Black Cat #1 // Review
It’s a simple heist. All she’s looking to do is steal a painting. There are a couple of people helping her out. The catch: she’s a famous thief and the head of security can recognize her even without her mask. Thus begins a new ongoing series for Black Cat. Writer Jed Mackay writes the debut issue drawn by Travel Foreman. There’s a back-up story featuring the infamous thief’s father and a certain vampiric count that’s drawn by Mike Dowling. The opening issue doesn’t look to dive into anything too terribly deep. Black Cat is given her big intro in a fun story that firmly establishes a classy mood for the series.
Felicia Hardy enters a posh event that’s attended by some very wealthy people. She’s wearing a black dress and heels, but the head of security recognizes her as someone notorious for wearing a black mask and catsuit. Maybe it’s the white hair that gives it away, or perhaps he’s smart enough to be able to identify the world’s most notorious thief outside of her traditional costume. She’s there with accomplices. He’s there to make sure she doesn’t get away with anything. Naturally, when she DOES, he’s going to have to chase after her.
There’s a lot of potential in stories featuring a super thief with the innate ability to bestow bad luck on anyone she perceives to be a threat. Stories featuring this sort of character in the current climate could quickly get very political. Mackay shrugs off any more profound potential in the first issue in favor of a fun, fast-paced story with a simplistic ensemble. Black Cat’s two accomplices come across with a sense of wild simplicity. Dr. Korpse is a chemical nihilist with access to deadly substances. Bruno Gainger is her muscle and wings--a US Army veteran who can fly anything with blades and drive anything with wheels. The three make for a refreshing trio that should be fun to follow in the months to come.
Foreman’s line work in deft and dense without being cluttered enough to obscure the action. An escape from pursuing ninjas is a dizzying blur of lines, but there’s a dazzling sense of movement about it. The detail serves the drama quite well. Earlier in the issue, Felicia enters an opulent mansion and Foreman delivers the glamor of the most stunning woman in the room. There’s a grand modulation of different moods that feels very light and cinematic throughout the issue. The back-up with Black Cat’s dad The Black Fox is set somewhere in the 20th century when her father was clearly younger, but Dowling’s art feels very contemporary with a style of line and detail that fit quite well with Foreman’s work earlier in the book.
Mackay establishes the new ongoing series firmly on the right foot. There’s nothing terribly fresh about the story, but it IS a story well-told with art that delivers style and action to the page. Black Cat is an unflappably confident super-thief who might be seen casually taking time out of a harrowing getaway to flirt with a security guard who is in pursuit. She’s really, really cool. And she’s got cool friends in a thick bruiser of a getaway driver and a psychotically twisted chem genius. It’s a simply set-up, but it’s a fun one. Splitting-up the issue between Felicia in the present and her father in the past makes for an intriguing format that could serve the series well with potential for the past echoing into the present as the series progresses.