Writer: Jed MacKay
Artists: Joey Vazquez, Natacha Bustos, & Juan Gedeon
Color Artist: Brian Reber
Letterer: Ferran Delgado
Covers: J. Scott Campbell & Sabine Rich; Gerardo Sandoval & Morry Hollowell; Todd Nauck
Release Date: November 13, 2019
Reviewed by: Stork
You are cordially invited to the wedding of… Black Cat and Spider-Man?! How did this come about? Where’s MJ? Is there an open bar? Let’s find out the answers to all these questions and more in this week’s BLACK CAT ANNUAL #1 by Jed MacKay!
The issue begins with some playful banter between Black Cat and Spider-Man on a rooftop, with Felicia trying to convince Peter to help out on a job. Jed MacKay has already established a fun voice for Felicia, and he really nails Spidey’s character here and throughout the book. Joey Vazquez handles the art on the sections with these two characters and it’s nothing short of gorgeous.
Felicia convinces Peter to help with her plan of infiltrating a Maggia Wedding of the Martyrs ceremony by disguising as the bride and groom. Before we get there, the credits page deserves a mention. The Black Cat creative team has been doing some interesting things with this page, and here they treat the readers to a mock wedding invitation, complete with tie-in titles for the creative team like “writer of honor” and “best artists”— fun stuff.
After getting some background info into this Maggia tradition, and seeing the two actually get married (take that Tom King!), Felicia and Peter are led to a back room, where the newlyweds are expected to fight to the death. Even though they have had their heads covered the entire time it seemed strange that no one would recognize that they weren’t the betrothed, but ok. Finally separated from the attendees’ eyes, Black Cat and Spider-Man suit up and get to heisting.
This is where the book takes an “Oh yeah, this is an annual,” turn. Part 2 deals with Dr. Korpse’s part of the theft, in a totally different part of the city. His job is to make a call disguised as a Maggia family member and order a large withdrawal of money. MacKay definitely gives the good doctor his own voice, but his dialogue can get a little verbose. We get our first art change here, and while it is a step-down, it’s not as jarring as if each artist just did a third of the book, so kudos there.
The third key to the heist involves Bruno, who waxes poetic on the benefits of being perceived as a big dumb guy while going unnoticed as he Grand Theft Auto’s an old SHIELD car. He also ends up being the bagman, picking up the aforementioned money ($3 million), and taking place in a confusing at times but ultimately rewarding car chase. Fans of the James Bond movie “The Spy Who Loved Me” will get a kick out of it. Jed MacKay does need to ease up on the “I’m from Pittsburgh” aspect of Bruno— just throw a “yinz” or “jagoff” or even a Myron Cope “double-yoi!” in his dialogue. Or have Bruno eat a Primanti’s sandwich and wipe his brow with a Terrible Towel. He comes off sounding like The Thing talking about Yancy Street and not someone actually from the ‘Burgh.
Meanwhile, Felicia and Pete break into a vault for code numbers to give to Korpse, dodging booby traps and eventually an old Hydra robot thing. The dialogue and chemistry between the two are fun, but the actual battle and Black Cat’s technobabble drag on a bit. That’s about as far as this review can go without spoiling the end, but suffice it to say there was a good reason Spidey agreed to the robbery, and Black Cat still one-ups him at the close.
Black Cat Annual #1 is a treat for fans of Black Cat and Spider-Man alike. It handles the pitfalls many annuals face of multiple artists well, with Joey Vazquez’s spectacular art leading the way. Jed MacKay weaves an interesting three-pronged heist tale, even though some of the dialogue and action were a little extended. There’s a neat tie-in to the main Black Cat series at the end also, so if you’re enjoying that, definitely give this a shot.