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Black Widow is the Best Avenger

The Avengers are ready to storm theaters and bring audiences the comic-book crossover event most fans could only dream of, but with so many heroes, gods and supersoldiers assembling from across half a dozen different movies, the question remains: who’s the best Avenger?

It's time to pick sides. Join both Player Affinity Movies and Comics in making the case for each member of the Avengers as truly being Earth’s mightiest hero.

Sean and Steven want to remind you to keep ladies first when picking your favorite Avenger. Her skill set might be the least unique of all the Avengers, but the Black Widow is a self-made badass and the lone lady on a team of dudes with serious egos. So all the ladies put your hands up and all the guys, well, priorities gentleman, priorities.

Real Name: Natalia Alianovna Romanova or more commonly, Natasha Romanoff
Played By: Scarlett Johansson
Previously Played By: Vanessa Marshall (The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, 2010-?? TV)

Abilities/Skills: Black Widow is a expertly trained espionage agent and the product of a secret Russian program to create the perfect operative. She is a master of martial arts, marksmanship, assassination and infiltration. She has also been subjected to a medical treatment that keeps her body in peak condition for decades.
Arch Nemeses: Red Guardians (ex-husband). Yelena Belova
Love Interest(s): Bucky Barnes, Hawkeye, Daredevil ... the list could go on (see her nickname), but let's stop there.

First Comic Appearance: Tales of Suspense Vol. 1 #52 (1964)
Comic Re-imaginings: In the Ultimates, a re-imagined Black Widow is eventually exposed as a traitor to the team. Given that the Marvel movies borrow a lot from the Ultimate Universe, should the Avengers trust her in this film?

Best Comics Issue/Moment: In Ultimates #8, Black Widow leaps from one building over to another, catching a sniper rifle dropped from a helicopter and using it to save Hawkeye from three alien agents. In Captain America #619, Black Widow tears her way through ex-KGB spymasters to rescue Bucky Barnes from a secret Russian gulag. Natasha's lovers aren't just interested in her looks. They're also interested in how she tends to save their lives.

Feature Film Appearances: Iron Man 2 (2010)
Notable TV or Video Appearances: The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes (2010), Ultimate Avengers (2005)
Memorable Movie Quote: (after proving to Tony she can speak Latin) "It means you can either drive yourself home or I can have you collected."

Strengths of the Movie Interpretation: Johansson gets such a small role in Iron Man 2, but she commands all the attention in each of her scenes, even as the undercover girl from legal, Natalie Rushman. Looks will do that. Johnasson plays Black Widow so understated that we’re just waiting for her to emerge as a badass the entire time. The fight choreography on display as she breaks into Justin Hammer’s facility in pursuit of Whiplash is the best in the film, introducing a more acrobatic and “Bourne”-like style to the Marvel universe that’s simply mesmerizing. It appears the new “Spider-Man” film will utilize similar moves. Spiders will be spiders. ~Steven

Weaknesses of the Movie Interpretation: Black Widow's Russian origins definitely seem downplayed in the movies' interpretation. Instead, she comes off more as just one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s top agents, which is still impressive, but a step down infamous Russian super-spy. To be fair, Iron Man 2 didn't really have the room to flesh out her character and give audiences the full picture. Hopefully The Avengers will make up for it. ~Sean

Why Black Widow Is the Best: It's easy to be impressive when you're a Norse god, gamma-radiated or wearing billions of dollars worth of military hardware. Black Widow keeps up with people like this purely on her own level of badassness. She has to be the best, because it's her intelligence and skill that makes her an Avenger. There's no de-powering or disarming the Black Widow. Strip her down naked and she could still... well, that train of thought just ... Anyway, Black Widow = badass. The best. ~Sean

She makes this sausage fest of a super squad a hell of a lot more interesting. ~Steven

Weaknesses: Black Widow is not an ideal frontline fighter. Her lack of power makes her vulnerable to things many of her teammates would shrug off or survive. Being out in the open is being out of her element. Much of her tactics require that her opponents either underestimate her or simply do not see her coming. Put her in the sights of a threat who knows what she is capable of and you've put her at a serious disadvantage.

Why Black Widow is Better Than Captain America: In a lot of ways, Black Widow is Captain America's Russian counterpart. The difference is that she didn't need a Super Soldier Serum to become so formidable. She trained to become what she became and earned the treatment that has kept her going for decades. No disrespect to Steve Rogers, but Natasha is what she trained a lifetime to become. It didn't take any magic juice to get here where she is.

Why Black Widow is Better Than The Hulk: You couldn’t have two more different heroes or fighting styles; all of Hulk’s weaknesses are Natasha’s strengths. Whereas The Hulk goes crazy causing serious collateral damage and can be spotted from 10 miles away, Black Widow is discrete, poised and deadly. Her intelligence matches Bruce Banner’s, but Bruce has a tendency to not to filter his thought process when he’s angry.

Why Black Widow is Better Than Thor: Look at that hair. Those golden locks are getting out of control in The Avengers. Black Widow could give the God of Thunder some tips on how to keep that mane managed and groomed.

One Thing We Hope Black Widow Will Do in The Avengers:

Based on some early clips we know she has her own moments to shine, but it’s the groups scenes that I’m worried about. She needs to hold her own with boys and hopefully she gets some opportunities to show why her skills make her an asset to the team. ~Steven

Yeah, I've hopped back on that stripping naked train. But seriously, I know I would geek out if she spoke a little Russian in the new movie. And I would go absolutely nuts if we get a scene between her and Captain America where she shows signs of recognizing a picture of his old friend Bucky Barnes. ~Sean


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