Written By: Jed MacKay
Art By: C.F. Villa
Colors By: Brian Reber
Lettering By: Ferran Delgado
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: December 16, 2020
Review by: Gabriel Hernandez
Long Story Short
Felicia Hardy aka Black Cat takes advantage of the NYC evacuation to rob hidden, abandoned caches of SHIELD money. When her latest heist is interrupted by a symbiote dragon, Hardy is reluctantly pulled into the latest battle for NY. Hardy, accepting that this kind of thing is “above her paygrade,” devises a plan to use her gifts as a master thief to steal something from Knull that just might turn the tide.
Was it good?
Yes. Yes, it was. Surprised the hell out of me how good this issue was.
We open with an explanation of hidden cash reserves peppered throughout abandoned SHIELD locations. Thieves have been quietly raiding these reserves since SHIELD disbanded, and Black Cat, like any good master thief, has assumed the position of ‘toecutter’ by robbing the robbers as they make their getaways in underground tunnels.
In a nice bit of fan service, Black Cat borrows the Spider-Mobile (yes, it’s a real thing) in her heists to sneak up on the unsuspecting thieves. Everything about the robbery sequence so far is relatively flawless. The art looks great, and the appearance of the Spider-mobile had me chuckling for pure nostalgia.
The only down up to this point, and this carries through the rest of the issue, is the caption box lettering. White text on black backgrounds can get a little hard to read at times. It would help if Ferran Delgado could tweak the lettering for future issues for readability, but this is a minor quibble.
As Hardy descends from the tunnel ceiling to bag her latest haul, a dragon symbiote crashes down on them from the NY sidewalk several stories above. Ordering her crew to flee to a safe location, Hardy makes her way to the surface to find the Avengers and X-Men in the middle of a losing battle with Knull and his symbiote hordes.
Seeing the super teams in action, Hardy notes how surprised she is to be inspired by the presence and leadership of Captain America. Admittedly, it’s nice to see Cap still possesses that wholesome, patriotic mojo that brings out the best hope and optimism in others. Even his peers.
Unfortunately, the battle is lost and each of the heroes is captured by neverending streams of symbiote goo, especially Dr. Strange. On orders from Captain America, before he falls, Hardy escapes to regroup and figure out her next move. Here we see a welcome bit of self-awareness on Hardy’s part where she acknowledges she’s not a super fighter or cosmic power of any sort. Hardy leans into who she is and what she does best, and that acknowledgment gives weight to her character.
Hardy meets up with Dr. Steve as Earth’s foremost scientific expert on symbiotic goo through his long-time partnership with Eddie Brock. Together, Hardy admits through some witty banter and enjoyably snappy dialog that she can’t punch Knull in the face but she can kick him where it hurts. Hardy is going to steal back Dr. Strange.
Again, Hardy leans into the fact that she’s not a super-powered hero but she’s a darn good thief, and she figures out how to use what she does best to make a difference. If nothing else, that strengthening of Black Cat as a character made this a surprisingly good read.
As for the rest and aside from the minor lettering quibble, the art is strong. C.F. Villa executes the action sequences and the personal dialog scenes with equal amounts of impactful emotion. The dialog and banter are snappy and sharp, and Hardy’s approach to using what she’s got to make a difference had me rooting for her like the best of any underdog stories. Also, I loved the Spider-Mobile cameo.
Black Cat #1, available from Marvel Comics on December 16th, takes a master thief that doesn’t have a chance against the King In Black and turns her into an underdog to root for. The art is dynamic, the coloring gives all the characters rich texture, and the lettering keeps the pace moving through a monologue-heavy story. This is a highly recommended issue.