Into the Red Room with Yelena Belova

by Ryan Kirksey

We were able to peel a few more layers of the Black Widow onion back on December 3rd when we got the first trailer for the film due out in May. There were several aspects that were not all that surprising; mostly going back to Black Widow’s  mysterious history with the Red Room, and discovering that Natasha will have to confront some of those demons. We also got our first glimpses at the (fat, aging) Red Guardian (Russia’s answer to Captain America), and Taskmaster, whose appearance was met with disdain among the hardcore comic community.

One mild surprise, however, was the apparently significant role Yelena Belova will play in the film. Who is Yelena Belova, you ask? The answer lies within the pages of some of these key issues of the “other” Black Widow.

inhumans5-198x300 Into the Red Room with Yelena Belova

Inhumans Vol 2 #5

Our first appearance of Belova occurs 20 years ago in Volume 2 of Inhumans when Belova was contracted to deliver technology that would aid in the invasion of Attilan, home of the Inhumans. The character is not fully developed or introduced in this issue (more on that below), but it is widely recognized as the first appearance of the character and of Belova under the mantle of Black Widow.

As of this writing, only 53 copies exist in the CGC census, with 57% of those at 9.8 (and all at least 9.0). A quick scan of eBay shows that six of those 53 were sold between December 3rd and December 6th, an astounding percentage showing that owners are quickly looking to flip the book, capitalizing on their speculation. It’s hard to pinpoint a market with so little time between the trailer and now, but prices range between $50 for a 9.4 to $250 for a 9.8.

Expect those numbers to keep escalating until after the movie’s release and then trail off, perhaps closer to the price in early fall when a 9.8 sold in October for $177.

 

 

 

blackwidow-1-196x300 Into the Red Room with Yelena BelovaBlack Widow #1

Three months after Inhumans #5, we are introduced to Belova/Black Widow as a more fully-developed character. When Natasha Romanov as Black Widow is asked to investigate a new type of bio-weapon that has come to the attention of U.S. and Russian Intelligence, we learn that a second Black Widow (Belova) is tracking her every move with the intention of eventually becoming the alpha version of the Russian super-spy.

It is this rivalry that will apparently be explored in the Black Widow film, although the trailer gives the impression this has become a more friendly competition that deviates from the original portrayal of Belova as a saboteur and someone out to destroy Romanov’s place among the spy hierarchy. Over time, the two become closer.

There is only one recorded CGC sale on eBay since the trailer, a 9.6 that sold for $60. More will surely follow when MCU sleuths determine that this storyline is likely to be featured heavily in the film. Right now, with only 88 universal on the registry and one registered sale since the trailer dropped, it’s impossible to determine a market. The most recent 9.8 sold in mid-November for $120, so take that number and give it a 25% speculator’s bump and you might have a reasonable estimate of the cost.

 

 

 

palespider-197x300 Into the Red Room with Yelena BelovaBlack Widow: Pale Little Spider #1

Three years after Black Widow #1, we get another miniseries (NSFW, by the way) fully featuring Belova as the undisputed Black Widow for the first time. She is responsible for tracking down the killer of her original trainer who is found murdered. It is revealed, however, that this was all a ploy to activate Belova into rising up to the role of Black Widow which she was always trained to do. She agrees to become the official Black Widow, setting up a future conflict with Natasha across several other series.

With only 20 total universal graded CGC copies in the world, there is essentially no market here either. That being said, there is no shortage of 9.8 owners trying to profit out there right now. Presently on eBay, there are several sellers who will happily part with their 9.8 copy for $90-$100. It’s hard to tell where this issue will go as it is not the first appearance nor the origin, so this may just be a nice raw copy to sit on and see if movement starts heading consistently up.

 

What were your initial reactions to the trailer and the new characters we will see? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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