At this point in 2020, we should have been gearing up for the imminent release of the long-awaited Black Widow movie. Instead, we have another six months to wait. However, a new Black Widow story titled Marvel’s Black Widow: Bad Blood has begun its release this week thanks to Serial Box, and it might just help to scratch your itch for new Natasha content.
Serial Box is an online story service that provides sci-fi and fantasy stories to read and listen to. The stories are released as weekly episodes using synced audiobooks and ebooks so you can easily switch between the audio and written versions as it suits you. All the stories are originals, often from new and upcoming writers, but there are some classics as well as franchise-linked stories, such as this new Black Widow based offering from Marvel. In order to experience a story, readers can purchase the season for roughly the same cost as buying a book.
I was able to read the first two chapters of Marvel’s Black Widow: Bad Blood and was instantly enthralled by the story. The story opens with the Black Widow closing out a months-long mission to take down a dangerous biosmuggler. Working with S.H.I.E.L.D., Natasha is able to take the perpetrators into custody, but as she takes a few days to bring some closure to her cover identity, she finds herself feeling dangerously sick and—while vulnerable—she is grabbed on the street and has an unknown procedure performed on her while she is drugged. Unwilling to trust S.H.I.E.L.D. or Tony Stark, Nat turns to Bruce Banner for help.
The opening of Marvel’s Black Widow: Bad Blood reminded me of the best types of fanfiction by the way it immediately leaped into the story with no pre-amble. There’s an assumption here that we already know these characters inside and out, so why spend time reminding us of who they are when there’s a story to start telling? Natasha’s skills as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent are on display right from the first sentence and she gets to show off what makes the Black Widow such an enduring character, which is exactly what I wanted to see.
I was also happy to find other Marvel characters brought into the plot on the periphery. I’m not clear yet how or where this story fits into the greater Marvel world—if it’s MCU compliant or not—but it was great to see references to people like Tony Stark and Nick Fury to help settle the story into a wider picture. The story blurb tells us that the Winter Soldier will also be a significant player in Marvel’s Black Widow: Bad Blood, and for someone whose favorite MCU film is Captain America: The Winter Soldier, that puts this book firmly up my alley! I do hope, however, that the story can avoid the pitfall that befell Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl where Natasha almost became a side character in her own book.
— Serial Box (@serialboxpub) April 28, 2020
You can read or listen to the first two episodes of Marvel’s Black Widow: Bad Blood for free by signing up for a Serial Box account, and you can subscribe to the whole season for $9.99. Another Marvel title is already available on Serial Box—Marvel’s Thor: Metal Gods—and a third, Marvel’s Jessica Jones: Playing With Fire, will launch on the 14th May.
Episode three of Marvel’s Black Widow: Bad Blood will be released on Tuesday, 5th May with subsequent episodes released most weeks until 21st July. Watch out for my recaps and reviews of the story so far every two episodes here on GeekMom, and if you’d like to chat about it, join us over on the GeekMom Talk Facebook group.
GeekMom received free access to this story for review purposes.