Black Cat has been one of the more fun series that Marvel has been putting out on a monthly basis. Jed MacKay has gone all in with the Ocean’s Eleven tone for this series. Going with that direction has allowed Black Cat to stand out from the normal superhero comics we are getting from Marvel. Now Black Cat’s current direction looks to be leading her to one of her biggest heist targets to date in the form of Tony Stark, aka Iron Man. What is Black Cat and her crew looking to steal from Tony Stark? And what does it mean for the bigger picture of this series? Let’s find out with Black Cat #11.
Writer: Jed MacKay
Artist: C.F. Villa
Colorist: Brian Reber
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In Paramus, New Jersey, Felicia Hardy isn’t a fan of how they’ve ended up in New Jersey. Ceres Goldstein reminds Felicia that she did build the request Randall Gate so it could go in a delivery truck as requested.
Black Fox says they are one thing away from going down in history with the dimensional gate they’ve built. Felicia wonders how they will get the key. Black Fox says they’ll get it from no one serious.
Two days later at Stark Unlimited, much to her annoyance, Felicia has disguised herself as a redhead named Elodie Gros to get a meeting with Tony Stark.
Two days earlier, Felicia and her crew talk about what are Tony’s weaknesses. Bruno mentions that because of Tony’s intelligence that he can’t resist arguing with someone who disagrees with him. Felicia likes that idea and comes up with an identity of a plucky science reporter with an axe to grind.
In the present, Tony compliments Elodie on her work though he does not agree with animosity towards him. Tony talks about Elodie’s digital footprint, which Felicia’s crew was able to create for her over the last two days, and asks why she does what she does. Elodie says it is because Tony is a coward by thinking so small even though he has an unlimited amount of resources.
As Elodie and Tony go back and forth we get a flashback of Ceres telling Felicia that they need to clone the nanites in Tony’s body that will give them access to any room in Stark Unlimited. She goes on to say once Felicia gets the nanite copies she will have up to 20 minutes to get the job done.
Back in the present Tony notices the claws in Elodie’s fingers. Elodie expands her claws and reveals she uses it to defend herself after what she saw with the riots in Manhattan. Tony looking over Elodie’s claws allows Felicia the chance to be close enough to use her phone to download Tony’s nanites data.
Suddenly alarms start to sound of an intruder in Stark Unlimited. We see from a flashback that this was caused by the distraction Felicia told Bruno to create for her. Bruno calls Jack Taggart, also known as Firepower, and hires him to be their distraction.
In the present Tony changes into his Iron Man armor and starts fighting Firepower.
With Tony distracted, Felicia takes off her Elodie Gros wig and runs to the Nanoforge. As she runs through the building Felicia is stopped by Bethany Cabe. After a brief fight Felicia is able to knock Bethany Cabe by attaching a narcpatch to the back of Bethany Cabe’s neck.
Now free, Felicia is able to reach the Nanoforge and use the nanite fingerprints she copied from Tony to get inside.
Once inside, Felicia orders the Nanoforge to create the items from the specs on her phone. While waiting for the Nanoforge to create what she needs Felicia decides to play with the armor creation tools Tony has.
Outside Stark Unlimited, Iron Man has defeated Firepower. Tony is then informed that his request from the Nanoforge is almost complete. As Iron Man, Tony rushes to find out who is using his Nanoforge.
In the Nanoforge, Felicia grabs the item it created for her. She then hears Iron Man breaking down the door to the Nanoforge. Felicia then quickly orders the Nanoforge to create her some armor with the little time she has remaining.
As Iron Man breaks down the door and demands whoever is using his Nanoforge to show themselves Felicia appears wearing a Black Cat version of the Iron Man armor. End of issue.
The Good: Black Cat #11 taps into what has made this series great by keeping the focus on the heist at hand. There is no wasted piece of dialogue. Everything that Jed MacKay writes has a purpose to get behind the latest Ocean’s Eleven style heist that Felicia Hardy leads her crew on.
The early pages of Felicia and her crew talking about what weakness that Tony has that they can take advantage of was perfect. Through this flashback scene MacKay showed that he knows exactly how to write Tony Stark’s character. Not only does MacKay understand how to best write Tony Stark but also shows a respect for the character’s history and how that defines the current version of Iron Man.
Setting up how Felicia was going to use Tony’s ego against him made the entire heist even more compelling. Through creating the identity of Elodie Gros, MacKay was able to have each member of Felicia’s crew to shine as they all played a role in making sure the identity past all of Tony’s test. Creating such a convincing identity in Elodie Gros does puts over how effective the crew Black Cat has assembled are.
This also helps to show how Felicia may be the best actor in the Marvel Universe. Felicia shows supreme confidence in the role of Elodie Gros and prepared she was for every question Tony threw her way. There was no hesitation in Felicia’s dialogue. Everything was smooth and made you believe that you were reading Felicia was Elodie Gros, which added to how well perfectly her crew crafted an airtight identity for her.
Not being afraid to employ a mercenary like Firepower to distract Iron Man worked to paint Black Cat and her crew in the shade of grey category. This was not something you expect a hero to do. But to MacKay’s credit as a writer this fits in line with what we know Black Cat and her crew are willing to do to get their heist accomplished. You also understand that they knew Iron Man would be able to defeat Firepower relatively easily. The only reason they hired him was to give them the time they need without causing casualties.
This all made for an even more fun ending as Black Cat had to quickly come up with a way to take on Iron Man after Firepower didn’t give her the full 20 minutes she needed. Seeing Black Cat quickly have the Nanoforge create custom Iron Man armor for her fits with what she has done against other heroes up to this point. It reminds you how Black Cat is able to always think on her feet, which allows her to match those that may be more powerful than her all things being fair.
C.F. Villa fits in well with the fun, grounded style that this series has established during MacKay’s run. Villa takes full advantage of the constant move between the present and past to frame pages that compliment one another. You were never lost even though there was constant shifts in the timeline. It all flowed well thanks to Villa keeping up the tone each scene should have that depended on the characters Felicia was talking to. Villa also did a great job creating Iron Man armor that works in Black Cat’s costume with the design.
The Bad: Nothing
Overall: Black Cat #11 is a strong example why this series is one of the best comic books that Marvel is currently publishing. Jed MacKay and C.F. Villa combine to tell a fun story as Felicia Hardy leads her team in what may be their biggest heist to date as they take on Tony Stark. The interaction between Felicia and Tony shines even brighter thanks to how MacKay frames the plan the former executes in order to make this heist successful. MacKay and Villa end Black Cat #11 with a final page that immediately gets you hyped for the next issue.
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