So as we’ve seen if you’ve been following along the last few weeks, although the Black Widow had been hanging around the Avengers for what seemed like forever, she’d never actually joined the team. So what spurred to Natasha to finally formally join up and become an Avenger? As it turns out, of all things, it was actually more of a rebound thing. Let me explain.
By May of 1973, Black Widow had been shacked up with, believe it or not, Matt Murdock, a.k.a. Daredevil, for nearly a year, with the two of them living in superheroic domestic bliss in San Francisco. That is, until DAREDEVIL AND THE BLACK WIDOW #99 (yes, Natasha even got co-cover billing for a while), when someone shows up on their doorstep to throw a wrench in the works. And who else could it be but Br’er Hawkeye:
Clint, having just quit the Avengers, wants Natasha back, and he’s not prepared to take no for answer:
(By the way, “up your horns” may be one the best insults I’ve ever heard Hawkeye say, although admittedly it only works on Daredevil.)
When Hawkeye pressures Natasha to choose between them, things get ugly fast:
After the two brawl for a while, Hawkeye leaves, and DD and the Widow have a bit of a tiff:
As bad luck would have it, just as Hawkeye arrives for Round 2, they’re met by the Avengers, arrived looking to recruit Daredevil (although why everyone goes to Matt Murdock’s house looking for Daredevil is a little unclear).
Hawkeye storms off, while DD and the Widow agree to tag along with the Avengers to face Magneto (long story, don’t ask.) After defeating Magneto, the Avengers invite both Daredevil and the Widow to come aboard as full-time members, and while Daredevil declines, Natasha accepts, much to DD’s surprise:
So, yeah, the Black Widow basically joins the Avengers to get out of a relationship, in the first-ever superhuman example of “It’s not you, it’s me.” In her first official appearance as an Avenger in issue #111 (May 1973), Natasha finds herself at home with the Avengers right away, and certainly seems to enjoy the accommodations:
Honestly, Natasha’s early contributions to the team tended to be a lot of sitting around posing seductively:
And in fact, by the end of her first official adventure with the team, she’s already decided to quit:
After her day-and-a-half-long tenure with the Avengers, Natasha returned to San Francisco and Daredevil, but that wound up not lasting much longer either, and soon Natasha Romanova finds herself in sunny Los Angeles, applying for a job at UCLA teaching Russian.
The beginnings of a quieter, less exciting life for the Black Widow?
Not exactly. But we’ll get to that next week.