This is Love In Vain, a feature where I spotlight “near miss” romances. You know what I mean, cases where two characters seem poised to become a couple but never quite get together. A few dates don’t count! I mean a serious relationship.
Today, we look at an offbeat romantic subplot between Black Widow and Captain America that really went nowhere.
Captain America and Black Widow had worked together for years in the time leading up to 1994’s Avengers #382 (by Bob Harras, Mike Deodato and Tom Palmer). In fact, just four years earlier in Uncanny X-Men #268 (by Chris Claremont, Jim Lee and Scott Williams), we learned that Cap and Widow had actually met when Natasha was just a little kid!
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Widow and Cap were sort of co-leaders of the Avengers for a time under Harras’ pen….
and after Cap took a break from the team circa Avengers #347, she took over leadership duties for the Avenger (and continued to be the leader even after Cap returned to the Avengers circa #360).
But their interactions were pretty much just as friendly colleagues until the aforementioned #382, when Black Widow walked in on a napping Cap (Cap was tired due to problems in his own series, where his Super Soldier Serum was backfiring on him and slowly killing him)…
Check out the look on her face when Jarvis walked in on her! That’s hilarious.
This was pretty clearly going to go somewhere, especially based on some extra little hints in a crossover between Cap and Avengers, like this bit from Avengers #387 (by Harras, Deodato and Palmer)…
this bit from Captain America #441 (by Mark Gruenwald and Dave Hoover), which crossed over with the Avengers (a Cosmic Cube is creating shadows of the Avengers’ respective pasts, including the Widow’s first husband)…
and the end of #388 (by Harras, Deodato and Palmer)…
Cap “died” soon after this, and when Mark Waid took over Captain America’s title, he went with a romance with a now-alive Sharon Carter and this was never mentioned again.
Amusingly enough, Black Widow later had a serious relationship with Steve Rogers’ temporary replacement as Captain America, Bucky Barnes.
Okay, folks, I’m sure you all have a lot of examples for this new feature, so feel free to drop me a line at [email protected] with your suggestions!
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