REVIEW: Black Cat #1

The Black Cat is headlining her first solo on-going with a strong first issue. Spinning out of the pages of the Amazing Spider-Man, Jed Mackay and Travel Foreman shape an interesting setting for Felicia’s adventures. This series of complicated thieving enterprises will have Black Cat team up with or fight old and new Marvel characters.

How Does the Plot Hold Up?

In recent Amazing Spider-Man issues, the Black Cat has taken the hero route, but she is back to her old ways with a crew ready to steal the things she wants. The Thieves Guild still hold a grudge despite her return to crime, and they will go to any lengths to make her pay. On top of that, the security officer, Ocampo Sonny, chases Felicia through the story. He seems to have a mysterious history with the Cat, which will most definitely be explored in coming issues. The past isn’t done catching up with Felicia as The Black Fox, the man who showed her and her father everything they know, extends an offer she will not want to refuse.

Jed Mackay writes an intricate tale filled with mystery. Each piece of the puzzle extending before our eyes will give us an insight into Black Cat’s past. This will help shape her current situation, allowing the reader to dive deeper into her personality and history. I love the inclusion of the Thieves Guild. It shows how the greater Marvel universe affects this series while remaining self-contained enough to avoid confusing to readers. Mackay also displays some extensive Marvel knowledge by including the Black Fox, an obscure character who has never had many appearances and was mostly portrayed as a joke character in the past. His link to Felicia will be interesting to delve into because of his virtually unknown past, allowing the writer a lot of flexibility. The Black Fox back-up story by Mackay is also a nice stepping stone in exploring this past between the Hardy and him.

Black Cat’s Characterization

Mackay understands the essence of Felicia, which gives the book tons of attitude. Felicia’s personality is a crucial factor for this book to work, and the writer hit the nail right on the head. The femme fatale vibe the Black Cat gives off paired with her cocky yet elegant attitude was present throughout the book. The mask she puts forth is only dropped at the end when the Black Fox breaks into her facility. Her genuine worry at the break-in shows her 3-dimensional nature. This helps drive both the plot and the sublime characterization of Felicia.

Travel Foreman’s art maintains Felicia’s crucial depiction of her personality. Another important factor shown through her pose and facial expression is the Black Cat’s attitude. The previously mentioned femme fatale vibe was constant during the art heist where she seemed in control. Foreman shines during the action-packed sequences; his rough style makes the action move in front of your eyes like a movie.

The Negatives

That being said, I was looking forward to Foreman’s art, and for the most part, I was a little disappointed. Except for the instances mentioned above, I felt the style he used for this book was off and not up to his usual standards- it felt rush. His style didn’t seem to mesh well with Brian Reber’s color, which felt like the biggest problem art wise. I’ve always liked Foreman’s art, but the pairing with Reber’s colors didn’t make the pencils standout. It felt like the lines blurred with the colors creating smudged work leaving me a little cold regarding the art. In contrast to that Reber’s color seemed to fit a little better with Mike Dowling’s art in the back-up story. It had more dynamism mixed with better attention to shadows giving the pair an edge.

Concluding Thoughts

In addition, there was a two-page back-up story about Felicia and her cats by Nao Fuji, and it was simply delightful. It was short and sweet, yet exemplified Black Cat’s softer side perfectly. The story is a cats lover’s treat that will make you smile for sure with a fun cartoony art-style. Black Cat #1 was an entertaining foray in Felicia Hardy’s life. It sets-up mystery and thrill paired with excellent characterization. Despite the art’s flaws the story still maintains a natural flow that pairs itself nicely with the action sequences.

Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 Meows

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Vincent is Canadian and a raving Cyclops apologist and a lover of all things geek Marvel and Star Wars are his specialty. He is well versed in DC, Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings. He's always wanted to be a writer and Do You Even Comic Book? is his first foray into that adventure.

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