Black Cat continues to do what it does best, creating big and bold and fun stories filled with compelling and fully detailed characters while turning the point of view over to a newer character. The often noirish style of the series continues with colorful and smooth art that fires on all cylinders whether the moment is quiet or action-packed.
Felicia Hardy, the Black Cat, has been on a whirlwind tour of the Marvel Universe, pulling off various high-profile heists including against Doctor Strange and the Fantastic Four. Then her solo title hit a bit of a hiatus last year because of the pandemic and ended briefly before relaunching at the end of 2020 with a King in Black tie-in story.
Starting a new volume of a series off with a big event tie-in can either be beneficial or harmful to a title, but not for this series. Rather than just fully jump back into where things were headed for the book before its season finale and event dalliance, Jed MacKay, Nina Vakueva, Brian Reber and Ferran Delgado crafted a compelling recap issue.
Not a usual recap issue that played out everything that happened through the last sixteen issues of the series. No, this recap put the reader in the head of the heroic Queen Cat, the woman formerly known as Lily Hollister and formerly the villain Menace before an injury caused full amnesia. Wisely, the team weaves Queen Cat through the events of the book, placing her at the scene of some of the previous events and piecing together a way to track down Black Cat who she feels compelled to take down.
What always makes this book work is the charming nature and the beyond solid character work and plotting that goes on. Each issue feels like its own thing while also being a piece of the overall puzzle that has been building since the first number one issue back in 2019. While Queen Cat can be found within the crowds of some of the events, like the first issue painting heist, MacKay makes sure to not allow her to be privy to all of the book’s events since there was no way she could be. It is a small, but key thing that keeps the story logical and compelling, as the audience is aware of far more than the hero is in this case.
Even though this is Felicia’s book, we spend a great portion of it with Queen Cat, and much like what was done for Felicia with this series, the issue makes Queen Cat a very compelling and complete character. Even for those that might not be aware of who she is or be aware of the events that occurred during Marvel’s Axis event that led to her heroic changeover. There is enough there already that easily could lead to Queen Cat carrying her own book.
Vakueva, Reber, and Delgado work smoothly together to give the book an almost noirish feeling in appearance. From the more yellowed and washed-out color palate choices to the lettering and caption boxes matching the writing in a journal (as Queen Cat is chronicling her investigation). There is just enough detail within the overall ‘quieter’ pages to keep the focus on the characters and moments that are important through Queen Cat’s eyes.
Once the action gets going though, the fight scenes are just smooth and flow as cat takes on cat. Delgado does not hold back on the loud nature of the sound effects in the fight scene, allowing them to get colorful and bold and take up real estate which fits with this book. Even when things are the most dire, it’s a book that is big and bold and fun and it never lets you forget that.
Clearly, there is a lot more to come in the future between Queen Cat and Black Cat, and it should prove to be quite a good time.
Black Cat #4 is now on sale from Marvel Comics in print and digitally.