Black Cat #12 Review

by Charles Martin on August 05, 2020

Black Cat #12 Review
Writer: Jed MacKay
Artist: C.F. Villa
Colourist: Brian Reber
Letterer: Ferran Delgado
Publisher: Marvel Comics

When we last saw Felicia Hardy, she had just treated herself to a little bonus after hijacking Tony Stark's nano-forge: A swank set of customized Stark armour!

This issue cuts right to the logical next step: Felicia using her new full metal cat-jacket to duke it out with Tony in the skies over Manhattan.

It's insane. And, par for the course in this title, insanely awesome!

Obviously, there's no way she has a chance in this fight. Felicia herself points out Tony has years of "robot jock" experience while our felicitous narrator has about seven minutes' worth. 

Yet Felicia does more than survive this conflict. She outflies Iron Man, jams his targeting systems, rakes him with glowy claws, and makes absurdly excellent battle-banter all the while. 

Beating Tony at his own game isn't even her objective; that comes later, after she successfully throws off her red-and-gold tail.

Fans of Shell-Head need not worry; Felicia's robo-dominance gets justified wonderfully by the end of the issue. To put it briefly (and hopefully non-spoilery): Where Iron Man's armour is built to do everything, Felicia slapped this suit of hers together to do one thing, which it does by the end of the comic.

Artist C.F. Villa does an excellent job of drawing the aerial armour combat. Colourist Brian Reber helps, too, dialling the palette up to a very cape-tastic 11 and deploying plenty of neon glows to pick out techno-details like Felicia's "Shock Mantle" (AKA that wild topknot thingie on her helmet).

The gradual inclusion of non-armoured characters as the issue progresses almost gives me a twinge of regret, though. Mr. Villa is good at drawing Starktech. But he is amazing at drawing Felicia (and her supporting cast) in the flesh. I already crowed in my last review about how well the artist gives Felicia an innate sexiness that goes far beyond contorting her into clichéd T&A poses. The final scenes of #12 show that he's lost none of his magic on that score.

When it comes to the big-picture plot, this issue's action advances the heist scheme another notch. It also throws a brief but powerful spotlight on Odessa Drake again, letting her character shine in a far more organic way than #7 did. 

Good character work abounds. When she's not flat-out sassing Tony or making unlikely-but-true references to Squirrel Girl (!), Felicia is schooling him in the fine art of boosting cars for joy-riding purposes -- which is, of course, what she's doing with her "Iron Cat" armour. 

It's one of those perfect moments of back-and-forth dialogue. It puts a splendid light on both characters. It illuminates what they think of each other in the moment. All this, and it segues neatly, stylishly, seamlessly into the Odessa Drake scene. 

Jed MacKay can, quite simply, write rings around the competition with a protagonist he loves. And the Black Cat certainly qualifies.

The Black Cat vs. Iron Man mini-arc ends the way it must, with a breathless knockdown armour-fight. Visually, it's fantastic; verbally, it's adroit. Taken together, #11 & #12 are equally great as part of Felicia's larger story and as a standalone heist/chase/fight caper. If it has a fault, it's that very best fault for a comic to have: It's over too soon.

Our Score:


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Charles Martin's picture
Felicia making bang-on perfect continuity links to The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is like a cheat code for making me love this comic. But it's a damned impressive book that doesn't really need the help; the links are just a lagniappe.