For several issues, the titular burglar legally named Felicia Hardy has been putting together a MASS Device, er, a huge machine needed for her biggest heist ever, the uncrackable vault of the New York Thieves' Guild. There's only one piece left, and the only place in the world anyone could find that impossibly rare piece is if they made it … under the nose of Iron Man.
Set in continuity before Arno Stark took over the franchise (so don't look for any angry artificial intelligences here), Tony Stark is a wonderfully clueless a genius as ever, falling for a pretty thin ruse and a perfectly crafted gambit called "The Despinan Ambassador." With the help of her supporting cast — a surprisingly smart muscle man named Bruno, a bombastic mad genius called Doctor Korpse and her mentor the Black Fox — they basically act out an episode of Leverage while making fools of Tony Stark, his head of security Bethany McCabe and pretty much every big brain under Stark's roof. This wonderfully executed Rube Goldberg machine of a plan is very entertaining to watch unfold.
Writer Jed McKay has a very keen sense of the perfect balance between sly humor, spectacle (look for the supervillain guest star who keeps going on about Cleveland), and wonderful exhibits of characterization. There's so much that can be said about this masterful script, working diligently on the problem at hand while advancing a much larger narrative at the same time. It's quite a tightrope walk, but McKay makes it look easy.
Toss in the stylish, slick, and kinetic visuals from C.F. Villa, Brian Reber, and Ferran Delgado, and you've got a superbly entertaining, craftily clever chunk of culture on your hands. Even at cover price, this much value in one comic book? It's a steal. RATING: BUY.
BLACK CAT #11
JED MACKAY • Carlos Villa (A) • Cover by J. SCOTT CAMPBELL
• Black Cat's Marvel U crime spree continues!
• This issue, Felicia Hardy is breaking into Stark Unlimited.
• Wait, Black Cat vs. Iron Man? I'm pretty worried. For Tony.