Black Widow #7-#9: As someone mentioned in a letters page at some point, Nat has often been softened up a bit in her portrayals. Waid and Samnee make clear we're not getting that Nat here. First, we learn the Weeping Lion and his cousin (the one depicted as his brother last issue) were involved in Nat's first kill: she killed the Lion's father and thought she killed him, too. But, his cousin was sleeping in the back of the car and managed to save the Lion's life (though not his voice, a result of Nat slitting his throat). Nat is unaware of this past, probably thinking the Lion's cousin came after her just to get her secrets (and not because of an old vendetta). But, any attempt to dismiss this viciousness as something she's outgrown is put to rest here. After the Headmistress kills herself to avoid the Lion's cousin probing her thoughts, Recluse is distraught, in no small part given her fury over the Headmistress always loving Widow more. I was waiting for Nat to be kind, telling Recluse she only loved Nat more because Recluse lacked viciousness, and that isn't a terrible thing. But, Nat instead ridicules Recluse for being weak. As a result, she leaves behind a powerful enemy as the Headmistress did when she herself showed Nat mercy (as a child). But, Nat has more immediate problems, as it appears the Lion and his cousin are slowly collecting the girls from the Dark Room who Nat is trying to find. She saves three of them in this issue, but it's clear to see the Lion's cousin is using the information he gleaned from the Headmistress to stay one step ahead of her. It raises the question why Nat thinks she can trust him in the first place? It's not like she really has any leverage over him. Also, shouldn't she have done a little research on the two of them? If she did, she would've discovered her fairly personal connection with them. Or, has she done that already and knows she's being played? We shall see.
Thunderbolts #7-#8: Bucky has loomed large in the Marvel Universe over the last few months, given his ongoing appearance in "Black Widow" and the unofficial cross-over event here with "Captain America: Steve Rogers." Steve is desperate to get his hands on Kobik, for reasons that you only fully understand if you're reading his title. Issue #7 ends with Steve asking Bucky if he trusts him, but we never see the end of that conversation. Bucky appears to have rebuffed Steve's offer (whatever it was) in issue #8, but Zub leaves out there the possibility they were putting on a show for the Thunderbolts. Given "Captain America: Steve Rogers" directs its readers to read these issues, it's clear they're going to have an impact on Captain Nazi's story. I just have to wonder when eventually we're going to bring it to a conclusion.