In Amazing Spider-Man #3 Felicia Hardy/Black Cat emerges as the maniacal villain of this inaugural plot arc. The continuing disintegration of Electro’s sanity, initially kickstarted by Doctor Octopus’s Spider-Man, is briefly mentioned but is not developed any further. Everything about the Black Cat, costume included, has been redesigned to varying degrees of success.
Humberto Ramos’s new costume imagines her entire costume as a reproduction of a black cat, with her new whip/weapon operating as a belt/tail. It thankfully tones down the unnecessary sexuality and cleavage of her classic costume, but the yellow eyes that rest on her shoulders are still a bit awkward at the moment. It might be a design that gains traction with time but isn’t yet able to replace the iconic imagery of the original costume and how it has evolved over the years.
What’s more shocking about Felicia is how much she’s turned into a hardened criminal. Amazing Spider-Man #3 opens with Felicia revealing that she’s done stealing money to pay for her habits and is going to go straight to the source. It’s not a huge revelation, but it does signify the directness that the character has taken to her criminal intentions.
I’m not sure that I completely buy that she has turned into a homicidal villain as this issue implies, even in her revenge-fueled state, when she allows a citizen to face mortal peril as a result of her actions. Felicia has always flirted with activities outside of the law but never to this extent. Her assertions that she needs to regain respect do not make a ton of sense for a character that has never really had the respect of anyone in the first place.
The confrontation between Spider-Man and Felicia replaces flirtations and innuendo with barbs and blows but the back and forth is a bit muddled. When Spider-Man addresses his mind-swap and then fake throws it back at her, when she expresses that she doesn’t care, the resultant actions have unclear implications. Felicia states that she doesn’t care that he was Doctor Octopus in the past but when it is “revealed” that he is still the Doctor she flees the scene saying she’s unprepared. The interaction is confusing and further muddles both characters’ motivations, intentions, and histories (which are still unclear after the events of “One More Day”).
In other Spider-Man love news, both Mary Jane and Anna Maria Marconi get strong moments that address the changes in both of their status quos. Audiences still haven’t been let in on the internal thoughts and feelings of Anna Maria and Amazing Spider-Man #3 begins to give them a peek. It is clear that Anna Maria still loves Doctor Octopus and respects the work that he’s done. The imagery that depicts her digging into his files suggests a darker future for the character. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Anna Maria take up the mantle of Doctor Octopus or bring him back in some form in the future of this comic. Either way, she’s a character to keep an eye on in all the best ways possible.
Dan Slott is having a lot of fun with Peter Parker’s return to run Parker Industries, which is quickly becoming the Marvel Universe’s version of Ghostbusters. Peter is delightfully unaware of how his suddenly friendly personality is further terrifying his employees, who are still cowering in fear of him, and it makes for some wonderful comedy. It is still unclear how the company’s separation from Spider-Man will affect Peter’s life as a secret superhero and I’m looking for a clearer picture.
The appearance of The Fact Channel in Amazing Spider-Man #1 was no mistake and seemed like an obvious place for Jonah to go. Jonah has always been an independent voice that spoke his thoughts with little filter, regardless of fact, and so the Fox News parallel here is especially fitting. Personally I would have liked to see Jonah try to make his own way for a little while, or wallow in misery, than be handed a job on a silver platter. We’ve seen the bloviating Jonah for a while now as mayor and seeing another side of him promised some interesting stories. Either way, this Howard Beale version of the character should be promising.
Slott’s story is as crowded as ever but it is thanks to Humberto Ramos’s pencils that things move at exactly the right pace. However, this is the first time in this arc that Ramos’s pencils have begun to dip below the excellent quality he normally provides, with some of the faces becoming distorted when out of costume. Either way, the visuals are a delight and the book is as dynamic as ever.