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The Dark Room Academy was created by Recluse, the daughter of the Red Room Academy's former Headmistress, as the Red Room's successor. A privately funded school for child assassins with no ties to the government, unlike it's antecessor.[1]

Red Room alumni Black Widow was ambushed and stabbed by one of the Dark Room's test subjects while looking for old files on the Red Room in its abandoned facility in Russia on behalf of the Weeping Lion, who was blackmailing her.[2] Natasha was rescued and nursed by Iosef, a retired former instructor of her, who revealed to her the existence of the Dark Room. Natasha proceeded to infiltrate the Dark Room, where she was confronted by Recluse and the Headmistress. They gave her the files willingly, as they were of no use for them, and Natasha's procurement of the files ensured she could live another day to confront Anya.[3]

The original complex in Russia

Following their encounter with Black Widow, the Dark Room was moved to Greenland to prevent themselves from being found again. However, Black Widow tracked them down with the help of the Weeping Lion, whom Natasha got to work for her, and set out to shut it down and free its subject so nobody had to endure what she did in the Red Room.

Black Widow and the Weeping Lion infiltrated he new facility, and they came across Recluse and the Headmistress, who revealed every operative had been deployed to get them out of Natasha's reach. When the Weeping Lion attempted to use his telepathic powers on the Headmistress to get information on the location of the Dark Room's pupils, the Headmistress killed herself. Recluse mourned the death of her mother and was left behind as Black Widow and Weeping Lion left the building.[1]

Recluse later tracked down five of the Dark Room's pupils, who had been captured by the Weeping Lion's cousin.[4] Paired with her pupils, Anya attacked a S.H.I.E.L.D. base located in Antarctica named Friendship which played a key role in mantaining the integrity of the entire organization. Black Widow attempted to stop Anya's six pupils from stealing the set of keys held by the base's staff necessary to activate its self-destruct mechanism, but failed and was ultimately confronted by Anya herself, who had taken up the mantle of Headmistress.[5]

Headmistress held Natasha by the neck with a wire and presented her with an ultimatum, she either killed one of her pupils before they could turn the keys at the exact same instant or S.H.I.E.L.D. was destroyed. Black Widow distracted Anya by shooting a sting from her gauntlet at the clock they were using as reference to turn the keys and slipped away, running to a switch and activating the base's emergency flooding. When Natsha emerged from the current, she was confronted by Headmistress' pupils, and tried to convince them to deflect their master, arguing she truly didn't care for them as she was willing to force Natasha to kill one of them. Headmistress emerged shortly after and tried to drown Natasha's words. The girls let them fight, releasing the platform where they were standing into the water current.

Headmistress and Natasha continued fighting, and Natasha let Anya fall to her death when they reached the pipe's end. When Natasha moved back to the upper levels of the base, the pupils helped her out. Anya had survived the fall and followed Natasha. When Anya prepared to fight Natasha, Black Widow walked away to let the pupils decide whether they helped or turned against Headmistress. Anya failed to convince the pupils to return to her side, and they beat her up, later taking her outside the base, where she was detained by S.H.I.E.L.D. Tony Stark later arranged for the orphans to be handled by a foster-child program, and also pre-funded each girl's schooling.[6]

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