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Quote1 I wanted you to understand, finally, what it meant to be a spy. We are not like Daredevil or the others, Yelena. We are not heroes. We are tools. And tools get used. I had to make you see that. Quote2
Natasha Romanoff[src]

Yelena Belova is a Russian superspy forged to be an exemplar Black Widow in the Red Room Academy. Obsessed with the traitorous Black Widow Natalia Romanova, Belova has undergone intensive training to surpass her idol.[4] In order to teach a lesson, Romanova designed a cruel scheme to show Belova that being a spy meant being used and it bore no glory or heroism.[10] This caused Belova to abandon her masters to walk her own path.[11]

Working as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent for a corrupt faction, Belova was severely wounded in the Savage Land. She was offered help by the outlaw A.I.M.[12] and was transformed into a Super-Adaptoid in exchange of attacking the Avengers.[6] Belova stayed involved with A.I.M. in different situations, even becoming the Minister of State of their own nation in Barbuda.[5] She met her end in a war between A.I.M. and S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Avengers.[13]

The Red Room had ways to recover their prominent agents via cloning, including Romanova and Belova. Romanova ruined their operations, but has managed to fully restore Belova to life by psychically infusing a clone with her memories.[14] Having reassumed the control over her life,[15] Belova has become an ally to Romanova and, as the White Widow, has been in charge of training young female spies to help them fend for themselves.[16]

History

Red Room[]

Yelena Belova (Russian: Елена Белова) was an exemplar trainee in the Red Room Academy. Decided to make her parents proud, she focused on becoming the best Black Widow who had ever lived.[4] Unlike most cadets, Belova underwent physical training exclusively,[17] and her test scores allegedly exceeded those of Natalia Romanova, the traitorous Black Widow.[4] In the academy, the young Belova ascended to the rank of captain, being close to her instructor Colonel Starkovsky and the physician Lika Medvedev.[2]

A turning point in her life was when her superior, General Tischenko, assigned her to investigate the bizarre murder of Starkovsky in a bondage sex club, where she was introduced to the manager, the dominatrix Nikki, who was shown to know privileged information about the Black Widow Program and Belova. Nikki revealed that Starkovsky was a regular client of her sex club and used to pay large amounts of money to have access to services from a sex worker called Petra, who wore a Black Widow costume similar to Belova's.[2] After learning of Starkovsky's bondage fantasies about her, a disturbed Belova suspected he had been killed by Petra.[18] Her suspicions were confirmed when she found the dead body of detective Golitsyn in Petra's bedroom. Upon confronting Petra, Belova learned that her insane doppelgänger had become obsessed with the Black Widow image after having access to leaked files through Starkovsky and decided to eliminate Belova to become the only Black Widow. After a confrontation, Belova was shot by Petra, but managed to overpower and eliminate her rival. Back to the Red Room Academy, Belova coped with Starkovsky's death by shutting down her emotions. She reported her success in recovering her missing files to Tischenko. As she left, Tischenko contacted Nikki, who was in fact a captain of the Red Room Academy, and discussed how Starkovsky's death was a plan to force Belova to assert herself as a Black Widow.[19]

Black Widow[]

As the Black Widow, Belova was assigned to work as Colonel Yuri Stalyenko's agent. When Stalyenko attempted to lower the barriers surrounding the Inhuman city of Attilan under the influence of Maximus the Mad, the Black Widow contacted the American agent Mister Bixby. She provided Bixby with a powerful device gifted by Maximus which would give Russia, America and other human nations advantage in their war against the shielded Attilan.[1]

When both the American and Russian governments sent Romanova after the Deathless Frenzy biological weapon in Rhapastan, Stalyenko sent Yelena from the Red Room, at her own insistence, to shadow Romanova and ensure that the serum ended up in Russian hands. For some days, Belova spied Romanova from a nearby apartment, without suspecting Romanova actually knew about her activities. Belova followed Romanova to Rhapastan, where the two Widows briefly teamed up to fight Rhapastanian soldiers, an opportunity for Belova to express her admiration and despise for Romanova. After the fight, Romanova escaped with the Deathless Frenzy samples, but was followed by Belova.[4]

Belova tracked Romanova to Zurich, where she attempted to develop an antidote to the Deathless Frenzy's effects. After being fooled into thinking Natasha was shot dead by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, Belova resumed their mission to stop Colonel Khan and the Deathless Frenzy in Rhapastan. She failed and was captured. Through the efforts of Romanova, Khan's plans were ruined and Belova was saved. Romanova then shared with the ambitious Belova that espionage work was different from super-hero activities, and, as such, passion should never be brought to it.[20]

Breakdown[]

Black Widow Vol 2 3 Textless

Face swap

In order to teach Belova what being a spy actually meant in practice, Romanova designed a complex plan in which Belova was abducted by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents under Nick Fury's orders and had her face surgically swapped with Romanova's. Left in Romanova's apartment, Belova was in shock with her new appearance, being met by Daredevil, who reluctantly took part in Romanova's plan. Wandering New York, Belova was tasked to assassinate "Yelena Belova", who was in fact Romanova wearing her appearance. Confused with her identity, Belova attacked "herself" believing to be the real Romanova.[4]

Meanwhile, Romanova contacted Stalyenko pretending to be Belova and mentioned his activities in Rhapastan regarding the trade of nukes in American soil. Realizing she was an impostor, Stalyenko pretended to accept the offer and then tasked his agents to eliminate her. In New York City, Belova was helped by Daredevil, who partially revealed their plan and helped her to reaffirm herself as Yelena Belova.[21] While Romanova met Stalyenko, Daredevil secretly had Belova watch their negotiations. Upon learning that Stalyenko regarded her as a disposable tool who was fooled into believing in patriotic ideals and in fact served his personal interests, Belova rebelled against her master and knocked him out. Subsequently, she confronted Romanova about her cruel scheme. In turn, Romanova shared that now Belova knew what being a spy truly meant. Feeling violated and comparing the ordeal to a rape of her identity, Belova ordered Romanova to reverse their identity change.[22]

Belova left the life of a spy behind her for a short time and built a lingerie empire. Based in Havana, she protected female sex workers and distributed medicine to those affected by HIV. Leaving her rivalry with Romanova in the past, she assisted her former opponent by offering a safe place for shelter when she was on the run. Belova asked Romanova for help in exporting stolen medical supplies from Miami. To Romanova's surprise, she found the medical supplies to be from Gynacon and that Sally Anne Carter was actually taken by the mafia.[23] Kestrel and Martin Ferris captured Romanova in Miami and attempted to alter her mind using drugs to find out her secrets. Teaming up with Daredevil, Belova rescued Romanova, who in turn tracked and killed Kestrel and Ferris.[24]

A.I.M.[]

Eventually, Belova resumed her activities as a spy. Working for S.H.I.E.L.D., she was part of a rogue battalion which illegally mined Vibranium in the Savage Land using slaves. When the Avengers confronted her squadron, they responded with lethal force. However, an intervening Sauron attacked the agents, severely burning Belova's body. Once in intensive care, Belova was approached by a mysterious Hydra agent who offered to restore her disfigured body and to provide her with means to have revenge for what happened.[12] Brought to A.I.M. scientists, Hydra offered Belova the powers of the Super-Adaptoid. In return, she was tasked with destroying the Avengers.[6]

Yelena Belova (Earth-616) from Thunderbolts Vol 1 130 0001

Sometime later, just prior to the wedding of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, Belova attacked the Avengers in their tower. The nature of the Adaptoid's powers made her unconquerable by her new ability to host every power she had been attacked with. Although strengthening herself with the Sentry's powers, she weakened herself by also taking in the Void's insanity. When the masterminds behind the scheme realized that Belova would probably fail in her mission, thus becoming disposable, she was terminated by the activation of remote fail-safe device.[6]

After the Skrull Invasion, Norman Osborn approached Belova when she was looting an abandoned S.H.I.E.L.D. facility and offered her to be the field leader of his Thunderbolts.[25] However, this Black Widow turned out to be Romanova in disguise, under Nick Fury's order to infiltrate the Thunderbolts.[26] Surprisingly, Osborn had in fact known all along about her true identity and used her to strengthen the bonds between his Thunderbolts and to lead him to Nick Fury and Songbird. Although Osborn failed in harming Romanova, Fury or Songbird, he managed to have access to the body of the real Yelena Belova, keeping her in the Avengers Tower.[9]

Minister of State[]

Yelena Belova (Earth-616) from Secret Avengers Vol 2 5 001

Belova was recovered by A.I.M. in the Chariot. Scientist Supreme Andrew Forson had her join A.I.M. High Council as the Minister of State in their newly formed country in Barbuda, the A.I.M. Island. As her first act, Belova declared that A.I.M.'s sovereign state was in urgent need of an army for a coming war against their opponents, in which she found support in A.I.M.'s double agent, Taskmaster, the Minister of Defense.[5]

A.I.M. got into direct conflict against S.H.I.E.L.D. and their Avengers during a weapons exposition featuring the Iron Patriot Armor. Forson and Belova arrived at the fair to steal the armor, being opposed by Daisy Johnson, Nick Fury, and Senator Rebel Ralston. With her Adaptoid powers, Belova easily overpowered A.I.M.'s enemies, slaying Ralston in the process. Victoriously, A.I.M. acquired the Iron Patriot technology for their interests.[27]

In retaliation for A.I.M. using the Iron Patriot technology to perform terrorist attacks, S.H.I.E.L.D. sent the Avengers to A.I.M. Island to execute Forson. Belova personally attacked Romanova, who was one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s operatives. Although Belova managed to mortally attack Romanova, the latter was saved by Hawkeye.[28] Another consequence of the failed mission was that the Avenger Mockingbird was left in A.I.M. Island.[29] Following the incident, Belova insisted on the need of creating an elite army to serve A.I.M. to Forson. Much to her despise, Forson attempted to flirt with her, and she violently refused his advances.[30]

When S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Avengers tried to infiltrate the A.I.M. Island again, this time to rescue Mockingbird, Belova intercepted them with a squadron of soldiers and was successful in arresting them.[31] However, after arriving on A.I.M Island, Belova was unexpectedly knocked out by Nick Fury.[32] Soon after, Belova was met by Mockingbird and the two fought each other. During the fight, they fell behind a metal gate. Upon emerging, Mockingbird was shot dead by an A.I.M. operative under Forson's orders. The Avengers took Mockingbird's lifeless body and escaped in a submarine, only to discover the deceased Mockingbird was actually Yelena Belova, who had unwillingly assumed Mockingbird's form through a holo-camouflage device the actual Mockingbird sneaked into during the fight.[13]

White Widow[]

Several clones of Belova were in the process of being grown by the reformed Red Room as part of Alexander Cady's plan to bring back their best agents to their fold in case they died. When the recently resurrected Romanova found out about the program and her own origin as a clone, she rebelled against her creators and undermined her superiors' actions since she retained the memories of her previous life. Romanova secretly activated three amnesiac clones of Belova that were being grown by the same program that gave her her life back. Romanova allegedly had murdered the real Belova so one of her clones could impersonate her.[33][34] Then, she employed a second amnesiac clone of Belova to fake the death of one of her targets, ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Sally Blevins. After being sighted at the scene by Hawkeye and the Winter Soldier, Romanova had the first clone of Belova impersonate her to throw them off. The Winter Soldier let this clone go after capturing her, but failed to get any information from her, as Romanova killed her when they met up.[33] While destroying the cloning program responsible for her existence, Romanova eliminated most of the cloned Black Widows, except for the third clone of Yelena Belova. Romanova had the psychic Epsilon Red grant the memories of the original Belova to her unconscious mindless clone, as a way to compensate for having ended Belova's life.[14]

Fully in control of her life and identity, Belova was recruited by Justin Cask to free Dr. Durst from a S.H.I.E.L.D. prison in Antarctica. She was issued a white version of the Black Widow costume and dropped off at the facility. There, she learned she had been set up, as she was there solely to be used as a practice target for Dr. Durst and his soldiers. However she found that the Red Guardian had been held captive in the prison. After freeing him, Belova escaped while the Red Guardian fought Durst's forces. After that, Belova hacked Cask's financial accounts and donated all of his vast fortune to various charities, deciding to be a hero in her own way.[15]

After learning that Romanova had been kidnapped and brainwashed into believing to live an ordinary live as an architect as well as a wife and mother, Belova infiltrated her life as "Helen", a babysitter for Natasha's son.[35] When Romanova's memories returned, Belova helped her escape her enemies.[36] Becoming Romanova's ally, Yelena Belova assumed the identity of the White Widow and the two began plans to recruit other heroes to help the Black Widow fend off her adversaries.[16]

Attributes

Power Grid[42]
:Category:Power Grid/Fighting Skills/Master: Single Form of Combat:Category:Power Grid/Energy Projection/Multiple Types:Category:Power Grid/Energy Projection/Single Type: Short Range:Category:Power Grid/Durability/Virtually Indestructible:Category:Power Grid/Durability/Normal:Category:Power Grid/Speed/Supersonic:Category:Power Grid/Speed/Normal:Category:Power Grid/Strength/Superhuman (75-100 ton):Category:Power Grid/Strength/Normal:Category:Power Grid/Intelligence/Learned

Powers

None.

Abilities

Yelena Belova was the most prominent cadet from the Red Room Academy. She proudly outmatched the marks of the renowned Black Widow Natasha Romanoff. Being extensively trained in espionage and various forms of armed and unarmed combat, she is a master martial artist with peak human condition, a highly intelligent tactician and an Olympic-level gymnast.[4][2]

Weaknesses

Although Belova's physical scores have outperformed all other cadets in the Red Room, even surpassing those of Natasha Romanoff,[4] she lacks the necessary psychological training usual for a spy.[17]

Paraphernalia

Equipment

  • Black Widow Uniform: Usually, Yelena Belova wears a bulletproof Black Widow uniform.[19]
  • Wings: Through unknown means, Belova was able to purchase a version of the Falcon's mechanical wings. Although inferior in quality, being slower and less durable than its source of inspiration, Belova was shown to comfortably fly by wearing them.[38]

Weapons

  • Black Widow's Gauntlets: Similarly to the original Black Widow, Belova wears a pair of gauntlets that fire the incapacitating energy beam known as the "widow's bite".[8][15]
  • Well versed in armed combat, Belova usually counts with a diverse arsenal of weaponry, both white arms and firearms.[4]
  • Belova is normally armed with tools of the spy trade, such as smoke-curtain-generating pellets, sleeping cyanide gas, and lockpicks.[15]

Transportation

Notes

See Also

Links and References

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Inhumans (Vol. 2) #5
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Black Widow: Pale Little Spider #1
  3. 3.0 3.1 Women of Marvel: Celebrating Seven Decades Handbook #1
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 Black Widow #1
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Secret Avengers (Vol. 2) #2
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 New Avengers Annual #1
  7. Black Widow (Vol. 2) #13
  8. 8.0 8.1 Black Widow (Vol. 2) #1
  9. 9.0 9.1 Thunderbolts #136
  10. Black Widow (Vol. 2)
  11. Black Widow 2
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 New Avengers #6
  13. 13.0 13.1 Secret Avengers (Vol. 2) #15
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Tales of Suspense #104
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Widowmakers: Red Guardian and Yelena Belova #1
  16. 16.0 16.1 Black Widow (Vol. 8) #6
  17. 17.0 17.1 Black Widow (Vol. 3) #5
  18. Black Widow: Pale Little Spider #2
  19. 19.0 19.1 Black Widow: Pale Little Spider #3
  20. Black Widow #13
  21. Black Widow #2
  22. Black Widow (Vol. 2) #3
  23. Black Widow 2 #12
  24. Black Widow 2 #56
  25. Thunderbolts #128
  26. Thunderbolts #134
  27. Secret Avengers (Vol. 2) #3
  28. Secret Avengers (Vol. 2) #5
  29. Secret Avengers (Vol. 2) #7
  30. Secret Avengers (Vol. 2) #8
  31. Secret Avengers (Vol. 2) #1213
  32. Secret Avengers (Vol. 2) #14
  33. 33.0 33.1 Tales of Suspense #103
  34. Rosenberg, Matthew (25 April 2018) Matthew Rosenberg on Twitter: "We don't say it on panel but she does end up killing Yelena. Just not on a public street." Twitter. Archived from the original on 18 September 2019.
  35. Black Widow (Vol. 8) #2
  36. Black Widow (Vol. 8) #4
  37. Tales of Suspense #8284
  38. 38.0 38.1 Winter Guard #2
  39. Brevoort, Tom (22 May 2014) She was created for the BLACK WIDOW series, and simply used in INHUMANS first. New Brevoort Formspring. Archived from the original on 24 May 2014.
  40. Morse, Ben (27 May 2020) Writer Devin Grayson on Natasha Romanoff, Yelena Belova, and the History of 'Black Widow' Marvel.com. Archived from the original on 3 July 2022.
  41. Women of Marvel: Celebrating Seven Decades Handbook #1
  42. Women of Marvel: Celebrating Seven Decades Handbook Vol 1 1
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