This series continues to be one of the most heartfelt and character-driven books on the stands as it can rip your heart out and repair it all within the very same issue, in the best way possible time and time again. Creative, dynamic, energetic, and emotional are all words that perfectly describe every single artistic contribution to this issue and the series as a whole. 2021 is the year of the Black Cat, and that sounds like a pretty great year.
With any creative endeavor, making sure that every subsequent entry (be it an issue or episode or film or whatever) is as good as or better than the last is the eternal battle being waged. Then comes along things like Marvel Comics’ Black Cat where those involved make it look easy to continuously deliver issues that somehow are better and better every single time.
Since the very first issue, Jed MacKay has made it very clear that while this is a book full of heists and action and super-powered level shenanigans at its core it’s an emotional character developing journey for Felicia Hardy.
The heist of sorts that Felicia, her crew, and the Thieves Guild pull off to save Manhattan takes an almost background role to the far more emotional and painful moment between Felicia and Black Fox. As Felicia states, she isn’t a hero, but she has her limits and the betrayal that came from Black Fox and the lives he threw away during that betrayal crossed that line.
Any story in any medium has the ability to pull off action or big story beats that we’ve seen time and time again. They may not always land them, but it’s one of the things seen almost constantly in most stories that we consume these days. What really makes things stand out more and resonate long afterward is things that can pull at the heartstrings and make people feel. That deep connection and feeling that these are characters with depth and complexity are what sticks with us.
This book is hitting home runs every single time it comes up to the plate in this regard.
We don’t just feel the emotion thanks to the scripted dialogue that Ferran Delgado brings to wonderful life with his lettering on the pages. It’s everywhere on the pages as Michael Dowling and Brian Reber let us fully see that emotion. The darkness surrounding Felicia and Fox as they talk fits perfectly next to the brighter pages of the heist in the Vault and Fox’s flashbacks. The pain that Felicia is feeling is clearer and clearer as the issue moves on, her body language showcasing the struggle leading up to the big concluding revelation.
The panel layout and the way that white space is utilized to really make some elements stand out more than others, especially with the close-up panels, continues to be a brilliant touch. These are the things that can be done not only to elevate the storytelling but also make things stand out both within the story but also stand out from the tons of other books upon the stands.
Letterer SFX are always great as they add another level of reality to the pages, allowing you to in a way hear what is happening as the action is going down. Delgado though is one that does the type of SFX that can be even more fun, the type that takes on a look or personality of that moment. For example, there is a scene where something catches on fire and the ‘Fwooosh’ sound effect is there but the font has a fiery outline to it which makes it stand out even more than if it was just regular styled font.
There is a lot of well-placed concern and anger from fans from marginalized groups when it comes to the lack of representation for marginalized groups in Marvel and DC comics at times. As well as at the fact that sometimes (like many corporations) they put out books celebrating that diversity only in certain months as a clearly pandering move.
With this issue the team takes a step forward for Felicia Hardy and Odessa Drake’s relationship, further canonizing Felica’s bisexuality. While Marauders made a similar move months ago with Kate Pryde kissing a woman, that book seemingly backtracked quickly and has never addressed the moment since. At the same time, Black Cat has been building to this moment for quite a number of issues from the two volumes and hasn’t shied away from Felicia’s bisexuality at all. It’s a much-needed bit of representation, one of many types of rep that we need to see far far more of from the ‘Big two’ comic companies.
There might be a handful of characters that Marvel or DC or others bank on, the ones propelled and pushed to be familiar to the masses, but every single character has the potential to be something bigger. Felicia Hardy/Black Cat is a giant and deserves to stay that way within the Marvel realm.
Black Cat #7 is now on sale from Marvel Comics in print and digitally.