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The Best Black Widow Stories to Buy Before Her Movie

Black Widow JG Jones feature

As one of the few surviving heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe at the start of Avengers: Endgame, Black Widow goes on to play a central  role in the film. The character is a founding member of the MCU's Avengers and has been a prominent figure since 2010's Iron Man 2.

While she might be an international icon now, Natasha Romanov has spent most of her film and comic book careers as a supporting cast member in team books or other characters' stories.With her widely rumored to star in her own long-overdue solo film, here is an essential reading list of comic book titles starring the Marvel Universe's premier super-spy.

RELATED: The Best Hawkeye Stories to Buy Before His Streaming Show

Black Widow: S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Most Wanted

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Following Chris Samnee and Mark Waid's award-winning run on Daredevil, the creative team reunited for an acclaimed run on Black Widow. Collecting the first half of their series, Black Widow: S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Most Wanted put Natasha Romanov on the run in some of the most action-packed comics of this century.

When Natasha's deepest, darkest secrets return to haunt her, Black Widow finds herself on the run from both S.H.I.E.L.D. and Iron Man. Completely on her own and the most wanted woman on the planet, Natasha finds herself returning to the place where she became the Black Widow: The Red Room.

Secret Avengers: Encircle

Black Widow Secret Avengers

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Warren Ellis' run on Secret Avengers featured a series of stand-alone single issue stories with a rotating team of top artists. Teaming up with Alex Maleev, the creative team focused on Black Widow for an issue titled "Encircle."

The issue stars an alternate future version of Natasha who's the sole survivor of a disaster that killed her teammates. Traveling one year back to her relative past, Black Widow embarked on a secret mission to save the rest of the team from an untimely demise that she barely escaped herself in a story that shares a few ideas with Avengers: Endgame.

Black Widow: The Name of the Rose

Black Widow Name of the Rose

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Highly trained and genetically enhanced, Black Widow is one of the more formidable figures on the more grounded side of the Marvel Universe. In the miniseries Black Widow: The Name of the Rose, Natasha finds herself alone and gravely wounded while hunted by a relentless assassin.

Tautly written by Marjorie Liu and stylishly illustrated by Daniel Acuna, the five-issue miniseries puts the super-spy in between a rock and a hard place while showing that even injured and outgunned, never to count out Natasha Romanov.

Black Widow: Homecoming

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Black Widow is quietly one of the most haunted figures in the Marvel Universe, given her lethal past and morally gray activities as a master spy. Black Widow: Homecoming sees Natasha's past rearing its ugly head while playing up the globe-trotting possibilities and intrigue associated with the character.

Written by Richard K. Morgan and illustrated by Bill Sienkiewicz and Goran Parlov, the 2004 story has Natasha narrowly survive an assassination attempt. Linking the assault from her native Russia, Black Widow returns to a country long since dramatically changed to investigate a string of killings and how her past is connected to them.

Marvel Knights Black Widow

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As one of the most morally gray superheroes, Black Widow can star in stories that feature far more graphic content than most mainstream superhero stories. With that in mind, Black Widow starred in a trilogy of miniseries that were published under Marvel Knights and Marvel MAX, two imprints targeted at older readers that take full advantage of the character's darker possibilities.

Written by Devin Grayson and Greg Rucka and illustrated by J.G. Jones, Scott Hampton, and Igor Kordey, Marvel Knights Black Widow collects Marvel Knights' two Black Widow miniseries and MAX's Black Widow: Pale Little Spider miniseries. Collectively, these stories say Natasha confront her past while dealing with Yelena Belova, the new Black Widow who exceeded Natasha's accomplishments in her Red Room training and targets her in an unrelenting hunt.

Black Widow: The Finely Woven Thread

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One of the most acclaimed artists to visually render the continuing adventures of Black Widow is Phil Noto, and his work Black Widow is among the best in his impressive career. In 2014, Noto teamed-up with writer Nathan Edmondson in 2014 for a Black Widow series that was filled with espionage, twists and a few superhero guest-stars.

The creative team's first story arc on the series, Black Widow: The Finely Woven Thread, has the super-spy leave behind the Avengers to tackle her own secret mission that puts her on a collision course with a new, powerful enemy. Elevated by Noto's breathtaking artwork and Edmonson's taught scripting, the story is among the best to star Natasha Romanov in her long history in the Marvel Universe.

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