Thunderbolts Spec: Yelena Belova

by Matt Tuck

061722D-1024x536 Thunderbolts Spec: Yelena BelovaWill Black Widow lead the MCU’s Thunderbolts? That question has her key issues seeing a surge in popularity. Marvel’s next superhero team is on its way, and the studio is taking a page from the DCEU. Similar to the Suicide Squad, the Thunderbolts’ rotating members are usually former villains who are working for the United States government in lieu of prison.

Since the team first appeared in 1991, there have been at least a dozen versions of the Thunderbolts. That leaves us wondering, who will fill the ranks on the big screen? 

yelena_720 Thunderbolts Spec: Yelena Belova

At the top of the list is the MCU’s resident Black Widow, Yelena Belova. The speculation comes from Thunderbolts screenwriter, Eric Pearson, who also wrote the script for Black Widow. That has all signs pointing toward Yelena not only being in the Thunderbolts movie, but she could be the film’s central figure.

The Thunderbolts theories are driving the market for her key issues, beginning with these.

INHUMANS #5

Inhumans5-198x300 Thunderbolts Spec: Yelena Belova

Although her face was not shown, Inhumans #5 is considered Yelena Belova’s first appearance. Since she wasn’t fully revealed here, many fans count this as a cameo appearance. Cameo or not, this still rates as her first appearance, which makes it a major collecting target. Of course, this has been a popular collectible since last year’s Black Widow movie. Pair that with the possibility of her leading the Thunderbolts, and this is a comic poised for a spike in value.

After averaging $600 last year, a graded 9.8 sold for $500 on June 7. Earlier this year, it was routinely selling for $600-$700, and the Thunderbolts speculation could help prices reach those former levels.

BLACK WIDOW #1 (1999)

eyJidWNrZXQiOiJnb2NvbGxlY3QuaW1hZ2VzLnB1YiIsImtleSI6ImQ2YmFkNDhhLWZiYmMtNDZlNS1iNjhiLTc5Zjk4MjQ1ZjkyYi5qcGciLCJlZGl0cyI6W119-196x300 Thunderbolts Spec: Yelena Belova

After Yelena was teased in Inhumans #5, she would make her full debut three months later in Black Widow #1. This time around, she would square off with Natasha Romanoff over the Black Widow title. While Natasha is still the one and only Black Widow in the comics, the MCU has told a different story.

Thanks to Florence Pugh’s screen charm, Yelena has quickly become one of Marvel’s most popular film characters. When it comes to comics, budding popularity means higher prices for her key issues.

Black-Widow-1-1999-Variant-197x300 Thunderbolts Spec: Yelena Belova

There hasn’t been a 9.8 to sell online since last month, but it had been earning $200+ throughout May with a high of $320. The better copy to own is the J.G. Jones variant with Yelena on the cover. On May 19, a 9.8 sold for $479.

THUNDERBOLTS #128

Thunderbolts-128-2009-195x300 Thunderbolts Spec: Yelena Belova

This issue has been gaining traction as of late, and it could be the basis for the MCU’s squad. In Thunderbolts #128, Norman Osborn led his version of the team, which included Black Widow, Ghost, and forgotten Ant-Man Eric O’Grady. Initially, this was Yelena as Black Widow, but the big reveal later was that it was Natasha Romanoff in disguise all along. Raw copies have been selling for $10-$20, so getting a copy shouldn’t be too difficult. 

THUNDERING AHEAD

Although nothing has been confirmed, the odds of Yelena being a main character in Thunderbolts is very high. With the MCU seemingly through with the Avengers, this could be their answer to a future Avengers team…just with more attitude. It could also be the perfect vehicle for Yelena to establish herself as the one and only Black Widow.

Want more Thunderbolts spec?

Upgrade2_Footer Thunderbolts Spec: Yelena Belova*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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1 comment

Comiccurator101 June 24, 2022 - 11:45 am

The biggest Yelena book is one you didn’t mention, the Black Widow #1 Dynamic Forces variant, it had a print run of only 7500 and as of today has less than 200 on census with less than 100 9.8’s, given 9.8s sell for close to $1k you’d think there’d be more graded copies, this leads me to belive there’s quite a few copies lost to the wilderness of collecting, that’s about the same # of 9.8s as the ultimate fallout 4 variant that sells for $30k+ while not Spider-Man I could see this Yelena key growing in value significantly over the next few years as Florence Pugh fulfills her 8 project contract with Marvel

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