Black Widow (Yelena Belova)
Cover for Black Widow: Pale Little Spider #1 (June 2002) Art by Greg Horn
|First appearance||Inhumans #5 (March 1999)|
|Created by||Devin Grayson|
|Full name||Yelena Belova
Олена Бєлова (Ukrainian)Елена Белова (Russian)
|Notable aliases||Crimson Widow, Super-Adaptoid, Pale Little Spider, russkiya|
|Abilities||Peak athletic condition|
Extensive military, martial arts, and espionage training
Black Widow (Yelena Belova) is a fictional character, a spy in the Marvel Comics Universe and second modern-era character to use the Black Widow name. She first appears in Inhumans #5 (March 1999) and was created by Devin Grayson and J.G. Jones. She was trained as a spy and assassin in the Red Room. Originally a foe of Natasha Romanova sent to kill her, they later became allies. She was also a member of S.H.I.E.L.D., Vanguard and HYDRA, who changed her into a version of Super-Adaptoid. As Super-Adaptoid, she was one of the members of the High Council of A.I.M. She has reverted to her original codename Black Widow in 2017.
Belova, the second modern Black Widow after Natasha Romanova (Natasha Romanoff), was initially a post-Soviet Russian spy of the GRU. She debuted briefly in Inhumans vol. 2, #5 (March 1999), and was fully introduced in the 1999 Marvel Knights mini-series Black Widow. A second miniseries, also titled Black Widow and featuring Natasha Romanoff and Daredevil, followed in 2001. The next year, she did a solo turn in her own three-issue miniseries, also titled Black Widow (officially Black Widow: Pale Little Spider in the series' postal indicia) under the mature-audience Marvel MAX imprint. The June to August 2002 story arc, by writer Greg Rucka and artist Igor Kordey, was a flashback to the story of her becoming the second modern Black Widow, in events preceding her Inhumans appearance.
Fictional character biography
Belova is an amoral spy and assassin who was trained at the Red Room by the same spymasters who trained Natasha Romanoff, the first Black Widow. After the death of her trainer, Pyotr Vasilievich Starkovsky, she is activated as the new Black Widow and deployed to investigate. She apprehends and eliminates his killer, unaware that both his murder and the investigation were part of a ploy to get Belova to assert herself as the new Black Widow. Believing herself to be the rightful successor to the title of "Black Widow", Yelena enthusiastically volunteers for a mission that will put her at odds with Natasha, although the meeting and confrontations between the two do not lead to a decisive battle. Natasha refers to Yelena as "little one" and "russkiya", meaning "Russian", and encourages her to find what makes her unique and her personal identity rather than blindly devote herself to her nation. Natasha later subjects Yelena to a cruel-but-necessary manipulation in order to shatter her illusions about the "Black Widow" title and teach her the reality of the espionage industry. Belova eventually retires to Cuba, where she becomes a successful businesswoman and model.
She is lured back, however, by the espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D., and becomes involved in the agency's mining of vibranium in the Antarctic Savage Land. Shortly afterward, she barely survives an attack by Sauron, receiving severe burns and being subsequently approached with an offer for revenge against S.H.I.E.L.D. and the New Avengers.
Belova is genetically altered by the terrorist organization HYDRA, as she had suffered debilitating and disfiguring injuries after her last encounter with the New Avengers in the Savage Land. HYDRA recruited her with the prospect of revenge and after hiring the services of A.I.M. transferred her mind into a new version of Super-Adaptoid. This body appeared as Belova had originally until it began to absorb powers, at which time it changed as the original did, though now yellow in color. Now equipped with the ability to copy all of the New Avengers' powers, she engages the superhero team in combat. She is eventually defeated by a combination of Tony Stark's 49 successive Iron Man armors—from the first, Tales of Suspense #39, to the then-current—and the Sentry's use of his Void persona, which she absorbs with the rest of the Sentry's powers and energy. When she is defeated, HYDRA disables her using a remote self-destruct mechanism they had implanted in her, rather than let her reveal intelligence to the New Avengers.
During the Dark Reign storyline, Quasimodo researched Yelena Belova for Norman Osborn. Yelena Belova appeared to join Osborn's Thunderbolts. However it was eventually revealed to be actually Natasha Romanova in disguise, acting as a double agent for Nick Fury. She believed she was disguised as Belova on Fury's behalf, planted for Osborn to find and invite into the Thunderbolts. However, Osborn revealed to her that he had tricked her into taking on Belova's appearance in order to get her to do his dirty work. After Natasha's escape from the Thunderbolts, Osborn then revealed the true Yelena in stasis to Scourge and warned him that she could be his replacement on the team.
The real Yelena is later freed from stasis by members of A.I.M. who install the female Adaptoid on the High Council of A.I.M. (alongside Andrew Forson, Graviton, Jude the Entropic Man, Mentallo, Superia, and an undercover Taskmaster) as the Minister of State in Bagalia (a country populated by supervillains).
After the death of the original Black Widow at the hands of Captain America's Hydra doppelganger then defeat at hands of the real Captain America in Secret Empire, Yelena began to reassume the Black Widow identity once again, but now to honor the late-Natasha. Sometimes during the world's restoration from Hydra's mess, Yelena travels around the world to assassinate the world's infamous generals and remaining Hydra's remnants, which caught the attentions of Natasha's former lovers, Winter Soldier and Hawkeye.
Powers and abilities
Black Widow is in peak athletic condition. She also has extensive military, martial arts, and espionage training.
As a Super-Adaptoid, she was mutated by material synthesized from the Super-Adaptoid where she could adapt the powers of anyone around her like Luke Cage, Iron Man, Ms. Marvel, Sentry, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, and Wolverine in rapid succession.
In other media
The character appears on the Avengers Assemble animated series, voiced by Julie Nathanson. The new Black Widow is introduced in the third season Avengers: Ultron Revolution, thanks to Baron Strucker's reactivation of the Red Room. In the episode "Seeing Double", she is sent to abduct Bruce Banner to bring to Strucker's base in Siberia. When Natasha Romanova arrived, Natasha fought against Yelena upon learning about this Black Widow's history and how Strucker uses the Winter Soldier program to turn Banner into the Winter Hulk. Upon Captain America and Iron Man arriving, the two Avengers helped Natasha to fight Yelena, Strucker and Winter Hulk until Yelena later goes against Strucker's orders. While Captain America and Iron Man fought to keep Winter Hulk from reaching a civilian location where a HYDRA base is, Natasha continues to fight with Yelena even when she activated the Red Room's mind-controlled washouts. But Romanova disables the mind-controlled Red Room washouts and Yelena is personally defeated yet managed to get away. The character returns in the fourth season Avengers: Secret Wars, now calling herself the Crimson Widow. In the episode "Prison Break", she alongside Zarda and Typhoid Mary plotted a prison break at the Vault which gets thwarted by Captain Marvel and the Wasp. In the episode "Why I Hate Halloween", Crimson Widow and Crossbones are sent to retrieve Whitney Frost from Hawkeye. After fleeing from Dracula's vampire army, Crimson Widow and Crossbones are apprehended by the Avengers. The character also appears in the final season Avengers: Secret Wars. In the episode "House of M", Crimson Widow is an enforcer of the Red Skull alongside Crossbones and Typhoid Mary when confronting the Avengers and dealing with Madame Masque.
- Yelena Belova's Black Widow suit is available as an alternate costume for Natasha Romanov in the PlayStation Portable version of Marvel Ultimate Alliance.
- The Yelena Belova version of Black Widow appears in The Punisher: No Mercy. She is a member of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team that confronts the Punisher in the final cutscene.
- Yelena Belova appears as Dark Widow as a miniboss in Marvel Avengers Alliance.
- The character appears as a miniboss and an unlockable playable character in Marvel Puzzle Quest. She also later earned a version inspired by Yelena's portrayal in the Black Widow film.
- Yelena Belova's Black Widow suit was available as an alternate costume for Natasha Romanov in Marvel Heroes.
- The character is introduced as a playable character in Marvel's Future Fight as part of the Black Widow film update.
- The Yelena Belova version of Black Widow appears in Marvel Knights - Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D., voiced JoEllen Anklam.
- The Yelena Belova version of Black Widow appears in Marvel Knights: Inhumans, voiced by Sarah Edmondson.
Yelena Belova appears as a major antagonist in New Avengers: Breakout, written by Alisa Kwitney. In the novel, she is depicted as Natasha Romanoff's former friend and roommate from the Red Room program. After joining a rogue faction of S.H.I.E.L.D., she comes into conflict with Natasha and the rest of the Avengers while overseeing a covert mining operation in the Savage Land.
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- Black Widow: Pale Little Spider #3 (August 2002)
- Black Widow vol. 1, #1-3 (June - August 1999)
- Black Widow 2 vol. 1, #1 (November 2005)
- New Avengers vol 1, #5 (April 2005)
- New Avengers vol 1, #6 (June 2005)
- New Avengers Annual vol 1, #1 (June 2006)
- Marvel Comics Presents vol. 2, #5 (March 2008)
- Dark Reign Files vol 1, #1 (April 2009)
- Thunderbolts vol. 1, #128 (March 2009)
- Thunderbolts vol. 1, #134 (July 2009)
- Thunderbolts vol. 1, #135 (September 2009)
- Thunderbolts vol. 1, #136 (September 2009)
- Secret Avengers vol. 2, #2 (March 2013)
- Secret Empire: Omega vol. 1, #1 (September 2017)
- Tales of Suspense vol. 1, #100 - #101 (December - January, 2018 - 2019)
- Black Widow vol. 1, #1 (June 1999)
- "Seeing Double". Avengers Assemble. Season 3. Episode 14. August 28, 2016. Disney XD.
- "Voice Of Black Widow / Yelena Belova - Marvel Universe | Behind The Voice Actors". Behind The Voice Actors. Archived from the original on April 20, 2019. Retrieved April 20, 2019. Check mark indicates role has been confirmed using screenshots of closing credits and other reliable sources
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