Black Cat went from dealing with an end of the world event in King In Black to being placed in a position by her mentor, Black Fox, as being responsible for the destruction of Manhattan. This was all due to Black Fox’s goal to become immortal and extending that prize given by the Gilded Saint to Black Cat. Now Black Cat is trying to figure out how she can fix things as she never knew what her mentor’s endgame was. This has led Black Cat to make a deal with the last person she expect to ask anything from in Odessa Drake. Can these two previous mortal enemies unite to save Manhattan from being no more? Let’s find out with Black Cat #7.
Writer: Jed MacKay
Artist: Michael Dowling
Colorist: Brian Reber
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Felicia Hardy meets Black Fox at their old meeting point in Coney Island. Felicia admits to still loving Black Fox even after he sacrificed the life of one and half million people to give them both immortality. Felicia then says that she wants to tell him how she spent her day before this meeting.
We then see earlier in the day Black Cat entering The Vaults, which is the domain of the Gilded Saint.
Hearing this surprises Black Fox but as Felicia explains even with the wealth she saw The Vaults were nothing more than a desert. Felicia then tells Black Fox to stop interrupting her story as she is trying to explain how she found what she was looking for in The Vaults.
Back to earlier in the day, Black Cat makes her way through The Vaults using a tracking device to find what she is looking for.
Black Fox once again interrupts Felicia’s story to talk about how he has always been honest about his cowardice and would do anything to cheat the reality of mortality. Felicia calls Black Fox out on the real reason she was included in Black Fox’s deal for immortality was so he didn’t have to view the decision as being nothing more than selfish.
Back to her story, Black Cat finds the deed to Manhattan that Black Fox used to gain immortality as she placed a tracking device on it when they first found it. The Gilded Saint appears pissed and demands to know what Black Cat is doing in their vaults. Black Cat says she is there to make a deal with the Gilded Saint. First Black Cat wants out of Black Fox’s immortality deal, which the Gilded Saint grants.
Black Cat then says the next part of the deal is she wants out of The Vault. Gilded Saint says that is impossible. Black Cat then says that if she is let out of The Vaults she can show the Gilded Saint that Black Fox always intended to double cross them. Gilded Saint is convinced by Black Cat’s words and sends her back to New York City.
Back in the present, Black Fox is impressed that Black Cat talked her way out of The Vaults. Felicia says that she made it clear to Black Fox earlier that she was going to save Manhattan. She then hands Black Fox’s watch back to him while saying his time is up.
Felicia then reveals she planted an explosive on the deed to Manhattan during her visit to The Vaults.
At that moment in The Vaults the explosive goes off and destroys the deed to Manhattan.
Back at Coney Island, the Gilded Saint angrily appears and immediately grabs Black Fox, believing him responsible for the deed’s destruction. The Gilded Saint takes away Black Fox’s immortality and drags him into The Vaults. As this happens Felicia tearfully tells Black Fox she loves him. Black Fox says he loves Felicia as well and disappears with the Gilded Saint.
Later that night Felicia meets Odessa Drake on the roof of The Bar With No Name. Odessa comments that with the city safe, Black Fox off the table and the Thieves Guild deal back tonight is a night of celebration. Felicia wonders where that leaves them. Odessa says the war between them is over.
Felicia then leans in for a kiss that Odessa is at first hesitant to working. Felicia says they shouldn’t worry about tomorrow as tonight she feels like celebrating. Felicia and Odessa then kiss. As they kiss Felicia thinks how she doesn’t honestly see a future with Odessa but after they saved the city together one night together is enough. End of issue.
The Good: Finally after two years of developing this story around the Thieves Guild and Black Fox we get the conclusion of a major chapter in Felicia Hardy’s life with Black Cat #7. In the process we are able to see how Felicia as Black Cat continues to move into more of the superhero side of things even if she does not believe that is where she going. That is all done while not abandoning the core of her character being the Marvel Universe’s greatest thief.
Jed MacKay plays this entire story well with the shifts between the present and past. It plays into how Felicia was buying time for her plan on how to save Manhattan knowing that Black Fox couldn’t help but hear her story about escaping The Vaults. Just as Black Fox previously manipulated Felicia because of how well he knew her the same goes the other way. Especially with Black Fox now having a God-complex because of his immortality there is this opening he created for himself that allowed him to be easily manipulated by Felicia.
The way Black Cat’s heist in The Vaults played out also worked to showcase the character’s strength. Throughout this adventure you could tell that Black Cat was several steps ahead of everyone, including the Gilded Saint. She was choosing her words to make sure that both the Gilded Saint and Black Fox were paying attention to what she was saying not doing. That made her plan in destroying the deed to Manhattan while placing the blame on Black Fox a strong payoff. It all showed how Black Cat is not just dangerous because of her skills as a thief but also how she can manipulate others with her words. That is something we’ve seen throughout MacKay’s run on Black Cat and was great to see it showcased at the end of this storyline.
Because of how Felicia was able to play both Black Fox and the Gilded Saint the respect shown by the former at the end felt well earned. Even though Felicia and Black Fox both put each other through a lot at the end of the day their past with one another can’t be erased. There is still a parental love that is there even when Black Fox may have felt betrayed by Felicia. It made both of them admit they still love each other as Black Fox was dragged into The Vaults by the Gilded Saint come across as an honest moment.
With all that has gone on it is understandable that at the end Felicia would be at a point where she wanted to put all that has happened throughout this story behind her. That includes the war she has been in with Odessa Drake and the Thieves Guild since 2018’s Amazing Spider-Man #8. The tension between the pair leading to them kissing and spending the night together to celebrate defeating Black Fox all worked. Especially with how Felicia reflected in the moment that this relationship with Odessa isn’t something that is a long-term thing. It is just both Felicia and Odessa giving into the attraction that was there even when they were at war with each other.
This all opens the door for new stories to be told in Black Cat. After two years telling this story around the Thieves Guild it is time for us to see what other types of heist-based stories MacKay can tell. We saw with not only Black Cat #7, but the entirety of MacKay’s run thus far, that there are a lot of heist stories to tell in the Marvel Universe. With Felicia now in a place where she is looking for a fresh start after what she went through with Black Fox what direction she goes on will be fun to watch.
Michael Dowling delivers some of his best artwork to date with Black Cat #7. With this being an emotionally driven finale Dowling taps into how Felicia Hardy is used her connection with Black Fox to capture him with her story. The dialogue that Felicia had was more than just what she was saying as you could see how differently she was reacting to whenever Black Fox interrupted. That was balanced out with how we see Felicia as Black Cat on this grand adventure in The Vaults with her interaction with the Gilded Saint all looking as part of the same world. Dowling also helped make the big kiss between Felicia and Odessa appear as a big character moment for both of them.
The Bad: With Black Cat #7 wrapping up the story with the Thieves Guild and Black Fox it is a shame that Felicia’s crew with Bruno Grainger and Dr. Boris Korpse did not play a role in this finale. MacKay has done such a good job building up the chemistry between Felicia, Bruno, and Boris throughout his run that you felt the latter two’s absence in this issue. It did not take away from the overall impact Black Cat #7 had but having Bruno and Boris somehow involved would’ve helped make this be an even bigger payoff to this storyline MacKay has built over the course of two years.
Overall: Jed MacKay and Michael Dowling deliver a strong conclusion to the Thieves Guild and Black Fox storyline that has been going on for two years. Black Cat #7 showcases all the different skills and traits that make Felicia Hardy such a compelling character. The payoff for the relationships that Felicia has with Black Fox and Odessa Drake made the payoff to the endgame that’s been built create even more excitement for the new stories to come in Black Cat.
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