Welcome to VOCIFERY, my attempt to re-watch every piece of media in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – every movie, every television series, every one-shot, every web series, and every tie-in comic book, using the Wikipedia entry on the MCU as a guide, before the release of Avengers 4 in May 2019. Join me as I write my thoughts about what I’m seeing, as I see it!
Also, spoilers follow – if you’re worried about that kind of thing, view before reading.
Marvel’s The Avengers: Fury’s Big Week tie-in comic (2012)
Marvel’s The Avengers: Black Widow Strikes tie-in comic (2012)
Another pair of tie-in comic series are next on the list – and like the last two, it’s another mixed bag, with one series being very much a prequel that leads straight in to the next movie (The Avengers), and the other a much more detached story in the vein of what you might get in any series about the character.
The first, of course, is Fury’s Big Week, a series of eight remarkably short issues that tell the story of the build-up to the events we see in The Avengers, starting with Fury assigning Coulson to take care of Stark in Iron Man 2, and ending with him assigning Hawkeye to keep an eye on Selvig and his research with the tesseract.
To be honest, like First Vengeance (the Captain America: The First Avenger prelude) I actually thought this was another strong story. It was interesting to me to see how a few of the bits and pieces fit together, and filled in a few gaps in interesting ways. For example, the comic book establishes that Black Widow was in Brooklyn during the Hulk-Abomination battle at the end of The Incredible Hulk, even encountering Samuel Sterns after his transformation into a version of The Leader.
The book also establishes that the events of The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2 and Thor – plus the discovery of Steve Rogers in the ice near Greenland – all takes place in a relatively short space of time (though unlikely a week, as the title would suggest).
It’s nice, too, for some of these minor characters – Black Widow, Hawkeye, Coulson – to get a little padding in their back story, turning them into more substantial figures in the universe at large. You see Coulson taking advise from Hawkeye, and you see Black Widow helping out Fury, and they all start to feel integral to everything that is going on.
Black Widow Strikes, on the other hand, didn’t feel like it justified its existence.
In fact, it is a fairly straight-faced spy-vs-spy tale that doesn’t feature too many connections to everything else – and those primarily come in the form of appearances by Coulson, Fury and the name Stark. It operates simply as a standalone story about Black Widow, and it’s fine, but it doesn’t add anything of substance to the universe itself.
But I guess the question is whether Black Widow is an interesting character in her own right at this point. So far, she has appeared in Iron Man 2 and in a handful of tie-in comics; but is she an interesting character because she is an interesting character, or is she an interesting character because of her role amongst these gods and superheroes that we find her interacting with most, especially in The Avengers.
I’m tempted to argue the latter. But then all the recent talk of a standalone Black Widow movie – as well as Mark Waid’s run on the character in 2016 and 2017 – has me excited about her away from everything else. Maybe this book just didn’t do it for me.
Either way, the tie-in comics continue to be very hit-or-miss. We’ve got one of each here.
Next: The Avengers (2012) and Item 47 one-shot!