Black Cat has consistently been one of the most enjoyable comic books Marvel has published since its first issue. Jed MacKay has nailed why Felicia Hardy is one of the best Marvel characters and why it was long-overdue that she got her own ongoing series. The Ocean’s Eleven style storytelling with a focus on Black Cat assembling a team to do various heists has been well-handled to get over each character’s skills. Now all these heists have led Black Cat’s crew to possibly their biggest job yet in stealing from the one and only Tony Stark. Let’s see how it all goes down with Black Cat #12.
Writer: Jed MacKay
Artist: C.F. Villa
Colorist: Brian Reber
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Iron Man chases Black Cat (who is wearing her own custom Iron Man armor) through New York City trying to stop her from escaping. As the chase goes on Black Cat gets uses to the speeds she is flying at.
Seeing that Iron Man is trying to communicate with her Black Cat has her system make sure Tony Stark isn’t trying to infect her armor with a virus. Once she verifies that Black Cat opens a communication channel. She uses her flirty banter to throw Iron Man off his game by making him think she is just doing all of this for a thrill ride. Eventually Black Cat gets an opening that lets her slash the back of Iron Man’s armor, causing him to fall into the water.
With Iron Man dealt with, Black Cat uses her armor’s system to track down Odessa Drake.
Black Cat breaks into Odessa’s place with the intent of ending the war between them. Beaten up, Odessa laughs and says that Black Cat has shown herself as what the Thieves Guild needs and that she in fact belongs to them. Odessa then mocks Black Cat over the fact she can’t go through with killing her.
Just as Black Cat explodes with anger Iron Man shows up to stop her from killing Odessa. Black Cat tells Odessa that she got lucky. Black Cat’s armor suddenly falls to pieces, revealing to Iron Man that she was never in the armor. Instead se was piloting it from Stark Tower using a neural interface.
Felicia then quickly puts on a doctor disguise and uses Bethany Cabe’s security badge to get into Stark Unlimited’s holding cell. She then opens Firepower’s cell and helps him escape.
Later, at their New Jersey hideout, Felicia and her crew celebrate the success of their job and are now confident they will be able to defeat Odessa and the Thieves Guild with ease.
Elsewhere Queen Cat (Lily Hollister, who was Harry Osborn’s ex-fiancee and former Grey Goblin during Spider-Man’s Brand New Day era) reads the story about Black Cat stealing from Iron Man. She decides to do something about Black Cat is doing. End of series.
The Good: Black Cat #12 provided a fun ending to this surprise conclusion to Felicia Hardy’s first ongoing series. While it is disappointing that it’ll be a while before this story between Black Cat and the Thieves Guild will continue Jed MacKay at least makes sure things don’t end on a downer. Instead he makes sure that what has made this series so fun is continued even in this final issue.
The entire chase between Black Cat and Iron Man that drives the first half of this issue was a great showcase of how Felicia Hardy’s mind works. She fully understands that she does not have the experience that Tony Stark has with piloting Iron Man armor. But even with their experience level being different in this scenario Felicia made up for it with her improvisation skills that Iron Man does not really know how to combat. You see that with how Black Cat was able to dodge all of Iron Man’s attacks and using Tony’s shock over that to her advantage.
This all made it easy to see why Black Cat never lost her advantage throughout this extended chase and fight sequence. She was in control of everything as she led Iron Man right into position that she was able to disable his armor for a short period. It all made sense that got Black Cat over without making Iron Man look like a rookie. He was simply outmatched in a battle against someone that used their skills to defeat him. That made the fact that Felicia revealed that she was never in the Black Cat Iron Man armor an even more effective reveal to conclude their story.
In the middle of that, Black Cat using her new armor to threaten Odessa Drake one more time before her big heist against the Thieves Guild was effectively done. You could see the rivalry between Black Cat and Odessa burning as the hate between them was clear. At the same time, MacKay played it well in the fact that Black Cat used this opportunity to position Odessa in a spot she needs for her full heist plan to go into effect.
This also worked effectively to get over Odessa and the Thieves Guild as still a big threat. MacKay positioned Odessa in a place where she is now desperate to either get Black Cat into the Thieves Guild or kill her. That sense of desperation and anger could make Odessa make moves that will cause her to be a bigger threat than before.
Adding the touch of having Black Cat help Firepower get out of the Stark Unlimited holding cell was a nice touch to show the honor among thieves. Because even though Firepower was used as a hired gun Black Cat didn’t want to screw him over. It at least gets across how Black Cat and her crew all work together to get a job done and aren’t looking to just leave one behind for a job. It also shows that every part of the plan had a purpose as Felicia used Bethany Cabe’s key card to get Firepower out.
C.F. Villa artwork, along with Brian Reber’s coloring, for most of Black Cat #12 was well done. There is only one questionable art choice that really stood out, which I’ll make in a second. Villa’s artwork for the extended chase sequence between Black Cat and Iron Man was a lot of fun and delivered the sense of motion you expect from two people battling it out in Iron Man armor. Black Cat’s armor came across as unique and fit well with Felicia’s skills to overcome the experience Iron Man has piloting the armor.
The Bad: The ending of Black Cat #12 was supposed to be a big tease for whenever MacKay or another Marvel writer picks back up on Felicia Hardy’s solo adventures. Unfortunately Mackay, Villa, Reber, and editor Nick Lowe massively failed by whitewashing Lily Hollister, aka Queen Cat, in her appearance at the end of Black Cat #12. Lily Hollister is someone who is biracial with her introduction back in Amazing Spider-Man’s Brand New Day era establishing her father as being African-American. Unfortunately you would not know that as Lily in her reappearance after being MIA for a while makes her look like Felicia Hardy threw on a blonde wig and is now wearing a white Black Cat costume.
For one, this massive error does fall on Villa and Reber for not researching who Lily Hollister is and simply thinking because she is blonde that she is automatically a white woman. That is a massive failure on their part and just shows what the automatic mindset is for what working on characters. That may not have been Villa and Reber’s intention but that is how it came across. They could try to excuse it as being lighting that makes her look white rather than darker skinned as in all her other previous appearance. But that is unacceptable excuse that has been used far to often by artists whenever this happens, which sadly has been too many.
This also falls on MacKay for not correcting his art team and reminding them who Lily Hollister is. As the writer of the story MacKay should’ve given Villa and Reber references for who Lily is, especially since she is a character is rarely used. But in allowing this error to happen it does make it look like MacKay’s only note for the characters to Villa and Reber was to draw a blonde woman in a white version of Black Cat’s costume.
But the person that deserves the most blame is editor Nick Lowe. At the end of the day it is Lowe’s responsibility to approve issues to go to print. The buck stops with him and he should’ve corrected MacKay, Villa, and Reber on this as the person whose job is to know all of these things. I’m sure that Lowe and Marvel will make some sort of excuse if this is called out more but its just not acceptable that this happened. They are supposed to make sure their talent don’t make this type error as from even a story perspective the character just looks like a blonde Felicia Hardy.
Overall: Outside the questionable final page Black Cat #12 delivered a fun story that featured an extended battle between Black Cat and Iron Man. The chase got over what makes Black Cat such a great character and is able to continue the greater story about the war with the Thieves Guild that Jed MacKay has been developing. Hopefully after this hiatus MacKay is given a chance to continue the story he has building around Black Cat and her crew.
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