Page 45 Review by Stephen
Bang, bang, bang. Science fiction at its swiftest.
Like Ellis own GLOBAL FREQUENCY this contains six self-contained bursts of frantic covert activity which rely not one jot on any previous knowledge of this series or who these people are.
As drawn by MOON KNIGHTs Alex Maleev, the time-travel episode starring the Russian superspy Black Widow was so jaw-droppingly clever (and funny, and sad) that I read it three times, each time gleaning an extra nugget of clever. I think there may be one crucial panel missing or at least a button that needed pressing on camera but still
Its all gone catastrophically wrong: against overwhelming odds and some seriously high-tech weaponry, the Secret Avengers have failed. Sharon Carter, Steve Rogers and War Machine are dead. Reluctantly the Black Widow retreats five years into the past taking with her a responsive time-travelling device seemingly designed to tease her to death with hints about what she can and cant do. What she cannot do is materialise behind the bad guys three minutes before she left with a bloody big gun.
The flow of time must be preserved.
What she can do is use her knowledge of the past to her maximum advantage and change time in such a way that it appears not to have changed at all
to fill in the gaps, as it were, with what she wants to happen. It is, as I say, ridiculously clever, right down to where the Shadow Council originally sourced their high-tech weaponry from. Its all so self-fulfilling, Natasha cleaning up after herself beautifully. On top of that theres a stand-out sequence of three-panel daily syndicated newspaper strips called The Black Widow designed to look time-aged and repurposed with new captions in the word balloons just as Natasha herself is repurposing history.
In addition, Michael Lark provides some magnificent city snow scenes in Symakaria (borders on Latveria, Serbia and Transylvania, geographical fact fans) with the sort of rough textures we all loved in GOTHAM CENTRAL, while at the other end of the spectrum Jamie McKelvie (PHONOGRAM, SUBURBAN GLAMOUR, X-MEN: SEASON ONE) delivers a subterranean, futuristic cityscape on a breathtaking scale with the clairest of lignes imaginable.