idk if youve seen it but theres some "confession" post in the tag talking about how bucky/nat's relationship retconned nat's past. correct me if im wrong but wasn't it more like nat's past + "oh hey bucky was there too"? i cant remember what her canon was before that point but it didnt seem like it changed anything. it was more like their relationship was just added on.
Yep, I saw it and kinda rolled my eyes because that OP is clearly reacting to a telephone-chain of bad information that antis like to put out to taint everything Brubaker did with Natasha (therefore tainting all thing BuckyNat) in the minds of new fans.
Despite what some people may try to claim, Brubaker did not retcon Natasha’s backstory out of thin air just to make her Bucky girlfriend. Before Brubaker ever got to write Captain America, Natasha already had two different backstories – the Cold War spy (who may be much much older than she looks) backstory and the murder orphanage backstory. As with all things Natasha, FYBW has an in-depth write-up [Secret Origins Part 1] [Secret Origins Part 2] [Secret Origins Part 3] that I highly recommend reading, but here is a quick explanation:
Backstory 1, a.k.a. the Cold War spy backstory: So way back in 1972 (when Brubaker was all of six years old btw), Daredevil #88 laid out the groundwork for the Natasha backstory we know today – she was a war orphan that Ivan had rescued in Stalingrad, who chooses to join the KGB/becomes a Cold War spy and who later decided to defect and eventually become a superhero. Daredevil #88 came out about thirty years after the war, so the timeline made perfect sense. However, as we got further and further away from WWII, things got a little weirder. That’s when Uncanny X-Men #268 shows up in 1990. UXM #268 tells how Logan and Steve and Natasha first met in WWII:
While ignoring some of the specific details of DD #88’s timeline, UXM #268 doubles down on Natasha’s connection to WWII and is the first to suggest (but fails to explain) that Natasha is not as young as she appears to be:
The writer, Chris Claremont, left the book shortly after UXM #268, so he never went into more detail/gave any explanations for Natasha’s age. So it and the Cold War origins became a hanging plotline that more and more writers choose to ignore the further we got from the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. (Sidenote: The Red Room entered into the Black Widow mythos in 1999 with the introduction of Yelena Bolova.) Which brings us to…
Backstory 2, a.k.a. the murder orphanage retcon: 2004 was the year Marvel inflicted Richard Morgan onto Natasha, and he inflicted his murder orphanage retcon onto all of us. Morgan set out to tell a story about why sexism bad and proceeded to do so in the most mansplainy way ever with the added bonus of removing all of Natasha’s agency from her entire life. No longer did Natasha decide to join the KGB and become a spy. Nope, instead she grew up in the 1970s in a murder orphanage designed to produce perfect little spies. No longer did Natasha choose to deflect from the Soviet Union and become an Avenger. Nope, instead Nick Fury used special pheromone perfume that forced Natasha to do what he wanted. Seriously. (Keep that in mind next time these people try to claim that Brubaker retconned Natasha’s history just for Bucky’s dick. Because what they’re trying to do is convince people a gross AU retcon from a decade ago is Natasha’s ‘real’ origin story.)
Moving on to 2007 and Ed Brubaker’s run on Captain America. In an interview following the release of Captain America #27, he states:
In the Winter Soldier origin issue, which is in my second Cap trade, we show the history and the timeline, and in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s he was deep in Department X. That was an actual Soviet special section during the Cold War, where they did their experimental stuff, like brainwashing and the like. So, when I was researching it, it occurred to me that the Red Room program would have been attached to Department X, and that if the Black Widow was being trained in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, they probably met. [X]
Brubaker either didn’t know about or actively chose to ignore a three-year-old recon, and decided to go back to Backstory 1 because it worked with the story he was trying to tell. The only thing he actually retconned was the ‘fact’ Natasha had a secret relationship with the Winter Soldier for a short time in the late 1950s. So basically all Brubaker did was bring the unaging Cold War spy backstory back into play (with a tiny extra dash of tragic romance), which was then followed by Cornell and Liu who each filled in details and shaped it into the backstory we know today.