Black Cat #2 // Review
One of the Marvel Universe’s most famed thieves is given a strange job in a Strange place by an old mentor in the second issue of Black Cat. Writer Jed MacKay crafts a fun, little excursion into the margins of Marvel’s panels in a mystic punk story wittily drawn by Travel Foreman. Black Cat has always been a fun supporting character. She’s had mixed results in previous trips to the center of the panel. In MacKay and Foreman’s hands, Black Cat comes across as one of the most broadly enjoyable title characters in all of Marvel. Burglary mixes with mysticism in a cleverly simple story brought to the page with very stylish art.
The Black Fox has come to ask a favor of the Black Cat. Neither of Cat’s accomplices are particularly in love with the idea of aiding some old thief, but he WAS the one who taught Black Cat a lot of what she knows, so she kind of owes him one. The job in question happens to involve hiring a “Merlin.” The low-level magic user they find for the job just might be in over his head, though. Black Cat and her crew are, after all, breaking into the inner sanctum of Doctor Strange. To make matters worse, the Merlin has a personal vendetta against Doctor Strange, who is currently away from home. (He’s in another dimension dealing with Galactus ad Dormammu as his current series ends. It’s kind of a long story.) “Okay boys,” she says, “Let’s go rip off Doctor Strange.” And away they go.
MacKay’s writing is dizzyingly fun. Black Cat’s inner monologue is deliciously smart. The inner thoughts of Marvel’s most appealing thief guide the story into a remarkably enjoyable adventure into the weird mysteries of Doctor Strange’s home. Tread lightly and make sure you don’t connect to the wrong wi-fi. Things are going to get scary dangerous and even a bit disturbing thanks to a script that’s so fun that it’s surprising no one else has tried anything quite like this before.
Foreman gives Black Cat classy confidence that slides through every page in the book. Her unflappability might edge into a kind of visual dullness in the hands of another artist. Black Cat has a wealth of personality in the issue thanks to Foreman’s subtlety. Foreman’s rendering of Doctor Strange’s place becomes its own character as Black Cat, and her accomplices climb deeper and deeper into it. A pair of pages formatted to echo each other is a particular little bit of mischief that Foreman cleverly renders. As weird as things get, Foreman orchestrates a steady pace to the adventure that slowly increases tension around the edges of the page until it all combusts in a cliffhanger at issue’s end.
A few thieves enter the home of a sorcerer supreme to steal an artifact. One of them is a ticking time bomb. Anything could happen. It’s a simple premise that MacKay and Foreman have a great deal of fun with. That fun easily transfers to the reader in another thoroughly enjoyable issue of the Black Cat’s new series. If MacKay and Foreman can maintain this level of quality and originality, this series is going to be a lot of fun.