Natalia Alianovna Romanoff – AKA Black Widow – Original Avenger (spoilers)

Warning: Endgame spoilers begin right away. See the movie first! Black Widow

Natlianovna Romanoff, better known in the U.S. as Natasha Romanoff, Black Widow, Avenger, Agent of SHIELD, and former KGB Assassin. These are the only known occupations of this founding member of the Avengers.

Romanoff’s Early Life

Born in 1984s Soviet Russia, Natasha’s early life remains a relative mystery. It is known she was recruited into the KGBs Red Room Academy, where she received training in spycraft, including combat with and without weapons.

According to leaked SHIELD/HYDRA documents, leaked by Agent Romanoff herself during the fall of SHIELD and the destruction of the Triskelion, the late Director of SHIELD (Nicholas J. Fury) took notice of the master assassin in the mid-late 1990s. At this point, Agent Clint Barton was dispatched to locate and terminate Natasha, code-named Black Widow. Agent Barton persuaded Director Fury to recruit and facilitate her defection from the Soviet Union.

Code Name Black Widow as an Avenger

Black Widow’s activities pre-defection paint her as a clear enemy of the U.S., but her loyalty post-defection clouds the initial analysis. Her membership among the Avengers — indeed —  her presence as a Founder of the group of heroes, solidify her status as an ally for most.

Romanoff was instrumental in the destruction of SHIELD and exposure of HYDRA. She was a part of the Avenger’s failed counter-operation to stop Ultron’s destruction of Sokovia, and as a result, an initial signer of the Sokovia Accords,  regulating the activities of so called “enhanced” individuals, primarily the Avengers themselves.

While obeying the new Accords and helping track down and stop the illegal activities of Steve Rogers/Captain America, Romanoff broke rank and betrayed the task force, ultimately becoming a fugitive, disappearing from intelligence agency sight.

While on the run, the Black Widow continued vigilante operations with Captain America, resurfacing in Wakanda during the first battle with the alien Thanos. For the next five years after The Decimation, Romanoff became the leader of what remained of the Avengers, no longer counted as a fugitive.

Black Widow Post Snap – AKA The Decimation

Finally, according to sources close to the Avengers, during the successful mission to return The Decimated, Natasha Romanoff sacrificed herself on an alien planet, in a time before our own, in order to obtain a necessary piece of equipment to reverse the decimation.

The Black Widow was not able to fight in the Battle of the Returned at the destroyed Avengers facility. Romanoff is survived only by her team of heroes.

A memorial service is to be scheduled in the days following the private funeral of her fellow Avenger Tony Stark.

RIP Natalia Alianovna Romanoff, 1984-April 26, 2023/2014.

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Mark Ruffalo Sneaks in a Hulk Movie

We’ve had two prior Hulk movies no one was happy with, and then Avengers rolled around. [pullquote position=”right”]Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk was the one we’ve been waiting for, gifting us with a charming, quietly surprising underdog in his version of Bruce Banner.[/pullquote] His friendship with Tony Stark enchanted, matching Robert Downy Jr.’s alpha male character unassumingly, while Banner’s tender, unexpected, and  tentative relationship with Black Widow was satisfyingly organic (if completely up in the air at this point).

Suffice to say Ruffalo could sell the big green goods in a way no one since the 1970s could, when the combo of Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno touched us via small screen.

All well and fine. So, will we finally we get a proper Hulk stand-alone movie? Apparently there are rights issues. Spiderman had rights issues, and it worked out eventually with Marvel’s Civil War and Homecoming. But at this point in the MCU (Phase Whatever), I’m not sure a Hulk standalone would fit. He’s shown up in an outstanding co-starring role for Thor: Ragnarok, and Hulk’s story will continue through Avengers 3 and 4 (the Infinity Wars).

According to this quick interview below, Hulk gets a “mini-movie” snuck in, spread out over the course of other Marvel ensembles. I guess we’ll have to be content with that. If Ruffalo is fine with it, we can be too.

So…for Thor 3 – Ragnarok…Rotten Tomatoes has it rated among the highest-rated Marvel films yet. Our two RunPee Ragnarok reviews (here and here) rate it in the A to A+ range, and we agree it’s a magnificent addition to the MCU. [pullquote position=”right”]Thor’s Ragnarok is hysterically weird and beautiful, with a great plot and stylish characterization.[/pullquote] It’s also got a direct lead-in to Thanos’ big entrance. A must-see before Avengers – Infinity Wars!

Where the Hulk will continue his “mini-movie” is anyone’s guess, now that we know Bruce and the Green Guy are at dire odds in their uneasy connection.  We’ll probably see Bruce Hulk out again…but at what cost?

How would you continue — or possibly end — this story? And will a Black Widow romance be a part of it? We find out part of these answers during the first part of Avengers: Infinity Wars. Soon, friends, soon.

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