Alternative versions of Black Widow

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Alternate versions of Black Widow
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceTales of Suspense #52 (April 1964)
Created byDon Heck
Stan Lee

In addition to the mainstream Marvel Universe (designated Earth-616) version of the character, Black Widow has numerous alternative versions throughout the Multiverse.


In Marvel 1602, a world where superheroes have started to appear several hundred years early, Natasha is a freelance spy and "the most dangerous woman in Europe." Initially allied with Matthew Murdoch (Daredevil's 1602 counterpart),[volume & issue needed] she later betrays him to Count Otto Von Doom, whom she shares a romantic relationship with.[volume & issue needed] It is Natasha who later comes to Doom's rescue when he is horribly burned by Thor's lightning & the accompanying discharge of Blake's golden sphere.[volume & issue needed]

Natasha is still working with Count von Doom during Marvel 1602: Fantastick Four where she is the captain of his flying ship.[volume & issue needed] However, when she questions his plan to take the ship to the edge of the world, he pushes her over the side and appoints the Wizard captain.[volume & issue needed]


The Secret Wars War Zone of 1872 reimagines Natasha in the Wild West in the town of Timely. Natasha Barnes is a widow who was married to Deputy Bucky Barnes, who was killed by Mayor Fisk's men when he tried to stop a lynching. Fisk had her believe the Native Americans were responsible for his death until Sheriff Rogers told her the truth. After Sheriff Rogers was killed by Fisk and his men, Natasha teams up with Red Wolf and Doctor Bruce Banner to take Fisk down and destroy the dam separating the Cheyenne from their water.[1]

Age of Ultron[edit]

In the Age of Ultron story, Black Widow is shown after Ultron's attack with disfiguring scars on the right side of her face from an unknown source, disarming a desperate and panicked man who attempts to threaten her for resources before meeting up with Moon Knight in one of Nick Fury's old bases.[2]

The Avengers: United They Stand[edit]

File:Black Widow Earth X.jpg
Black Widow as she appears in the Earth X miniseries. Art by Douglas Braithwaite.

Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow appeared in the comic-book series based on the animated television series The Avengers: United They Stand.

Earth X[edit]

Natasha Romanova appeared in the Earth X miniseries much the same as her 616 counterpart. After Absorbing Man was broken to pieces by The Vision after killing The Avengers (Giant Man, Wasp, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and Hawkeye). Part of his body was given to her to guard in order to prevent anyone from putting Absorbing man back together. She was killed sometime before the start of Earth X.[3] Later in the series she is revealed in the Realm of the Dead and is recruited by Mar-Vell into his legion of the undead.[4]

House of M[edit]

Natasha is seen as a member of the Soviet Super Soldiers.[5] Natasha later appears a member of Shang-Chi's Red Dragons,[6] and is mentioned as a member of S.H.I.E.L.D.[7]

Marvel Cinematic Universe[edit]

Black Widow's name in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Natalia Alianovna "Natasha" Romanoff, and is portrayed by actress Scarlett Johansson. Despite originating from Russia and being fluent in the Russian language, she speaks with an American accent, though Samuel Sterns has noted that there's a slight hint of Russian in her voice.[8]

Her backstory with the KGB and Red Room is similar to the comics, but she was recruited in the late 1980s as opposed to the earlier decades in the comics as she wasn't part of a Super Soldier program. She was molded by the Red Room to become the perfect assassin, which included sterilization, which she regretted later in life. Due to both her expertise and her growing threat to global security, Romanoff quickly appeared on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s radar, prompting Director Nick Fury to send Agent Clint Barton, to eliminate her. Hawkeye disobeyed this order, recognizing her skill, and recommended her for recruitment for S.H.I.E.L.D. At the behest of Director Fury, Romanoff later defected from Russia and joined the ranks of S.H.I.E.L.D., developing a lasting partnership with Barton and becoming close to his family (as opposed to her Ultimate counterpart who murdered all of them).

She made her debut in Iron Man 2, where Fury sent her to spy on Tony Stark under the guise of a new assistant named Natalie Rushman to see if Stark was worth recruiting into his planned team of superheroes. She revealed her true identity to Stark when he was talking to Fury in a doughnut shop and gave him a serum to postpone the arc reactor poisoning that was affecting Stark. During the film's climax, she and Happy Hogan infiltrate Hammer Industries when Ivan Vanko took control of James Rhodes' armor and the Hammer drones and was causing havoc at the Stark Expo while retrieving some data in the process.[9]

While she was not seen in The Incredible Hulk, the comic The Avengers Prelude: Fury's Big Week revealed she witnessed the major fights of the film firsthand after being ordered by Fury to watch over Bruce Banner. She is ordered to make sure Banner didn't leave anything behind for Samuel Sterns during the fight between Hulk and Abomination. She encounters the mutated Sterns, and after a brief conversation shoots him in the leg and calls S.H.I.E.L.D. to help with cleanup.[10]

In The Avengers, Widow is first seen dealing with a Russian black market dealer before being called by Agent Coulson to find Bruce Banner and that Hawkeye's been brainwashed into joining Loki's army. She then travels to India to convince Banner to come to S.H.I.E.L.D. with her. She then assists the other heroes with capturing Loki, and confronts the god when he's captured, revealing how important Barton was to her in the process. She discovered that Loki planned to have Banner turn into the Hulk to wreak havoc on the Helicarrier, but was too late to stop Loki's trap and barely escaped from the Hulk's rampage. She confronts the controlled Barton in a different area and defeats him in hand-to-hand combat, with a good blow to the head to break Loki's control on him. They then join the other Avengers in the Battle of New York, where she manages to use Loki's scepter to close the portal and stop the alien invasion.[11]

She then became Captain America's partner for various missions that led to the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In the film's opening they are sent on a mission to liberate Georges Batroc's ship, where Rogers is ordered to rescue the hostages while Natasha is given secret orders by Fury to obtain confidential S.H.I.E.L.D. files. She joins Rogers when Captain America is viewed as an enemy by the corrupted S.H.I.E.L.D., eventually discovering that the organization had been overtaken by HYDRA. After joining Rogers friend Sam Wilson (aka the Falcon), they are later attacked by the Winter Soldier, an assassin whom Natasha has confronted in the past. They are captured by HYDRA but rescued by a disguised Maria Hill, who takes them to an underground facility and reveals that Nick Fury (who was thought to be assassinated by the Winter Soldier) was alive and the group plans to stop HYDRA from launching Project Insight. Romanoff used a Photostatic Veil to disguise herself as Councilwoman Hawley, a World Security Council member, to get close to Alexander Pierce and dump all of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s files on the internet with Fury's aid. She was present at a government inquiry into the HYDRA affair. At the inquiry Romanoff stated that she and the other agents that fought against HYDRA in the HYDRA Uprising would not be arrested because they are the best qualified to protect the world. Now that her secrets were revealed to the world, she needed a new identity. At the request of Captain America, she contacted some of her acquaintances in Kiev who sent her an old Soviet top secret document about the Winter Soldier. Later, she stopped by Fury's fake grave to give the document to Rogers and kissed him goodbye.[12]

In Avengers: Age of Ultron, she assists the team once again while becoming romantically involved with Bruce Banner. They attack a HYDRA facility in the beginning where Widow demonstrates she's one of the few people who can calm down Banner to transform back from his normal state from his Hulk form. During the Battle at the Salvage Yard where the team fought Ultron, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver, Natasha was forced to relive her nightmarish past thanks to Scarlet Witch's powers. She and the rest of the group who experienced similar visions were rescued by Hawkeye, who eluded Scarlet Witch by electrocuting her. At Barton's farm, Natasha talked to Banner about their feelings for each other, but Banner points out that there's no place safe Natasha could be safe with him. She is later captured by Ultron and rescued by Banner, whom she forces to turn into the Hulk to aid in the Battle of Sokovia. After Hulk defeated one of the prime Ultron units, she spoke with him via video link, but Hulk severed the connection and traveled alone. She and Steve later were seen training the new recruits of Avengers.[13] It is also revealed that Barton and his wife named their newborn son Nathaniel after her.

In Captain America: Civil War, Black Widow sides with Iron Man in the Sokovia Accords conflict but still refuses to view Captain America as an enemy, even going out of her way to travel to Peggy Carter's funeral to comfort Rogers. She tries to warn Rogers not to oppose the accords or interfere with the Winter Soldier, but he refuses to listen. During the battle at the German airport, she mainly fights against Ant-Man and Hawkeye, the latter of which she still remains friends with despite the conflict. When Steve and Bucky attempt to use a plane to confront Zemo, she allows them to go and stops Black Panther from pursuing them. After she was reported for her betrayal, she is forced to disappear from the government's eyes and warns Stark about his upcoming actions.[14]

In Avengers: Infinity War, Black Widow is now a fugitive sporting blonde hair and a member of Steve Rogers' fraction of Avengers. They attempt to protect Vision from Thanos' forces in Wakanda and fight off Thanos' children. When Thanos wipes out half of the universe, Black Widow was one of the few heroes to survive the purge.[15] In the events of Avengers: Endgame, Romanoff is with a group of Avengers to take the Infinity Stones from Thanos once they tracked him to Titan II, learning that he destroyed them before he is killed by Thor. Five years later, Romanoff now a de facto leader of the remaining Avengers tracks Clint Barton, now a ruthless vigilante in Tokyo and convinces him to rejoin the team in their mission to undo Thanos' actions by obtaining past versions of the stones, with the two of them going to Vormir to obtain the Soul Stone. When the decision to sacrifice a loved one is presented before them, Romanoff and Barton engage in a brief scuffle over who should do it before the former sacrifices herself for Barton to obtain it. Due to the nature of how the Soul Stone is acquired, Romanoff's death cannot be undone by the Infinity Gauntlet.

Romanoff will next appear in Black Widow which will explore her activities that took place in the time gap between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.

Marvel Mangaverse[edit]

She appears in the New Dawn arc where The Executioner and she are hired by Mordo to kidnap Bruce Banner. They manage to succeed in doing so, with her escaping with Bruce while Tigra is dealing with The Executioner intent on keeping the reward for the job herself. However, during her escape, Bruce turns into The Hulk and destroys the submarine they were in, presumably killing her.[volume & issue needed]

Marvel Zombies[edit]

Black Widow is among the Avengers who are infected by the Sentry in Marvel Zombies vs. the Army of Darkness. She is seen consuming a Yorkshire Terrier puppy.[volume & issue needed] Later, in the original Marvel Zombies series, she is among the zombies who attack the Silver Surfer.[volume & issue needed]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

File:Ultimate Comics Black Widow.jpg
Black Widow as she appears in Ultimates. Art by Brian Hitch.

Under the Ultimate Marvel imprint Natasha Romanova is a member of the Ultimates, this universe's analogue of the Avengers. She debuted in Ultimate Marvel Team-Up No. 14 (June 2002) in a story written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Terry Moore, before becoming one of the major characters in writer Mark Millar and penciller Bryan Hitch's The Ultimates, debuting there in No. 7 (September 2002).

Romanova is a former KGB spy and assassin, code-named the Black Widow, known for killing her ex-husbands, notably Alexi Shostakov.[16] She was originally part of the Ultimates' covert operations ("black ops") team, but with the emergence of the Chitauri threat was subsequently moved to public status after a publicly acceptable background was written for her.[17] She has genetic or cybernetic enhancements making her far better in combat than the average human. After accepting a marriage proposal from Tony Stark, she receives a black suit of Iron Man armor as an engagement present, along with a set of nanites to control the armor.[18]

Romanova is later revealed as a traitor—claiming that she betrayed the Ultimates because she feels that America has turned her country into a collection of drug-runners and prostitutes—responsible for killing Hawkeye's wife and children, revealing Bruce Banner's connection to the Hulk to the public, helping to frame Captain America as a traitor, and collaborating with the Liberators in their invasion of the United States. After she murders Edwin Jarvis and holds Stark hostage in an attempt to extort his fortune, Stark activates the nanites in her bloodstream, freezing her body in place, before knocking her unconscious with a wine bottle.[19] She appears later in an emergency clinic, having cut open her wrists to bleed out the disabling nanites. Hawkeye kills her in revenge for her part in the murder of his family.[20]

By Ultimates 3 #1 a sex tape between Natasha and Stark has been leaked to the public. According to Janet Pym, the tape is of unknown origin and seems to have been professionally done with "close ups". Stark is shown to be in a state of depression over Natasha's betrayal and subsequent death.[21] It is later revealed that one of the Ultrons calling himself Yellowjacket had leaked the tape.[22] During the Brotherhood's attack on the Stark Mansion, Mystique shapeshifts into Natasha to get close to Tony in an attempt to kill him but is knocked unconscious by Wasp.[23]

What If?[edit]

In What If? Age of Ultron #3, where Thor was killed, Natasha becomes the new wielder of Mjolnir to hold off an assault by the World-Serpent in Thor's absence.


  1. 1872 #1-4
  2. Age of Ultron #2
  3. Earth X #0
  4. Earth X #5
  5. Civil War: House of M #2 (Dec. 2008)
  6. House of M: Avengers #2 (Feb. 2008)
  7. House of M #6 (Nov. 2005)
  8. The Ultimates 2 #2
  9. Iron Man 2 (2010 film)
  10. The Avengers Prelude: Fury's Big Week Vol 2-7
  11. The Avengers (2012 film)
  12. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014 film)
  13. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015 film)
  14. Captain America: Civil War (2016 film)
  15. Avengers: Infinity War (2018 film)
  16. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #1-2
  17. Ultimates #7
  18. The Ultimates 2 #2
  19. Ultimates 2 #8
  20. The Ultimates 2 #12 (Aug. 2006)
  21. Ultimates 3 #1
  22. Ultimates 3 #4
  23. Ultimates 3 #2

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