Warning! Spoilers ahead for Black Widow #5 from Kelly Thompson and Elena Casagrande
The latest issue of Marvel Comics’ Black Widow reveals the person Natasha Romanov trusts most in the Marvel Universe: Bucky Barnes the Winter Solider. Natasha is dealing not only with the discovery that a team of villains brainwashed her, but that they also gave her a new life and false happy ending, complete with a fiancé named James and two-year old son named Steve. While the villains’ original intention was to keep her complacent so as to keep her out of their plans, Natasha soon remembers her old life. This leads to a tragic and intense brawl with these villains, but it also reveals a surprising truth about Natasha.
In Black Widow #5 from writer Kelly Thompson with art by Elena Casagrande, Black Widow has just witnessed her new family getting killed by the Weeping Lion, who fires a rocket at their safe house where they are sleeping. Natasha, Yelena Belova, Hawkeye, and the Winter Solider have all been planning a means of evading the villains to get Natasha’s family to safety, but their deaths mean that it is time to strike back. Hawkeye and both Black Widows quickly and effectively go to work dispatching all of the agents Madame Hydra sent their way, while also taking care of Weeping Lion, Snapdragon and Red Guardian (whom Natasha allows to go free). However, Bucky Barnes’ Winter Solider is noticeably absent from the fight, and it’s revealed at the issue’s end the important reason why.
Thankfully, it is revealed that James and Steve actually survived, and Weeping Lion merely shot a holo-projection Natasha and Bucky had created. This way, Black Widow’s enemies will believe that her family is dead, while Bucky manages to sneak them out and set them up in a safe house that not even Natasha knows about. Black Widow doesn’t ask Bucky for the location either, as it’s the only way to keep James and Steve safe. Despite the fact that James had implanted memories and Steve was artificially conceived using their shared DNA, Black Widow’s true feelings for them still remain. Likewise, her inability to be with them might as well mean that they have been killed. Remarkably, Natasha actually lets herself mourn and be vulnerable, collapsing into Bucky’s arms, proving that he may be the only one the Black Widow truly trusts.
No one else knows what Bucky did for Natasha (not even Hawkeye), and Black Widow herself confirms that he is the only one she could rely on and trust to do it. While it may dash any hopes Bucky might have for the two of them to rekindle their relationship, it’s good to see that he can still be someone Natasha can go to and be open with. She absolutely needs it, as this entire arc may just be the worst experience she’s ever had. Natasha was given elements of joy and happiness that she probably never thought she’d enjoy, only for them to be revealed as fabricated and ripped away from her all at once, leaving real pain and loss in their wake.
Winter Soldier just became one of the most important people in Natasha’s life in this issue, and it’s evident that his role isn’t going to end anytime soon, even if their romantic relationship has been justifiably put on pause. Regardless, Bucky has one thing that no one else in the Marvel Universe has: Black Widow’s trust. That’s a hard thing to earn in his and Natasha’s line of work, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be squandering it anytime soon as her journey continues in Marvel Comics.