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Vrai nom Natalia « Natasha » Alianovna Romanova, , Natasha Romanoff, , Natalia Shostakova, , Nancy Rushman, Laura MatthersLa Veuve noire (« Black Widow » en version originale) est le nom de deux personnages de fiction évoluant dans l'univers Marvel de la maison d'édition Marvel Comics.
La première (et la plus connue) des Veuve noire est l'espionne russe Natalia « Natasha » Romanova ou Natasha Romanoff (en russe, Наташа Романоф). Créée par les artistes Stan Lee, Don Rico et Don Heck, elle est d'abord apparue comme l'ennemie d'Iron Man dans le comic book Tales of Suspense #52 en avril 1964, qui plus tard s'est reconvertie en super-héroïne.
La seconde Veuve noire est Yelena Belova (en russe : Елена Белова), une création du scénariste Devin K. Grayson et du dessinateur J. G. Jones, apparue pour la première fois dans la série Inhumans #5 en mars 1999.
Au cinéma, Natasha Romanoff, incarnée par l'actrice Scarlett Johansson, fait partie de l'équipe des six Avengers originaux dans les quatre films qui leur sont consacrés, et apparait dans plusieurs autres œuvres de l'univers cinématographique Marvel, depuis le film Iron Man 2 (2010), avant d'être le personnage central de Black Widow dont la sortie est prévue en 2020.
Natasha was born in Stalingrad (now Volgograd), Russia. The first and best-known Black Widow is a Russian agent trained as a spy, martial artist, and sniper, and outfitted with an arsenal of high-tech weaponry, including a pair of wrist-mounted energy weapons dubbed her "Widow's Bite". She wears no costume during her first few appearances but simply evening wear and a veil. Romanova eventually defects to the U.S. for reasons that include her love for the reluctant-criminal turned superhero archer, Hawkeye.
First hints to Natasha Romanova's childhood come by Ivan Petrovich, who is introduced as her middle-aged chauffeur and confidant in the Black Widow's 1970s Amazing Adventures. The man tells Matt Murdock how he had been given custody of little Natasha by a woman just before her death during the Battle of Stalingrad in autumn 1942. He had consequently felt committed to raise the orphan as a surrogate father and she had eventually trained as a Soviet spy, being eager to help her homeland. In another flashback, set in the fictional island of Madripoor in 1941, Petrovich helps Captain America and the mutant Logan, who would later become the Canadian super-agent and costumed hero Wolverine, to rescue Natasha from Nazis.
A revised, retconned origin establishes her as being raised from very early childhood by the U.S.S.R.'s "Black Widow Ops" program, rather than solely by Ivan Petrovitch. Petrovitch had taken her to Department X, with other young female orphans, where she was brainwashed, and trained in combat and espionage at the covert "Red Room" facility. There, she is biotechnologically and psycho-technologically enhanced—an accounting that provides a rationale for her unusually long and youthful lifespan. During that time she had some training under Winter Soldier, and the pair even had a short romance. Each Black Widow is deployed with false memories to help ensure her loyalty. Romanova eventually discovers this, including the fact that she had never, as she had believed, been a ballerina. She further discovers that the Red Room is still active as "2R".
Natasha was arranged by the KGB to marry the renowned Soviet test pilot Alexei Shostakov. However, when the Soviet government decided to make Alexei into their new operative, the Red Guardian, he is told that he can have no further contact with his wife. Natasha is told that he had died and is trained as a secret agent separately.
Romanova grew up to serve as a femme fatale. She was assigned to assist Boris Turgenov in the assassination of Professor Anton Vanko for defecting from the Soviet Union, which served as her first mission in the United States. Natasha and Turgenov infiltrated Stark Industries as part of the plan. She attempted to manipulate information from American defense contractor Tony Stark, and inevitably confronted his superhero alter ego, Iron Man. The pair then battled Iron Man, and Turgenov steals and wears the Crimson Dynamo suit. Vanko sacrificed himself to save Iron Man, killing Turgenov in the process, using an unstable experimental laser light pistol. Romanova later meets the criminal archer Hawkeye and sets him against Iron Man, and later helped Hawkeye battle Iron Man.
Natasha once more attempted to get Hawkeye to help her destroy Iron Man. The pair almost succeeded, but when Black Widow was injured, Hawkeye retreated to get her to safety. During this period, Romanova was attempting to defect from the Soviet Union and began falling in love with Hawkeye, weakening her loyalty to her country. When her employers learned the truth, the KGB had her gunned down, sending her to a hospital, convincing Hawkeye to go straight and seek membership in the Avengers.
The Red Room kidnaps and brainwashes her again, and with the Swordsman and the first Power Man, she battles the Avengers. She eventually breaks free from her psychological conditioning (with the help of Hawkeye), and does successfully defect, having further adventures with Spider-Man, with Hawkeye and with Daredevil. She ultimately joins the Avengers as a costumed heroine herself.
S.H.I.E.L.D. and Daredevil
Later still, she begins freelancing as an agent of the international espionage group S.H.I.E.L.D. She is sent on a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. mission to China by Nick Fury. There, with the Avengers, she battles Col. Ling, Gen. Brushov, and her ex-husband the Red Guardian. For a time, as writer Les Daniels noted in a contemporaneous study in 1971,
... her left-wing upbringing was put to better use, and she has lately taken to fighting realistic oppressor-of-the-people types. She helps young Puerto Ricans clean up police corruption and saves young hippies from organized crime. ... [The splash page of Amazing Adventures No. 3 (Nov. 1970)] reflects the recent trend toward involving fantastic characters in contemporary social problems, a move which has gained widespread publicity for Marvel and its competitor, DC.
During her romantic involvement with Matt Murdock in San Francisco, she operates as an independent superhero alongside Murdock's alter ego, Daredevil. There she tries unsuccessfully to find a new career for herself as a fashion designer. Eventually, her relationship with Murdock stagnates, and after briefly working with Avengers finally breaks up with Murdock, fearing that playing "sidekick" is sublimating her identity. During a HYDRA attempt to take over S.H.I.E.L.D., she is tortured to such an extent that she regresses back to an old cover identity of schoolteacher Nancy Rushman, but she is recovered by Spider-Man in time to help Nick Fury and Shang-Chi work out what had happened and restore her memory, with "Nancy" developing an attraction to Spider-Man before her memory is restored during the final fight against Madam Viper, Boomerang and the Silver Samurai. She later returns to Matt Murdock's life to find he is romantically involved with another woman, Heather Glenn, prompting her to leave New York. Natasha ultimately realizes that Matt still only thinks of her in platonic terms, and elects to restrain herself from any advances.
After their breakup, the Widow moves to Los Angeles and becomes leader of the newly created and short-lived super team known as The Champions, consisting of her, Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze), Hercules (with whom she has a brief romance), and former X-Men Angel and Iceman.
Her friends often call her "Natasha", the informal version of "Natalia". She has sometimes chosen the last-name alias "Romanoff"—evidently as a private joke on those who are not aware that Russian family names use different endings for males and females. She has been hinted to be a descendant of the deposed House of Romanov and a relation to Nicholas II of Russia.
Natasha crosses Daredevil's (Matt Murdock) path again when he attempts to slay an infant he believes to be the Anti-Christ. After Daredevil's one-time love, Karen Page, dies protecting the child, Natasha reconciles with Murdock, revealing she still loves him, but noting that he is too full of anger to commit to a relationship with her.
Natasha is challenged by Yelena Belova, a graduate from the training program through which Natasha herself was taught the espionage trade, who is the first to ever surpass Natasha's marks and considers herself the rightful successor to the "Black Widow" mantle. Natasha refers to her as "little one" and "rooskaya (meaning "Russian"), and encourages her to discover her individuality rather than live in blind service, asking her "why be Black Widow, when you can be Yelena Belova?" After several confrontations, Natasha subjects Yelena to intense psychological manipulation and suffering in order to teach her the reality of the espionage business, and an angry but disillusioned Yelena eventually returns home and temporarily quits being a spy. Although Matt Murdock is appalled by the cruelty of Natasha's treatment of Yelena, Nick Fury describes the action as Natasha's attempt at saving Yelena's life. After bringing the Avengers and the Thunderbolts together to overcome Count Nefaria, Natasha supported Daredevil's short-lived efforts to form a new super-team to capture the Punisher, originally believed to be Nick Fury's murderer. Despite recruitment endeavors, however, this vigilante group folded shortly after she and her teammate Dagger fought an army of renegade S.H.I.E.L.D. androids; ironically, she soon afterward worked with both Daredevil and Punisher against the European crime syndicate managed by the Brothers Grace. Months later, her pursuit of war criminal Anatoly Krylenko led to a clash with Hawkeye, whose pessimism regarding heroic activities now rivaled her own.
Shortly after the Scarlet Witch's insanity seemingly killed Hawkeye, and again disbanded the Avengers, Natasha, weary of espionage and adventure, travelled to Arizona but was targeted. Natasha discovers that other women had been trained in the Black Widow Program, and all are now being hunted down and killed by the North Institute on behalf of the corporation Gynacon. Natasha's investigations led her back to Russia, where she was appalled to learn the previously unimagined extent of her past manipulation, and she discovered the Widows were being hunted because Gynacon, having purchased Russian biotechnology from Red Room's successor agency 2R, wanted all prior users of the technology dead. Natasha finds and kills the mastermind of the Black Widow murders: an aging CEO who intended to use part of their genetic structure to create a new chemical weapon. After killing Gynacon CEO Ian McMasters, she clashed with operatives of multiple governments to help Sally Anne Carter, a girl Natasha had befriended in her investigations, whom she rescued with help from Daredevil and Yelena Belova. She soon returned the favor for Daredevil by reluctantly working with Elektra Natchios to protect his new wife, Milla Donovan, from the FBI and others, although Yelena proved beyond help when she agreed to be transformed into the new Super-Adaptoid by A.I.M. and HYDRA.
During the Superhero Civil War, Natasha becomes a supporter of the Superhuman Registration Act and a member of the taskforce led by Iron Man. Afterward, the registered Natasha joins the reconstituted Avengers. S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury is presumed killed, and deputy director Maria Hill incapacitated, so Natasha assumes temporary command of S.H.I.E.L.D. as the highest-ranking agent present.
Later, Tony Stark assigns Natasha to convey the late Captain America's shield to a secure location, but is intercepted by her former lover, Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier, who steals the shield. Natasha and the Falcon then rescue Barnes from the Red Skull's minions, and bring him to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, where Stark convinces Bucky to become the new Captain America. Afterward, Natasha accompanies Bucky as his partner for a brief time until she is called back by S.H.I.E.L.D. She later rejoins him and Falcon for the final confrontation with the Red Skull, helping to rescue Sharon Carter. She and Bucky have restarted their relationship. She later plays an important role in the capture of Hercules. However, due to her respect of the Greek god, she let him go. Soon Natasha, along with the rest of the Avengers, gets involved in the current Skrull invasion. Afterwards, she stayed as Bucky's partner. She also assists former director Maria Hill in delivering a special form of data to Bucky.
Norman Osborn discovered Yelena Belova breaking into an abandoned S.H.I.E.L.D. facility, and offered her the position of field leader of the new Thunderbolts. On her first mission, she and Ant-Man take control of Air Force One with the Goblin, Doc Samson, and the new President aboard. It was suggested she faked her apparent death (as the Adaptoid) but it is never explained how.
A conversation with the Ghost implies that Yelena is working as a mole for someone else and that she may even be someone else disguised as Yelena. She is later seen talking privately through a comm-link to Nick Fury.
Osborn orders Yelena to lead the current Thunderbolts to kill former Thunderbolt, Songbird. Fury orders "Yelena" to rescue and retrieve Songbird, for the information she might possess about Osborn and his operations. Yelena finds Songbird, and reveals to her that she was really Natasha Romanova in disguise. She tries delivering Songbird to Fury, but the Thunderbolts have also followed them. The trio are captured as Osborn reveals he had been impersonating Fury in messages all along to set Natasha up in order to strengthen the Thunderbolts and lead him to Fury. She and Songbird are brought to be executed but manage to escape when Ant-Man, Headsmen and Paladin turn on the rest of the Thunderbolts and let them go.
At the start of the Heroic Age, Natasha is recruited by Steve Rogers into a new black-ops wing of the Avengers, dubbed the Secret Avengers. She travels to Dubai with her new teammate, Valkyrie, where they steal a dangerous artifact which the Beast then studies, noting that it seems like a distant cousin of the Serpent Crown. In the story "Coppelia", she encounters a teenage clone of herself, code named "Tiny Dancer", whom she rescued from an arms dealer.
During the "Ends of the Earth" storyline involving one of Doctor Octopus' schemes, Natasha is one of only three heroes left standing after the Sinister Six defeat the Avengers, joining Silver Sable and Spider-Man to track the Six (albeit because she was closest to Sable's cloaked ship after the Avengers were defeated). She is later contacted by the Titanium Man to warn her and her allies about Doctor Octopus' attempt to rally other villains against Spider-Man. She is knocked out along with Hawkeye by Iron Man during a battle against the Avengers when they were temporarily under Octavius' remote control.
During the incursion event between Earth 616 and Earth 1610, Natasha is involved in the final battle between the Marvel Universe's superheroes and the Ultimate Universe's Children of Tomorrow. She pilots a ship holding a handpicked few to restart humanity after the universe ends, copiloted by Jessica Drew. Her ship is shot down during the battle though, and she is killed in the ensuing explosion.
As the evacuation of Earth-616 begins in light of the fact that Earth-1610 is about to come crashing down as part of the "Last Days" part of the storyline, Black Widow is seen standing atop a building with Captain America who gives her a list of people to save and bring aboard the lifeboat. As she tells Sam she can't save them all, Sam explains it's Natasha's job to assist in the effort to save as many people as possible before Earth as they know it is destroyed. As she leaves, her mind transitions to Cold War Russia, where a young Natasha (here called Natalia) speaks with two Russian functionaries in the infamous "Red Room". She is given her first mission: travel to Cuba and locate a family called the Comienzas, who are at risk from Raúl Castro's regime and who may have information of vital importance to Russia. She is told to rendezvous with another agent, her classmate Marina, and befriend the family under the guise of a Russian businesswoman. Natasha assures them of her competency and leaves. When one of the officers questions her youth, the other assures him, “she's a killer. She will not disappoint.” Natasha meets Marina in Cuba and the two friends catch up before meeting with the Comienzas that night at a local bar. Using her talent for deception, she casually and politely convinces the husband and wife that she's seeking inside information to help her import various goods into the country. The Comienzas explain they can't reveal said information, prompting Natasha to later explain to Marina that the family might need “a little push”. Not too soon she effectively began terrorizing the family into desperation. First, she plants an American flag on their doorstep to mimic someone accusing them of defecting to the United States. Later after meeting with one of the Russian officers from the Red Room to report her progress, she detonated a car bomb outside their home when the first attempt didn't make them "nearly desperate enough". Following the car bomb explosion, Natasha declares the family is indeed desperate enough to reproach for information. Before letting Natasha go, the officer announces she has one additional task before her mission is over: Marina has become too much enamored with her civilian guise, and is now a security risk. Natasha will have to eliminate her. Flipping to the present, Black Widow is saving as many people as she can, but she quickly flashback to Havana. Natasha and her then Red Room partner Marina are trying to help a family defect. Natasha’s orders are simple. Kill the parents and make it public. When Natasha asks if she should kill the child too, her boss looks horrified that she would be so OK with that and tells her no. Having no problem following orders she sets up a meet and using a sniper riffle she takes out the pair without blinking. Next she shoots Marina’s boyfriend then Marina herself. Next she shoots Marina’s cat. Flipping back to the present, Black Widow is back saving people from the incursion as the reason that triggered Natasha's flashback is revealed....a man she saved is holding his cat. This dark, heartless side of the Black Widow shows why she is trying so hard to do good today.
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