WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Avengers #700 by Jason Aaron, David Marquez, Ed McGuinness, Justin Ponsor and VC's Cory Petit, on sale Wednesday, Nov. 14.
Natasha Romanoff was trained as a young girl to be a deadly spy in the Soviet's Red Room program as the Black Widow. Over time, Natasha was able to break free of her programming and fight for good as an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and as a member of the Avengers. The Red Room program would remain active, however, as it continued to produce more agents to do its bidding.
During one of Black Widow's adventures she rescued a young girl named Ava Orlova. Years later, Ava was left inspired by her encounter with Black Widow and went on to adopt her own superhero identity, the Red Widow, that was an obvious nod to Natasha's codename.
Marvel is preparing to introduce an all-new Red Widow in next week's Avengers #700, as Russia begins to assemble its own team of superheroes to rival Earth's Mightiest Heroes. The members of the new Winter Guard are pretty intimidating in their own right, but the mysterious Red Widow may be the most dangerous of them all.
Silent, But Deadly
Avengers #700 opens in Siberia at a top secret labor camp, where a gentleman has been sent to offer a prisoner a full pardon. The prisoner is kept off-camera for most of the exchange, but readers are teased with random items like skeleton bones and liquor bottles before we get the full reveal of the massive Major Mikhail Ursus, codenamed Ursa Major. We should mention Ursa Major is a mutant that can turn himself into a walking-talking bear.
The next recruitment mission heads to Western Russia, where we're introduced to the Red Widow. Superhero siblings Darkstar and Vanguard break out their best sales pitch to Dmitri Bukharin aka the Crimson Dynamo. It's here that we get our first look at the silent Red Widow.
Dmitri has been down the government-sanctioned road before with the Soviet Super-Soldiers, and is reluctant to sign back up again. When Dmitri asks what the Red Widow thinks of all this, he's told that her presence in the Winter Guard was required by the Executive Security Committee. Knowing how dangerous and obedient a graduate of the Red Room is, Dmitri is fairly certain the Red Widow is there to slit his throat if he should ever step out of line.
Red Widow is shown wearing a crimson red-and-black costume with a hood and an over-the-shoulder cape flowing over her upper body. The same symbol that Black Widow wears can be found on Red Widow's mask, midsection and wrist guards.
The Winter Guard is brought together in response to Namor and Atlantis' attacks in the Black Sea. Different countries and nations are beginning to gather their forces in what can only lead to one huge confrontation. With Avengers #700 increasing its page count for a larger story and backups, fans should get ready to see some fireworks on display.