BLACK CAT #4:
There’s another Cat on the scene and she doesn’t play nice. Lily Hollister’s life has taken some turns. From socialite daughter of the district attorney to fiancée of Harry Osborn to goblinized Menace… The last turn to imitation hero called Queen Cat seems to have stuck but now that Queen Cat has set her sights on the Black Cat, does Felicia stand a chance? Or will this misguided attempt screw up all of Felicia and Black Fox’s plans?
Jed MacKay continues to be my favorite writing discovery of the last two years, to be honest, and this issue is a perfect example of why. First off this isn’t a Black Cat story, well at least not in the traditional sense. For me, this is a story of a young woman who needs to define her future, after a troubled past and wants that future to be a heroic one. To do this, to define her new self she needs to do something heroic, and what’s more heroic than taking down a villain right? Enter Felicia Hardy. Queen Cat’s need to define her identity as a hero drives her through the book as she tries to track down Felicia and put a stop to her nefarious plans (Queen Cat has NO IDEA what those plans are but that isn’t her driving motivation) and so she barrels through several people in Black Cat’s network until she comes face to face with Felicia herself after she takes something that belongs to Felicia. So catfight right? Well yes, it is a Black Cat comic after all but here’s where MacKay does something clever, he uses Felicia to give the Queen Cat some catharsis from the trauma of her past and a clear path forward.
Felicia sees how this young woman is hurting and recognizes the pain that she’s going through from past experience and instead of choosing to crush that fragile new identity Queen Cat is trying to build she nurtures it by offering herself as that purpose. It feels like a very Black Cat thing to do…Felicia’s worldview allows her to do what a traditional hero might possibly not do in the same situation…show a different type of empathy…There’s still a price to be paid and it’s paid but that act of empathy and that sense of purpose that Black Cat gives Queen Cat is the whole point of this issue.
After the spectacle of the last three issues in the King In Black event, issue 4 is by far a more subdued affair. There arent any flashy double splash pages with giant dragons or anything but what I think Nina Vakueva and Brian Reber manage to do is capture the intimacy of the cat and mouse ( or rather cat and cat) feel of the issue. This is a much more grounded story and the team gets that feel right with tight close-ups of faces and eyes and headshots for the dialogue. The action toward the end of the issue is solid and dynamic and Vakueva draws a great slinky Black Cat. The diary lettering style from Delgado is a nice touch and Pepe Larraz is superb on the cover as always.
Black Cat #4 cools down after the craziness of King In Black with a more intimate story about a young person needing to redefine their identity in their quest to be a better person through the lens of the fictional world of superheroes that taps into a solid emotional core with a theme that is highly relatable but still remains true to the concept of the main character.
BLACK CAT #4: Lily Hollister is Dead, Long Live Queen Cat
- Writing - 8.5/108.5/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Art - 8.5/108.5/10
- Color - 8.5/108.5/10
- Cover Art - 9.5/109.5/10
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