Great Graphic Novels 2015 Noms: Spies and Assassins

by Tessa

Read about the whys of this series here.



Black Widow: The Finely Woven Thread, Volume 1

Nathan Edmondson, writer

Phil Noto, artist


Anticipation/Expectation Level: I like Black Widow comics well enough, even though sometimes I’m bored by the spy genre.

My Reality: Much like the delightful Hawkeye by Matt Fraction and David Aja, this follows the adventures of Black Widow in her non-Avengers life (and it does offer a nice Hawkeye cameo). Natasha is taking assassin or recovery jobs and trying to pick the lesser of many evils in so doing, trying to atone for her mercenary former life. Her only friend is her accountant and a stray cat. Over the course of the book the separate jobs she takes start to connect with each other and affect her. She starts to rethink isolating herself from other people.

Noto draws a vivid, stylized world. Black Widow as incarnated here is more realistic and believable, a great marriage with her characterization – tough, stubborn, smart, and sad, but still quippy. I wish the major theme hadn’t been hammered into every issue collected here. Read together, it is tiring to be told over and over what is implicit in the action. Otherwise, it’s a tangled, intriguing start to a series that is worth following.

Will Teens Like It?: Sure.

Is it “great” for teens?: Yeah.

Art Taste:



Zero V 1: An Emergency

Ales Kot, writer

Michael Walsh, Tradd Moore, Mateus Santoluoco, Morgan Jeske, Jordie Bellaire, artists


Anticipation/Expectation Level: None

My Reality: I was neutral on this – it wasn’t bad, in fact it was a serviceable spy story, just not what I enjoy –  until the last issue, when there was a surprising twist. I read this in October so I don’t remember much of the story. It’s set in the near future, involves a man named Edward Zero who is a spy and is starting to realize that he doesn’t trust the people he works for, and each issue is drawn by a different artist. And now Ales Kot is writing a new story for a pilot TV show based on this.

I like watching different artists do interpretations of characters in a story. Um…. yep. That’s all I have to say.

Will Teens Like It?: Sure

Is it “great” for teens?: I feel like I have to read the 2nd volume to gauge where the story is going to say whether I think it’s great. It looks like it’s going somewhere interesting. But right now I’d say it’s so forgettable to me that it’s not great, just pretty good verging on very good.

Art Taste:



The Secret Service: Kingsman

Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons, writers? – not clear from The Internet

Dave Gibbons, artist


I’m far down on the holds list for the one copy of this book, and don’t expect to get it any time soon. It’s now a movie. My guess is that it reads like a book that was written to be a movie and that it’s not that great. Especially as it was originally published by Icon. In fact, I might cancel my hold, because this is not my favorite type of story to read, and the movie connection will be enough for many people to check this out, so I don’t feel like I need to write about it either way.


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