Quietly, Black Cat is one of the best Marvel books to come out every month. It’s catapulted Jed MacKay up to being one of my favorite writers at Marvel outside of the X-sphere (go and check out his Taskmaster, too!), and the first volume of Black Cat was really just a delightful trip around the Marvel universe. It moved Felicia Hardy outside of her long-time role as a mediocre Catwoman rip-off serving as the love interest to Peter Parker’s Batman.
Instead, Black Cat took advantage of the delightful pitch of super-genius thief trapezing through the Marvel universe. Throughout volume one of MacKay’s book, Black Cat broke into the Sanctum Sanctorum, got a special Iron Cat suit, dated Johnny Storm, and even had a wonderful little adventure with Wolverine in Madripoor drawn by Kris Anka.
The second volume, though, has the unfortunate luck to be starting out as a tie-in to the mediocre King in Black event. MacKay does his best to make lemonade from lemons, but as someone who doesn’t care for the goop monsters by any means, this shouldn’t be my cup of tea. Fair warning, at least.
Felicia, in a tattered costume, has been tasked to break in past Knull’s goop defenses. She decides to do so through one of my favorite comic book specific tropes: the mission-specific new costume. The best part of Watchmen? When Nite-Owl breaks out his special parka costume. (Well, not really, but you get the idea.)
Felicia gets a special white anti-Venom costume, and with the help of Bats the Ghost Dog (Donny Cates’ best creation), a goblin glider and the freakin’ Spider-Buggy go in and save the good sorcerer supreme. It’s a rollicking adventure comic in the classic Marvel tradition, and as someone who does not care the slightest bit about Knull, Venom, or anyone else made of goop, it was very, very easy to get.
Similarly, the art is pretty fun as well. Of course, we need to take a moment to appreciate the incredible cover by Pepe Larraz and Marte Garcia. Larraz has leveled up in an incredible degree over the last couple of years, and his cover – with Felicia’s flowing hair, the moving and crawling goop over her body proper, and the talons stretching out from her fingers – is really just incredible. Hopefully they’ll sell it as a poster sometime soon, or a print.
The interiors are loose and flowing, which really fits the book. The hair, the fur, even the rippling goop of the symbiote monsters, they all come together to make a good-looking book.
Interestingly, it seems that the lettering in Black Cat is different from the other Marvel books as well. It’s not as different as the mixed case lettering being used over in the X-Men books, but certainly looser and more interesting. It really makes Black Cat seem like an indie book that happens to be dipping into the Marvel universe.
It’s a really fun little book, to be honest. It’s not the most ‘important’ book in the Marvel Universe — there aren’t going to be events coming out of Black Cat. But it’s just fun, and that’s valuable in and of itself.
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