Red Vengeance is not bad for a teen thriller franchise book. This is a superhero story that features Black Widow and Red Widow, her protege. It is a sequel, and I am hoping there will be a third in the series as well about Natasha's past in the shadow organizations.
When I read Black Widow: Forever Red last year, I thought Natasha's vengeance as a story couldn't be topped. Of course, it wasn't until the Women of Marvel event that Margaret Stohl would announce a follow up book about these women of steel and I would learn how wrong I could be. This is an action-packed story that fits very well for Black Widow.
Red Vengeance is a plot-driven Black Widow for the teen audience, and I mean that in the best way. Natasha Romanoff is 100% the world's best spy and her protege Ava Orlova, aka Red Widow, is quickly picking up on the skills necessary to become an Avenger, and an assassin for good. And by the way Phil, widows are not supposed to heal - yes Phil and several other characters from the Avengers make their cameos and move the plot along nicely.
Red Vengeance picks up shortly after the events of Black Widow: Forever Red, where Ava has undergone SHIELD training and both Widows are missing Alexei - who we now know as Black Widow's brother and Ava's partner.Black and Red are exploring their Quantum link and they've brought along even more Marvel friends to assist, while trying to stop a dangerous mind-control drug from controlling the world. In Forever Red, we saw a bit of Tony Stark and Agent Coulson, and how they work to comfort their friend in her grief.
In Red Vengeance, we get a whole lot more of Phil and Iron Man, plus Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) and Maria Hill and a few references to characters such as She-Hulk. For those of us who are Marvel Comics readers, it was basically a call back to all the best female characters not in the spotlight of the movies, and not always involved in the political intrigue. Margaret Stohl has clearly done her homework and captured each of the character's best traits (and possibly a few of the worst ones with Tony!), as they discuss and plan how to stop evil secret societies.
Told in alternating chapters, we see the world through each of the superheroine Widow's eyes, Natasha with her slightly overprotective tendencies (aw, she does care!) and Ava with her insecurity in her new role. As you can imagine, these two things impact each other, along with Ava being a teenage girl and that gauntlet of emotions, and you have to question how much the quantum link plays into that.