One Sentence Overview: Desperate to get help for the supposedly incurable illness, the Black Widow goes in search of Daredevil, who in turn is being cajoled by Stick to recover confidence in his abilities
Continuing Frank's very successful method of issues from different characters' perspectives, this issue (broadly) is seen from the one and only Natasha Romanoff's viewpoint. Last issue the Widow wound up contracting some kind of deadly cancer from stepping on a few spikes (really, that girl's gotta be a bit more resilient!). Colonel Fury wants her taking it easy but Tash is mixing it with the ninja and dropping in on old Ivan (whose consoling himself by watching old Humphrey Bogart movies).
She quickly deems Ivan to be of no help whatsoever - deciding, rather cheekily, that he's too old (which is interesting given that in today's comics it's revealed that both Ivan and Natasha were exposed to some kind of 'fountain of youth' serum back in the Cold War - obviously this dose of poisin has caused Tash to 'forget' this). Instead it's off to Matt's for help.
That's understandable. However, when Natasha gets to Matt's brownstone, and considering her near fatal predicament, it's rather odd that she decides not to bother searching the house from top to bottom. Indeed, at the top of the basement steps, she rather bizarrely decides not to investigate further given that Matt "never goes down there". And where's Matt? Er, in the basement. An unusually clumsy bit of plotting from Frank.
But what's Matt doing in that basement he never bothers with (and presumably is full of spiders and other yucky things as a result)? Well, he's in a flotation tank, of course. Ah, that's why Matt never let Natasha down there. Didn't want her to think him a weirdo, eh? This is the first occasion I can recall seeing this in the comic and, of course, it's used to very good effect at the beginning of the DD movie.
Last issue Matt's hearing was seriously off kilter, so he's using this tank to isolate himself from the noises outside. That's all be fine if it wasn't for his annoying mentor, Stick, sitting on top of the coffin and delivering telepathic thoughts to him (how inconsiderate!). Stick being Stick, he's not terribly good at empathy and is more interested in Matt kicking himself out of his pity party. And in this sequence he makes an astonishing origin changing revelation. He tells Matt that it wasn't the radiation that gave him his powers. Rather, this was the trigger for Matt to open up the innate abilities that (apparently) all of us. I'm not sure if Frank Miller's motivation for this was some science article he'd been reading about how little of our brain we actually use and whether he's trying (as he always does) to make the world of DD as real as possible, but it's certainly a cat amongst the pigeons.
Whatever the truth, this explanation proves motivation enough for Matt to open up his watery tomb and pop out and - glory be! - he appears to have totally regained his senses. Eh? Is that it? A bit of moan from Stick and Matt's all better? I must confess to finding this a little anti-climactic.
Elsewhere, we're treated to a panel of Heather rapidly losing the plot (not surprisingly given recent events). And also a fun scene where the Widow drops in on the Kingpin. It's not so much Wilson who's at fault here. The moment Natasha appears, the following erudite interchange occurs between two henchmen. Henchman One: "Where'd that broad come from?" Henchman Two: "I dunno. Let's kill her." Really! Is this the way to treat an unexpected guest? Where did you get your manners.
Gratuitous Panel of the Month: The Kingpin getting an offer he can't refuse. Possibly.
Meanwhile on the letters page... there's, er, no letters. Instead, we're treated to an original sketch from Frank Miller that one can contrast nicely with Klaus' work on page one of the story. Recent correspondent ShadZ confirmed that Frank did layouts which Klaus then fully fleshed out and this is the evidence for it right here.
Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff
Rating: 7 out of 10