Ever since AIPT had the exclusive preview of the first issue of Spider-Man: The Black Cat Strikes, I’ve had my eyes set on it. An exploration of the PS4 game to further understand the characters is an enticing element. The series definitely recaps things for fans who haven’t played the games, but it also lets readers enjoy the characters a little bit more after beating the game. If you’re a completist, this book is for you.
The Marvel Gamerverse is a great idea as it lets fans enjoy the game in a new way. In the PS4 video game, Black Cat is an intriguing character thanks to her reluctance to be a supervillain but her inability to stop herself from stealing. Truth be told, the relationship between Peter and Black Cat is complicated, but it’s navigated well here. In a key scene that I implore Mary Jane fans to read, writer Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum does a great job capturing the love and understanding between MJ and Peter. Utilizing flashbacks, Hallum and artist Luca Maresca show us how Spider-Man and Black Cat bond when in costume and how this is something only they can have because of their super-lifestyles.
It’s scenes like this that help distinguish this from the game. No doubt one of the biggest draws of this series is getting to explore the video game world, and the creators have done a good job letting us do just that. Familiar locations, characters, and story beats connecting to the game are used, further solidifying this as a true separate Gamerverse apart from the main comics. The opening action scene is epic and also reminiscent of an iconic move Spider-Man makes (you’ll know it when you see it) with some good closing action too.
This series never lets you forget how fun and likable Black Cat is, and we see it in how Spidey and Mary Jane view her. She’s an interesting character that’ll likely play a part in future games, further cementing this issue as a worthy read. It’s also nice to see Black Cat do what she does best: slinking around and stealing stuff, which we get here and there.
The art by Maresca and colors by Rachelle Rosenberg are excellent, especially where superhero costumes are concerned. Spidey’s mask, the detailing to bring out his cheekbones, and the armor Black Cat wears, all looks great. It’s nice to see homages to the game like Spidey thwipping his way onto a car, or the boss battle I mentioned above.. If you love the game you’ll love how the art team doesn’t forget the source material.
Hands down, Spider-Man: The Black Cat Strikes is a good series if you’ve played the game and an even better one if you haven’t. Your enjoyment may vary depending on your relationship with Spider-Man, the game, or comics in general, but for the most part, this is good superhero fun.
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