Why is Black Widow In Her 80s?

In Winds of Change, I spotlight retcons that I think should be implemented, like how I think Apocalypse should have been behind Wolverine getting his adamantium.

Today, let's look at Black Widow's age.

In 1972's Daredevil #88, Gerry Conway firmly established World War II as being part of the Black Widow's origin in her first real origin (an early Avengers story by Roy Thomas SORT of gave her an origin)...

Because of this, Chris Claremont famously used her as a child in Uncanny X-Men #268...

Due to that, there have been various explanations as to how she is still a fairly young woman to this day.

I don't think it's worth the rewards to the story. We're seriously just all doing this based on a Conway story from 1972.

You know who else was tied to World War II? Reed Richards!

Have we come up with convoluted explanations for why he could have served in World War II? No (please, no one else come up with a convoluted explanation for how Reed served in World War II).

Conway didn't do it because he felt that tying her into World War II was an important part of her back story, it was just something that could have realistically occurred in her childhood in 1972. It is NOT something that is necessary for the character, and I don't think it even helps the character.

Yes, you got the whole "past romance with Bucky Barnes when he was the Winter Soldier," but he literally could have met her at ANY time in the past. It didn't have to be in the 1950s or whatever.

The whole "Red Room," trained to be a killer from her youth, could be saved, just don't have it be 70 years ago. Just have it be, you know, 30 years ago or whatever. Some nebulous time not connected to a specific date to age her.

Natasha being almost 90 is not something that helps the Black Widow's storytelling engine (as our pal, John Seavey calls it, you know - the basic setup of the character and what drives her as a character). It doesn't add anything of note and only makes her slightly more complicated as a character. So I think it should be either retconned or just ignored either way.

If you have a suggestion for a retcon that YOU'D like to see, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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