Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Written by Joe Kelly
Art by Mike McKone
First things first, why is Spider-Man's costume red and black in this issue? I've seen it look like this for covers and other stylistic reasons, but those were limited to certain scenes or sequences, like emerging from shadows or the odd cover. Almost the entire issue is devoted to Spider-Man and Black Cat and, in every panel, there is not an ounce of blue on the costume. It's black with the red parts. It's not even shading. There's no depth. Just solid, pure black instead of blue. Very odd and annoyed me for some reason.
Getting into the actual contents of the issue, Peter's "girlfriends" are really starting to grate on me. It's a clear indication of the boy's club mentality of the Spider Office. Real people don't act like they're out of a soap opera. These women are treated like pure, unadultered stereotypes. They aren't people, they're merely objects for Peter to interact with and to give us fanboys something to oggle or laugh at. Sure, a bunch of guys can get together and come up with far-fetched fantasy of three girls all walking in on the main character and the verbal cat fight breaking out, but when it's actually put to the page and offered up as canon, that's just kind of sad. It's not new, it's not exciting, it's just childish and immature. You can have him juggling multiple women with a little more class than this.
Moving onto the Spider-Man part of the story, which made up the bulk of the issue, Black Cat returns, mysteriously has bad luck powers again and is, apparently, a thief once more. She also doesn't know Spider-Man is Peter Parker and does not seem to have the same, "I should know who you are", sense of deja vu that the Fantastic Four and others close to Peter have shown, which makes no sense with how intimate these two have been over the years and the fact they were still close friends up until Civil War.
I like Black Cat, I really do. She had great chemistry with Spider-Man (note: not Peter, just Spider-Man) and don't oppose the two interacting and possibly hooking up again, as the ending to this issue suggests they do, but I also don't want a pure rehash of the 80's comics. This version of Black Cat completely ignores everything that has happened since the two broke up and doesn't even reflect what Black Cat had been doing with Heroes 4 Hire or the current Marvel Divas storyline. It's like some horrible sense of deja vu reading it where all I can do is point out how wrong everything feels while reading it. This was a good story back in 1985. But that doesn't mean it's a story I want to read in 2009.
Verdict - Avoid It. Horrible handling of female characters, inexplicable appearance and behaviour of Black Cat and a retread of past stories beyond the standard Brand New Day-era level of rehashing. Just about everything here could have been handled in a better way.