Karla Romanova (Marvel Comics) (Black Widow enemy)

Karla Romanova


Karla Romanova is a minor enemy of the Black Widow (Natalia Romanova). She appeared but once in the 1994 Annual issue of Daredevil.

But surely there’s more to be done with bitter Russian ex-KGB ninja ladies.


  • Real Name: Karla Romanova.
  • Marital Status: Presumed single.
  • Known Relatives: Czar Nicholas II (great-great-grand-uncle, deceased).
  • Group Affiliation: Snakeroot, former member of the KGB.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 5’8” Weight: 140lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Brown


Powers & Abilities

Romanova was an excellent KGB-trained assassin. She was later trained as a ninja by the Snakeroot. She operates at a cinematic , but not super-heroic, level.

Karla strikes to kill – in DC Heroes RPG terms she subs her Martial Artist Skill for EV most of the time.

Even as a KGB agent she was a competent knife thrower, using blades when her gun ran dry. Said gun wasn’t seen, but was a low-powered handgun and presumably a compact one, so the good old Pistolet Makarova is a likely culprit. Whether she still packs a pistol as a ninja is unrevealed.


Karla Romanova was a KGB agent. While competent, she was discriminated against as a distant relative of the Imperial family. She was the great-great-grand-niece of Czar Nikolai II . While this likely was just a cheap ploy to motivate her, the fate of the House of Romanov and the ghastly 1918 executions genuinely weighed on her mind.

She was familiar with another Romanova, Natalia – also a Soviet intelligence agent, and reportedly a relative of the late Czar. But Natalia Romanova seemed to enjoy Khrushchev’s  favour to some extent, and was the widow of the heroic pilot Alexei Shostakov.

As such she was much better treated than Karla, and her ancestry wasn’t a problem. She operated as an elite agent under the code name Black Widow.



When Natalia Romanova defected to the West to become a super-heroine, Karla was livid. Natalia had to pay for her treason and for besmirching the Romanov name. She petitioned to be the one sent to terminate her distant relative, and the mission was eventually approved.

After hunting her down for years, Karla nearly killed Natalia in Berlin. But Natalia gained a short respite by telling Karla how the KGB would treat her once she’d be back home. These few seconds of hesitation were enough for the Widow to escape over the Wall.

There likely were other attempts on Natalia’s life over the years.

Interlude — a question of time

The Widow defected in 1967, publication time. Though a caption indicates that Karla was hunting Natalia “two years later”, Natalia was wearing a costume she actually adopted in 1970. So the Berlin clash likely took place circa 1971.

Note that this means that Karla was born circa 1945, but was still looking in her early 30s when she appeared in 1994. Typical super-hero comic book ageing.

If you are using a ten-year sliding timeline you run into the usual sort of problem. According to Black Widow : Deadly Origin Natalia was active as a femme fatale and spy in Europe from the 1960s to the beginning of the heroic age (that is, current year minus twelve). There’s no indication therein that she defected.

The Black Widow might have started taking international mercenary contracts before the 1989 collapse, though.

This is the Hand, the Hand that takes

After the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union collapsed, Karla Romanova was told to let go of her Cold War grudges and her fixation on killing the Black Widow. However, she couldn’t accept this. Especially since the traitor Natalia was now a successful super-heroine whereas Karla was labouring in poor conditions and with little reward.

Looking for a new employer with an history of enmity toward Natalia Romanova, Karla joined the mystical ninja clan the Hand. She later was recruited by one of its splinter cults, the Snakeroot.

As a Snakeroot killer, she attempted to kill the Widow one more time in 1994, whilst Natalia was investigating Snakeroot involvement in the seeming death of Matthew Murdock.


Karla binds her hair in a simple queue. She usually has a severe, intense and unhappy expression on her face.

As a KGB killer she usually works a simple black jumpsuit.


Despite her loyalty to the State and the doctrine, Karla never could demonstrate the full extent of her talents. She could never achieve the renown and authority she felt she could earn.

She is openly and venomously jealous of anyone known for their talent as a fighter, assassin or spy. Karla feels they have what the KGB never let her have due to her familial origins. She is particularly bitter.


‘I have died but you are still among the living.’ A line from a poem by Boris Pasternak . One of our countrymen, and, like you, forgiven for his crimes against the State.”

DC Universe History

Minor agent for Kobra or the League of Assassins.

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

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Karla Romanova

Dex: 06 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Nihilist
Int: 05 Wil: 05 Min: 04 Occupation: Killer
Inf: 04 Aur: 04 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 017 HP: 015

Acrobatics: 05, Charisma*: 04, Martial artist*: 06, Military science*: 05, Thief (Stealth, security systems)*: 06, Vehicles (Land): 04, Weaponry (Firearms): 05, Weaponry (Thrown blades)*: 06

Familiarity (History of the House of Romanov), Language (Russian).

Hand (Low).

SIH toward the Black Widow, Minor Rage.


  • Throwing knives (x3) [BODY 04, EV 03, Range: 02].
  • Shuriken (x4) [BODY 03, EV 02, Range: 02, Dart bonus].
  • Makarov holdout pistol [BODY 02, Projectile weapons: 03, Ammo: 08, Miniaturisation: 01, R#04].

Design notes

The Charisma score is there for those with house rules about Unskilled Character Interaction.

Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG

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Karla Romanova — Averaged PL 7

02 03 04 03 06 01 01 01

Combat Advantages

Chokehold, Close attack 2, Defensive Roll 2, Improved critical (Unarmed) 1, Improved trip, Power attack, Ranged attack 2.

Other Advantages

Equipment 3, Language 1 (Russian).


Acrobatics 4 (+8), Athletics 5 (+7), Close combat (Unarmed) 2 (+10), Deception 2 (+3), Expertise (Espionage) 9 (+10), Expertise (Commando soldier) 9 (+10), Insight 3 (+4), Intimidation 3 (+4), Perception 4 (+5), Persuasion 1 (+2), Ranged combat (Firearms) 2 (+7), Ranged combat (Thrown blades) 4 (+9), Stealth 5 (+9), Technology 8 (+9) (Limited 2 to Demolition and Security), Vehicles 4 (+7) (Limited 2 to common land vehicles).


Throwing knives Ranged Damage 2 ● 4 points
Shuriken Ranged Multiattack Damage 1 ● 3 points
Holdout Pistol Ranged Damage 2 ● 4 points


Initiative +4
Unarmed +10, Close, Damage 2, Critical 19-20
Holdout Pistol +7, Ranged, Damage 2
Thrown blades +9, Ranged, Damage 2 (or 1 Multiattack)


Dodge 10 Fortitude 7
Parry 10 Toughness 5/3*
Will 5

* Without Defensive Roll


  • Temper Likes to kill.
  • Hatred Venomous hatred of the Black Widow (and of other defectors, to a lesser extend).
  • Heritage During much of her career Romanova was discriminated against due to her ancestry.

Power levels

  • Trade-off areas Attack/Effect PL 6, Dodge/Toughness PL 8, Parry/Toughness PL 8, Fort/Will PL 6.
  • Point total 102. Abilities 42, Defences 18, Skills 28, Powers 00, Devices 00, Advantages 14. Equiv. PL 7.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Marvel universe (Daredevil Annual 10).