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‘Black Cat #1’ (review)

Written by Jed MacKay
Art by C.F. Villa, Nina Vakueva
Published by Marvel Comics

 

I have no idea what’s going on in Marvel’s current continuity. But I’m 30-year reader of comic books, so I don’t need to know much to pick up the main concept, right?

But thanks to Marvel’s typical MO, with an intro page that gives you the elevator pitch to set up the story you’re about to read.

There’s some crossover event called the “King in Black,” and it’s connected to symbiotes like Venom, and a big bad cosmic whozit named Knull.

(Is that pronounced “null,” like a zero of void? Or “kuh-null”? Or “nool” like Zuul from Ghostbusters? Dunno. Don’t care.)

And so Felicia Hardy, aka Black Cat, the best cat burglar in the world, is in the mix of all this somehow.

A fantastical heist amid a Manhattan evacuation order goes all kinds of wrong when Knull’s symbiote dragons slam into the action.

Soon enough, Black Cat is in the firefight alongside Captain America like the big fight at the end of the first Avengers movie. The X-Men and Doctor Strange are here too, wrecking shop.

But then Knull himself appears, overpowers all the heroes and takes them all.

Super Soldier, mutants, Sorcerer Supreme – all gone.

Black Cat always gets away, because she always does.

And she has orders from Captain America about the one way to save the day in the end. I won’t say that that mission is, but it’s a doozy and sets us up for the next issue.

The story zips by, and writer Jed MacKay adds plenty of solid Parker-style narration and tough talk from Hardy alongside some pretty grave stuff.

Gotta love lines such as, “But something or someone messed up my job. And I don’t let anyone do that and get away without so much as a black eye or a bloody nose.”

Or zingers such as, “I don’t believe in America. Never have. America is built on theft. Theft of land. Lives. Dignity. … But they call me the crook.”

We get some more interplay with Hardy and her crew Bruno and Doctor Korpse, as she invites Dr. Steve. He’s got some sass, which is always welcome in a Marvel comic. “Please catch me up, are you still currently a crime boss? Or a vigilante now? Villain? You people make it so hard to keep track.”

I do wish artist C.F. Villa had a more hard-boiled art style to go with this dialog and Black Cat’s attitude. His art is a little too comic book-cartoony for my tastes on a project such as this, but that’s OK.

 

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