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Artist: Stuart Immonen
Reviewer: Eric Stephenson

I really like what Stuart’s done with this. The outfit most associated with Black Widow is probably the black cat-suit she wore during the ’70s, and while that was quite sleek and sexy, it never seemed all that functional.

With this design, though, it’s clear that Stuart wanted place a bit more emphasis on Black Widow as super-spy and a result, she looks much more dangerous. I don’t have any trouble imagining her getting down and dirty in whatever situation she’s thrown into, and the number of accessories Stuart’s equipped her with open the mind to a myriad of possibilities regarding what her profession actually entails.

I also like that he’s found a way to make the red hourglass-shaped marking from the spider work, too. In the past, I’ve found some of the attempts to create some kind of insignia for Black Widow a little clumsy, but this works quite well. In fact, the only thing I might have a problem with here is the length of her hair. I think it looks great, but I could see it posing problems in action.

23 comments to “The Black Widow by Stuart Immonen”
  1. I couldn’t agree more about the deft utilitarian styling Stuart’s pulled off here. I’m really into the outfit, especially the hourglass emblem. It looks like it’s the bulletproof part of the suit! That’s clever as hell. Great job, Mr. Immonen.

  2. I really enjoy Stuart’s rendition of the Black Widow character. The playing up of the red Black Widow system really sets off the design, and could even be nice silhoette (if done like Spider-Man is done).

    Having her dress more practically than a jump suit is great. And while the comments on the hair might be something, you’d think she’d always want to be fashionable. Plus it could be a wig!

  3. My only minus is that she looks like Ellie Bloodstone from NEXT WAVE, but that is easily forgiven. I’m concurring with everyone here, but it looks like an outfit a modern spy would wear. Looking at a video game like SPLINTER CELL, it’s so easy to plug the Widow right into that world if she’s wearing this.

    Hey, I love the classic suit, but Marvel would be crazy not to implement this design.

  4. i too thought this was elsa bloodstone… but i think it was more hair colour. i would switch the outline colour with the fill colour, similar to how dr possible has differnt hair from kim possible.

  5. Agreeing all around. I also like the knee-pads. The circular forms on them almost remind me of spider eyes. I wonder if this could be pushed just a smidge further? And would that make her appear just slightly weirder and more dangerous?

  6. It’s cool, but she looks like Tabitha Smith’s twin from Next Wave. Just Red hair and in leather.

    See the newarama feb preview – particularly the lower right part of the cover:

    Also, she’s a spy. A sexy spy, I get it, but all that hair is going to get in the way unless she has some kind of Medusa power. The outfit rocks, but she needs a trim.

  7. I don’t know… I understand the re-design… but I kind of feel like I’ve had my fill of these type of girls. I think I’d like to see the ol’ jumpsuit spinned in a different direction. She’s ex-Russian, right? That could have been an angle.

  8. I love Stuart’s rendering, but it’s not really a “redesign”, is it? It’s more of a minor tweaking, but it works.

  9. I have to be the voice of dissent here. As a woman, I do have a problem with over-masculinizing (is this a word?) all super women. Let’s remember Natasha was a ballerina and still uses her agility above all other assets. Hard to do in this get up. (kneepads-no way) In comparison, the old 70’s catsuit seems quite practical. Also, where’s her Widow’s Bite bracelets? Guys, those are her trademark! Getting all gunned up may be the fashionable, gamesque thing, but it’s just not this character. Hourglass is OK, if a little flamboyant. Hair is fine long or short. She’s just a character after all. Think Modesty Blaise!
    This being said, I love Stuart’s work. He’s a real favorite of mine.

  10. i wouldn’t call it a minor tweaking. there’s a lot more to look at with this piece than widow’s jumpsuit.
    i love the character design. love it. she looks more like a “kick in the front door” girl rather than a “spy” girl though. and where are the widow’s bracelets? definitely more of an ‘in the field’ costume than a seductive costume. but girls gotta take charge, right? love nextwave, btw.

  11. Stuart Immonen is a strange guy.
    He has been changing his style in each year and all the new solutions that He offered are amazing! I think that his illustrations has a high influency by Phil Noto… What Do you think?

    I just have one objetion about the costumer. I really don´t like the red space in front of costumer… Why Does She have this red space?

    However, is a great illustration!

    Alberto Pessoa

  12. The “shock-troop versus ballerina-spy” comments are interesting. These days, I’m more familiar with the Ultimates version of Natasha, who, I think, would prefer the above garb. But, on the other hand, it would be hard to see this Natasha flipping around the rooftops pf Hell’s Kitchen with Daredevil.

  13. Listen folks, yes she looks a little similar to Stuart’s NextWave characters. It’s the bangs+long hair. Tabitha has blonde hair and a rounder face. Elsa is taller, has longer bangs, and has a ponytail. Bangs+long hair does not equal = LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE OMG.

  14. I hate the clunky Image-esque vibe with the boots and the huge guns and all.

    I agree that Natasha’s movements will be seriously hampered with this getup.

    I would have preferred a reimagining of her catsuit look, something sleek and modern that didn’t look all Girls And Guns magazine,
    Something that would’ve let her use her ballerina-meets-Spider-Woman agility and reflexes…

  15. Oh, and BTW…if these designs are supposed to be all about practicality…how in the hell is Natasha supposed to be all stealthy and spy-like invisible with that humongous mane of fire-red hair making her a target?

  16. I like it, but there seems to be a trend toward making superheroes and villains look more “real world”, and I’m not exactly comfortable with that. Take the Ultimates. Wow some of the outfits look great, others just look like Tom Clancy splinter-cell types, and that’s kind of dull. Not kind of- very dull. It’s as if comic book artists were embarassed to work with comic book characters, and they think this is a better solution.

    Bring back the color and spectacle. It doesn’t matter if it would make sense to dress your Dark Knight sidekick in a bright yellow cape: it’s just the way it is.

  17. I’m of the opinion that more ‘real world’ costumes are better.

    e.g. do we really buy a character like wolverine dressing in a yellow spandex unitard?

    I liked the black and gold uniform of the morrison era and the current X Factor uniform vibe.

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