Apparently, Black Widow knows me. And maybe Nick Fury, does, too.

By Phil Plait | June 29, 2010 10:30 am

[Warning: comic book nerdiness ensues. Be ye fairly warned, says I.]

I received an odd message from my friend Deric Hughes (who is totally cool and writes for "Warehouse 13" and is not a nerd at all, nossir) on Twitter. It said:

THIS was inside the latest issue of Ultimate Avengers2. I think Nick Fury paid you a special visit.

"THIS" was a blurry picture, but clear enough to show me that I had to immediately go to my local comic book store (Time Warp, cool place) and buy myself a copy of issue 4 of Avengers 2. Why? Here’s why:

HOLY FRAK MY NAME IS IN BLACK WIDOW’S PHONE BOOK!!

OK, backing up a bit:

In this part of the story, Black Widow (translation for the non-comic-book nerds*: she was played by Scarlett Johansson in Iron Man 2) is recounting how she and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson in Iron Man 2) used to be a couple. She noticed something odd in her phone book one day: some of her friends and family had red dots next to their names. That last panel shows her phone book, with, for some reason, my name in it.

OK? OK. Now, there are several avenues my thinking is taking here.

blackwidow_johansson1) Perhaps the writer, Mark Millar, is familiar with my writing. However, as cool as that is, it is perhaps eclipsed by the idea that…

2) I’m in Black Widow’s phone book. Now why would that be? I don’t know; perhaps she has a history of sudden astronomical emergencies and has me in speed dial as a lifeline. Or perhaps there are um, other reasons. I don’t feel a lengthy explanation is necessary here. However, I’ll note that while I don’t know if this book will in any way lead to this story getting up on the Big Screen, you never know.

3) I noticed there are no red dots by my name. [SPOILER ALERT!] In the story, people with dots by their name had been paid a visit by Fury. And the adjective generally associated with such a visit is conjugal.

4) … and it’s perhaps more relevant to say that there’s no red dot by my name yet. And there are two more issues in this story’s series.

Hmmmm.

Happily, I have a potential pathway to enlightenment here: Comic Con. I’ll be attending in late July, and perhaps someone there will be able to clear this up. I’ll seek out Mark Millar, of course, since that’s a good path to an explanation.

But maybe there’s a more direct route.

Black Widow, hon, if you’re reading this: you obviously have my number. Let’s work this out.

[Update: Leinil Yu, the artist, is the culprit here. See the comments below, specifically #18!]



* I urge you to buy and read the entire series of the comic, which is to help you understand the context here, and is in no way a supplication to Marvel or whomever is the responsible party.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Geekery, Humor

Comments (54)

  1. Big deal. I saw a book with your name on the cover once. :P

  2. Rich Cook

    This is to be followed later by the discovery of Mrs. Plait’s phone number in the Incredible Hulk’s phone book…

  3. Dennis N

    That’s actually a different Black Widow, not the same character Scarlett Johannson played. Ultimate Natasha Romanoff was killed in The Ultimates 2 for betraying the team, this is her replacement. *Geek Out*

  4. SkepticScott

    Phil: you’re married. Send Black Widow my way if she calls. :-D

  5. Kimpatsu

    It’s not a phone book; it’s a SHIELD hitlist. Goodbye, Phil.
    But take consolation in the fact that PZ is NOT listed therein…

  6. Richard

    It should be noted that the Black Widow in Ultimate Avengers 2 (which, full disclosure, I’ve stopped buying, because it’s bad) is not Natalia Romanova (ScarJo’s Black Widow and the one in the main Marvel continuity).

    ULTIMATES 2 SPOILERS

    SERIOUSLY, SPOILERS

    Ultimate Natalia Romanova was killed by Hawkeye after betraying the Ultimates (and the whole damn country) and having Hawkeye’s wife and children killed.

    END SPOILERS

  7. @Larian LeQuella:

    Phil wrote a book?

  8. Ryan

    Phil, you’re too public a figure. It’s the indiscretion of stories like these why Black Widow never called you for a conjugal visit. How can she keep a low profile when you’d write about the best hookup you ever had on the Discover Magazine web site? You blew it, man. Now, as for me… How you doin’, Black Widow?

  9. Douglas Troy

    I’ll admit, that’s one Black Widow I wouldn’t mind being bitten by; repeatedly.

  10. Charlie in Dayton

    …you…you…you…commercial sellout…

    Good work, dude!!!

  11. Iason Ouabache

    So… you are going to have sex with Nick Fury? I’m confused.

  12. You’re in some interesting company. Maui Taylor and Bobby Andrews are Filipino actors.

  13. Arthur Maruyama

    So…there are those other names on the list….

    “Bobby Andrews” seems to be one that should be too common to pin down, but in combination with “Maui Taylor” and a Google search on those names shows that these two could be the Filipino actors of some note in the Philipines.

    “Kay Chen” seems like it should be much easier to track down than Bobby Andrews, but a Google search doesn’t have a evident leader. Perhaps this is a Chinese actor who has only one credit to her name in IMDB.com?

    Or maybe they are just names of friends of the artist, Brian Hitch, who, I think, is more likely to give BA an answer. Mark Millar? Pfft–he only wrote the story; the artist creates the details like this.

  14. Gus Snarp

    Conjugal? Nick Fury is having sex with the people in Black Widow’s phone book? I’m so confused. That’s what happens when you stop reading comics after Wolverine loses his adamantium.

  15. Utakata

    At least that’s not a Death Note your name was recorded in…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_note

    /anime geekdom off

  16. Geez Phil. Learn some discretion. Next its going to plastered all over the National Enquirer…

    Bad Astronomer the reason for the breakup of Nick Fury and Black Widow.

  17. Leinil Yu

    wooot. I think we are facebook friends, Phil. ;)

    -Leinil

  18. Non-Believer:

    Next its going to plastered all over the National Enquirer…

    Bad Astronomer the reason for the breakup of Nick Fury and Black Widow.

    Well, except for the “typo”, where they’ll blame it on a “bad astrologer”.

  19. Daniel J. Andrews

    Wolverine lost his adamantium?!!?

    Crap. Glad i stopped reading before that happened.

  20. Thespis

    Wolverine wrote a book?
    Phil lost his Adamantium?

  21. That’s the Ultimate Marvel Phil Plait who, along with everyone else, is only in his teens. And apparently a mutant.

  22. Keith (the first one)

    The real question is, what happens if I ring 74364 (with Phil’s country and area codes in front of course)?

  23. HOLY FRACK!!!

    Beyond awesome!

  24. Wolverine got his adamantium back a while ago. I remember getting the first post-adamantium issue for Christmas when I was a kid. That’s the Dark Age of Comics for you. I hold the massive sales numbers of the Death of Superman responsible for spawning almost a decade of poorly-thought-out “bad things happen to popular heroes” stories, from Batman: Knightfall to Spider-Man’s Clone Saga.

  25. Tribeca Mike

    As they were fond of saying in the Marvel Bullpen Bulletins, ’nuff said!

  26. keplerlover

    Phone book, what’s a phone book?

  27. Arthur Maruyama

    Keith:

    What you will get is silence because the US system will be waiting for you to complete the US standard 7-digit phone number (aside from area and country codes).

    Still, that’s only a hundred numbers to call:

    Hey, Phil, is that you?

  28. Arthur Maruyama

    [Grumble]I didn’t know that this system would interpret comments within less than/greater than symbols as commands and thus not display them. What is missing from my previous post is:
    [dials 303-743-6400]
    [ring]
    [ring]
    Hey, Phil, is that you?
    [dials 303-743-6401]

  29. Bob L

    Keith (the first one) Says: @”The real question is, what happens if I ring 74364 (with Phil’s country and area codes in front of course)?”

    Google says you would get a post office in Oklahoma. Or more like “74364″ is the zip code for a post office in Oklahoma. BuAmerican phone numbers have seven digests. Clearly the Black Widow is into snail mail sex with Phil, presumably because they like it nice and slow.

  30. Floyd

    The “Avengers” I know about are John Steed and Mrs. Emma Peel (she of the leather cat suit and jujitsu moves). That was in the 60s, when I was in high school and part of college.

  31. Interestingly, Phil’s got several red dots by his name in Aquaman’s phone book.

    “Not that there’s anything wrong with that!”
    *cue Seinfeld theme music*

  32. If the one-eyed guy coming to kill you looks like Samuel Jackson, it’s either Ultimate Nick Fury or Movie Nick Fury. If he looks like Lee Majors and Robert Stack had a kid together, it’s regular Nick Fury. Or, more likely, a Life Model Decoy. Still very deadly.

  33. DaveH

    A second reason why it’s the artist Phil wants to seek out:

    Bryan Hitch helped design the TARDIS.

  34. …oh, and if it looks like David Hasselhoff, it’s TV-Movie Nick Fury. Nothing to worry about. Just toss a sandwich on the floor and you’ll be fine.

  35. Phil:
    You’ve -SO- got to get that blown up to poster size!
    All 3 panels, but without the red ellipse.
    Oh yeah!

  36. BTW, have you all noticed a squashed graphic advertisement at the top of the page?
    I took it into PhotoShop and un-squashed it and found it was for the Templeton Foundation.
    Weird. Glad it’s squashed into illegibility.
    They’ve got a square (and legible) ad placed here too. Waste of ad dollars if ya ask me…

  37. Allen

    @Richard Drumm The Astronomy Bum 37:

    When I opened this page, all three of the ads are for the Templeton Foundation. I’ve noticed that they get a lot of ads for this site, as well as other woo-woo peddlers.

    @Phil:

    Nice work in getting into Black Widow’s phonebook! Just be glad you don’t have any red dots next to your name.

  38. llewelly

    … and with a demon dialer and a little bit of patience I’ll soon know the final two digits of your phone number …

  39. llewelly

    37. Richard Drumm The Astronomy Bum Says:
    June 29th, 2010 at 8:09 pm:

    BTW, have you all noticed a squashed graphic advertisement at the top of the page?
    I took it into PhotoShop and un-squashed it and found it was for the Templeton Foundation.
    Weird. Glad it’s squashed into illegibility.

    Everything they say is a distortion …

  40. ggremlin

    You know the original Black Widow was a Russian agent right? And your name is her notebook and the FBI are presently rounding up a nest of embedded agents.

    So one question, where do you want your mail forwarded to? :)

  41. wah wah

    This artist is Leinil Yu, who also drew Superman Birthright. He’s from the Philippines, and if you go to his Deviantart page he’s “Listening to: http://www.theskepticsguide.org“. So he’s probably who you want to talk to.

  42. How’d you get in her Little Black (Widow) Book? Was it the hat?

    It was the hat, wasn’t it?

  43. Grand Lunar

    I think she has your number in case there are solar flares, asteroids, supernova, ect, so she knows what to do!

    That, or she needs it to debunk bad astronomy. ;)

  44. Peter F

    Phil, are you really Facebook friends with Leinil Yu @18 (the artist on Ultimate Avengers)? That could pretty much clear up the mystery…

    On a side note, I didn’t realize Mark Millar was writing the Ultimate universe version of the Avengers again, after he sort of wrapped up his two volume story awhile ago. I’m also surprised that the Black Widow’s condition has been apparently upgraded to “alive”…

  45. Allen

    Man, I told you about that in the comments days ago! Glad you found out, though.

  46. Sandy L

    You actually know someone that writes for Warehouse 13? That makes you the coolest nerd I know!

  47. Calli Arcale

    Akusai @ 25:

    Wolverine got his adamantium back a while ago. I remember getting the first post-adamantium issue for Christmas when I was a kid. That’s the Dark Age of Comics for you. I hold the massive sales numbers of the Death of Superman responsible for spawning almost a decade of poorly-thought-out “bad things happen to popular heroes” stories, from Batman: Knightfall to Spider-Man’s Clone Saga.

    I thought Knightfall was awesome, except for the fact that the writers had painted themselves rather severely into a corner by the end. Knight’s Quest, in which they desperately wrote themselves back out of that corner, was dreadful. Knight’s End was okay, since it wasn’t burdened by the crappy deus ex machina used to un-cripple Bruce Wayne.

    Of course, fans disliking Knightfall might be why that atrocity of a film “Batman & Robin” decided to make Bane into a dribbling idiot. Not that it can explain the REST of the film’s crimes against the franchise. (Mike Nelson’s expert opinion on its status as a bad movie: “It is not the worst movie ever made. No indeed. It is the worst thing ever made.”)

  48. ccpetersen

    How cool is that? I hope it’s some really geeky explanation as to why you’re there, Phil.

    I found out from a friend that a picture of me is hanging in Herschel House in England. (At least it was when she was visiting there.). How I came to be there is a story I have yet to figure out. I guess I’ll have to visit Herschel House to find out…

  49. Brian Too

    Phil, you wish to conjugate with Black Widow?

    She’s busy, but I can help out in a pinch:

    I see Black Widow
    You saw Black Widow
    We saw Black Widow
    He/She/It had seen Black Widow
    They will see Black Widow
    One was seeing Black Widow

    You can thank me later. ;-)

  50. Robert Carnegie

    Meanwhile Original Universe Original Black Widow is seeing Original Universe Replacement Captain America. You DO NOT want to misdial.

    In the Original Universe, Replacement Black Widow is the evil one. A Replacement Replacement Teenage Black Widow apparently was introduced. I think Original Black Widow just adopted her.

    I’m not sure whether the new good (but cranky) Ultimate Universe Black Widow is written as actually older than the first Ultimate Universe Black Widow, the evil one. I mean, she must have been Nick Fury’s wife before Ultimate Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben died, although that doesn’t have anything to do with it. As far as we know. Well, as far as I know.

    By the way, Original Universe Original Black Widow has a SHIELD alternate cover personality as Nancy Rushman, schoolteacher, which may be a reason to wantlto know an astronomer.

    But does Wil Wheaton know about this???

    (I’m guessing the Teenage Black Widow part may have escaped him…)

  51. bonekog

    @ Arthur Maruyama

    Yeah, Maui Taylor is a cute sexy actress in my country (Philippines) who made lots of sexy and provocative films! Bobby Andrews is also a Filipino star. Maybe, Phil, they need to make a sexy movie starring Filipino actors with the Black Widow without violating laws of physics and basics of astronomy(I wish to read more of the movies being scrutinized by Phil Plait).

  52. Calli Arcale @49

    Fair enough. I can definitely see liking Knightfall, though I’m not sure how well it would hold up 15 or so years later. My point was more that all of these morbidly tragic stories were told not because they needed to be told but because, for some reason, for a few years in the 90s, it really sold books to put heroes through the wringer unnecessarily. Which might explain why Knight’s Quest was so bad; they didn’t really have a plan to get Bruce back to full function, they just said “We need to off him in a bad way.” Likewise with the Clone Saga and Wolverine’s adamantium (which also rendered his healing factor almost useless for a while): they just wanted bad things to happen and then found they were in a corner. Don’t even get me started on the brilliant idea of killing most of Marvel’s heroes in “Onslaught.” Lord save me from comic book editors with blatant financial agendas.

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