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Little is known of that mysterious masked man who stalks the crime-infested streets of Norfolk, Virginia. Is he a mild-mannered student invested with superhuman abilities after an encounter with a radioactive arachnid? Is he the sole inheritor of an outrageous fortune, forced to turn to fighting crime to avenge his fallen loved ones? Is he a bored student with basic sewing skills and too much time on his hands? All we know for sure is that they call him The Black Widow, and that it’s definitely the last one.

Whoever he might be, armed with pepper spray, a telescopic police baton, a first aid kit and a multi-tool (because you never know), he’s on a mission to make the streets of Norfolk safer. He’s already made a start:

“I stopped fights in some of the bars around here.” He says, “I stopped carjackings in dormant areas. I stopped a woman from being assaulted.”

The mysterious figure refuses to yield his true identity, offering only the alias Matsuda Yuuma.

Starting out with a Spiderman suit back in 2015, The Black Widow quickly decided that he wanted to develop his own persona. He Frankensteined together a costume out of thrift-store spandex, owing to what he referred to in an interview as: “#brokelife”. Apparently, the hero we deserve uses hashtags in spoken conversation. God help us all.

There’s been a rise in sightings of “real-life” superheroes over the last few years. Basically, ever since Kick-Ass hit the cinemas people have been thinking how cool it would be to stitch a mask onto a wetsuit and wander around their neighbourhoods,  possibly forgetting that scene where the protagonist almost gets beaten into a coma on his first night out. Frankly, in spite of the Superhero name-infringement that’s gone on here (they need their own guild), The Black widow is one of the better efforts we’ve seen. He instantly passes the Dark Knight test by not wearing hockey pants, and his logo isn’t half bad either. He’s kind of like a sports-casual Spiderman. A Spiderman that’ll save you from a mugging and then try and get you to join his crossfit gym.

So what skills is he bringing to the superhero table? Well, he’s mentioned a black belt, but we aren’t sure in what discipline (or if it was another thrift store find). We also know that he learned first aid as part of a welding qualification. Could his skill at metalwork mean that a Black Widowmobile is next on the agenda? Our money says that this hero will probably be taking the bus a little while longer.

Most importantly, he’s not a vigilante meting out violence on the street. He goes out of his way to stress that he’s there to support the local community and to provide mediation in violent confrontations. According to his official facebook page, he patrols the streets for crime prevention, to give first aid to those who are hurt, and to help homeless people, handing out supplies as part of what he calls “field work”.

This non-violent approach hasn’t always kept him on the right side of the law. The Black Widow often runs afoul of laws banning full face masks in public, recently receiving a verbal warning when he attended the Women’s march in full spandex. Undeterred, The Black Widow claims that his case is an exception to the law, as he wears his mask as part of a trade or occupation. We’re not sure that amateur-parkour-while-dressed-as-Spiderman-for-free really counts as a trade or occupation, but dammit do we want to see him make his case in court while in full costume.

Well, as much as it’s easy to make fun of this type of costumed tomfoolery (no seriously, it’s really easy) you can’t help but admire someone doing something so inherently daft as a means of spreading a positive message. If spandex-chafing is the price that needs to be paid to encourage people to look out for the vulnerable in their local area, then we can’t argue with that.

As the Black Widow says: “we can all unify and come together and do great things for our community.”

 

Category: Comics, Cosplay, WTF?

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