Natalia Romanova, also known as Natasha Romanoff or Black Widow, is a major character in Marvel Comics. She started off as a former villainess serving as a spy before becoming a superhero by initiating herself as a member of S.H.I.E.L.D. and a longtime member of the superhero team called the Avengers. She is also a major character of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Comic Book History
She appeared for the first time in "Tales of Suspense 52" as one of the main enemies of Iron Man, but later she becomes one of the main heroines of the Marvel Universe, fighting off many villains who are far more worse than her. Even before her criminal ways and during her days as a agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., she has many allies on her side, including Spider-Man, Daredevil, and her best friend Hawkeye.
Marvel Cinematic Universe
Natasha Romanoff was recruited by the KGB as an orphaned child and excelled in her training as a future assassin for the Russian government. During the graduation ceremony, she was sterilized by her mentor Madame B to avoid any distractions and focus on her missions, something which she later regretted in her life. Due to both her expertise and her growing threat to global security, S.H.I.E.L.D was tasked to eliminate her at all costs, but Clint Barton (known as Hawkeye) foiled this by convincing Romanoff to be recruited into S.H.I.E.L.D.. Due to her trauma of the graduation ceremony, Romanoff accepted this by defecting from Russia and joined the ranks of S.H.I.E.L.D. before developing a partnership with Hawkeye, fighting off many criminals in their plots.
Iron Man 2
Romanoff serves as a supporting protagonist of the film. She first appeared posing as an newly hired executive named Natalie Rushman for Stark Industries, eventually learning that the criminal Ivan Vanko is plotting to kill Tony Stark in revenge for his father being deported by Stark's father years ago. She also learned that Justin Hammer is involved in freeing Vanko from jail and providing him the machinery in creating Hammer Drones to take down Iron Man. To that end, she broke into Hammer Industries HQ and took down many of Hammer's security guards before seeing that Vanko has escaped. She eventually managed to free War Machine from Vanko's control by rebooting his armor, allowing both War Machine and Iron Man to defeat Vanko for good.
Black Widow returns as a major protagonist of the film. She is first seen taking down Georgi Luchkov and his thugs of their plot of selling weapons in the black market. Following the capture of Loki, she learns of Loki's true intent in angering the Hulk to set him free as part of his true plan to initiate a Chitauri invasion in New York. Black Widow tries to warn the other Avengers about Loki's intents, but it was too late. Despite the setback, Black Widow was able to help out the Avengers in fighting off the Chituari soldiers to their deaths while Thor teleports himself back to Asgard, taking a captive Loki with him to make him pay for his crimes.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Black Widow returns again as a major protagonist of the film as she is assigned to collect confidential S.H.I.E.L.D. files on a hijacked ship following the arrest of Georges Batroc and his pirates. As it turns out, she, along with Director Fury, have learned that Alexander Pierce has formulated a plot in utilizing S.H.I.E.L.D.'s major weapons and an algorithm (formulated by Arnim Zola) to wipe out millions of people to bring a new HYDRA order. To that end, Black Widow aided Captain America in taking down many of the HYDRA agents before posing as one of the World Security Council executives to expose HYDRA's secrets to the public and help Fury take down Pierce for good. However, S.H.I.E.L.D was shut down due to HYDRA's secrets being exposed, and Black Widow was called in for a hearing before leaving away to help the Avengers fight off the remaining HYDRA forces.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Romanoff returns again as a major protagonist of the film, as she helps the Avengers take down the remaining HYDRA forces (led by Wolfgang von Strucker). She is also revealed to hold a romantic relationship with Banner, even able to tame his alter-ego (the Hulk). During a celebration following von Strucker's arrest, Romanoff is shocked to learn that a ruthless cyborg named Ultron has come to life after being created as a peacekeeper A.I. built by Stark and Banner while utilizing Loki's scepter.
Deeming humanity as a threat after killing von Strucker, Ultron plotted to take down the Avengers with his army of Ultron Sentinels, even recruiting Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch to his cause (though they later defected to the Avengers after realizing his true intents). During Ultron's next plot to create a synthetic body, he captures Romanoff in Sokovia, intending to use her as a witness of his ultimate plan to create a massive meteor that will cause the extinction of humanity. Fortunately, Banner came to the rescue, and Romanoff kisses him before they help the other Avengers fight off Ultron's Sentinel Army. Following the destruction of Sokovia and the death of Ultron, Romanoff is saddened to see the Hulk leaving in a Quintjet.
Captain America: Civil War
Romanoff returns as a supporting antagonist/anti-hero in the film, where she helps the Avengers in taking down Crossbones and his thugs in Nigeria, though this resulted the accidental deaths of several Wakandan workers, much to Romanoff's shock. Romanoff and the other Avengers are told by Secretary Ross of a document called the Sokovia Accords that would put the Avengers under world government control due to the past events. Romanoff sided with Iron Man's decision to sign the Accords, putting her at odds with Captain America and Hawkeye (who both opposed the Accords for good reasons).
Following the attack in Vienna seemingly caused by the Winter Soldier, Romanoff was assigned to capture him, despite knowing that he is Captain America's best friend who was brainwashed by HYDRA to do its bidding. She later aided Iron Man and his allies in fighting off Captain America and his allies at an airport terminal, though she later let Captain America and the Winter Soldier escape after learning that Helmut Zemo is the true mastermind behind the Vienna bombings. It later turns out that Zemo has gotten hold of several HYDRA files that were released by Romanoff and utilized them and the Winter Soldier in his true plan to tear the Avengers apart (as Zemo lost his family to the battle of Sokovia).
In the end, Romanoff is declared a criminal by the authorities after her actions are reported by Black Panther and she is forced to go underground to avoid capture, even after Zemo is arrested for his crimes following the fracture of the Avengers.
Avengers: Infinity War
Romanoff is set to return in the film, as she reunites with the other Avengers and teams up with the Guardians of the Galaxy in fighting off the infamous Thanos and his army of the Black Order and Outriders from threatening the universe.
- Main article: Black Widow (Ultimate Marvel)
In the Ultimate Universe, Black Widow is portrayed as is a villain who feigns heroism, but is truly evil all the time.
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