500 Reasons Why There Should Be a Black Widow Solo Film

black widow1) As Scarlett Johansson rightly stated, Black Widow’s history is rich, and steeped with great stories to tell. As a spy, she has been involved in so many organisations, and this has been touched on by the MCU, which uses her as a bridge to connect HYDRA and the Red Programme, The Winter Soldier and SHIELD. Exploring her past in a more comprehensive manner would have the advantage of revealing her associations to each, as well as weaving a complex web of relations.

2) Natasha Romanoff is a Russian woman. To have her star as a protagonist would be a huge leap for Marvel, as characters of non-American ethnicity, when featured, are generally played as villains or thugs, rather than with heroic story arcs. This is superbly illustrated by the fact that the woman that Marvel has picked up to title the first solo superheroine film is Carol Danvers, a white American woman with a military background, despite Natasha’s pre-existence as a popular MCU character.

3) The Black Widow is very popular (and the lone Marvel superheroine). She has an avid and dedicated following, who would be more than willing to watch and applaud a solo film, as seen from demonstrations, tweets and general comments made since Natasha Romanoff first appeared on the big screen. Furthermore, there is no disagreement from higher levels such as Kevin Feige. It would be a very easy sell.

4) There are already fanmade title sequences and trailers of the film! Beautifully made, one has tricked many an unsuspecting Marvel fan that a Black Widow film was on the table. In fact, given the quality of the trailer, if the film was made, it might outstrip the rest of Marvel’s creations so far. Additionally, there’s no shortage of actor, writer and director enthusiasm – a treatment of the film was written back in 2010, and many celebrities have been quoted as saying that they’d be on board with the enterprise.

black widow

This is, along with the top-most image, is a screenshot from a superb title track you can find here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhR6eZWOMeU

5) If a movie were to be made, it would give audiences the added pleasure of potentially delving into Hawkeye and Bucky Barnes’ histories as well, uncovering more backstory and spy shenanigans.

Reasons 6-500) Natasha Romanoff is one badass lady, and on top of that, she is a chameleon. She evolves, constantly. Wouldn’t it be awesome to watch those metamorphoses on screen? (the answer is a resounding YES).

RBB2015 Art

Voila!! It’s a couple of days late, since my author was very busy with personal stuff AND writing another RBB fic at the same time, but finally the day has arrived for my Cap-Ironman 2015 Reverse Big Bang art to come to light!

It’s my second year, and I’m proud of the fact that I’m no longer classified as a newbie! Also, that this year I have done a larger quantity of pieces to help my author along – in part, actually because of their fic. I took a completely different direction from last year, challenging myself to go down the steampunk path. Actually, the initial character sketches of steampunked Tony, Pepper and Steve (which I was pretty happy with) detailing clothing, patterns and ornaments didn’t end up being part of the final product, but I enjoyed doing them, and they definitely influenced my work.

This was the result:

RBB2015 Heart

This was a later drawing, a line in the fic which really resonated, and made me want to draw a mechanical heart. So I did 🙂 Unfortunately, something about the red blood tubes makes it vaguely resemble a rugby ball… This was drawn in pencil and acrylic paint.

 

RBB2015Ship#2

The Iron Maiden! I’m not sure if I like it exactly, but here’s a depiction of the ship – Jarvis was obviously doing the laundry when I took a reference photo 🙂 This was done in pencil.

 

RBB2015 Cap'n'Tony

So, this is an earlier scene where Tony meets Captain America for the first time. It was actually drawn after the next picture, because my author created a really cool opportunity to have a sort of parallel scene 🙂 This was done in pencil.

 

RBB2015Masked

Last but not least, the original artwork!! (Or, rather, the original piece intended to be displayed for the RBB Challenge). This was a scenario I came up with, and my author rose to the occasion magnificently, writing a touching scene that also explained why Steve was in clothes and Iron Man was wearing his armour in a very convincing way! (Hooray!) This was done in watered down black acrylic paint, in lieu of watercolour or ink, which I had no access to, and pen for the detailing.

 

Gift Wrapping

As part of my ‘let’s participate’ plan, I signed up for a holiday gift exchange! It’s now fine to post it, so here goes.

I had a bit of trouble with the prompt I was given, as the request was much more fic-based than geared towards art:

Steve’s got Tony wrapped around his little finger and doesn’t even realize it. And they’re not even together (yet). But Tony’s got a plan for that and it’s in motion and he’s a genius so it should go perfectly…right?

Extra happiness if 1) other Avengers (incl. Bucky and Sam) end up involved, 2) there’s porn, 3) there are cats

So I asked for a more visual request, something that was easier to draw… the person came up with this:

Hmm, a scene where Steve’s just making an off-handed comment about wanting something and Tony going out of his way to get it for him while slipping in a really failed attempt to ask for a date? Then another where someone points out to Steve that he’s got Tony wrapped around his finger and Tony’s probably into him and Steve is blushy and hopeful-dismissive like ‘he’s not into me like that…is he?’. And in the end Steve making a comment like ‘I wish Tony would ask me on a date’ when he knows Tony’s listening around the corner so Tony will finally ask him properly.
Or if it’s more fun, Steve coming across Tony tying himself up to be Steve’s present for Christmas/New Year’s/some holiday.

Which still didn’t fit the bill exactly for me, as I was hoping for a preferred medium or a composition idea. But! In the end, I prevailed and turned out not one, but two pieces of art, which I am not too unhappy with. I used pencil to sketch everything out, then went over the sketch with a fine black pen.

#1Comicdec2014

I even managed to incorporate 2 bonus points (I ignored the second one completely), and some of the prompt!

#2Comicdec2014

As always, the scanner seems to have blurred everything up, even at high definition :/ Just imagine it sharper, and let me know what you think!

– Let’s call me Lily

Second companion piece for: Staring Into An Eclipse

BB 2014 Pencil Final

My second piece for the 2014 Cap-Ironman Big Bang – this one took rather longer, even though it’s only pencil, as I had to redraw it. Originally, I was going with Tony being shorter than Steve, never having seen them standing side-by-side in the 616 verse and thus simply presuming that he was. As it turns out, they’re the same height!

Companion Art for: Staring Into An Eclipse

BB2014 Final

My first piece of art, made for the 2014 Cap-Ironman Big Bang – the final version of it 🙂

I was trying to visualise what Tony’s headspace looked like when he had Extremis, which features in the story, and came up with the above; I quite like the contrast between the charcoal portrait and the very busy background myself, but if anyone is interested in seeing other ‘layers’, I’d be happy to post those up as well!

Firstly, I figured I needed a base code, so I covered the page in binary code (which was actually a translation of words, only I think I missed a couple of digits here and there). Then I wanted to reflect Tony’s time in Afghanistan, and his nightmares, which are always looming in his subconsciousness, so that’s where the explosions and the water come into the picture. The next layer is the white; those are semi-conscious thoughts, which mostly focus on improving the armour, because in my opinion, if he had Extremis, that’s a process that would become inherent to Tony’s mindscape; he wouldn’t be focusing on it all the time, certainly, but he’d be making those changes continuously. After that, there’s a layer of pencil, which you can’t really see, but that’s because it’s mindchatter, and I didn’t want to make it too obvious. Maybe you can find a ‘Steve’ or two? The last layer is made up of black blueprints and schematics, which Tony is currently thinking about on a higher level: the arc reactor, obviously, features pretty heavily, as do a couple of his current projects for S.H.I.E.L.D., and he’s experimenting with a new helmet shape that isn’t as potentially compromising, plus a new type of… something.

He’s a busy man, is what I’m trying to say!

Mon Capitan: Steve Rogers in Cap 2

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Then I read some reviews, discussed it with friends, babbled about it for about 6,000 words. Then I swore that I would tidy things up and post some reviews.

The next instalment is now up! (oh, only 6 months later, no biggie)

For a look at my reaction to the introduction of The Falcon, click HERE!

For a look at my reaction to the introduction of The Winter Soldier, click HERE!

Cap’s earnest look begs you to reconsider and watch the film first, if you haven’t done so. Spoilers abound!

Okay. I have to confess: at first, I was completely confused by Steve and Natasha. Utterly bamboozled. They spoke differently (seriously, Scarlett Johansson drops register completely), and it seemed that they had undergone a complete character shift, especially Natasha. Now, here, I have to admit something. It’s been a while since I watched the film Marvel Phase 1 films, so my characterisations might be a bit muddled. But upon research, I immediately encountered comments and interviews and responses which showed me that there had been adjustments made to both characters, so at least I wasn’t delusional 🙂

This review deals with my thoughts on Steve.
Steve, after some consideration, began to make sense. The violence – especially that stabbing of the bad guy’s hand at the start – was displayed by Steve, became more justified (although that particular moment still doesn’t sit well with me), especially after I found out that the film takes place a year after Avengers does, (which I hadn’t known going in, somehow). That development already took place in Captain America: The First Avenger, as was pointed out to me (thanks, capsicleironman!). At the beginning of the film Steve says “I don’t want to kill anyone. I just don’t like bullies” but after Bucky ‘dies’, he says he wants to take out and “kill” as many Hydra agents as possible. This is simply a continuation of the desperate and broken man who has just lost his best friend, which for Steve happened last year, not 70 years ago.

Here, I really agree with hellotailor, the author of a series of intelligent responses to Captain America: The Winter Soldier (which you can find here); this film depicts a Steve that is fine physically – his healing factor is as efficient as ever and he’s processed the technological and mechanical  advances well – but isn’t coping mentally. He’s all alone – as he jokingly says to Natasha, everyone he knows is dead or really old (oh, that heartbreaking scene with Peggy that will be discussed later) and he has no one to lean his back on. Because in Avengers, Tony Stark and he rubbed the wrong way, Bruce Banner has probably disappeared (and seems to be very introspective and private in any case), Thor isn’t on Earth, who the hell knows where Clint is holed up after his shot period of mind-control, and Natasha and he, well – you see in Captain America: the Winter Soldier that while they might be okay in battle, and they’re fine with the camaraderie of a joking front, their friendship isn’t deep enough yet to allow Steve to display any vulnerability. In addition to the lack of true integration of the members of the Avengers as a team is Steve’s psychological isolation; he is constantly aware that he is 70 years out of time; that his army friends are mostly dead, that his old flame Peggy moved on and married and is now an old woman suffering from dementia.  I think it should also be pointed out that for Steve, this loss is achingly recent; fresh out of WWII, he simply hasn’t had the time to mourn his comrades; definitely not enough to move on. More importantly, Bucky – the person who’s ALWAYS  been there to support him – isn’t, and that’s left a huge hole in his life. He clearly wasn’t dealing well with Bucky’s ‘death’ at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger, doing reckless things like flying planes over the Arctic, and since then it has just been one world-threatening situation after the next, leaving him with no time to internalise or accept his grief.

In a nod to comic-verse, Captain America battles Batroc the Leaper, who thankfully doesn’t have such an atrocious French accent in the film 😀

Thus Steve is depicted as lonely and cut-off, expressing a lot of nostalgia towards his time in the 1940s not because of the old-fashioned tech and attitudes, but because of the sense of belonging he had with the Howling Commandos and his certainty in the moral boundary between right and wrong. Watching Captain America: The First Avenger in order to experience Steve’s transformation is so important to understanding why he is angrier, and no longer as cheerfully genuine and earnest – he is still that, but it’s been shoved to the background and overtaken by new bitterness and doubts as a result of working for a year in a greyscale, modern world in an organisation built upon espionage and killing and, apparently, corruption. Steve’s ideal of ‘good and bad’ was broken down; as he told Peggy, he just wanted to do what was right and “I don’t know what that is anymore“. I think we started with a character who, reasonably given the era he lived in and the experiences he had, inhabited a world of binary opposites. When you were fighting Nazis, you had a very clear enemy that was almost universally acknowledged (except by the Nazi themselves, and their erstwhile allies), as the ‘bad guys’. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it was harder to figure out who exactly that bad guy was, and that’s a much better representation of our morally ambiguous age and the character arc Steve is developing.

I love the woah moment. That emotionally climactic scene that is chock-full of symbolism and catch-phrases. It was well-executed indeed. Steve, who never knew how to back down from a fight, who fought against the odds ever since he was wee little Steve Rogers, who fights until the end, be it his own or the enemies – throws down his shield and gives up. He doesn’t swim, has to be pulled out, because he cannot fight his best friend when it literally doesn’t depend on the world surviving.There’s a gif set somewhere that shows the number of times Steve has said that he’d fight, and then one at the end where he surrenders to Bucky. It’s a pretty powerful thing. The absolute loyalty towards his friend; “I’m with you till the end of the line” was very clearly highlighting Steve’s priorities, and the importance he placed in Bucky, especially since by giving up after the world was saved (and I don’t see why, if Hill had the activation codes and everything, blowing up the helicarriers couldn’t have waited for the battle to end, and for them to fly somewhere that didn’t create to much destruction. Or why they couldn’t be re-purposed), he was saying, basically, I can’t live in a world where Bucky does not know me. Or, that’s how I interpreted it. I’d be really interested in other’s point of view on this pivotal scene, though!!

The one aspect that I’m still confused about is Steve’s healing factor – he seems to be completely fine, showing no bruising or wounds or anything – just keeps going … until the last scene with Bucky, when suddenly he needs hospitalisation and is almost incapable of moving, and moreover, wakes up still bruised. So I’m not sure how the continuity people figure his healing factor into battles, but there were moments that didn’t fit, for me.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and apologise for the continuing delay, but I hope that you enjoy my discussion and come away with new things to think about 🙂

-Let’s call me Lily