Real Name: Natalia “Natasha” Alianovna Romanova Known Aliases: Natasha Romanoff, Nancy Rushman, Laura Matthers, Oktober, Tsarina, Natalia Shostakova, Nadine Roman Identity: Publicly known Occupation: Adventurer, intelligence operative, former ballerina Citizenship: Former citizen of the USSR, resident in the United States under extended visa authorized by SHIELD Place of Birth: Former USSR Marital Status: Widowed (Divorced would be more accurate seeing how Alexi is still alive) Known Relatives: Unnamed parents (presumed deceased); Alexi Shostakov (Red Guardian, ex-husband)
Natalia Romanova, known to most as Natasha Romanoff, is rumored to be a relative of the Romanoffs, the last ruling czars if Russia, but nothing else is known of her family. During World War II, a Nazi assault upon Stalingrad set the building she was in on fire. A woman, possibly her mother, threw her into the arms of a Russian soldier named Ivan Petrovich before being consumed by the flames.
Ivan brought Natasha under his protection and soon had to defend her from her many enemies. In 1941, Natasha was sought by the Nazi Baron Srtucker, who presented her to the Hand to become their master assassin. She was saved from Strucker and the Hand by Ivan, the American super hero Captain America, and the Canadian adventurer Logan.
Under Ivan’s care, Natasha grew to pursue her goal of becoming a ballet dancer and studied under Oksana Bolishinko, a famous Bolshoi instructor. She fell in love with a Soviet test pilot named Alexi Shostakov but was grief stricken when he apparently died testing an experimental rocket. Natasha decided that she would honor Alex’s memory by becoming an intelligence operative, not realizing that this was what the KGB had hoped would happen when they informed her of Alexi’s death. She was instructed by the KGB in the infamous Red Room Academy and under their training, she became their most skilled operative, a superb fighter and information gatherer. The KGB gave her the name of “Black Widow” and quickly sent her into the field.
When Logan resurfaced in America, now bereft of his memory, Natasha set out as the Black Widow to save him from a team of Hydra assassins. She soon encountered Logan again when he, Ben Grimm and Carol Danvers stole the Red Storm Project from Russia. Natasha pursued them but was ordered off by her superiors.
The Black Widow’s first encounter with Iron Man came when she was directed to slay Anton Vanko, the creator of the Soviet Crimson Dynamo armour, who had defected to America. Natasha attempted to distract Tony Stark while her partner Boris Turgenov used the Crimson Dynamo to destroy Stark’s plants. Turgenov and Vanko wound up perishing in battle, and Natasha remained in America to find some way of regaining the KGB’s favor.
Since Tony Stark was still unaware that she was a KGB operative, she continued to romance him so that she could steal a new anti-gravity device he had created. She managed to use the device to commit various acts of sabotage, even lifting entire buildings into the air, but Iron Man nullified the device and she barely escaped capture, now unable to trick Stark into lowering his guard.
By luck, Natasha happened upon the novice crime fighter Hawkeye, who had been mistaken for a criminal by the police. Hawkeye was so taken with Natasha that she was able to entice him into an attempt at stealing plans from Tony Stark. Hawkeye fought Iron Man while Natasha watched from a distance, but when Iron Man deflected one of Hawkeye’s explosive arrows, the force of the impact struck Natasha down, knocking her unconscious. Hawkeye fled the scene to help Natasha recover.
After Natasha recovered, her superiors instructed her to avoid Stark Industries for a time and directed her instead to target Williams Innovations. She duped Hawkeye into assaulting that firm, but Spider-Man intervened and Hawkeye turned back as he had begun to suspect his lover’s true motivations. Natasha later send Hawkeye out on a second attempt to steal Stark’s plans. However, while Hawkeye was gone, she was kidnapped by the KGB and returned to Russia. The KGB designed a new costume for her and equipped her with her “widow’s bite” and “widow’s line”. With these new weapons Natasha joined Hawkeye in battle against Iron Man in an attempt to destroy him, but when Iron Man shocked Natasha with an electrical blast Hawkeye disobeyed her direct orders to save her life once again. The KGB then returned and stole Natasha away from Hawkeye.
This time the KGB brainwashed Natasha to ensure her loyalty to the state: in her next mission, she found herself pitted against Hawkeye, who had become a member of the Avengers. Her love for Hawkeye allowed her to resist the brainwashing, and she finally turned against the KGB. She became an ally of the Avengers for awhile, aiding them against the Sons of the Serpent. She also proved instrumental in defeating the alien Ultroids who were certain the Avengers would not kill their leader Ixar because of their oath against killing, but Natasha force Ixar to surrender, reasoning that as she was not an Avenger, she was not bound by their oaths.
On an assignment for SHIELD, Natasha discovered that Alexi Shostakov was still alive and had been transformed by the KGB into the costumed hero, the Red Guardian. She and the Avengers opposed the Red Guardian and his masters, and Alexi died in the battle. For awhile Natasha abandoned her identity as the Black Widow, just as the Avengers were about to make her an official member.
Natasha finally decided to resume the Black Widow identity, but soon broke off her relationship with Hawkeye so that she could pursue a solo career. She adopted a new all-black uniform and became a vigilante, battling street gangs and organized crime in New York. Ivan had come to America by then and he served as her chauffeur and confidant. Her new methods of operation brought her into contact with Daredevil and she doon developed both a professional and personal relationship with him, battling side by side as they fell in love.
Natasha was less taken with Matt’s law partner Foggy Nelson, who was manipulated by the villain Mr. Kline into prosecuting her for the murder of Scorpion (which actually was a robot duplicate). Although Natasha was proven innocent, she never truly forgave Foggy for the savagery of his courtroom assault.
Matt broke up with his long-time love, Karen Page, so that he could be with Natasha and the two of them moved to San Francisco to start a new life together. They fought against menaces such as the Man-bull, the Blue Talon, Dark Messiah, Agnar the Screamer, Ramrod, Terrex, Kraven the Hunter, the Death Stalker, the Owl, El Jaguar, Hydra and Damon Dran, the Indestructible Man.
Natasha wanted to find a new career for herself beyond the day to day adventures she and Daredevil enjoyed and attempted to become a fashion designer, but her career never took off, and her relationship with Matt became strained.
Natasha left Daredevil briefly to accept an offer of membership in the Avengers after aiding them against Magneto, but she soon left them after determining from a battle against the Lion God that she did not fit into a team environment. Natasha and Matt reconciled for awhile, but after a lengthy romance, Natasha finally broke up with Matt because she felt he did not treat her as an equal in battle.
Sill on the West Coast, Natasha joined forces with Ghost Rider (John Blaze) and Angel and Iceman of the X-Men when the gods Hercules and Venus were captured by the armies of Pluto and Ares. After having saved Hercules from a forced marriage, he joined four heroes to found a new super-hero team, the Champions. Based in Los Angeles and bankrolled by Angel, the team enjoyed modest success in their adventures. During this time, Natasha became involved with Hercules, but his perspective as an immortal made a long-term relationship seem unimportant. The Champions finally disbanded due to bankruptcy.
Although she and Daredevil had parted ways, the Black Widow was still well-known to Daredevil’s enemies as a woman he had loved and Natasha was captured by Bullseye to be used as bait in an attempt to slay Daredevil. However, Natasha escaped her bonds and aided Daredevil in defeating Bullseye.
Damon Dran, one of Natasha’s enemies from her days with Daredevil, captured Ivan in order to lure Natasha to his island where he set an army of female combat specialists against her. Dran intended to send and agent impersonating the Black Widow to infiltrate the SHIELD Helicarrier and assassinate Nick Fury, but Natasha defeated Dran’s agents and warned Fury. She also saved Ivan from Dran before SHIELD bombed Dran’s island.
The Black Widow was once more embroiled in the schemes of the Hand when she attempted to prevent them from stealing the body of their master warrior, Kirigi, from the morgue. The Hand struck Natasha down with poisons that killed her, but Stone of the Chaste restored her to life. She joined forces with Daredevil and Stone against the Hand when they attempted to revive Elektra. Natasha guessed at the time that Elektra had been successfully revived, but kept this from Matt for his own good.
When Natasha learned that Okasna Bolishinko, her old instructor, was in America at the Russian Embassy, she broke into the premises seeking to apologize to her mentor for abandoning the ballet to become a spy. Oskana replied that Natasha was not the only pupil of hers who had been stolen away by the KGB and that she accepted that espionage was Natasha’s true calling.
Russian agents then created a Life Model Decoy of Alexi Shostakov, which they used to dupe Natasha into believing her husband was still alive. With threats of terminating Alexi, they coerced her into performing acts of espionage for Russia against the US. Upon gaining the desired technology, the Russians revealed the truth and tried to kill the Widow, but with the aid of Ivan she defeated them and destroyed the LMD.
Natasha later joined forces with Iron Man to prevent the Russian sleeper agent code named “Oktober” from launching nuclear missiles which would have cause World War III. Unknown to Natasha, she herself was Oktober, and succeeded in launching the missiles. Fortunately Iron Man prevented them from being detonated and aided Natasha in capturing the KGB agent responsible for Natasha’s reprogramming. The Widow also worked alongside Daredevil against the murdering telepath known as Rose, who had targeted other telepaths including several members of SHIELD ESPer unit.
SHIELD sent the Widow to investigate the Molina, the Russian Mafia, which thrust her into the middle of the decades old struggle between two seemingly immortals, the vigilante Night Raven and the drug smuggling Yi Yang. The Widow assisted in foiling Yi Yang’s plot and was witness to Yi Yang crashing her helicopter on top of the Night Raven. No bodies were found in the wreckage.
Natasha eventually returned to the Avengers and assumed the mantle of leadership, usually managing the team’s operations from Avengers Mansion while allowing Black Knight to lead in the field. During this time she also became attracted to Captain America, but wound up sleeping with Tony Stark instead. Her tenure as the Avengers’ leader came to a sorrowful end when most of the team was apparently slain battling Onslaught. Unable to rebuild the Avengers roster herself and threatened with legal action from the Maria Stark Foundation, the Black Widow allowed the Avengers to dissolve.
Considering herself to be the last Avenger, Natasha embarked upon a personal mission to bring down all of the Avengers’ former enemies, including the Grey Gargoyle and the Masters of Evil. She again encountered Daredevil at this time, who was concerned with her mental state as he witnessed her obsessive hunting of the Grey Gargoyle. Natasha’s presence in Daredevil’s life again complicated his relationship with Karen Page, which at the time was still being rebuilt. Although Natasha was willing to rekindle their relationship, she acknowledged that Karen was the woman Matt loved and nobly allowed them their space. Later on, she even offered to assist Karen after she had been framed for murder by Mr. Fear.
Natasha was also the first person to correctly identify the former members of the Masters of Evil who had adopted the guise of the heroic Thunderbolts. She attempted to turn MACH-1 and Songbird against Baron Zemo before he could make his move, inspiring them by telling them how Hawkeye, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch had redeemed their own criminal pasts, but Zemo set his plan into motion before they could reach a decision.
The Avengers finally returned and resumed their operations, but the Black Widow occasionally assisted them on missions, still feeling responsible for the team’s disbanding. Instead, she has focused on her espionage work. Natasha has accepted several more assignments for SHIELD, such as impersonating the terrorist leader Ebon Flame in order to shut down her organization, Freedom’s Light. She also had Iron Man assist her in infiltrating the forced-labor camp for scientists run by Tuatara under the Mandarin’s direction.
Natasha came close to learning some truths about her past when she was led into a trap by a man named Vindiktor, who claimed to have a copy of her mother’s diary. This turned out to be false, but as Natasha fought him, he claimed that he was her brother. Unfortunately Vindiktor died during their battle before Natasha could ascertain if he was telling the truth.
Natasha crossed Daredevil’s path again when he attempted to slay Baby Karen, believing the infant to be the Antichrist. Natasha saved the child, but was badly beaten by Daredevil in the ensuing fight. Karen Page ultimately died protecting the child, and Matt went to Natasha to be consoled and to explain his earlier actions to her. Natasha reconciled with Matt, revealing that she still loved him, but noted that they had grown too far apart to become a couple again.
Natasha became aware of the presence of another Black Widow, a younger woman name Yelena Belova who had also been trained at the Red Room and who was obsessed with being the sole Black Widow. The two Black Widows first encountered each other while attempting to retrieve the Endless Fury bio weapon created in Rhapistan, which exploded violently. Natasha completed the mission much to the chagrin of Yelena. Natasha later had herself and Yelena trade appearances through plastic surgery with the help of SHIELD to help teach Yelena that her superiors considered her expendable.
The United States government attempted to have her handed over to the government of Bulgaria in exchange for having the Madame Hydra (Viper) released to the United States. Natasha once again crossed paths with Matt and the two of them worked with SHIELD to bring down the people behind the effort to have her turned over to the Bulgarian government. Natasha came face to face with Alex, her husband thought to be dead. Alexi had orchestrated the whole affair in an attempt to swipe at Natasha. Natasha confronted Alexi along with SHIELD agents and the Avengers at her back. Alexi was taken into custody.
Natasha retired from espionage to a place in Arizona where she enjoyed the quiet life until operatives from the Red Room started hunting down the Black Widow operatives living around the world. With the help of Phil Dexter, once a SHIELD agent, Natasha sets out to find out who killed these women. Along the way she rescues Sally Anne Carter and hides her with Phil Dexter. Her search for the killer leads her to Russia where she meets Lyudmila Antonovna Kudrin, former head of biotech at the Red Room. Natasha learns that the Black Widows, twenty seven women, were trained from girlhood to be the perfect killing machines: chemically enhanced for performance, psychochemically conditioned, and implanted with false memories to be loyal.
Natasha took Lyudmila to SHIELD where she learned Phil Dexter was gunned in his home and Sally Anne was abducted. She also learned that one of the control mechanisms in the Black Widow project was a pheromonal lock and key, a biochemical scent that could be applied like perfume. Black Widow operatives would be incapable of committing violence or even extensive disobedience against anyone wearing the scent. Natasha learns that Nick Fury had stolen the formula for the scent and has been using it against Natasha ever since.
Natasha followed the trail to Ian McMasters, CEO of Gynacon, and Vassily Ilyich Ulyanov of the Red Room to McMaster’s yacht in Miami. Natasha killed them both and subsequently was put atop the United States’ Most Wanted List by Presidential decree.
Natasha fled to Cuba where she met up with Yelena Belova, who now runs a lingerie company and a couple of soft porn channels. Yelena offered Natasha a place to stay in return asking for Natasha’s help in getting medical supplies from Miami. Natasha goes and learns that the supplies are from Gynacon and learns that Sally Anne had been taken by organized crime. Matt Murdock and Nick Fury catch up to Natasha in Miami, along with Kestrel and Martin Ferris, two people she ran across in her hunt for the killers of the Black Widows.
Natasha catches up with Sally Anne Carter who was being used for experimentation by Gynacon. Natasha was captured, but Sally Anne escaped. Kestrel and Ferris subjected Natasha to mind altering drugs hoping to break her, but Matt and Yelena rescued her from captivity. Natasha went after and killed Kestrel and Ferris.
Her most recent SHIELD assignment had been to trace the whereabouts of the Tinkerer during a plot to investigate the financing of super-villains in America by foreign nations, possible Latveria.
Matt’s identity as Daredevil was leaked to the press and Matt struggled to deny his secret. A year later the Kingpin claimed to have proof that Matt was Daredevil and would hand it over to the federal government. Matt teamed up with Elektra and eventually Natasha to find these Murdock Papers before Fisk handed them over to the federal government. Matt, Elektra and Natasha had a brutal fight to the death in the streets with Bullseye. There were no Murdock Papers and it was a ploy by Fisk to bring Matt out into the public and have him shot down by the feds. Natasha collected Milla, Matt’s estranged wife, and brought him to the clinic where the Night Nurse was tending his wounds. The federal government showed up to arrest Murdock along with Luke Cage, Iron First and Foggy Nelson. Natasha prevented the arrests of Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Foggy Nelson, but could not stop them from arresting Matt.
Natasha remains one of the world's most accomplished hand-to-hand combatants, and is quite possibly the most skilled espionage agent alive, still in high demand with S.H.I.E.L.D.
The alterations done to her body by the Red Room gave her: the ability to heal wounds four to five times faster than a normal human, slowed aging, resistance to illness, ability to survive in harsh conditions and took away the ability to have children without taking immunosuppressants.
Level 10 - Extended Notes (From: Secret War: From the Files of Nick Fury)
Professionalism. You'd be surprised how many of the younger agents out there have no idea what I'm talking about when I say that one word. Natasha Romanoff remembers what that word means. But she was around in the old days.
But like all things good and bad, the Cold War ended. At that point, Natasha became a free agent working for the highest bidder. Usually she ended up working on the side of the angels, but nobody's perfect. She even saved my life once. We've all made mistakes, right?
Eventually, Natasha went from being one of the best operatives in the business to a super hero. She held her own as a part of the Avengers for years, even leading them for a time. But she doesn't belong with the super-hero set. She should be behind the scenes with the rest of us spooks. Running the shadows is what she was born to do. Wearing bright spandex, even though from what I remember she normally wore black, and jumping from building to building was never the best way for her to make a difference. And really, is that what the best of us are in this business to do? Make a difference. Right a wrong. Save the world. And then go out on the town in Paris or London. Just thinking about how it used to be gets me misty, Us versus them. Now you can't tell who's working for whom or...I'm getting off track.
Bottom line is the Black Widow is one of the best - an operative who will get any job done regardless of the difficulty.
Note: Natasha has dated a lot of the super-hero set over the years, but Daredevil seems to be the man she was closest to. She even worked as his partner for a time. But like I said, I'm not sure if working as a super hero has ever suited her. This relationship, however, could be used to coerce both of them should the time come when they are needed.
Disclaimer: Natasha belongs to Marvel. Mun has been over 18 for quite some time.
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