Slipping Into Something A Little More Violent: Reviewing ‘Iron Cat’ #3
by Scott Redmond
‘Iron Cat’ continues to showcase how Felicia Hardy is easily the top breakout character of modern Marvel Comics, cementing this character in the A-list tier where she has always belonged. An energetic, gorgeous, powerful, and fun comic book series that channels all the elements of the previous recent ‘Black Cat’ stories and has a penchant for reminding one of why comic books are such a fantastic fun medium.
Iron Man and Black Cat are complete opposites, which makes them the perfect sort of dynamic duo of characters to bounce off one another. Not even the threat of their ex-girlfriends using super science to try and kill them can fully bring these characters together, and it’s a pretty darn good time.
Even though I penned a huge goodbye-related review for the Black Cat series when it came to an end, there is a ton of joy in me every single time that Jed MacKay finds another way to keep telling some Felicia Hardy-related stories. The last issue was heavily about backstory and character work, and while the action ramps up here that character focus that helps propel MacKay high up the list of great writers is still front and center.
Cannot and will not hold back on the amount of glee that was felt as there was a whole heist level like back-and-forth hidden move countering going on between Tamara and Felicia, with proclaimed futurist Tony Stark being left to play catchup. Also, I was worried that we weren’t going to see any of Felicia’s right- and left-hand men Bruno and Doctor Korpse but I never should have doubted MacKay, as they were just being saved for the best middle of the issue reveal. That Felicia could play Tony twice and be able to create a second Iron Cat armor for herself is some true insert a chef kiss gif right now sort of moment.
Oh my gosh is this just a gorgeous comic book series. Pere Pérez and Frank D’Armata, with Jordi Tarragona Garcia joining to help with inks this time, are just doing some stupendous work here. Not only is there powerful energy in all the pages, but they also have such a dynamic kinetic feeling to them. There are a number of pages with characters dodging laser blasts or explosions framed behind them, and it feels so real and powerful like it could just come right off the page. Amazing detail, depth, emotional/body language work, and plenty of fantastic close-ups to really hammer home things. As stated last issue, Pérez’s paneling style choices are top-notch because shifting between something more standard and the not-so-standard brings a ton of that aforementioned energy in because anything is possible and can even blast beyond the borders of a panel.
While these characters are fantastical in so many qualities, they live in the Marvel Universe which is touted as ‘the world outside our window’ in many cases. This is a quality that D’Armata is able to bring justice to with the chosen color palettes that shift easily between the more normal real-world sort of colors and the bigger brighter bolder flashier superhero-type colors. Especially allowing each of the main characters to have their own colorful qualities from the sick bright green for Madame Menace/Sunset Bain, to Tony Stark’s typical yellow/gold, or the pink for Tamara/Iron Cat, and good old black for our true Iron Cat Felicia.
A huge part of that gorgeousness of this series and that just mentioned color dynamic is also thanks to the always tremendous lettering work that Ariana Maher always brings to the page. All the perfect usages of changes to font to make sure volume/tone are clear, like having a scream be huge letters that cause the dialogue bubble to blow up like an oddly shaped balloon, to all the right colors in play for the bubbles for respective characters. All the sass and exasperation and other emotions can be seen on the character’s faces or through body language, but it can fully be felt through their words too, as those emotions and personality trait energies are thick in these words.
Also, the SFX in this series has been spectacular on every level but the decision to have the variety of sounds of the LMDs transforming showing up bright pink on the deck of the ship under them rather than all around them in the air is some top tier awesome decision making. Taking things to a whole new level.
Iron Cat #3 is now available.