Black Cat is back in her own solo series with Jed McKay also returning as the writer for this new series. I was a big fan of the first volume of Black Cat that MacKay wrote in the last year. He showed a strong understanding of who Felicia Hardy is and built a strong cast that made you wonder why it took Marvel so long to give Black Cat her own ongoing series. Now Black Cat’s new ongoing adventures will kicking off with her getting involved in the King In Black event that is taking over the Marvel Universe. Given what King In Black is about it’ll be interesting how MacKay will use the heist movie-style storytelling he established for Black Cat in this cosmic-level event. Let’s find out what Felicia Hardy and her crew are up to during King In Black with Black Cat #1
Writer: Jed MacKay
Artist: C.F. Villa
Colorist: Brian Reber
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: A mercenary group breaks into an old S.H.I.E.L.D bunker and steals all of the operational funds that were being stored there that was Black Money, which is untraceable, laundered cash. Black Cat and her crew wait for the mercenaries to leave through the Secret Highway System under Manhattan to get the drop on them.
Before they can do that a Symbiote Dragon crashes through the ground after being hit by one of Storm’s lightning strikes.
Bruno and Doctor Korpse check to make sure Black Cat is okay. Black Cat tells Bruno and Doctor Korpse to head back to New Jersey while she checks on what is going on in the city.
Black Cat swings through Manhattan and runs into all of the Knull’s Symbiote forces. She eventually comes across Captain America, Storm, Cyclops, Doctor Strange, and Magneto. Black Cat quickly helps defend all the innocent people still on Earth.
As the battle with the Symbiotes goes on Black Cat is left horrified when she sees Doctor Strange get captured by the Symbiote Dragons and incased in some sort of Symbiote sphere. As that happens other heroes like Cyclops, Ms. Marvel, The Thing, and Storm are also captured by the Symbiotes.
Some time later, Black Cat meets up with her crew to let them know what happened with Knull. Black Cat brings in the one person she knows how to best combat the Symbiotes, Alchemax’s Dr. Steve. Black Cat then reveals the job they are going to be doing is stealing straight from Knull. Dr. Steve questions what she is planning to steal.
Flashing back to the battle in Manhattan, Captain America does his best to keep the Symbiotes off him long enough to talk with Black Cat. Captain America tells Black Cat that she is the only that can escape and continue the fight as she is a born survivor. He goes on to say Black Cat needs to find a way to break “him” out.
Back in the present Black Cat reveals they are going to steal Doctor Strange from Knull. End of issue.
The Good: For a big event tie-in comic book Black Cat #1 delivers exactly what you want to see. There is a clear mission given to our lead hero that feels important to what is going on in King In Black. In the process Jed MacKay opens yet another door for Black Cat to showcase her abilities as both a superhero and thief at the same time.
MacKay does not miss a beat when it comes to writing Black Cat and her crew. It honestly felt like we never left the team of Felicia Hardy, Bruno Grainger, and Dr. Boris Korpse. The chemistry the three show works so well. At no point does the interaction between them feel out of place. Felicia Hardy is made the clear leader with Bruno and Dr. Korpse understanding their roles in the job they are on. We see that with how they head back to New Jersey and then just listen to Felicia’s story later on. Which makes Bruno and Dr. Korpse shocked expressions whenever Felicia turns on her superhero mode come across even better.
Through all of that MacKay does emphasize how Black Cat can be two things at once. At her core Felicia Hardy is a thief. That is what she was brought up to be and does it better than anyone in the Marvel Universe. At the same time, Felicia does have a natural instinct to jump into battle when something happens and protect others.
The opening of Black Cat #1 does a great job of establishing the thief part of Black Cat’s character. We get a good idea of how Felicia’s mind is constantly thinking of the job at hand. She understands the mentality of people stealing from others and knows how to use it to her advantage. If it wasn’t for Knulls invasion getting in the way you have the full confidence that she would’ve been successful in stealing the money the mercenaries stole from the SHIELD bunker. Establishing this part of Black Cat’s character was important to setting the stage for this King In Black tie-in being centered around a grand heist that can play a key role in the war with Knull.
Captain America being the one that gave Black Cat this mission to save Doctor Strange made this tie-in feel even more important. MacKay made great use of how highly we all think of Captain America to put over why Black Cat would not only survive this first battle with Knull but why she is the only that can save Doctor Strange. In doing so MacKay was able to further elevate Black Cat within the superhero community.
Adding to the importance of this heist to save Doctor Strange was how Black Cat does not rush into the mission. Like any of her other heists Felicia knows that jumping right into the mission Captain America gave her was stupid. If she is going to do this job Felicia is going to do it right. Which is where bringing in Dr. Steve from Alchemax works so well. This is how you bring in a minor character and use past stories to provide a reason why they would be involved. Dr. Steve’s background dealing with Symbiotes helps build confidence in Black Cat being able to complete this cosmic-level job with just her crew.
C.F. Villa artwork was solid throughout Black Cat #1. Villa’s artwork stands out most during all of the action from King In Black that we see Black Cat get involved in. Villa gets that this is supposed to be a large, cosmic-level story that is impacting the Marvel Universe. The art for the talking head moments in Black Cat #1 work equally well to enhance the drama of what Felicia Hardy’s crew are about to do.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Jed MacKay and C.F. Villa do a great job using the events of King In Black to give the new Black Cat series a hot start. From the opening page to the final page we are shown why Black Cat is not only a great character but can play a key role in the King In Black event. The job Black Cat’s team is given by the Avengers creates greater anticipation for what other stories this new series will be telling after King In Black is over.
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