Natalia Romanov (also known as Natasha Romanoff) is a Russian femme fatale who served the USSR as a spy, assassin, and saboteur. She first appeared in 1964 in Marvel Comics’ Tales of Suspense Vol. 1, #52. Natasha, introduced with the code name Black Widow, is a highly prized asset in the Russian spy network.
In Natasha’s first appearance (we’ll use her more commonly known name), she is dressed in the regalia of high society. Her poise and sophistication complimented her beauty and men easily fell for her. Her modus operandi was to romance her quary then perform her assigned task while she had their confidence. Such was the case in an operation to infiltrate Tony Stark’s organization to kill him and a Russian scientist who had defected.
In her first appearance, Black Widow woos Tony Stark and gets him to show her around his munitions plant. While there, her accomplice steals a sophisticated experimental armor suit and begins destroying the plant. Tony intervenes as Iron Man but in the ensuing battle, both Natasha’s accomplice and the scientist are killed. Black Widow disappears, fearing for her life. Her superiors will not be pleased with the mission’s failures. But, the Black Widow had only just begun. Over the next year, she would be reassigned to kill Stark, fall in love with the American named Hawkeye, a rogue costumed hero, and start to unravel brainwashing that will question her core identity. More in future posts.