You know what rules? Heists. Yes, I know that there’s been a lot of mockery of a good, old-fashioned heist in the cultural zeitgeist these days, but I’m not a complainer in that regard. I’ve probably watched Ocean’s 11 about a thousand times, after all. So, after four issues of Black Cat Vol. 2, we finally get a heist. (To be clear, magic heist against a goop monster? That doesn’t count.)
Reading through this book makes me remember the reason why I love Marvel Comics so much. Black Cat #5 is not a complicated story. It’s actually, at its core, a pretty old story. After a long time out of the business, an old thief is back in for one last score, only to reveal mid-heist that he’s doing the last score because he’s dying. And then – bam! Second mid-heist reveal. That old thief is out to betray the crew the whole time.
It also is a story that has Dracula in it. It’s a story that has the Infinity Formula, Krakoan Medicine, Ulysses Bloodstone, and a sixty-foot-tall alien god made of gold and gem encrusted bones, wearing an Elizabethan costume.
You throw in some solid character work, and a surprising depth both to the Black Cat and our old tired thief, and – bam. That’s a solid story.
In my mind, what makes Marvel Comics so good is the mixture of the ordinary and the fantastical, built on a foundation of characters that seem real. The X-Men are minorities taken to a super-heroic degree. Spider-Man is a story about growing up and adulthood, to a super-heroic degree. Black Cat #5 is that idea taken down to a platonic level, almost. It follows the heist tropes beat for beat, and then paints that over with a superheroic flair. And honestly? That’s all I really want from Black Cat.
And a sixty-foot tall alien god made of gold and gem encrusted bones in Elizabethan costume.
The art is a little ill-fitting at the beginning. Michael Dowling’s art is somewhat sketchy, with relatively washed-out coloring by Brian Reber. It’s reminiscient of some sort of crossbreed between Travel Foreman and Phil Noto, really. At the start of the book, when it is strictly a heist, it seems ill-suited. It’s only at the end, when the giant alien god emerges, that you can see how perfect Dowling is for the story in question.
Despite this being a nominal start to a new arc, Black Cat #5 is not a good jumping on point. But if you have been reading the comic and keeping an eye on this series, then this is a great next issue to check out.
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