Following up on the events of Jed MacKay and Pere Pérez’s opening issue, this feels very much like a middle chapter, concerned with getting all of their players into place. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t dazzle in its own way! The new issue puts all of our players on the board by following a similar structure to last month’s installment: by couching flashbacks within flashbacks to show us how the new Iron Cat’s plan came together while also providing a bit of forward momentum in the present day sequences. This can be a bit unwieldy in some moments when the narration from a flashback pops over into the present, but it’s overall easy to follow and keeps the flow of the narrative from feeling too static.
Much like last issue, we get a good bit of exposition to catch readers up to speed on where Felicia and Tony are at in their lives. However, this issue really packs it in up top with a ton of dialogue. It’s helpful to get some context for Tony’s apprehension regarding the Iron Cat armor’s continued existence, but it also does feel like it kills a bit of the momentum at the start of the story.
Even so, Pérez does an excellent job of showing us Felicia’s inner struggle. She’s been put up against someone she really cares about, and you can see that all over her face and in her body language. She’s clearly upset having to tell Tony more about Tamara, but it seems she’s reluctant to pursue this case. After all, it’s only going to end with more heartbreak.
And speaking of heartbreak and Tamara, we get a closer look at Tamara’s own inner turmoil and feelings toward Felicia, courtesy of a handy flashback and some especially conflicted narration. This sequence is easily the highlight of the book, showcasing just how different she and Felicia are, but also making it very obvious why they’d be drawn to one another. In many ways, they seemed to have balanced each other out in their days working for the Black Fox.
But that only makes the battle to come more heartbreaking. It’s still not entirely clear what Tamara wants beyond good old fashioned revenge, but it’s interesting to see how tightly this plot connects Felicia and Tony’s gallery of villains. And while Tony Stark occasionally feels slightly one-note in parts of this issue, it also makes sense that he’d have very little reason to trust Black Cat. It’s a great choice on MacKay’s part to base Tony’s motivations around protecting his tech and making sure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, even if it means he has to play nice with Felicia Hardy for a while. And of course, I got a great laugh out of Felicia’s willingness to use Tony’s wallet for all it’s worth when laying a trap.
It seems the pieces are all in place for a big showdown, but with multiple issues left in this miniseries, there are sure to be more twists and turns. At the moment, I’m enjoying the flashbacks a lot more than the main event, but that may change when Iron Cat makes her next move!
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