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Black Widow (II)

REAL NAME: Yelena Belova
KNOWN ALIASES: Little Spider, Rooskaya
IDENTITY: Secret, but known to the Russian intelligence community
OCCUPATION: Espionage agent
CITIZENSHIP: Citizen of Russia with no criminal record
PLACE OF BIRTH: Kiev, Russia
MARITAL STATUS: Single
KNOWN RELATIVES: Unnamed mother, Olga (Aunt)
GROUP AFFILIATION: G.R.U (Glavnoye Razvedovatel’noye Upravlenie / Main Intelligence Administration)
EDUCATION: Graduate of the Moscow Red Room espionage unit
BASE OF OPERATION: Unknown
FIRST APPEARANCE: Inhumans Vol. 2 #5 (1999)

HISTORY: At the age of 15, Yelena was chosen as a candidate to become the new Black Widow, as Natasha Romanoff was no longer loyal only to Russia. She trained for roughly a decade under Vasilievich Pyotr Starkovsky at the espionage academy known as the Red Room, the same facility in which Romanoff had trained. Unbeknownst to Yelena, as she grew older, Starkovsky became obsessed with her, paying another woman, Petra, to don Yelena’s costume and satisfy his desires. Petra eventually became psychotic, believing herself to be the true heir to the Black Widow title, and killed Starkovsky. Investigating the Fabrika Club, Yelena discovered and slew Petra, avenging her mentor, after which she finally came to truly accept her role as the Black Widow.

Graduating from the Red Room, Yelena became the first student to surpass Romanoff’s marks. Eager to prove herself better than Natasha and establish sole claim to the title of Black Widow, Yelena interfered with Natasha’s quest for the “Deathless Frenzy” bio-weapon held by terrorist Col. Khan in Rhapastan. Yelena sought to secure the lethal serum for her superiors and to eliminate her adversary, but Natasha’s experience and superior enabled Natasha to outmaneuver her young opponent and complete the assignment in her own fashion, slaying Khan and destroying the entire supply of Deathless Frenzy. Yelena pulled a gun on Natasha, but decided to let her live so that they could continue to vie for supremacy.

Following this, Natasha, wishing to teach Yelena a lesson, worked with Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. on Operation Validate, which entailed the two Widows exchanging physical appearance. While Yelena was struggling to maintain her identity, Natasha duped Yelena’s superior, Yuri Stalyenko, into revealing his plot to steal nuclear weapons hidden in Hudson riverduring the Cold War. Natasha also showed Yelena that Stalyenko thought of her as an expendable pawn, easily replaced. The two Widows teamed up to bring him down, but a resentful Yelena then attacked Natasha, who explained how she wanted to teach Yelena that espionage was not a game. S.H.I.E.L.D. reversed the process and Yelena returned to the Red Room a little wiser, through certainly no fonder of Natasha.

HEIGHT: 5 ft. 7 in.
WEIGHT: 135 lbs.
EYES: Blue
HAIR: Blonde

ABILITIES: Yelena is extensively trained in espionage and various forms of armed and unarmed combat, being a master martial artist. She is highly intelligent and is an Olympic level gymnast.

SUPERHUMAN POWERS: None

PARAPHERNALIA: Yelena wears a Kevlar costume and uses bracelets which release electric blasts (her Widow’s bite). It is unknown whether they can also launch a cable similar to Romanoff’s.

NOTE: Updated from The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: The Women Of Marvel 2005

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