Written By: Jed MacKay
Art by: C.F. Villa
Colors By: Brian Reber
Letters By: Ferran Delgado
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: 1/20/2021
BLACK CAT #2 puts the world’s greatest cat burglar on the world’s most important heist – steal Dr. Strange away from Knull. Encased in a symbiote goo prison atop NY’s Chrysler building, Dr. Strange is the wizardly hope to defeat Knull and drive back his army. Felicia Hardy gathers her ragtag collection of drivers, demo experts, gadget makers (and a ghost dog?) to make use of some questionable symbiote tech and a returning Spider-Buggy to get the job done. Of course, the plan goes well until it doesn’t, and Felicia has to pull out a weapon of last resort intended for Strange. The final page suddenly turns into a Symbiote-versus-Asgardian showdown nobody was expecting.
Was It Good?
Pardon my language, but I @&@%* loved this issue. MacKay’s story captures the fun and spirit of every episode of the A-Team, every action sequence from the Indiana Jones films, and rolls it all into a breakneck-paced 22 pages of story.
The art is sharp and energetic. The dialog is snappy and efficient. The lettering is very good, but if I had to pick on something, some of the sound effects don’t integrate into the panels as well as they could. But that’s a minor quibble in an otherwise stellar comic.
Short Story Long
We start “now” with Felicia and crew ready to attack a symbiote goop sphere perched on the spire of the Chrysler Building. Dr. Strange is encased inside, and Felicia has the seemingly impossible task of breaking through tons of goop, freeing a prisoner from said goop, and escaping while one-thousand feet in the air. World’s greatest cat burglar, indeed.
Back to “then,” and the crew is planning the heist with the help of Dr. Steve. Turns out Dr. Steve has been busy developing a lobotomized symbiote suit combined with anti-venom that should act as a temporary Hazmat suit for Felicia to get into the sphere. One catch, it only lasts a few minutes so they have to find Strange fast.
In the most surprising cameo in this whole event, Felicia enlists the help of Bats the Ghost Dog to sniff out Strange in the sphere. Once they get in and find Strange, Felicia plans to encase him in a second lobotomized-anti-venom Hazmat suit, and hand him a magical artifact Bats brought along. The artifact has enough magic to power Strange up and get him on the offense.
Felicia, with Bats strapped to her front in a baby carrier (I don’t know why a ghost would need to be carried but it works on the page), hop on a… wait for it…
An old model Goblin Glider and fly over to the the famed skyscraper.
The visual alone makes this comic for me, but it’s more to it than that. When Felicia is flying over, she monologues exactly how bizarre and outrageous the whole scene is and she notes that she’s lived. Truly lived. There’s a meta moment there that’s easy to miss but it speaks volumes about the joy MacKay put into this book.
Approaching the goop sphere, Felicia dives off the glider, activates the anti-goop-suit (still trying to figure out a clever name for it) and dives into the sphere. Bats finds Strange, Felicia encases him in a second suit to free him while her own suit is starting to come apart, and the trio dive out of the sphere into open air.
At this point, I was expecting a parachute or something a little more mundane to save the day, but along comes Felicia’s crew in the Spider-Buggy to beat a very hasty retreat along the NYC skyline.
The chase scene is great (hard to do in comics) and the pace of the book is up to a high sprint. Boris tries to revive Strange and give him the magic artifact so he could do the magic things, but Strange won’t wake up. Despite their best efforts, they eventually crash in a park.
Out of time and options, Felicia tries to use the artifact herself against the warning of her crew. Bats clarifies it’s Asgardian, and it immediately transforms Felicia into a Golden Valkyrie. And I’m sitting here saying “NOOOO! I need MORE!”
BLACK CAT #2 is the comic I wanted AND needed. The art is great, the story is great, and every panel on every page is hyper-focused on one word: FUN. This is the most entertaining comic I’ve read in months, and I’m greatly looking forward to what happens next.