Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Written and penciled by: Al Milgrom

I must admit that the references to the Black Cat's bad-luck powers in Amazing Spider-Man have really grabbed my interest, so I'm quite pleased to have jumped over to Peter Parker, The Amazing Spider-Man at an episode that recaps her storyline-so-far so well.

In fact, so well that they really could have retitled this issue Felicia Hardy, The Blessed Black Cat. She's in almost every panel, while Spidey only shows up in the present-tense in just one. I guess that writer/artist Al Milgrom quite likes writing Spidey's girlfriend, or perhaps he just enjoys drawing her...

Much of this is Felicia's ongoing internal monologue, as she swings around town looking for the magazine's real title-character. He's off fighting the Secret Wars of course, so her route around New York takes-in all of Peter Parker's regular haunts – his flat, the Daily Bugle and, uncomfortably, his Aunt May's place.

Despite the cover's promise that "what she finds could spell the end of the web-slinger's career", I'm at something of a loss as to what this was, unless she somehow messed things up for his photographic assignments at the newspaper. But what else are you going to put on there to advertise this one? There's no real villain, and the story is really more of a key-player's character-analysis. The Black Cat doesn't 'get' Spidey's alter-ego Peter Parker, a sad truth exemplified by her lying to him at the story's conclusion.

I do think that it's one of the strengths of this era in Marvel's storytelling history that they can effortlessly take a break like this and not even bother with the title-property, without any paranoia of losing their readership. Really - the Vision, the Scarlet Witch and Jarvis appear more than Spider-Man does, making this more of an issue of The Avengers.

In fact, for my money, the Vision also gets the best line in this. Having read the issue on Easter Tuesday, (hot on the heels of much Easter preaching at church about past sins) his perspective on which tense is really important is something of a breath of fresh air...

"Always remember, Black Cat – It isn't what you were or how you came by your powers that is important... it's what you are and how you use your powers now!"


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