Of all the major characters in Marvel Comics' history, Spider-Man quite possibly has the most well-known roster of foils and adversaries. From the big villains like Mysterio, Doctor Octopus, and Green Goblin, all the way down to the bottom of the barrel, each of Spider-Man's supporting characters has made their mark at one point or another. Such is the case for Felicia Hardy, also known as Black Cat, who falls somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. Sometimes she's a cunning and unpredictable ally, sometimes she's a ruthless villain, and sometimes she's just hanging around in the wings. Regardless, Black Cat has long continued as a B-plot in Peter Parker's story, but that changes this week with the release of Black Cat #1 from writer Jed MacKay and artist Travel Foreman.
This new series highlights Felicia Hardy's work as a world-renowned thief, which doesn't exactly sound like the most intriguing Marvel book in the world. However, the content within the issue itself actually finds a way to exceed its premise, making Black Cat a surprisingly enjoyable read. At least, it seems that way in issue one.
Felicia is well-developed as a character going into this book, so MacKay largely skips over any kind of history or origin story. It allows the issue to get things going without any lag on the front end, which helps get you invested early on. That said, the introductions don't say a whole lot about the supporting cast, so while the first half of the book moves quickly, there isn't a lot of information to latch onto. That said, the second half of the debut issue kicks things up a notch.
Once the action gets going, both MacKay and Foreman find their rhythms and this becomes a really exciting read. The fight sequences move very smoothly thanks to Foreman's use of detail. The book also gets a major lift when Felicia's two sidekicks are introduced, rounding out the cast and really making this feel like the fun crime thriller it's supposed to be.
The challenge here will be keeping the pace of this issue's second half going in future installments. It's fresh and exciting, but with plenty of opportunities to fall off. This sort of espionage and heist storytelling is best served in a longer format, so the next three or four issues will be key in figuring out what kind of series this will be in the long run. Fortunately, Black Cat is off to a solid start.
Black Cat #1 is a simple and grounded, but exciting series that gives an underutilized character the chance to shine on her own. It's not perfect, but it gets better as it goes along and is certainly well-worth your time, if you're looking for a new series to try out.
Published by Marvel Comics
On June 5, 20190comments
Written by Jed MacKay
Art by Travel Foreman