One of Black Widow’s fan-favorite characters used Ronin’s identity long before he set foot in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
WARNING: The following contains minor spoilers from Marvel Studios Black widow, written by Eric Pearson and directed by Cate Shortland, in theaters and on Disney + Premiere Access now.
Alexei Shostakov’s Red Guardian will become a new Marvel Cinematic Universe fan favorite thanks to his appearance in Black widow, played by Strange things star David Harbor. However, the Alexei from the comics is quite different from the live-action version, with a more twisted storyline with Natasha Romanoff.
And in a plot to take over his homeland, the former Red Guardian donned an identity used by various Avengers to become Marvel’s Ronin.
Alexi was created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema and first appeared in Avengers # 43 in 1967. As one of Russia’s best military pilots in WWII, he married Natasha before the two were selected for recruitment into Russian intelligence. Natasha was told that Alexei was killed in action, prompting her to volunteer for training in the Red Room that made her the Black Widow. Meanwhile, Alexei transformed into the second Red Guardian, a Soviet equivalent of Captain America, and the brutal training he went through made him a more ruthless and less moral person. While his adventures pitted him against Natasha and the Avengers, he ultimately sacrificed himself to save the woman he once loved. However, it was revealed that he was alive when Natasha and Daredevil unraveled a plot he made against his life years later.
Alexi’s transformation into Ronin occurred in the 2010 miniseries. Widow maker, by Jim McCann, David López, Duane Swierczynski and Manuel García. This series teamed up Black Widow with Hawkeye and his partner Mockingbird, to investigate a new Ronin who was assassinating undercover agents and working with the Dark Ocean Society, a Japanese ultra-nationalist organization.
Alexei eventually revealed himself as the new Ronin and explained his plan to start a revolution and create a united Russian / Japanese empire that would better serve the ideology that he believed Russia should follow. While Hawkeye, Mockingbird, and mercenary Dominic Fortune battled Alexei’s Soviet super-soldiers and the Dark Ocean agents, Natasha confronted her ex-husband herself, defeating Alexei by turning one of his super-powerful agents against him. the illusionist known as Phantom. From WidowmakerAlexei has returned a few times. And when she recently returned on Kelly Thompson and Elenna Casagrande’s ongoing series Black Widow, she had once again regained her Red Guardian identity.
Ronin’s disguised identity first appeared in Brain Michael Bendis and David Finch. New Avengers. True to its namesake, Ronin’s identity has generally been used by different superheroes who were adrift in times of transition or uncertainty, often during their most violent periods. The first Ronin was Maya López, also known as Echo, who was sent by Daredevil to investigate the Japanese underworld in search of the New Avengers. Maya continued to operate as Ronin until after the superhero. Civil war, when the Hand killed her, it resurrected and brainwashed her. When the New Avengers returned to Japan to rescue her, Clint Barton, who had come back to life in House of M, joined them as the new Ronin, as he felt lost in a world without Steve Rogers until Siege ended Norman Osborn’s reign as head of the replacement for SHIELD HAMMER.
After Blade briefly used Ronin’s identity during his stint in the Mighty Avengers, Hawkeye resurrected him to fight Hood during Matthew Rosenberg and Otto Schmidt. Hawkeye: Free Fall miniseries, but this ended badly when Hood hired Bullseye to commit crimes disguised as Ronin to frame Clint.
While the MCU’s Clint Barton has already dressed up as Ronin, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where the MCU’s Alexei feels the need to become Ronin. By chance, Echo and Blade are also set to join the MCU in the coming months and years, but it’s unclear if either of them will have any connection to Ronin’s mantle. While Ronin may cut one of Marvel’s most distinctive profiles, it doesn’t seem like the MCU’s Alexi is in a rush to ditch his Red Guardian costume.
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