Jed MacKay’s summer event of one-shot annual issues continues this week with Black Cat Annual #1. “Infinite Destinies” has had two chapters come out so far, with one focusing on Iron Man and another on Captain America. Each issue stands alone, but a larger story about where the Infinity Stones reside on Earth and who wields them is being uncovered. This week, Black Cat is zipping off to South Korea for an adventure that might get her and the Tiger Division killed. Just another Tuesday.
This issue opens with Black Cat being grounded by White Fox after landing in South Korea. She’s asked, or maybe even ordered, to join White Fox on a mission. You can read their entire encounter on their way to meeting the Tiger Division, who will be aiding them in stopping a mind-controlled hero who has the powers equivalent to Sentry. Basically, they are Superman-like and can level an entire city. Writer Jed MacKay and artist Joey Vazquez quickly get us into the mission as well as detail all these colorful South Korean heroes.
This issue helps sell the fact that Black Cat is pretty darn cool with random missions being thrown her way while also showing how fast she can think on her feet. It’s also a fun way to show superhero teams from other countries and how it’s not always about the Avengers.
The dynamic between Black Cat and White Fox is also intriguing. In some ways they are similar, which is shown well throughout the book. They’re not do-gooder heroes necessarily, and will do what it takes to save the day or with Black Cat line their pockets more often than not. It’s a fight comic with espionage, sneaking about, and infiltration.
It did leave me a bit confused as to the resolution of the book, though I’ll say no more to avoid spoilers. How this fits into the larger story remains to be seen and will likely be explained later. Another gripe is how the story sort of fills in pages with seemingly pointless blabbing — which is actually referenced at one point with a wink of sorts — padding the book out a bit.
That said, it’s a good-looking book and Vazquez’s art has the detailed look one expects from a Danger Girls type book. Color artist Brian Reber adds plenty of shine on Black Cat’s black costume and well-done shading on White Fox’s to add volume and detail. There are fun visual ideas at work too, like a layout that has headshots of each of the Tiger Division as they prepare for their attack. In one scene, Black Cat and White Fox are tearing through enemies and there’s a great first-person view of White Fox slashing at a knife-wielding baddie.
The backup story with Nick Fury written by MacKay with art by Juan Ferreyra offers a moody noir continuation of Fury’s mission. It gets inside Fury’s head and suggests he might need some help. It progresses his story well enough, though if you want more than a moody narrator tale you might feel let down.
Black Cat Annual #1 is a unique look at Black Cat out of her element in South Korea, but soon you find she’s never out of her element thanks to smarts and careful planning. MacKay offers up an intriguing setup, a fun look at a foreign superhero team, and new details on where the Mind Stone has ended up.
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