Natalia Romanova, known to most as Natasha Romanoff, is rumored to be a relative of the Romanoffs, the last ruling czars if Russia, but nothing else is known of her family. During World War II, a Nazi assault upon Stalingrad set the building she was in on fire. A woman, possibly her mother, threw her into the arms of a Russian soldier named Ivan Petrovitch before being consumed by the flames. Ivan watched over her as she grew to adulthood and today works as her chauffeur.
Ivan brought Natasha under his protection and soon had to defend her from her many enemies. In 1941, Natasha was abducted by the Nazi Baron Von Strucker, who took her to Madripoor and presented her to the Hand to become their master assassin. She was saved from Von Strucker and the Hand by Ivan, the American super hero Captain America, and the Canadian adventurer Logan.
Romanoff proved to be a brilliant scholar and athlete as she matured, and gained fame in the Soviet Union as a ballerina. Romanoff married renowned Soviet test pilot Alexi Shostakov, but the couple's happiness was short-lived.
It was decided by the KGB, the department of the Soviet government which served as the intelligence agency and secret police, that the Shostakovs would make good special operatives. While Alexi Shostakovs was away on a mission, he was informed of the state's new plans for him, and told that from then on he could have no contact with past friends and acquaintances, including even his own wife. Shostakov was then trained to become the Red Guardian, a costumed agent who was intended to act as the Soviet Union's counterpart to Captain America. Meanwhile, a Soviet officer told Natalia Shostakova that her husband had died in the explosion of an experimental rocket he was testing. Distraught, Natalia Shostakova said that she wanted to do something to be worthy of the memory of her heroic husband. The KGB had anticipated her reaction, and was instructed in the infamous Red Room Academy and under their training, she became their most skilled operative, a superb fighter and information gatherer. The KGB gave her the name of "Black Widow" and quickly sent her into the field.
The Black Widow was given her first costume for her fourth mission to the United States.
The Black Widow fell into the hands of the intelligence agents of the People's Republic of China, who brainwashed her into serving them. They directed her to attack SHIELD, but she freed herself from their brainwashing, revealed her true identity and offered her services to S.H.I.E.L.D.
Since working for S.H.I.E.L.D., Natasha has served at various posts throughout the world for the past four decades. Her duties entailed going on and overseeing various missions, even some personal missions for Col. Fury. Her last post was to the Moscow station before being reassigned to the Helicarrier at the command of Nick Fury.
Powers: The Black Widow has recieved the Red Room's variant of the Super-Soldier Serum. She heals four to five times faster than a normal human, and possesses slowed aging, resistance to illness, and greater ability to survive in harsh conditions, However, it also makes pregnancy impossible without taking immuno-suppressants. Known Abilities: The Black Widow is skilled in the martial arts, espionage, and sharpshooting. She is also an Olympic class athlete and a profound ballet dancer.
Strength Level: The Black Widow possesses the normal human strength of a woman of her height, weight, and build that engages in intensive regular exercise.
Costume Specifications: Synthetic stretch fabric which has been augmented to be highly resistant to damage even small arms fire and high temperatures. Microscopic suction cups on her costume allow her to scale walls and cling to ceilings, just as her namesake.
Transportation: Natasha uses her Widow's Line, a grappling hook with a retractable line, to swing along rooftops for increased mobility. Assorted S.H.I.E.L.D. aircraft.
Personal Weaponry: The Black Widow's wrist cartridges contain various tools of the spy trade: tear-gas pellets, a radio transmitter and spring-loaded cable, as well as a small device capable of emitting a high-frequency electrostatic charge.
Special Weaponry: Various guns and explosives as needed.
Source of Paraphernalia: Formerly Soviet Union, S.H.I.E.L.D.