Natasha leads Ghost Rider, Hercules, Angel, and Iceman as the Champions!
A super spy, a super hero, an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Avenger—Natasha Romanoff has been all these things and much more since making her way into the Marvel Universe over 50 years ago.
With Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and other Marvel Cinematic Universe outings continuing to raise the Black Widow’s profile, we chronicle her exciting history!
Alongside her new comrades Hercules, Iceman, Angel, and Ghost Rider, the Black Widow fought valiantly in CHAMPIONS #2 to prevent the god of the underworld Pluto from completing his scheme to rule Mount Olympus. When things moved from bad to worse, Natasha traveled to the fabled realm itself in CHAMPIONS #3 to rescue Herc and the goddess of love Venus from Pluto’s clutches.
Deciding to form a new team, the heroes rested at Angel’s Malibu beach house in CHAMPIONS #4 before an evil scientist’s plan to duplicate the Super Soldier Serum interrupted them. Soon after, the Angel created Champions Inc. in CHAMPIONS #5 and just in time for Rampage, a destitute industrialist in an exoskeleton, offering up one of the team’s first official challenges.
The Black Widow became the Champions’ elected leader in CHAMPIONS #6 while Rampage raged across the city before trying to blow himself to smithereens with a self-destruct mechanism. With little time to rest after the tense situation, Natasha and her friend and confidante Ivan clashed with the Widow’s original trainer, Alexei Bruskin, in CHAMPIONS #7. Bruskin and two Russian agents named Darkstar and Griffin captured the duo in CHAMPIONS #8, then dragged them to his boss, the Crimson Dynamo, who in CHAMPIONS #9, unmasked to reveal himself as Ivan’s thought-to-be-dead son.
With her teammates stuck inside a cavern near the San Andreas Fault, Natasha found herself zooming back to Russia, the captive of the Crimson Dynamo, in CHAMPIONS #10. Fortunately, Darkstar turned on her comrades and sided with Ivan against his son, and helped free all the Champions. Back in California, the super team enjoyed their new Los Angeles headquarters in CHAMPIONS #11 until the alien Warlord Kaa put a crimp in their plans when he attempted to invade Earth, beginning with the Arizona badlands. Back at base, Champions associate Black Goliath held off an invasion of the Stilt-Man, finally calling in the team in CHAMPIONS #12 to hear the Stranger’s request to the Champions to aid him in defusing the Null-Life Bomb.
Whisked away to Kamo Tharn’s dimension by the Stranger to find a powerful runestaff in CHAMPIONS #13, the Black Widow led her compatriots against Tharn’s creatures while Darkstar and Iceman retrieved the staff and squelched the bomb back on Earth. Later, Natasha flew off to New York in MARVEL TEAM-UP #57, where she ran across a battle between Spider-Man and her old foe the Silver Samurai and offered her assistance to the Wallcrawler.
Barely back from that adventure, the Widow journeyed right back to the Big Apple with the Champions to fall into a fracas in AVENGERS #163 between Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Hercules’ immortal enemy Typhon. Ivan called it quits in CHAMPIONS #14, but Natasha and her team wrestled with the bee-fueled menace of Swarm before she could concentrate on losing her old friend.
Magneto and his temporary ally the Beast arrived in SUPER-VILLAIN TEAM-UP #14 to ask for help from the Black Widow and her fellow heroes in stopping Doctor Doom’s neurogas, but the Champions fell and they battled the unlikely duo under Doom’s control. Magneto captured them all and took them to Washington D.C. in CHAMPIONS #16 to use them as pawns in his fight with the Latverian monarch and the Incredible Hulk.
After standing at Iron Man’s side in combat with M.O.D.O.K. in IRON MAN ANNUAL #4, the Black Widow disbanded the Champions after their run-in with evil mutants the Blob, Unus, Lorelei, the Vanisher, and a clutch of the robotic Sentinels.
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