Felicia Hardy’s stellar defining series is coming to an end but the creative team isn’t slowing down, making sure that this fantastic series is going out with a bang. This creative team and every member that has contributed along the way has done amazing things and should be at the top of publisher’s lists for projects going forward.
Saying goodbye is always hard. Especially when one forms a connection and has emotions invested over years. Yet, the time comes when those goodbyes must begin. That point has begun as the final regular issue of the ever-fantastic Black Cat has arrived.
While there is still a Giant-Size concluding issue on the way later this year, it is still bittersweet to have come to the point now where the adventures and heists we’ve followed Felicia and her crew through are coming to an end. It’s been said time and time again, including numerous times in these reviews, but this is the series that Felicia Hardy/Black Cat has deserved for a long time which has elevated her to the spot she was always meant to be within the Marvel Universe.
It’s no secret at this point, it’s been clear in this book and others such as the recently launched Moon Knight, that Jed MacKay is a master at weaving together amazing character work and compelling stories that still hit all the action notes that are often expected of superhero and superhero adjacent comic books. Despite there being a lot at stake with this biggest and latest heist, there are still some fun moments when the various parties who are all trying to collect the same Infinity Stone-wielding people collide in the same space.
I’ve said it numerous times, both in recent reviews for this book but also for the recently wrapped Taskmaster series, MacKay writes a fantastic Nick Fury. We don’t get anywhere near enough of Fury in the picture, especially since the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. years ago, and I hope MacKay keeps finding ways to fit him into books or gets a book that stars the super-spy soon. Bouncing Fury off Felicia and Nighthawk both makes for some really rough and fun times here, namely because of the recent history between all the characters across a number of stories/issues.
What has made this book resonate so well beyond everyone loves a good heist story, is that it is so emotional and relatable in many ways. Felicia and her boys and others feel like fully fleshed-out characters with depth which isn’t always what most of them have gotten in the past. This doesn’t change in this last regular issue, as all of the characters that are either Infinity Stone wielding folks or those trying to bring them together have understandable motivations or character-inspired choices they are making.
Another thing that makes this book utterly fantastic is just how gorgeous each and every panel is, no matter the art team. C.F. Villa and Brian Reber cut fully loose this time, following the bit more conversational ninth issue, as they take us for a wild ride through the streets of New York City. Eat your heart out Spider-Man, because Felicia swings through the city with graceful no fear energetic style. Villa just nails the dynamic nature of the action scenes, pulling off some really thrilling spreads. While also presenting some fantastic character-focused shots that remind us how imposing and deadly both Nighthawk and Fury are alongside our constant reminders that Felicia is as deadly and terrifying as she is charming.
Reber has this really great ability to bring together a color scheme that bridges the gap between bright and dark, allowing shadows and night colors to rule right alongside all the bright lights and colors one can see in a city like New York. A lot of this comes from the fact that the city is rendered in such a beautiful way as backdrops in many of the panels, allowing for some striking profile shots of the characters.
This series is always good for playing with the angles and types of panels, allowing for a lot of close-ups or panels within panels along with quite a bit of creatively playing with white space. If one were to look at the digital version and the page selection option, the 19 pages of story (not counting recaps and preview pages) it seems like not so much at first glance. Diving into the pages though reminds one how dense this book is, there is so much character stuff and big moments and the continuation of the overall plot that it almost feels like double the pages.
With all that happening this means lots of dialogue, but it never once feels overwhelming. Even as the bubbles can fill up a lot of a close-up character panel, it all flows so easily and works. All the emotion is clear through the words, thanks to the emphasizers and just the flavor that is added to all the lettering. Ferran Delgado is masterful at all of this, along with dropping in some SFX with creative flair to top it all off.
All those aforementioned chase scene panels work wonders on their own but the SFX that are dropped into some of them to fully let us ‘hear’ that is happening is that delicious cherry on top. Just like in issue #08, Delgado dips into reality with Fury’s dialogue balloons being of a ‘yelling’ type as he projects his voice out over a speaker, as one would to be heard over a loud helicopter. Many would see this as a ‘small thing’ but it’s these types of thoughts and choices that help to elevate books to whole new levels.
There may only be one issue left but what this creative team and everyone else that has been part of the two different Black Cat series have done, will resonate for a long time to come. Every character deserves that defining series that fans point to, and this easily will be the one for Felicia Hardy. No questions asked, a true classic through and through.
Black Cat #10 is on sale now in print and digitally from Marvel Comics.