Black Cat #4 // Review
Johnny Storm is wearing FOOM cologne for a dinner date with Marvel Manhattan’s most formidable thief. One would think he might know better than to let her into the headquarters of the Fantastic Four. One might think it would be as easy as walking in and out of a room for her. Writer Jed MacKay isn’t going to make it easy for his anti-heroine in the latest issue of his big-selling Black Cat series. Travel Foreman handles the art with a whimsical sense of narrative tilt in another deliciously entertaining issue.
Having just stolen the original deed for the island of Manhattan, the world’s greatest thief is given another assignment by her former mentor. No longer dealing with breaking into a secure place of powerful magic, she’s now breaking into a place of ridiculously powerful tech. As she is asked to steal an item from the headquarters of the Fantastic Four. (And just in time for her fourth issue.) She shows-up armed with a bottle of champagne from her vintage: 1979 (She made her first appearance in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man in ’79.) She’s shows-up to charm Johnny Storm into the place to take what she needs. Naturally, there are going to be complications, or this is going to be a very short issue. There are two reasons why you never try to steal from the Fantastic Four. One of those reasons is off in Ireland this month in her own miniseries. Black Cat will be very lucky if she can avoid the other reason.
MacKay is treading a very seductive narrative line with Black Cat as she traipses into the headquarters of Marvel’s First Family. There’s a very clear sense of humor about the story that inhabits every corner of MacKay’s storytelling style in a variety of different ways. It’s not just the details, though--MacKay makes Black Cat a truly fun person to hang out with for 20 pages per month. In this issue, her skills of seduction are on display in a narrative that clings to the shadows of the traditional Marvel Universe with cunning style. (The target for Black Cat’s theft comes from a particularly bright little corner of the Marvel Universe.) The complexity of the adventure glides along throughout another exceedingly quick read.
There’s great attention to detail about Foreman’s work. The line-work never overwhelms the action. Every panel is given the right amount of space, but the real accomplishment here is in the framing. Foreman frames the action in a way that makes deft use of oblique angles and wide, flat panels. The story slinks across the page with agile feet and then pounces dramatically into action when the time is just right. Foreman’s sense of framing is just as much of a character as Black Cat herself. It’s a fun journey from beginning to end that seems to be getting better each issue.
MacKay and Foreman have done a really smart job of bringing Black Cat into the center of her own series throughout the first four issues of the series. The initial story arc continues in a really fun place that explores the Marvel Universe with a very unique perspective taken from a very, very alluring anti-heroine. It’s a great team that will be fun to watch as Black Cat’s run continues into the final months of 2019. Even if they’re not in a completely novel territory with Black Cat’s adventures, it’s a very refreshing perspective on a universe that’s been around or decades.