Anonymous said: Does Natasha have any female friends that she works or hangs out with?
Natasha’s had several friendships stop and start— historically Marvel has had a problem keeping a female lead book going long enough to develop and sustain friendships beyond one issue or run. And for whatever reason, comics tend to remember Natasha’s romantic entanglements with men more than her connections with other women. Her two-second, after the fact affair with Hercules is what Champions flashbacks always show, not the friendship she made with Darkstar, a fellow Soviet defector.
So, let’s see: the first Marvel Knights series had Natasha develop a deep friendship with Dagger that’s not been referenced since. In the second volume she worked with Helen Kim, a non-costumed SHIELD agent who disappeared after that series was axed at issue #6. Marjorie Liu planned on bringing Natasha in to be a mentor in X-23, but the book was cancelled before she could write that arc. (Liu also pitched a series about Laura, Natasha, Elektra and Mystique that never got picked up.)
Natasha and Sharon Carter had a few team-ups that spun out of Brubaker’s Captain America run, including Captain America and the Secret Avengers by kellysue, but Sharon is dead now and no one outside of Steve’s book seems to have noticed. Natasha was a complicated influence on Rikki Barnes in Nomad: Girl Without a World and the associated backups, but Rikki’s dead now too.
Natasha: Why didn’t you call me yourself? I found out from cage.
Angela: I didn’t want to impose— you’ve already helped me—
Natasha: Hurting the Chaeyi? No imposition at all.
Angela: You’re right, Natasha— I didn’t think I’m sorry.
Natasha: Don’t let it happen again.
Natasha was a huge encouragement to Angela Del Toro when she was starting out her hero career in tamorapierce's White Tiger mini, but Angela’s fallen into comicbook limbo. A+X #2 showed Natasha making a connection with Rogue and implied the two now hang out regularly, but like everything else it’s never left that issue. (I guess Rogue’s been dead recently, too.) Natasha took Crystal of the Inhumans to a superhero theme night at a pizza buffet/all-male revue once during the nineties, but, okay, I can see why that’s never been revisited.
The central premise of the current Black Widow series is that Natasha doesn’t let herself take days off. She takes extracurricular missions, instead. And one of the major consequences in this story is the isolation that she creates for herself, and how that lonliness frays her. Natasha keeps parts of herself compartmentalized; she can be a difficult person to know. But she is also nosy and meddling and driven to help people who tug at her.
Natasha’s major SHIELD contact right now is Maria Hill, and they share a subtle, professional relationship that is one of the highlights of the current book for me.
Natasha: And you think I can succeed where you failed?
Maria: I am not paid for uncertainty, agent. Do your thing.
In the wider MU, Natasha shares a developing friendship with Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew. This started in Avengers Assemble, has been nodded to once in the main Avengers title, and is now a key component of the ongoing Secret Avengers series.
Jessica: Can we do this every month, until, like, the next major catastrophe happens and everyone has to go beat up some aliens somewhere again?
Natasha: We can do this even twice every month. Wars never last. It’s going to be back to business as usual. Then we get more massages.
I’m not totally thrilled with Jessica’s characterization in that book, but I am totally thrilled to see a friendship like this survive more than one author. Maybe we’ll see Natasha pop up in Jessica’s just-announced book, eventually.Panels from White Tiger #6, Black Widow #5 and Secret Avengers #1.