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Black Cat #1

Written by Jed McKay

Art by Mike Dowling, Travel Foreman, and Nao Fuji

Cover by J. Scott Campbell

Review by Kris K

The Black Cat, aka Felicia Hardy, has prowled the outskirts of Marvel for years, appearing in Spider-Man’s comic predominately and visiting various other heroes occasionally. She even starred in three mini-series, one of which with Wolverine. She appears in countless video games, and she sports a cameo in the Amazing Spider-man movies as her civilian alias. Thus far, though, the status of an ongoing series alludes her. With Black Cat#1, the snubbing ends.

If you aren’t familiar with the character, their story is straightforward. Black Cat “works” as a cat burglar, serving as Spider-Man’s Catwoman. She forms tenuous alliances with various heroes, but she never stops stealing. Recently, though, she became something more nefarious. During the Superior Spider-Man series, Doctor Octopus, while living as Peter Parker, took Black Cat down with force. Black Cat, not knowing this was a different person acting as Spider-man, declared a blood feud. Felicia felt betrayed after their years of “professional” and romantic entanglements, and her fury took out all who stood in her way. She climbed to the status of a big boss in the New York Criminal Underground, aiming her fury at killing Spider-Man. She mainly aimed her efforts at Peter Parker’s Spider-Man, but Miles Morales ran afoul of her too.

Image result for black cat #1Eventually, she accepted Doc Oc’ burned her, not Peter, and their alliance rekindled if not their romance. Felicia, after Peter Parker revealed his secret identity, now remembers all the time they spent together that was blocked from her when Peter made everyone forget he was Spider-Man. The rush of memories left Felicia raw, as she experienced every up and down in their relationship, culminating in the loss of their love. Her recent work with Spider-man, though, put her on the outs with the Thieves Guild, after she helped get the superheroes gear back from the Guild. The Guild does not forgive, and they declared Black Cat won’t steal again until she makes it up to them.

Much like Joelle Jones’s Catwoman series, this Black Cat series follows a thief getting back to what they do best. Felicia sets her sites on an art heist at an evening gala full of security and the Thieves Guild. She sets her sights on stealing some lovely art with the help of her crew and ends up chased by the authorities and the Thieves Guild.

The book performs the perfunctory introductory issue, introducing us to all the key players and their roles. The writing sets a fun, tight pace, and while the ending twist lacked any weight for me, I am ready to see where this series goes. McKay set up each character’s persona enough to have their own motives and styles. While I am not sold enough on the writing to add it to my pull list, I am checking out the next issue.

The weakness in this issue, sadly, is the art. While its certainly not the worst I have seen this year, it lacks consistency. Some panels are great, and some make Felicia look like a different person. The drawing felt rushed on some panels, a feeling I hope disappears in future issues. The art team showed potential.

Verdict: Buy! In a shop full of world-ending disasters and tragedy, a nice simple heist book feels refreshing. The comic serves as a nice addition to Marvel’s small list of criminal-led books, a genre DC has always led in. I look forward to seeing where Black Cat goes when she isn’t tethered to any other characters.

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