Black Cat #9 Review

by Charles Martin on February 05, 2020

Black Cat #9 Review
Writer: Jed MacKay
Artist: Kris Anka
Colourist: Brian Reber
Letterer: Ferran Delgado
Publisher: Marvel Comics

I am already a big, big fan of this title, thanks largely to Jed MacKay's whip-smart writing. He makes Felicia Hardy a constant delight to listen to. And now, adding guest artist Kris Anka to the mix dials up the visual appeal to match the witty words.

This nicely self-contained arc kicks off by sending the Cat to Madripoor in search of a painting -- another plot coupon in the Fox's long-term scheme against Odessa Drake and the Thieves' Guild. The tie to the ongoing story is neatly handled in one briefing scene, and then it's on to the glamorous mayhem in Marvel's city of intrigue.

I don't feel too bad about spoiling the core premise: From the outset, Felicia knows that the painting she seeks was last seen in the hands of the legendary Mr. Patch. 

What the Cat doesn't know is who Mr. Patch is. That terribly-kept secret is teased out across a few excellent pages, complete with an interview montage that includes Deadpool laughing at the protagonist's ignorance.

Of course, if the Black Cat doesn't recognize the name "Patch," she sure as heck recognizes Wolverine when they come face to face. Or, more accurately, face-to-cleavage; one of the artistic treats of this comic is that Kris Anka makes the very most of the fact that Felicia is a head taller than Logan.

I can rein in the spoilers by not revealing the antagonist that Felicia and Logan soon team up against or any of the details of the action. It's casino and tuxedo stuff all the way, exactly what the protagonist and the creators are suited for.

Jed MacKay again demonstrates his unique command of Felicia's voice. He makes her glamorous, playful, clever and quick-witted. She thoroughly loves what she does, and it's easy to love watching her do it. The plot lined up for her is no cakewalk, but she handles expected and unexpected adversity with equal aplomb.

Kris Anka slides smoothly into the storytelling mix, with his clean character designs and dynamic posing perfectly suiting the developments at hand. He adds considerable interest to his panel layouts by moving the "camera" around a lot more than your average comics artist. High and low angles abound, injecting complexity into scenes that might otherwise be boring.

Colourist Brian Reber does a good job of harmonizing the guest art with the title's established tone. (This is an important and often-overlooked part of the colourist's job and I love seeing it done this well.) There are some warmly-lit scenes, but chilly night-time greys and blues are still the dominant colours. 

This issue launches the Black Cat into a nearly-self-contained side-heist complete with Logan team-up. With some seriously impressive guest art and more of the title's iconic, endearing protagonist voice, it's a treat for those of us who have already fallen in love with the series. But this is also a fine hop-on point if you want to find out what the Black Cat's all about.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
Kris Anka is a fabulous artist, but diversity of female faces is admittedly not his strongest suit. I felt a few times in this issue that I was watching Nico Minoru cosplay Black Cat -- a hilarious prospect, but a distracting one.