Felicia Hardy, AKA The Black Cat, and her crew have been rampaging across the Marvel Universe, from the Frick Collection to Fantastic Four headquarters. This volume gathers the last bits of her adventures before the book was canceled, and includes a heist at Stark Unlimited and Felicia and Spider-Man crashing a Maggia wedding.
All Dressed Up opens with the two-part story “Full Metal Black Cat,” written by Jed Mackay with art by C. F. Villa and colors by Brian Reber. Black Cat’s crew is almost ready to pull off the greatest heist in the history of Manhattan: Steal from the impregnable, inter-dimensional vaults of the New York Thieves’ Guild. There’s just one more bit of tech she needs to do it. Unfortunately, the only way to make it is with Iron Man’s personal over-clocked 3D printer, The Nanoforge.
Felicia goes undercover as a science reporter to sneak into the facility and leads Tony on a high-speed chase through the skies above Manhattan when the plan goes south. This story is no less a joy than Black Cat’s other adventures with Marvel icons, and as usual, Mackay has an uncanny knack for capturing the voice of the guest stars and the tone of their current book.
Tony Stark is a pitch-perfect combination of brilliance and just a bit of rich-boy pig-headedness, and Villa Reber bring his high-tech offices to life with the right combination of shiny chrome and open-office glass walls. The first part switches between the crew planning the job in Felicia’s shadowy hideout and the job itself, which is a nice effect that works well.
All Dressed Up also includes Black Cat Annual #1, which is a three-part heist guest-staring Spider-Man. This one is also a hoot, with art by Joey Vasquez, Natcha Bustos, and Juan Gedeon.
The Black Cat brings Spider-Man in to help her crash a Maggia wedding, but there’s more to the job than meets the eye. The story splits the party, giving Bruno and Dr. Korpse their own jobs while Black Cat and Spider-Man infiltrate the super-criminals’ trap-filled catacombs. Each sequence is drawn by a different artist, which really helps shine a spotlight on each member of Felicia’s crew and shows their personality. I’d like to see more focus on them like this in future stories.
There is also a short follow-up adventure with Black Cat and Spidey that was a part of Marvel’s 2020 Free Comic Book Day offerings. This story is pretty much a rooftop brawl with the Vulture and feels more like a Spider-Man’s story than Black Cat’s. But the art, drawn by Patrick Gleason and colored by David Curiel, is a treat. There is also a fine bonus section in the back of the book, with over twenty pages of design sketches, variant covers, and process art.
Overall, this collection is lots of fun, but a bit slight and airy. With just two regular issues, an annual, and a tie-in, this collection comes up a bit short. These adventures are thrilling and joyous but don’t have the same level of drama or stakes as the first two volumes, and they barely inch the plot forward. These stories are a treat but don’t feel all that necessary. This collection will satisfy Black Cat fans, but this is candy, not a meal.
Black Cat recently relaunched with a new number one as with a tie-in story to Marvel’s King in Black event, and will be ongoing, so readers more interested in the plot may want to pick up the story there.
Black Cat Vol. 3: All Dressed Up collects a pair of fun and engaging heists that could only happen in Marvel Comics. It’s just as much fun as the first two volumes — I just wish it had more places to go to.
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