On a snowy night in Prague, Natasha must fight her way out of disaster alongside the WINTER SOLDIER! Meanwhile, Isaiah has business of his own in London, but a simple plan gets complicated.
A mission to Prague brings Natasha to the side of one of her greatest loves, but she no longer remembers their relationship. What sounds like a hokey attempt at romantic tension turns out to be the basis of another tightly-scripted action/adventure story courtesy of Edmondson and Noto. As always a seemingly easy mission goes awry when Natasha is tasked with sneaking aboard a train and retrieving a stolen briefcase, only to find herself embroiled in an attempted train robbery. When Winter Soldier arrives to stop the international gang of thieves, Natasha is pulled into his case as they flee gunmen and helicopters.
Meanwhile, Isaiah is in London to collect an unpaid debt from a former client. As Bucky struggles with his unrequited feeling for Natasha, who has forgotten their longstanding romantic history due to prior memory manipulation, Isaiah is kidnapped. His self-fulfilling prophecy come to pass, the ominous foreshadowing of previous issues pays off with this inevitable abduction, leaving Natasha well and truly alone. Her own case wrapped up, she and Bucky part ways and Natasha goes on the next adventure while Isaiah’s fate remains uncertain.
Even after the appearance of Daredevil last issue, and a surprise cameo by Hawkeye before that, Bucky’s guest appearance in Black Widow #8 is still an enjoyable one. It seems that the more Natasha insists on being alone, the more her romantic history rears its ugly and complicated head. Instead of allowing the story to be bogged down in drama, Edmondson scripts Bucky and Natasha’s banter with a solid understanding of their working dynamic, making them a formidable team despite Bucky’s one-sided longing. It makes me eager for Bucky to return in the near future, as this issue opens up a wealth of character drama I would love to see explored.
As always, Noto carries truly this issue through dynamic page design and compelling action sequences. His color choices are impeccable and his skill for storytelling is impressive, using body language to develop the flirtatious chemistry between Natasha and Bucky amid shoot-outs and daring escapes. As exciting as the adventure is, however, I find the most enduring visual elements to be the tiny details that Noto emphasizes. From the reflection of street light in a pair of sunglasses to the fly-away strands of Natasha’s hair, such small flourishes communicate emotional weight to scenes that may otherwise not survive amid so many action-packed panels.