Why the Black Widow Was Awesome
Marvel’s The Avengers brings to the big screen a host of super-powered individuals: One man with a flying, high tech suit of armor. One nigh immortal alien, better known as a god. One superpowered soldier. One indestructible “enormous green rage-monster”. Two skilled, but not super, assassins. One has a bow, one has a gun. The assassins not only hold their own among the most powerful beings known to planet Earth, but they shine as they help bring down the alien attack force led by a psychotic, rage-fueled god with daddy issues. It’s especially notable that Black Widow, aka Natasha Romanoff, was a priceless member of a superhero team that was not only all-male, but overwhelmingly skewed as higher on the power scale than she. Yet in the film’s climactic scene (spoiler alert!) Black Widow is the one who closes the portal. She saves fellow assassin Hawkeye and astrophysicist Erik Selvig from the mind control of the villainous Loki. And she commandeers one of the Chitauri by ricocheting off Captain America’s shield, which is quite frankly the coolest thing ever. Also notable, she lured Bruce Banner away from his do-good activities to assist the Avengers, and survived his rage-fueld rampage when he unexpectedly turned into the Hulk.
Why it’s No Longer Enough
Now that the Widow has proven not only can she work with the men, but prove an invaluable member of the team, she’s opened the door for other women, supers and hardcore normals alike, to join the front lines. In fact, if the subsequent film doesn’t feature more female fighters, she hasn’t blazed a trail at all, she’s just filling out the “token girl” role. It’s not fair that she should shoulder the responsibility of being a female role model alone, while the guys get to spread the wealth. Pepper Potts may be able to snark even better than Iron Man, but she hasn’t shown any notable fighting skills, and Maria Hill, as Nick Fury’s protege and likely someday successor, is too valuable to S.H.I.E.L.D. to put into direct battle (although she is more than capable of an impressive counter-attack). Thor and Captain America have been known champions of women in battle in their own films, time to see them campaigning as a team. Besides, sometimes a girl needs to borrow a tampon. If New York is under siege, Black Widow can’t just head back to the ladies’ room at S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters. It’s always good to have a girlfriend around in case of emergency.
Worthy Potential Teammates
(In the Marvel Cinematic Universe)
Sif: In Thor, Sif filled a role similar to the Black Widow’s among the title character and the Warriors Three. She’s battle hardened, a goddess in her own right, and already has Thor’s respect and recommend.
Major Peggy Carter: The Cap’s superior officer is now retired and likely no longer in shape for fighting, but with a little expository hand-waving and applied plebotinum, her younger self could be a powerful military-trained allie.
(From the comics)
Scarlet Witch: Beefing up the team’s number of legitimate “superheros”, Wanda Maximoff would not only help level the playing field, but enhance the possibilities of an X-Men crossover film.
Ms. Marvel: Potentially the most iconic of Marvel’s female superheros, Ms. Marvel is another hardcore normal who could easily be retconned as either an existing S.H.I.E.L.D. agent or a desirable recruit.
The Wasp: Not the running favorite, but if the rumors are true that an Ant-Man film is in the works to join the franchise, can the Wasp really be far behind?