Black Widow and Winter Soldier in the 50's

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Black Widow and Winter Soldier in the 50's

Post by robfj » Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:12 am

I would like to suggest a small change to the positioning of Black Widow:Deadly Origin 1 (19)-FB in BW's chronology.

You currently have:-
UX 268 (22)-FB
The last bit of the complex entry for the 1941 adventure in Uncanny X-Men 268 and Wolverine:Origins 16 teaming up with Captain America against Baron Strucker and the Hand.
BW:DO 1 (18)-FB, which you don't mention, is a montage of that tale (Cap vs Hand ninjas) and other war scenes, including probably the atomic bomb.
In 1955 BW helps train Soviet agents in a fake US town, including an agent dressed as Captain America. Later she tangles with the 50's Cap, and defects to America.
[BW:DO 1 (19)-FB]
In Berlin 1956 Winter Soldier gives wounded Ivan and BW a serum, which cures Ivan. But in exchange they must return to work for the Soviets.

CA Theater Of War:America First was added late to the mix, after a discussion in a thread about BW4 4. Before then I believe the story was:- In BW:DO 1 (17:3-6)-FB BW and Ivan go on the run from the Russians after events in 1940 in W:O 9. The montage in BW:DO 1 (18)-FB has BW and Ivan as freelance agents. BW:DO 1 (19)-FB has WS returning them to the fold in 1956.

The interpolation of CATOW:AF means that BW must reconcile with the Soviets twice. Once before CATOW:AF, and again after she defects therein. I believe this is why Col_Fury in the BW4 4 thread described BW:DO 1 (19)-FB as "Winter Soldier convinces her to side with the Russians *again*".

One little detail of BW:DO 1 (19)-FB is that WS has a very mechanical-looking replacement arm, unlike any seen in any other flashback. This suggests to me that it is his earliest shown mission, soon after he is ready for active service. CA5 11 says that the Russians first gave him a prosthesis in 1954. Before then they'd kept him on ice. My suggestion is that we modify the date of BW:DO 1 (19)-FB from 1956 to 1954, putting it before CATOW:AF.

This also gives more time for the relationship between BW and WS to grow, before she meets her future husband Alexei Shostakov in 1957 (BW:DO 2 (4 - 7)-FB) and WS is put back in suspended animation in 1958 (CA&Bu 624).

This still leaves us with the defection in CATOW:AF to resolve. But we're no worse off. With my change BW:DO 1 (19)-FB just brings BW back to the Soviets after she left in W:O 9, rather than after she left in CATOW:AF. Either way only 1 of the 2 returns is documented.

Given that BW's history otherwise has her as a dedicated Russian agent from the 50's up to the Marvel Age, I might suggest that her defection at the end of CATOW:AF is a fake - part of a double agent scheme. BW:DO 2 certainly has her working for the Soviets for the rest of the 50's.

Your BW chronology continues:-
[BW:DO 2 (4 - 7)-FB]
CA5 27-FB
[BW:DO 2 (8)-FB]

I would suggest splitting the CA5 27 entry up as:-
CA5 27 (22:2)-FB
BW and WS are having an affair.
CA5 27 (23:4)-FB
BW trains with WS.
[BW:DO 2 (4 - 7)-FB]
In Moscow in 1957 Natalia meets Alexei Shostakov. She has conflicting memories of being a ballet dancer and a Black Widow of the Red Room. The BW version is already seeing someone (WS).
[CA&Bu 624 (1-5 & 7-18:1)]
In 1958 BW is still training agents in the mock US town, this time with WS as Cap. BW and WS are still having an affair. WS shows signs of the return of Bucky's emotions, and so is placed in suspended animation between missions.
CA5 27 (24:5-25:1)-FB
BW finds WS in suspended animation.
[BW:DO 2 (8)-FB]
BW tells WS she's marrying Alexei.

I have also interposed stuff from Captain America & Bucky 624, missing out some bits:- Page 6 is a flashback montage of Bucky being found by the Russians (panel 1), brought back to life (2), given the artificial arm (3), performing an assassination (4), and training with BW (5). (18:2-5) is another montage of later WS missions (2-3), having his memory restored by Cap and the Cosmic Cube (4), and hooking up with BW again (5). The rest of the issue is after his stint as Cap, and possibly after Fear Itself.

I don't know whether you'd count everything in CA&Bu 624 as flashback, because it is being narrated by the present-day WS. But then this would make all of CA&Bu 621-623 flashbacks too.

Note that CA&Bu 624 (1-5) is *very* similar to the opening scene of CATOW:AF, but with WS playing Cap. Maybe Ed Brubaker is suggesting that this is when CATOW:AF really happened. 1958 would be a long way from the 50's Cap's published adventures in 1953/4. But then I don't think anybody has ever stated exactly when in the 50's that Cap was packed away.