If you’ve seen any of the trailers, clips, or promotional materials for Avengers: Infinity War, you know that Black Widow has lost her red locks. Considering how iconic her red hair has been to her character in the films and comics, it’s easy to wonder why she’s now blonde. Keen-eyed fans may have noticed how similar her look is to another Marvel character, Yelena Belova. Is Black Widow disguised as Yelena Belova, another survivor of the Red Room spy program? Let’s take a look.
Who is Yelena Belova?
Yelena Belova was first introduced to Marvel Comics in 1999 during Inhumans Vol. 2 #5. When Natasha Romanoff was in pursuit of the Deathless Frenzy chemical serum, the Red Room sent Yelena after her. Yelena was unsuccessful in getting the serum and was eventually captured by Romanoff and S.H.I.E.L.D.
During one storyline, Romanoff swapped her face with Yelena’s, without Yelena’s permission. This allowed Natasha to penetrate General Stalyenko‘s operations during the Cold War disguised as Yelena. Throughout the comics, Yelena endured a lot of torture, including the painful mutations of her genes. She eventually became an adaptoid, a mutant that allowed her to “adapt” and take on the abilities of other heroes.
Over the years, she and Natasha switched places numerous times. At one point, Yelena even used clones of Natasha Romanoff to fool people on missions. Most recently, Yelena was revealed to be a clone during the aftermath of Secret Empire.
Black Widow Disguised as Yelena Belova?
So, that brings us to MCU Romanoff. If Natasha is in hiding because of the events of Captain America: Civil War, perhaps she has assumed the identity of Yelena?
If Yelena was a real person, working in the Red Room, Natasha could have easily assumed her identity as a way to hide from the Sokovia Accords. Romanoff could have also adopted the name Yelena Belova, along with her blonde hair and short cut when she went into hiding.
Whatever the case may be, it will be interesting to see what she has been up to over the last two years since Civil War. Did she hook up with Fury and go underground? Is she working with S.H.I.E.L.D. under this new name? Did she go back to her Russian roots to lay low? Hopefully there is a nod to her blonde Red Room counterpart in the film, even if it’s a small mention, it would be a nice call back to the lesser-known Marvel character.
Avengers: Infinity War hits screens worldwide April 27, 2018.