With the next MCU movie coming to theaters being a standalone Black Widow film, fans need to catch up on the rich history of the character. In the many decades of her existence, Black Widow has been a key part of Marvel comics history, both as a villain and reformed hero.
What many MCU fans may not know is that Natasha Romanov is not the only Black Widow. In the comics, Russian spy Yelena Belova also took on the mantle. Here are ten things MCU fans need to know about Yelena Belova, Marvel's other Black Widow.
10 Trained in the Red Room
Yelena Belova was trained in the very same Red Room as Natasha Romanov. They had the same masters and trainers. Essentially, Yelena has been taught ever single trick Natasha has, and some. After Yelena's trainer was murdered, the young assassin was sent out to investigate the death.
After finding and killing the murderer, Yelena is dubbed the new Black Widow by her KGB handlers. As the new Black Widow, Yelena was enthusiastic and ready to prove herself. This made her jump at the chance to take down her predecessor.
9 Natasha's Enemy
During her time working for the KGB, Yelena chose to go on a mission that would put her in direct conflict with none other than Natasha Romanov herself. Although they never actually tried to kill each other, the two Black Widows began to talk.
Over time, Natasha convinced Yelena that she needed to carve out her own identity. For too long she had been a puppet of the Russians. If Yelena truly wanted to find herself, she was going to have to do it on her own.
8 Retired, For a While
Natasha's words stuck in Yelena's mind. After many missions and much thought, she made the decision to retire. In her short-lived retirement, Yelena moved to Cuba. There she started some of her own businesses and even became a successful model.
Not too long after, the deadly former spy was approached by none other than S.H.I.E.L.D. Convincing Yelena to get back in the game, she accepted their offer, this time working for the good guys.
7 Nearly Dies in the Savage Land
After joining up with S.H.I.E.L.D., Belova was assigned to the Savage Land. Within the Antarctic side of the Savage Land, the agency had found some deposits of vibranium that they wished to mine. Unfortunately, however, the Savage Land is a very dangerous place.
The Savage Land native and X-Men villain Sauron attacks all the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents present, including Belova. As a result, she receives severe burns all over her body and barely survives. Blaming S.H.I.E.L.D. for the attack, the super-spy decides to switch sides and joins up with Hydra.
6 Becomes a Super-Adaptoid
In order to help heal her injuries, Hydra merged Yelena with the robotic Super-Adaptoid. The Super-Adaptoid is a powerful robot developed to absorb/ copy superhuman powers. Hoping to defeat the New Avengers and gain all their powers, Yelena set out to battle the superhero team.
Despite her new abilities, Yelena is defeated by Iron Man. Hydra shuts her down remotely before the Avengers can get any information out of her. It appears that she had died, although actually she was put into stasis and storage for later use.
5 Switches Sides Many Times
This new Black Widow has switched allegiances many times. She's been a member of S.H.I.E.L.D., Hydra, A.I.M., the Russian government and the vigilante group Vanguard.
Although it appears at times she appears altruistic, there are just as many times that the Russian spy comes off as murderously vengeful. You never know who's side she'll be on.
4 On the High Council of A.I.M.
After spending a few years on stasis, Yelena is rescued by agents of A.I.M., who then assign her to the A.I.M. high council. More specifically, the second Black Widow was assigned as the Minister of State in Bagalia, a country notable for being full of supervillains.
Yelena along with several other notable supervillains make up quite a formidable leader for the members of A.I.M. to follow. After a long stint with the supervillain organization, Yelena began, yet again, decided to go straight.
3 Takes Over For Natasha
During the Secret Empire storyline, an evil version of Captain America murdered Natasha Romanov, leaving the world with no Black Widow. Later on, after the real Captain America came back to save the day, Yelena Belova finally decided to take on the Black Widow mantle once and for all.
Promising to honor her predecessor's legacy, Yelena now travels the world assassinating Hydra Agents and other bad guys of the same ilk. Although many of Marvel's heroes are very skeptical of this new Black Widow, she shows some promise of living up to the original's legacy.
2 Making Her MCU Debut in Black Widow
On May 1st, 2020, Black Widow is getting her very own movie in the MCU. Set in the period between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, this solo film will follow Natasha Romanov on the run from various countries who have signed the Sokovia Accords.
Among the cast include Scarlett Johannsson returning as Black Widow, David Harbour as the Red Guardian and the MCU debut of Yelena Belova, played by Florence Pugh. Little is known as to what roll Yelena will play in the film. She could be a helpful ally or dangerous opponent to Natasha.
1 Could Be the MCU's New Black Widow
After Natasha's death in Avengers: Endgame, there has been a huge gap left on the Avenger's roster. The deadly spy/ assassin complemented the other heroes quite well, grounding the team but also adding some much-needed espionage experience. While her death was a deeply impactful and meaningful one, fans are still left wanting more from Black Widow.
Perhaps, they could be getting some more in the form of Yelena Belova. With the Infinity Saga having just ended in the MCU, there is a lot of uncertainty among Marvel movie fans as to what will come next. Now would be a perfect time to pass the mantle to a younger spy, ready to prove herself just as capable as the former. We'll have to wait until Black Widow's May 1st, 2o20 release to find out what's next.