presents The Avengers

Black Widow

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Born circa 1928, Natalia “Natasha” Romanova was apparently orphaned as a child when she was trapped in a burning building during an early attack on Stalingrad by enemy forces. Ivan Petrovitch Bezukhov, a Soviet soldier, found Natasha in the inferno and rescued her. Although Ivan kept a close eye on Natasha as she grew, by the late 1930s she had attracted the attention of Soviet intelligence, which began her training. In 1941, she was almost brainwashed into serving the ninja clan the Hand, but was saved by Ivan, Logan (James Howlett, later Wolverine) and Captain America.

Following World War II, Natasha was recruited to become part of the Black Widow Program, a team of elite female sleeper agents. Among the Widows instructors was the Winter Soldier, formerly Captain Americas sidekick Bucky (James Barnes); Natasha studied as a ballerina to cover for her true occupation. The Soviet state eventually arranged for Natasha to marry Alexi Shostakov, a champion test pilot. After a few years of a happy marriage, the KGB faked Shostakovs death in a rocket test; grief for Shostakov drove Natashas resolve deeper and she continued her education with the Red Room Academy, finally being appointed the title of the Black Widow. Natalia Romanova was born in Stalingrad, Russia and was trained as a Soviet agent. Over her lifetime she has had numerous associations with various Marvel super heroes.

After briefly being brainwashed into fighting the Avengers, she returned to Russia and broke all ties with her former superiors. When she returned to the USA, she divided her time between freelance work for Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. and informal assistance on Avengers missions against the Sons of the Serpent, the Ultroids and others. When she and Hawkeye were captured by General Yuri Brushov, she learned Alexi Shostakov still lived as the Red Guardian; he protested his employers dishonorable treatment of the Avengers and seemingly sacrificed his life to save them. Unaware Shostakov had again survived, a depressed Natasha retired from action before the Avengers could induct her as a full-fledged member, and she contemplated a marriage proposal from Hawkeye which gained more emotional impact after she briefly believed him dead; however, when Ivan Petrovitch resurfaced in the USA to again serve as her friend and confidant, Natashas spirits lifted and she broke ties with Hawkeye to pursue a solo vigilante career, fighting the Astrologer, Watchlord and others.

At one time she attempted to seduce American defense contractor Tony Stark and inevitably confronted his superhero alter ego, Iron Man. Later, Romanova eventually joins the super-team the Avengers as a costumed superhero.

Later still, she was captured and wounded by the KGB, who then brainwashed her and set her upon her Avenger allies.

Eventually, she began freelancing as an agent of the international espionage group S.H.I.E.L.D, lead by Nick Fury. She performed many missions, including a particularly dangerous one in China.

She has also had a strained romantic relationship with Daredevil (Matt Murdock), though presently they still remain good friends, but Daredevil’s dark inner turmoil is the reason they could never restart their romantic relationship.

Natasha was last romantically involved with the third Captain America, James “Bucky” Barnes until his death.

Powers and Abilities:

Government treatments have slowed her aging, augmented her immune system and enhanced her physical durability. Black Widow customarily wears two bracelets equipped to discharge the “widows bite,” high-frequency electrostatic bolts of up to 30,000 volts, capable of stunning even a superhuman opponent at a range of at least 20 feet, shoot tear gas cartridges and act as a radio transmitter. The bracelets various functions are activated by galvanic sensors keyed to Black Widows wrist musculature. At times she carries plastic explosive discs equivalent to 4 pounds of TNT in her belt and uses automatic weapons and/or combat knives as necessary.