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Quote1 How many more jobs... How long will it take... I don't know if I can do it... Even if I could forgive myself... This is what I am now. And you'll never know who I was before. Quote2
Black Widow[src]

Natalia Alianovna Romanova (English: Natasha Romanoff; Russian: Наталья "Наташа" Альяновна Романова) a.k.a. Black Widow (Russian: Чёрная вдова) was a former Russian KGB agent.[28] She was trained by the "Red Room" as part of the Black Widow Ops Program to be the ultimate "Super-Spy".[29] She defected to the United States of America from the Soviet Union to join S.H.I.E.L.D.[27] Later the Black Widow would become a member of the Avengers and has been on the team on multiple occasions.[30] She is a woman with a mysterious past which few know about.[5]


Natalia Romanova (Earth-616) and Ivan Bezukhov (Earth-616) from Black Widow Deadly Origin Vol 1 1 001

The infant Natasha being raised by Ivan Petrovich after her mother died

Early Years[]

The exact year and location for the birth of Natalia Romanova is unknown, as is who her parents were. It has been rumored that Natasha (whose name in Russian is: Наталья Романова, Наташа Романова, Наталья Романова-Шостакова) was somehow related to the last ruling czars of Russia, but this rumor was never proven.[31]

Raised by a Foster Father[]

There are varying accounts of Natasha's early life. One account states that in 1928, there was a fire in Stalingrad which burned down the building that the infant Natasha and her mother were living in.[31] According to the account, just before dying in the fire, Natasha's mother threw her out the window to a Russian soldier below. The soldier's name was Ivan Petrovitch, and he watched over Natasha for her entire life, remaining by her side as her "foster father".[31] Another account dates the fire to the autumn of 1942, during the Battle of Stalingrad.[32]

While Natasha was under Ivan's protection, Baron Strucker abducted Natasha and presented her to the organization of assassins called the Hand in Madripoor.[33] Natasha had in fact been working under orders from an mysterious source and her "abduction" was to lead her into pretending to become a Master Assassin for the Hand when, in reality, she was to assassinate their Jonin. Logan learned of this and killed the Jonin instead while also freeing Captain America under the guise of rescuing Natasha.[34] According to this account, Natasha then grew and matured, proving herself to be an amazing athlete and scholar, while gaining distinction in the U.S.S.R. as a ballerina.[33]

Black Widow Ops Program (Earth-616) from Winter Soldier Vol 1 7 001

Red Room training

The Red Room[]

Another account establishes Natasha as being raised from very early childhood by the U.S.S.R.'s "Black Widow Ops" Program in addition to Ivan Petrovitch's care. Petrovitch was said to have taken her to Department X with 28 other young female orphans, where she was trained in combat and espionage at the covert "Red Room" facility. There, she was bio-technologically and psycho-technologically enhanced; an account that provides a rationale for her unusually long and youthful lifespan. In this account she never really trained in ballet in the Bolshoi Theatre, having instead been implanted with artificial memories of doing so.[35]

Regardless of which of these accounts (if any) is accurate, eventually it was arranged for Natasha to marry Alexei Shostakov, a distinguished Soviet test pilot.[28] She was later blackmailed into agreeing to act as a spy when her husband's life was threatened.[36]

The KGB[]

The Soviet Union's government intelligence organization (the KGB) decided that Natasha and Alexi's skill sets would make them both superb special operatives and split them up while Alexi was away on a mission. Trained as the Red Guardian, Alexi became the Soviet Union’s answer to the United States' Captain America. Natasha was told that her husband had died in an experimental rocket crash.[37][28] She was drafted into the KGB and became their best operative, becoming excellent at fighting and information gathering. During this time, she had some training under the Winter Soldier and they started a secret relationship. After an incident during an assassination operation, Barnes was deemed unstable and put in cryostasis whenever he was not needed for a mission, leaving Natasha devastated when she found out.[38][39]

Natasha later saved Logan from Hydra assassins when he surfaced in America without any memories of his past.[40] She encountered the man again sometime later when she was on a KGB mission to stop three unknown American spies (Logan, Carol Danvers, and Ben Grimm) from stealing Russia's Red Storm Project.[41]

Early Clashes with Iron Man[]

Natalia Romanova (Earth-616) from Tales of Suspense Vol 1 52 001

Original costume

The Black Widow was assigned to assist Boris Turgenov in the assassination of Professor Anton Vanko for defecting from their country by infiltrating Stark Industries in America.[42] Tony Stark, the original Iron Man, continually foiled her schemes against Stark Industries.[43] Natasha later met the novice archer Hawkeye and set him against Iron Man,[44] and later helped Hawkeye battle Iron Man.[45] Unfortunately, Hawkeye's association with Russian spies would label him a criminal in his early career.[44] The Black Widow and Hawkeye next clashed against the novice super-hero Spider-Man.[46] They resumed their focus on Tony Stark, clashing with Iron Man twice more - the first being an attempt to raid Tony Stark's munitions plant.[45]

When that mission ended in failure, she was taken back to Russia by her masters and given a new costume that allowed her to scale walls as well as a device that allowed her to fire lines to swing from. She once more attempted to get Hawkeye to help her destroy Iron Man. The pair almost succeeded, but when the Black Widow was injured, Hawkeye retreated to get her to safety.[47] During this period, Natasha was attempting to defect from the Soviet Union and began to feel love toward Hawkeye, weakening her loyalty to her country. When her employers learned the truth, they had her gunned down, sending her to a hospital, convincing Hawkeye to go straight and seek membership in the Avengers.[48]

Association with the Avengers[]

Captured by her masters again and brainwashed, the Black Widow was forced to hire the Swordsman and Power Man to destroy the Avengers.[49] This plot eventually failed when the Avengers defeated both of the villains and Natasha shook off the effects of the brainwashing.[50] Attempting to make amends with the group, she assisted them against the racist group known as the Sons of the Serpent.[51]

Having been granted amnesty, Natasha made a bid for membership in the Avengers, aiding them in their battle against the Ultroids.[52] She threatened to kill their leader Ixar if he did not leave Earth, winning the victory; however, Hawkeye covered up this fact so that she could get membership in the group even though she violated their code of ethics regarding killing.[53] However, when Nick Fury hired her to spy on her former master on behalf of S.H.I.E.L.D., she was forced to decline membership with the Avengers and publicly broke off her relationship with Hawkeye.[54] As part of her mission, the press branded her as a traitor, breaking Hawkeye's heart.[55]

Arriving in China, the Black Widow was not easily trusted and subjected to the Psychotron, a machine that could brainwash anyone.[56] She proved to be too strong-willed and had to be gassed and kept locked up.[57] Learning that Natasha was now a prisoner of her former Communist masters, the Avengers traveled to China to rescue her, clashing with the Red Guardian, Natasha's ex-husband who was thought to be dead.[58] The Avengers, with the help of Natasha, defeated the Communists' plot to use the Psychotron against the Western world. During the course of the battle Natasha was injured and the Red Guardian seemingly perished in the battle.[37]

After time recovering in the hospital, Natasha returned to Avengers Mansion and came to the decision to give up her career of costumed adventuring.[59] This proved to be short-lived as she returned to super-heroics shortly thereafter;[60] however, her romance with Hawkeye became strained as he was usually too busy with Avengers business to pay attention to her.[citation needed]

Fed up with staying out of action, the Black Widow accepted another assignment from S.H.I.E.L.D. to prevent Egghead from using an orbital platform to hold the world for ransom. She was captured, prompting Hawkeye (who still loved her) to use Hank Pym's growing formula to become the new Goliath and rescue her.[61] She aided the Avengers in stopping Egghead, although it ended in the seeming death of both Egghead and Goliath's brother Barney.[62] After a prolonged absence, the Black Widow eventually ended her relationship with Goliath.[63]

Going Solo[]

Black Widow Vol 8 2 Black Widow Timeless Variant

New costume

Natasha was not able to avoid super-heroics for long and, after designing a new sleek black costume and adapting her bracelets with electric "Widow's Bites", she sought to prove herself a capable adventurer by besting Spider-Man in battle. Although Spider-Man was ill with the flu and not at his full capacity at the time, he was still able to beat the Widow; however, she resolved to continue her career as a costumed adventurer.[36]

She mostly clashed with underworld figures and costumed villains during this period, notably the Astrologer and the Watchlord.[64]

Partners with Daredevil[]

The Black Widow soon became a pawn manipulated by the computer known as Baal from the distant future of Earth-71778. In that reality, mankind was wiped out and the past history of Daredevil and the Black Widow played a crucial role in this event. This ultimately led to a long relationship and partnership between the two heroes, but it eventually came to an end.[65]

Nancy Rushman[]

While working with S.H.I.E.L.D., the Black Widow was briefly captured as part of a Hydra plot to infiltrate and brainwash the organization, causing her to regress to an old cover identity of teacher Nancy Rushman. Fortunately, she was discovered and rescued by Spider-Man, subsequently working with him, Nick Fury, and Shang-Chi to defeat their plan; she even admitted that the Nancy identity was attracted to Spider-Man after the crisis was over, even if she preferred to retain her independence.[66]

The Champions of Los Angeles[]

She co-founded the Champions of Los Angeles after they had successfully foiled a plot by Pluto to invade Olympus.[67] The team soon disbanded due to bankruptcy, and Natasha attempted a partnership with Hercules without success.[68][69]

Solo Again[]

After these two failures, Natasha decided to stay on her own and freelance as an agent for a while.[citation needed]

It was during this time that an enemy from her time alongside Daredevil kidnapped Ivan to lure her to her death. Damon Dran planned to bring Natasha to his island so a small army of female combat specialists could destroy her. Once she was out of the way, he would send a fake Black Widow back to S.H.I.E.L.D. to assassinate Nick Fury. Unfortunately for Dran, Natasha defeated the army, saved Ivan, and notified Fury (who in turn bombed Dran's island).[70]

Black Widow Vol 4 1 Textless

From Russia with Love

On a freelance mission, the Black Widow attempted to prevent the Hand from stealing the long-dead body of their Master Warrior, Kirigi.[71] Utilizing deadly poisons, Natasha was killed by the Hand. She was revived by Stone of the Chaste and joined forces with Stone and Daredevil to stop the Hand from reviving Elektra. Natasha knew that they had failed in this endeavor but kept the information from Daredevil for his well-being.[72]

On a mission, Natasha found her husband Alexei Shostakov alive. Little did she know that it was only a Life-Model Decoy created by Russian agents to blackmail her back into the service of Mother Russia. Once she finished the tasks they gave her, the Russians told her the truth and attempted to kill her. With Ivan's assistance, she defeated the Russians and destroyed the LMD.[73]

Iron Man teamed up with the Black Widow to prevent an agent named “Oktober” from attempting to start World War III by launching missiles. The missiles were launched, but Iron Man kept them from detonating. Oktober ended up actually being Natasha under some old KGB reprogramming that had been dormant in her mind. Together, they captured the agent responsible.[9]

An Avenger[]

Natalia Romanova (Earth-616) from Avengers Strikefile Vol 1 1 001

From her time as Avengers co-leader

In time, the Black Widow came back to the Avengers and became a co-leader, managing ops at home base while the Black Knight led in the field. When the majority of the Avengers were killed during the Onslaught saga, the Black Widow attempted to form a new line-up alongside Hercules and Quicksilver. However, the Widow's initial attempt to recruit her old teammates from the Champions met with failure, as both the Iceman and the Angel were too busy with the X-Men to join the Avengers (with the Iceman also believing that the public blamed the X-Men for the death of the Avengers in the first place, which would bring the Widow's new line-up negative publicity if he or the Angel were involved). Her subsequent prospects fared no better, with the Beast, Ant-Man, the She-Hulk, Moondragon, and War Machine all either turning her down or having unreasonable demands (with Moondragon in particular wishing to become the new leader of the team). The situation only got worse when Quicksilver angrily resigned over a proposed U.N. resolution that would collectively blame the entire mutant race for Onslaught's actions. When two Congressmen filed a motion to nullify the government's agreements with the team, Natasha ultimately decided to disband the Avengers and turn the mansion over to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s supervision. She always felt as if the Avengers' dissolution was solely her fault.[74]

The Black Widow then vowed to apprehend all of the Avengers' former foes and ran into Daredevil while hunting the Grey Gargoyle. Matt feared for her mental state as he noticed how obsessive she became about bringing the Gargoyle down.[75] As he attempted to help her, his girlfriend, Karen Page, became increasingly more angry and jealous.[76] Natasha acknowledged Matt's love for Karen and left them to be together.[77] Later, Natasha would even offer to help Karen clear her name from a murder that Mr. Fear had framed her for.[78]

Once the Avengers who were thought killed returned, Natasha was more relieved, but decided to work with S.H.I.E.L.D. instead, assisting them in destroying Freedom's Light by pretending to be Ebon Flame.[2]


Daredevil came into her life once again when he needed her to take care of Baby Karen, who he believed to be the Antichrist.[79] He eventually came back to attempt to kill the child, and Natasha stood in his way. While they were fighting, Bullseye killed the child and Natasha was badly beaten.[80] Upon the child’s death, Matt realized what he was doing, and he and Natasha reconciled. While she could admit that she still cared for him, they both decided that they could never be together.[81]

Another Russian agent claimed the mantle of the Black Widow, which brought her up against Natasha. Yelena Belova tried to keep Natasha from retrieving the Deathless Frenzy but failed.[29]

A short time after, Natasha captured Yelena and had their faces surgically swapped in an effort to find out what General Stalyenko was doing with the Rhapastani government in the Hudson River Valley.[82] After meeting with whom he thought was Yelena, Stalyenko figured out that it was not really her and attempted to kill her.[83] Even though her plan failed, Natasha was able to prevent Stalyenko from selling the Cold War nuclear weapons he was hiding in the valley to Rhapastan.[84]

The government of Bulgaria later captured Madame Hydra and requested an exchange with the United States for the Black Widow. As part of a sting to find out who it was that was going to allow Natasha to be exchanged, Daredevil and S.H.I.E.L.D. teamed up with Natasha and found out that her husband, Alexi, had orchestrated the entire exchange. Alongside the Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., and Daredevil, Natasha took Alexi into custody.[85]

Widow's Hunt[]

Black Widow Vol 3 1 Textless

The stress of seeing her once-dead/once-living/once-dead/once-robot/now-alive-again husband drove Natasha into retirement. She lived for a short time in Arizona before agents from the Red Room began tracking down ex-Black Widow agents and killing them. Natasha recruited Phil Dexter, an associate from S.H.I.E.L.D., and attempted to track down the killers. In her hunting, she found Sally Anne Carter[86] as well as Lyudmila Antonovna Kudrin, who was the former head of biotech for the Red Room. It turned out that the Black Widows included 27 other girls trained to be perfect killers. They were implanted with false memories, psycho-chemically conditioned, and chemically enhanced to be loyal and perform perfectly for the program.[87] Even pheromonal locks and keys were implanted into the Black Widows as a control mechanism to keep them from rebelling. While taking Lyudmila to S.H.I.E.L.D., Natasha learned that Nick Fury had used the pheromonal keys to make her defect from her home country and begin working for S.H.I.E.L.D. She also learned that Sally Anne was kidnapped, and Phil was killed in the process.[88]

The trail of the Black Widow killings led to Vassily Ilyich Ulyanov from the Red Room and Ian McMasters, the CEO of Gynacon. Natasha caught up to them on his yacht and killed them, making her the number one most wanted criminal in the United States.[88]

Natasha sought help from Yelena Belova in Cuba. Yelena was running a lingerie company and softcore pornography television channels at the time. In return for a place to stay, Yelena asked Natasha for help in exporting stolen medical supplies from Miami. To her surprise, Natasha found the medical supplies to be from Gynacon and that Sally Anne was actually taken by the Mafia.[89] The Kestrel and Martin Ferris captured Natasha in Miami and attempted to alter her mind using drugs to find out what she knew. With the help of Yelena, Daredevil rescued Natasha, who then tracked and killed the Kestrel and Ferris. In all the madness, Natasha learned that Sally Anne had been experimented on by Gynacon but had escaped.[90]

Secret War Vol 1 4 Textless

Natasha during the Secret War

Nick Fury's Secret War[]

The Black Widow was assigned to track down the Tinkerer in an effort to find the financier behind the super-villains of America. Disguised in a burqa, she tracked the Tinkerer to the castle of Lucia von Bardas, the current prime minister of Latveria. Unfortunately, the President refused Fury's request for a S.H.I.E.L.D.-focused overthrow of von Bardas. Forced to act alone, Fury gathered the Widow, Captain America, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Daredevil, Wolverine, and Daisy Johnson to overthrow von Bardas. Unfortunately, the heroes disapproved of bringing down Castle Doom down on von Bardas. Afterwards, Fury erased the memories of the non-level 10 participants in his Secret War.[91]

Daredevil Goes to Jail[]

When Matt Murdock's identity as Daredevil was leaked to the press, the government came to arrest him along with Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Foggy Nelson. Natasha was able to keep everyone but Matt from going to jail.[92]

Civil War and Initiative[]

During the Superhero Civil War, Natasha became a supporter of the Superhuman Registration Act and a member of the task force led by Iron Man.[93] Afterward, Natasha allowed herself to be registered and joined the reconstituted Avengers.[93]

Natalia Romanova (Earth-616) and James Barnes (Earth-616) from Captain America Vol 5 42 001

Reunited with Bucky

Natasha, still one of the world’s most sought-after espionage agents alive, was recruited by Iron Man and Ms. Marvel to be on the newest team of Avengers alongside the Sentry, Ares, the Wasp, and Wonder Man. When S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Tony Stark was presumed killed and Deputy Director Maria Hill was incapacitated, Natasha assumed temporary command of S.H.I.E.L.D. as the highest-ranking agent present.[94]

Natasha was among the Avengers infected along with hundreds of other New York citizens by a symbiote virus, but were cured by Iron Man. Natasha became very suspicious of Jessica Drew, who was later discovered to be the Skrull impostor Veranke.[95]

During this time, Natasha had also restarted her relationship with Barnes, who was still alive and had recovered all of his lost memories, now being the new Captain America.[96]

Black Widow Deadly Origin Vol 1 2 Textless

The Thunderbolts[]

Natasha assumed the identity of Yelena Belova to infiltrate Norman Osborn's Thunderbolts for Nick Fury.[97] Osborn discovered her breaking into an abandoned S.H.I.E.L.D. facility and offered her the position of field leader. On her first mission, she and Ant-Man took control of Air Force One with the Goblin, Doc Samson, and the new President aboard.[98] Osborn began impersonating Fury in messages to set Natasha up in order to strengthen the Thunderbolts and lead him to Fury.[citation needed]

Osborn ordered her to lead the current Thunderbolts to kill former Thunderbolt the Songbird. Fury ordered "Yelena" to rescue and retrieve the Songbird for the information that she might have possessed about Osborn and his operations. Natasha found the Songbird and revealed to her that she was really Natasha Romanova in disguise. She tried delivering the Songbird to Fury, but the Thunderbolts had also followed them.[99] The trio was captured as Osborn revealed that he had been impersonating Fury in messages all along. He ordered the team to execute Natasha and the Songbird, but they managed to escape when Ant-Man, the Headsman and Paladin turned on the rest of the Thunderbolts and let them go. After being rescued by MACH-V and the Fixer, they learned that the Fury that Osborn had shot was actually an LMD.[100]


Black Widow Vol 6 12 Textless

Natasha was framed in a plot targeting global spies. She was accused of assassinating U.S. Senator Whit Crane. The Senator's son, Nick, was captured by a rival spy named Fatale, who wanted to know his source for implicating Natasha. Natasha stole Nick away from her and took him to a secret CIA base to scare him into giving her his source instead. The plan backfired when both of them were attacked. Natasha and Nick escaped, but while in Poland they were attacked by Fantasma and the Crimson Dynamo. Natasha took down the Crimson Dynamo, but then Fatale showed up and knocked out Fantasma. Fatale revealed that she was hired to kill Whit Crane but found he had already taken his own life and she needed to use Nick to track down who had actually paid for the hit. Nick gave them the name of a source, "Sadko" (not his true source of info), but when they arrived it was a trap wired with explosives and they were forced to escape. The conspiracy against spies turned out to be wider and Natasha encountered the Mockingbird and Hawkeye on the same trail in Russia where they found many trainee spies and a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent had been killed. Soon Perun, the Crimson Dynamo, Fantasma, and Sputnik showed up to apprehend Hawkeye, believing him to be the Ronin behind the spies' deaths. Discovering that this was merely a diversion, the three heroes and Dominic Fortune alerted the true target: an ambassador in St. Petersburg, Russia. They next traveled to Japan, Dominic and the Mockingbird discovering an amassing battle force on the Russian coast near the northern Japanese islands, while Natasha and Hawkeye tracked down "the Madame", an old ninja working with the new Ronin to bring about this Russian attack. The four heroes met up on the disputed island "Iturup" where they met the Ronin, who was revealed to be Alexei Shostakov. His plan was to kill off world intelligence operatives, leaving countries blind while he made his attack, and brought the four heroes to him so he could kill them. Shostakov set off the volcano on the island, but Natasha and the others used the lava to defeat his forces. He was defeated when Natasha showed Fantasma his true plan and Fantasma then hypnotized him into seeing Natasha's death, allowing the real Natasha to take him down.[101]

Again An Avenger[]

After the Siege of Asgard, the Black Widow joined Commander Rogers' new Secret Avengers. Sometime later, when Stark Tower was rebuilt, she joined the Avengers' main team and even had a room there. She played a vital role in helping Spider-Man foil the Sinister Six's latest scheme when she, Spider-Man and Silver Sable were the last heroes left standing after the Six defeated the rest of the Avengers (albeit because she was the Avenger closest to Sable's cloaked plane).[102]

During the Avengers' war with the X-Men, Natasha sided with her fellow Avengers. After the war, she was called upon to join the primary Avengers squad.[103] Several months later, when S.H.I.E.L.D. took over the Avengers to find the Illuminati and bring them into custody, the Black Widow left the team and joined Sunspot's Avengers.[104] When the Illuminati and the Avengers set their differences aside in light of the imminent destruction of the universe as a result of the Multiversal phenomenon known as an incursion, the Black Widow was tasked with bringing selected people aboard the Future Foundation's Life Raft.[105] When the final incursion was coming to a close, the Widow's ship was damaged and Natasha seemingly died in the ensuing explosion.[106]

Secret Empire[]

Following the eventual restoration of the Multiverse,[107] Natasha left the Avengers and returned to a life of espionage. The Black Widow was forced to betray and defect from S.H.I.E.L.D. when a new adversary nicknamed the Weeping Lion blackmailed her.[108] In an ensuing mission, Natasha discovered the existence of a Dark Room Academy founded by the Red Room's former Headmistress.[109] After turning the tables on the Weeping Lion and getting him to work for her,[110] the Black Widow further investigated the Dark Room.[111] She managed to stop an assassination attempt in the White House from Dark Room recruits,[112] and subsequently prevented the Headmistress' daughter Anya from compromising S.H.I.E.L.D., freeing the remaining recruits from the Dark Room's grasp, driving them to a path of recovery, and clearing her name in the process.[113]

When Hydra abruptly conquered the United States guided by the hand of Captain America, or rather a twisted fascist version of him that had secretly taken his place due to a Cosmic Cube, the Black Widow joined the last line of resistance, the Underground.[114] Having grown tired of the Underground's reluctance to take the extreme approach to end Captain America even after his regime had leveled Las Vegas, Natasha parted on her own to kill Rogers. She was followed by the Champions, who joined her enterprise in an attempt to talk her out of murdering Captain America.[115]

Natalia Romanova (Earth-616) from Secret Empire Vol 1 7 01

The Black Widow's death

Over the course of the following weeks, Natasha trained the Champions in hopes to prepare them for the grim future while scheming her murder plot.[116] The Black Widow also planned to kill Captain America herself to lift the burden from Spider-Man's shoulders, as a vision projected by an Inhuman profiler named Ulysses Cain had predicted that the young hero was going to murder Rogers. Unfortunately, the intervention of a Hydra agent delayed the execution of the Black Widow's plan, which gave Spider-Man enough time to confront Captain America alone. While Steve and Spider-Man were trading blows, the Black Widow stepped in for the boy's safety, taking a hit from Captain America's shield which broke her neck. Enraged, Spider-Man beat up Captain America severely. The Wasp stopped him and convinced him to follow Natasha's wish that he would avoid becoming an assassin like her.[25]

The Red Ledger[]

Taking advantage of the original the Black Widow's death, the Black Widow Ops Program created a clone of her. Unbeknownst to her handlers, she retained all the memories of her former self thanks to Ursa Major the Man-Bear having bribed Epsilon Red, the Red Room operative in charge of granting Red Room clones selected memories from their original selves. Her superiors tasked Natasha with targeting the remnants of both Hydra and S.H.I.E.L.D.,[26] which drew the attention of her former lovers, Hawkeye and the Winter Soldier.[114][117]

Weeks later, the Black Widow delved into the secrets of the Red Room and found out about their cloning program and learned in the process that she was a clone herself. Natasha was urged by Ursa Major to destroy the Red Room, so she started working behind the scenes against her handlers. When Natasha was ordered to kill former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Sally Blevins, she used an amnesiac clone of Yelena Belova to fake Blevins' death. After the Winter Soldier and Hawkeye caught sight of her, Natasha had another clone of Belova impersonate her in order to mislead the heroes.[26] Eventually, Natasha killed one of her handlers, Alexander Cady, and pinned his death on the Winter Soldier to make the Red Room believe that he was on their trail, which prompted her superiors to send her to deal with him.[26] Natasha revealed herself to Clint and Bucky after abruptly killing the Orphan Maker,[118] then used their disbelief and trust in her former self to trap them in a Red Room safe room in order to prevent them from interfering further with her work.[26]

The apparent disposal of both Hawkeye and the Winter Soldier, as well as Cady's death, allowed Natasha to rise to the ranks of Commander. She influenced the Red Room recruits to secretly turn them against their masters. Natasha's plan came to an abrupt end when Clint and Bucky tracked her down to the Red Room base. The discovery by her superiors that the two heroes were still alive forced Natasha to drop her cover. She killed her superiors, liberated the recruits and killed all of the clones as well as Epsilon Red. When the authorities arrived at the scene, the Black Widow had made her escape. She left her former lovers two notes, one for Hawkeye asking him to stop looking for her, and another to the Winter Soldier inviting him to join her in her endeavors to end the Red Room.[119]

Infinity Countdown[]

With the world still unaware of her existence, the Black Widow spent a few weeks traveling by freighter to arrive in Madripoor off the grid. Upon arriving, she went on to check her dead drop due to a signal, secretly left by a mysterious Logan, only to learn that he had left the Space Stone under her care.[120] Since the Black Widow could only use the stone to teleport within her line of sight, she could not teleport directly to New York, where she intended to seek out Doctor Strange's help. Natasha started making small jumps, and when she reached London, she was targeted by Jamie Braddock. Despite evading his pursuer with no problem, Natasha decided to take him down since he had enchanted several children to use as hounds. After taking down Jamie, Natasha was approached by Merlin, who lent her a portion of his power so she could teleport directly to Manhattan.[121]

Missing Memories[]

Natasha started to lose some of her memories and at the same time a woman started to watch her. She consulted Tony Stark about her memories and he told her that the easiest way to restore them would be to find the source. She had several violent encounters with important people from her life when she was following relatives of her old supervisors from the Red Room, where the mysterious woman set her up before finally confronting her when thinking Natasha was all alone, revealing herself as Anya. In truth, however, all of those fights with her friends were staged to set up Anya herself. The resulting fight ended with Anya in custody and Natasha having her memories restored by Tony Stark.[122]

The Ties That Bind[]

One night, while returning home, Natasha noticed that her apartment had been breached. As she entered through her window, she was taken down by tranquilizers and abducted by Hydra forces led by Madame Hydra. Under their custody, her DNA was mixed with the DNA of a stranger, a man named James Grey, to create a genetic son. Natasha and James' minds were then manipulated to form fabricated memories and make them believe that they were in love and engaged. After three months of leading a false life with her "fiancé", Natasha was seen in the background of a news report by Clint Barton and Bucky Barnes, and they came searching for her. Meanwhile, Yelena Belova started posing as their babysitter, Helen.[123][124]

After some Hydra associates barged into her home, Natasha subconsciously used her decades of training to defeat them. During the attack, she regained all of her memories, and (with the help of Clint, Bucky and Yelena) took James and their son, Stevie, to a safe house. The group that abducted her, including Madame Hydra and a few others, then went on the offensive, aiming to kill her since their plans of mind manipulation had backfired. After Bucky helped Natasha fake the deaths of James and Stevie, the group of heroes finally faced Madame Hydra and the other masterminds, successfully defeating them, although Madame Hydra managed to escape.[125]


Natasha is a professional and sly agent who will get any job done regardless of the difficulty. She went from being one of the best operatives in S.H.I.E.L.D. to a super-hero. She held her own as a part of the Avengers for years, even leading them for a time; however, she does not belong with the super-hero community due to her helping S.H.I.E.L.D. Nevertheless, she will keep her word by being behind the scenes or assisting the Avengers if needed. Despite Natasha being a super-hero, she will always resume her mission to be a spy. Nick Fury commented on Natasha that "running in the shadows is what she was born to do."[126]


Power Grid[159]
:Category:Power Grid/Fighting Skills/Master: Several Forms of Combat:Category:Power Grid/Energy Projection/Single Type: Short Range:Category:Power Grid/Durability/Enhanced:Category:Power Grid/Speed/Normal:Category:Power Grid/Strength/Peak Human:Category:Power Grid/Intelligence/Learned


The Black Widow's powers, abilities and strength level can vary due to a broad degree of artistic license employed by various comic book writers and artists. Below is a broad list of super-powers and feats that the Black Widow has shown over her more than five decades of comic appearances. If you wish to add more or discuss improvements to this section, please head to her powers' discussion page.

Artificially-Enhanced Physiology: Natasha was biochemically enhanced through the Black Widow Ops Program when she was an infant. She received the Red Room's version of the Super-Soldier Serum[127] that was created by Dr. Lyudmila Kudrin to enhance her immune system, bodily condition, and longevity.[128][27] Nick Fury's intel classified her as Power Level 7,[126]

  • Peak Human Strength: Natasha's physical strength is enhanced, enabling her to consistently Overhead press 500 pounds (226 kilograms).[127]
  • Peak Human Speed: Natasha's speed is that of an Olympic athlete,[129] enabling her to run at speeds of 32-36 mph.[130]
  • Enhanced Durability: Natasha's body is enhanced to withstand greater physical injuries than normal humans.[127][5] She has also withstood blows from superhumans like Imus Champion,[131] explosions,[132] and managed to continue fighting after being shot.[133]
  • Peak Human Endurance: Natasha is extraordinary resistance to physical pain. She once resumed functioning in spite of her undergoing unbearable surgery without anesthesia.[134]
Natalia Romanova (Earth-616) from Fear Itself Black Widow Vol 1 1 0001 (2)

The Black Widow dodging gunshots from Rapido's weapon

  • Peak Human Reflexes: Natasha’s reflexes are similar to those of an athlete.[130]
  • Peak Human Stamina: Natasha’s stamina is similar to that of an athlete.[130]
  • Peak Human Healing: Dr. Kudrin theoretically stated Natasha's wounds heal five times faster than the average human rate.[24]
  • Enhanced Immune System: The Black Widow has been enhanced by biotechnology that has slowed her aging and augmented her immune system.[135]
  • Enhanced Longevity: The serum extends Natasha's lifespan and youth, resulting in her maintaining the appearance of a young woman despite being born many decades ago.[33][135]

Red and Black Symbiote Costume: A supposed offspring of the Venom symbiote discovered at a destroyed factory. The symbiote gave Natasha the same powers used by Venom and its offsprings and, by extension, Spider-Man.[136]


  • Master Martial Artist: Natasha has mastered many fields of hand-to-hand combat including aikido,[8] judo,[138][8] karate,[138][8] savate,[8] boxing,[8] and various other martial arts.[8] She fought Wolverine during her training in the Red Room Academy.[31] She was able to hold her own against other dangerous opponents like the Winter Soldier,[38] Elektra,[139] and the Punisher.[140]
  • Master Acrobat: Natasha is an extraordinary skilled gymnast, acrobat, and aerialist.[5]
  • Master Assassin: Natasha is heavily skilled in assassination techniques. She uses her skills as a martial artist, acrobat, and spy to further enhance her skills as an assassin. She has been sent by both S.H.I.E.L.D. and the KGB to eliminate numerous enemies.[42]
  • Weapons Expert: Natasha is an expert with most weapons.[8]
  • Expert Vehicular Driver: Natasha is an expert at operating most vehicles.[8]
  • Disguises Expert: Natasha is an expert with disguises.[8]
  • Multilingual: Natasha is fluent in Russian,[141][111] English,[142] French,[143] German,[31] Chinese,[86][144] Japanese,[86] and various other languages.[28][5]
  • Learned Intelligence[8] Natasha possesses the ability to quickly process multiple information streams, such as threat assessment, and rapidly respond to changing tactical situations.[24]
  • Graceful Dancer: Natasha is a profound ballet dancer.[145]
  • Talented Hacker: Natasha can hack into all computer systems without tripping any firewalls or security with ease.[111]
  • Master Seductress: Natasha is an expert in the field of seduction. She has been infamously known to bend many different men to her will and sometimes even get them to do her bidding for her. She sometimes continues deceiving certain men through means of acting if she still has a further use for them.[142]
  • Master Spy: Natasha is a dangerous secret agent trained in espionage, stealth, disguise, infiltration, and demolitions. She is capable of killing in cold blood when the need arises. Her talents and years of experience have enabled her to reach a high-ranking position as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D..[86]
  • Webbing-Slinging: Widow Symbiote could produce organic webbing to swing through large areas.[146]

Additional Attributes

Infertility: While not an encumbrance to her performance, the serum and biological modifications made to Natasha's physiology grant her impressive resilience; however, the effects of a highly efficient immune system inhibit her reproductive capabilities, rendering pregnancy impossible.[128]



Costume Specifications: Synthetic stretch fabric which has been augmented to be highly resistant to damage from even small arms fire and high temperatures. Microscopic suction cups on her costume allow her to scale walls and cling to ceilings, just as her namesake.[5]


The Black Widow's Gauntlets: The Black Widow's gauntlets are wrist cartridges containing various tools of the spy trade: tear-gas pellets, a radio transmitter and the ability to fire a 100-foot spring-loaded cable.[5] The gauntlets also include a "Widow’s Bite" which is capable of stunning an opponent and emitting highly potent electric shocks with a maximum of about 30,000 volts at the range of at least 20 feet.[5] The functions of the gauntlets are activated via sensors keyed to her wrist musculature.[8]

Belt: Natasha has often won a belt of metal discs or cartridges that contain plastic explosives, equivalent to four pounds of TNT.[147]


Natasha uses her Widow's Line, a grappling hook with a retractable line, to swing along rooftops for increased mobility.[147]


  • Despite the Black Widow having been introduced in 1964, it was not until 35 years later in 1999 that the Red Room was established as a part of her backstory in Black Widow #1.


See Also

Links and References


  1. Avengers: Roll Call #1: "Natasha" is the informal version of the name "Natalia," and is used by her close associates. Sometimes she has chosen to Anglicize her last name as "Romanoff." She has dropped her married name of "Shostakova."
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Journey Into Mystery #519
  3. Black Widow (Vol. 2) #13
  4. White Tiger #6
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #1
  6. 6.0 6.1 Giant-Size Hulk (Vol. 2) #1
  7. Champions #7
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 8.13 8.14 Avengers: Roll Call #1
  9. 9.0 9.1 Iron Man #277
  10. Mighty Avengers #11
  11. 11.0 11.1 Avengers (Vol. 3) #2
  12. Captain Marvel (Vol. 10) #6
  13. Black Widow (Vol. 3) #2
  14. Marvel Team-Up #82
  15. Black Widow (Vol. 8) #3
  16. Black Widow (Vol. 3) #3
  17. Daredevil #82
  18. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Daredevil 2004 #1
  19. 19.0 19.1 Symbiote Spider-Man: Alien Reality #1
  20. Avengers (Vol. 8) #28
  21. Savage Avengers #12
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 Shadows & Light #1
  23. 23.0 23.1 Black Widow (Vol. 4) #4
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Black Widow (Vol. 3) #5
  25. 25.0 25.1 Secret Empire #7
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 26.4 Tales of Suspense #103
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 Civil War: Battle Damage Report #1
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 Black Widow: Deadly Origin #2
  29. 29.0 29.1 Black Widow #1
  30. Avengers #111
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 31.4 Black Widow: Deadly Origin #1
  32. Daredevil #88
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 Uncanny X-Men #268
  34. Wolverine: Origins #16
  35. Black Widow (Vol. 3) #46
  36. 36.0 36.1 Amazing Spider-Man #86
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 Avengers #44
  38. 38.0 38.1 Captain America (Vol. 5) #27
  39. Captain America and Bucky #624
  40. Wolverine (Vol. 2) #-1
  41. Before the Fantastic Four: Ben Grimm and Logan #1
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 Tales of Suspense #52
  43. Tales of Suspense #5253
  44. 44.0 44.1 Tales of Suspense #57
  45. 45.0 45.1 Tales of Suspense #60
  46. Untold Tales of Spider-Man #17
  47. Tales of Suspense #64
  48. Avengers #12
  49. Avengers #29
  50. Avengers #30
  51. Avengers #3233
  52. Avengers #36
  53. 53.0 53.1 Avengers #37
  54. Avengers #38
  55. Avengers #39
  56. Avengers #41
  57. Avengers #42
  58. Avengers #43
  59. Avengers #46
  60. Avengers #57
  61. Avengers #63
  62. Avengers #64
  63. Avengers #76
  64. Amazing Adventures (Vol. 2) #18
  65. Daredevil #81124
  66. Marvel Team-Up #8285
  67. Champions #13
  68. Champions #17
  69. Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #17
  70. Marvel Fanfare #1113
  71. Daredevil #187188
  72. Daredevil #189190
  73. Black Widow: The Coldest War #1
  74. Avengers 1999 #1
  75. Daredevil #361
  76. Daredevil #362
  77. Daredevil #371
  78. Daredevil #375
  79. Daredevil (Vol. 2) #2
  80. Daredevil (Vol. 2) #4
  81. Daredevil (Vol. 2) #8
  82. Black Widow (Vol. 2) #1
  83. Black Widow (Vol. 2) #2
  84. Black Widow (Vol. 2) #3
  85. Daredevil (Vol. 2) #6164
  86. 86.0 86.1 86.2 86.3 Black Widow (Vol. 3) #1
  87. Black Widow (Vol. 3) #45
  88. 88.0 88.1 Black Widow (Vol. 3) #6
  89. Black Widow 2 #12
  90. Black Widow 2 #56
  91. Secret War #15
  92. Daredevil (Vol. 2) #7780
  93. 93.0 93.1 Civil War #3
  94. Mighty Avengers #13
  95. Mighty Avengers #78
  96. Captain America (Vol. 5) #42
  97. Thunderbolts #134
  98. Thunderbolts #128
  99. Secret Warriors #7
  100. Thunderbolts #135136
  101. Widowmaker #14
  102. Amazing Spider-Man #684
  103. Avengers (Vol. 5) #1
  104. Avengers (Vol. 5) #38
  105. Black Widow (Vol. 5) #19
  106. Secret Wars #1
  107. Secret Wars #9
  108. Black Widow (Vol. 6) #2
  109. Black Widow (Vol. 6) #4
  110. Black Widow (Vol. 6) #6
  111. 111.0 111.1 111.2 Black Widow (Vol. 6) #7
  112. Black Widow (Vol. 6) #8
  113. Black Widow (Vol. 6) #12
  114. 114.0 114.1 Secret Empire #1
  115. Secret Empire #2
  116. Secret Empire #36
  117. Tales of Suspense #100101
  118. Tales of Suspense #102
  119. Tales of Suspense #104
  120. Infinity Countdown #1
  121. Infinity Countdown: Black Widow #1
  122. Web of Black Widow #15
  123. Black Widow (Vol. 8) #12
  124. Black Widow (Vol. 8) #4
  125. Black Widow (Vol. 8) #35
  126. 126.0 126.1 126.2 126.3 Secret War: From the Files of Nick Fury #1
  127. 127.0 127.1 127.2 Mighty Avengers: Most Wanted Files #1
  128. 128.0 128.1 Black Widow (Vol. 3) #56
  129. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (Vol. 2) #2
  130. 130.0 130.1 130.2 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition #25
  131. Black Widow (Vol. 4) #5
  132. Black Widow (Vol. 6) #5
  133. Daredevil (Vol. 2) #63
  134. Black Widow (Vol. 4) #1
  135. 135.0 135.1 Iron Manual Mark 3 #1
  136. 136.0 136.1 Venom (Vol. 5) #26
  137. Venom (Vol. 5) #28
  138. 138.0 138.1 Amazing Adventures (Vol. 2) #6
  139. Black Widow (Vol. 4) #3
  140. Punisher: War Zone (Vol. 3) #2
  141. AVX: Vs #3
  142. 142.0 142.1 Tales of Suspense #53
  143. Daredevil #105
  144. Avengers (Vol. 3) #43
  145. Black Widow (Vol. 3) #4
  146. Venom (Vol. 5) #27
  147. 147.0 147.1 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #2
  148. Avengers: The Initiative #8
  149. IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes Retrieved on 26 February 2019.
  150. Black Widow as the 42nd top Avenger at IGN's official site
  151. Daredevil #84
  152. Winter Soldier #1
  153. Mighty Avengers #3
  154. Wolverine Files #1
  155. Black Widow (Vol. 5) #113
  156. Marvel Knights #1
  157. Daredevil (Vol. 2) #64
  158. Women of Marvel: Celebrating Seven Decades Handbook #1
  159. Avengers: Roll Call Vol 1 1