Black Cat has been a nice surprise from Marvel. While Black Cat is one of my favorite Marvel characters I was honestly not expecting much since I wasn’t familiar with Jed MacKay’s past work. To MacKay’s credit he has delivered a fun comic book that has proven Black Cat is a character who has deserved her own ongoing solo series for a long time now. Now to compliment her ongoing series Black Cat is getting its own Annual special. With the cover of Black Cat Annual #1 featuring Black Cat and Spider-Man in wedding attire who knows how this comic will shake up the continuity. Let’s find that out now by taking a look at Black Cat Annual #1.
Writer: Jed MacKay
Aritsts: Joey Vazquez, Natacha Bustos and Juan Gedeon
Colorist: Brian Reber
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Black Cat asks Spider-Man for a favor. Spider-Man keeps trying to get out of it but Black Cat pushes how he is the only one who can help her. Spider-Man eventually relents.
The next thing we see is Spider-Man and Black Cat dressed in a tuxedo and wedding dress, respectively, swinging by Bruno Grainger and Boris Korpse.
Black Cat and Spider-Man, wearing veils over their heads to cover their identities, walk down the aisle with two different Maggia families on each side of the isle. Black Cat reveals that these two Maggia families hate each other but that the martyrs are set up to be wed. She goes on to explain that the wedding is being held under an ancient Maggia tradition where vows are said the newlyweds are placed in a secret chamber alone to have a fight to the death to work out the two families’ differences.
Once they enter the chamber Black Cat and Spider-Man remove their disguises. Spider-Man wonders what Black Cat’s plan to escape from being killed by the Maggia is now. Black Cat says he has nothing to worry about as she has a plan.
In Midtown, Korpse uses a disguise to be ushered into a vault. He is able to take off the disguise without being noticed and get into one of the lock boxes. When he opens the lock box he finds an armed bomb inside.
Over in Jersey Bruno uses a janitor disguise break into a SHIELD car, using his skills to disable the security system. He then uses the car to drive through the gate.
Back in the Maggia chamber Spider-Man is able to lift the the arena floor that was hiding a secret entrance. After warning about a guardian protecting the place they are breaking into Black Cat and Spider-Man jump through the hole.
As they land on the floor Black Cat steps on a trap. Spider-Man is able to quickly pick her up so she is not killed by the trap. Spider-Man then uses his spider-sense to help him and Black Cat maneuver around various traps that are set up in the secret dungeon.
Eventually they get to a door. As they are about to open it Spider-Man’s spider-sense goes off. Black Cat knows that means the guardian she mentioned is behind them, confirmed by the giant silhouette of something standing behind them.
Back in Midtown, Korpse carefully works to disarm the bomb inside the lock box he picked. After some stressful moments Korpse is able to disarm the bomb. He then gets the numbers and voice modulator inside to make a call to someone to set up a meeting with another person that will be wearing a mask.
Back in the dungeon Black Cat and Spider-Man fight the guardian, which turns out to be a Hydra Dreadnought. None of their efforts damage the Hydra Dreadnought. All they can do is use their speed and agility to dodge the Hydra Dreadnought’s attacks.
While dodging Hydra Dreadnought’s attacks Black Cat thinks out how the dreadnought is controlled by AI that can be taken down by broadcasting a virus. She does just that and the virus eventually takes out the Hydra Dreadnought. Spider-Man asks what happened. Black Cat says it just got taken out by her feminine wiles.
In an unknown location three people wearing Halloween masks meet Bruno, who is wearing a Hydra mask. The trio give Bruno the requested package. As Bruno is about to drive away the trio get a call that cause them to start shooting Bruno’s car. Bruno drives away as fast as possible.
At the wedding venue, one of Maggia family members gets an alert that he had a major withdrawal made from his bank account. As he freaks out the priest proclaims the victor from the after the fight to the death.
To everyone’s shock the “newlyweds” show up wearing Hydra masks while yelling “HAIL HYDRA.”
Elsewhere Bruno is able to use the armor on the SHIELD car to keep him from getting shot. When he notices one of the masked guys is about to fire a rocket at him Bruno quickly drives his car into the river. Bruno then activates the submarine mode of the SHIELD car.
Back at the wedding venue Black Cat and Spider-Man use everyone’s confusion to release smoke grenades. Using the smoke as cover, Black Cat and Spider-Man make their escape without being noticed.
Black Cat and Spider-Man then meet up with Bruno who just showed up and get into the SHIELD car.
Sometime later, at a parking garage, the real Maggia newlyweds talk with Black Cat, Spider-Man and the others about how they kill each other for just being labeled Maggia martyrs by their parents. Black Cat compliments on the two for coming to her for help. She goes on to say that the SHIELD car and a million dollars is theirs so they can start their lives together.
Black Cat goes on to reveal that, thanks to some convincing by Spider-Man, she is donating her cut to charity. The couple thank Black Cat and Spider-Man for all they have done.
After the couple drives off, Spider-Man compliments Black Cat on her good plan and how well they worked together. Spider-Man says he has to get going. Black Cat offers Spider-Man to join her crew but knows that he already has Mary Jane Watson to get home to. She gives Spider-Man a kiss on the cheek before he swings away.
Black Cat then goes to Bruno and Korpse to talk about their next gig that involves hitting a museum (museum job is seen in Black Cat #1). End of issue.
The Good: Black Cat Annual #1 is pure fun. This isn’t a comic that will break the internet with big game changers. It never had to be. Jed MacKay used the phenomenal chemistry that Black Cat and Spider-Man share to deliver a comic book that maximized it for a story that clicks from beginning to end.
The opening back-and-forth between Black Cat and Spider-Man immediately set the tone for the entire story. In this one page MacKay was able to show the reader that he completely understood the magic that exists when Black Cat and Spider-Man are together. Their magnetic chemistry is clear. The interaction felt unique to what their relationship has been built up to be. Everything from Spider-Man continued frustrated expressions to Black Cat having fun toying with Spidey made their back-and-forth such a fun thing to read.
What worked especially well is that Black Cat and Spider-Man never turned off the banter they had, save for when they were acting as the bride and groom. The constant talking from both characters was executed well. Nothing ever felt unnatural between them. Everything they said to each other was in line to what fans of Black Cat and Spider-Man expect from them.
The chemistry between them goes to show how Black Cat and Spider-Man bring a side out of each other that is only shown when they are together. There is always an underlying sense of fun that they have with each other. Even when Spider-Man gets annoyed by Black Cat it is playfully done.
Helping balance the dialogue between them out was seeing how well they worked together. Throughout the adventure in the ancient tomb we see how they are able to maneuver out of the way of Indiana Jones traps. Then we see them use their respective speed and agility to almost do a dance during the fight with the Hydra Dreadnought. The teamwork shown throughout by Black Cat and Spider-Man helped elevate the action parts of this issue.
With this being Black Cat Annual #1 it was fun to see through all this how Felicia Hardy was still at the forefront. She is the main driving force for the entire story. Even when she wasn’t on screen, it is Black Cat’s plan for the entire heist that ends up working as she planned. It continues the narrative of how Black Cat is a master thief and has morphed into the Danny Ocean of the Marvel Universe.
At the same time, it was fun to see how Spider-Man is the one person that will get Black Cat to fully make a superhero decision when it came to the results of their heist. Black Cat donating her portion of the take spoke to how Spider-Man always brings the superhero side of Black Cat. Her doing that made the Maggia’s couple ending be more meaningful as a more personal connection was created between them, Black Cat and Spider-Man.
Bruno Grainger and Boris Korpse continue to be developed as strong supporting characters for Black Cat. MacKay understands the right amount of screen time that Bruno and Korpse need to have on screen to not get old. Their appearances are made for the reader to understand the skill sets that they bring to the table and that’s it. There doesn’t need to be more fluff than showing them at what they do best.
That is the sign of building a strong supporting cast. Especially for Black Cat in her first ongoing series. Bruno and Korpse are able to enhance all of Black Cat’s plans by just doing what they do best. In turn, they are able to look great in a comic like Black Cat Annual #1 that is made to bring in new and current fans of the character.
Splitting up Black Cat Annual #1 into segments was a great way to use three different artists. Joey Vazquez, Natacha Bustos and Juan Gedeon were able to bring their respective styles in three different types of scenarios. Vazquez handling the bulk of the art as he handled the Black Cat and Spider-Man adventure he showed a great handling of the way they move during action sequences. He added a lot of personality to how Black Cat and Spider-Man interact with each other throughout this issue.
Bustos and Gedeon also did a very good job handling the story for Bruno and Korpse. The difference in art styles actually worked to make Bruno and Korpse’s stories stand out. Everything was about adding personality to the story that all came together at the end of Black Cat Annual #1.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: From beginning to end, Black Cat Annual #1 is just pure fun. Jed MacKay delivered a comic book that’s a showcase to the magical chemistry Black Cat and Spider-Man share. If your a fan of Black Cat, Spider-Man or both this is a comic I recommend checking out.
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