In Iron Cat from Jed MacKay, Pere Pérez, and Frank D’Armata, someone has gotten their hands on the titular armor and is wreaking havoc on the lives of Felicia Hardy and Tony Stark. Who is the new Iron Cat, and what is their connection to the Black Cat’s past?
The bulk of the issue plays out like a classic heist story, detailing the score “that got away” from Black Cat. MacKay, Pérez, and D’Armata work perfectly in tandem here, making the transitions between present day and 12 years ago shift seamlessly. The muted color choices in the flashback scenes go a long way towards differentiating the sequences from the present action, but Pérez also finds interesting ways of showing us a quantifiable difference in Felicia Hardy. She carries herself with confidence, but her body language and fighting style is definitely rougher around the edges.
Outside of that, the action just rips. In the flashback scenes, there’s a real sense of speed and danger, even though you can see from Felicia’s face that she’s having a bit too much fun. Pérez makes use of jagged lines to show points of impact, while D’Armata’s use of streaking colors bleeding from car lights further sell the intensity of this chase sequence. The present day scuffle with the Iron Cat is no less impressive, balancing out the James Bond vibe of the flashbacks with some good old fashioned superhero action. Missiles are flying, windows are getting smashed, and Black Cat literally vaults over the enemy’s head and back in a page that had me smiling from ear to ear.
MacKay and co. also do a splendid job of showing us how Felicia has grown over the years. Her teenage self has just a tinge of naiveté and wide-eyed wonder, reminding us that she wasn’t always as cold as she can be now. Meanwhile, her older self is a lot more jaded and a lot tougher, but she wears her heart on her sleeve for the right people (and the reader). In this way, Iron Cat is already showing us a full picture of who Felicia Hardy is, making it a worthy successor to MacKay’s beloved run on the character’s solo book.
Through these flashbacks and some handy narration in the modern sequences, MacKay also catches readers up on Felicia’s status quo, recapping some of the events of the previous solo series and adding even more emotional weight to the storyline. It never feels like too much table-setting, giving us just what we need to understand where she’s coming from and what she’s up against next. Despite the globetrotting adventure and high-flying action, this still feels very much like a personal story for the Black Cat, which is why it’ll most likely ring true for readers, even if they don’t have a previous investment with the character.
All in all, Iron Cat has set up an intriguing personal story here for Black Cat. With Iron Man entering the picture, the blockbuster action is sure to get even more wild. For now, though, this was already a thrilling first chapter.
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