Marvel is infamous for having it’s characters take on multiple superhero names, and pass their names on to other people, which can make reading comics very, very confusing.
So, I thought I’d start a series on this blog, giving you all the information you need on just who has used what name and when, starting with Black Widow!
Natasha is listed as the first Black Widow in Marvel Comics – first appearing in Tales Of Suspense in 1964. She’s also the most famous, as she has consistently been appearing in comics since her debut, and, obviously has been played by Scarlett Johansson in the MCU for the last twelve years.
Yelena came along much later, in 1999, and is only now coming to fame due to Florence Pugh playing her in the Black Widow movie.
Now, what is interesting about these two, is that they both have gone by the codename Black Widow at the same time. The Red Room gave the name to Natasha first, and then gave it to Yelena years later, when she was deployed to investigate the death of her mentor.
When Yelena was given the name, she believed herself to be the rightful Black Widow, and volunteered to go on a mission which would put her head to head with Natasha. During the mission, Natasha managed to convince Yelena that she was being controlled by the Red Room, and got her to leave the espionage game.
Yelena retired to become a business woman, and dropped the name Black Widow, leaving the mantel to Natasha. But, when Natasha was killed during the Secret Empire event, Yelena donned the mantel again, this time in Natasha’s honour.
Natasha was later resurrected, and now both go by the name Black Widow. Though, to avoid confusion, the two generally are referred to by their given names.
Obviously, there have been other Black Widow’s from the Red Room, but I have never seen any other named (unless we’re counting Dottie Underwood in the tv show Agent Carter). If another pops up, I will update this with everything I can find on them.