Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #226

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: Absolutely Amazing

This review was first published on: 2009.

Background...

Spider-Man's previous encounter with the Black Cat (ASM #205) left him in a state of shock and bewilderment. When he saw her walls plastered with photos of him, he was convinced that she was crazy and that she needed special help. Being the do-gooder that he is, Spidey saw to it that she got said help. Alas, some poor saps just end up being played like a fiddle and Spidey is no exception as he's about to find out.

In Detail...

"But The Cat Came Back..."
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #226
Mar 1982 : SMURF 226.500 : SM Title
Summary: She's Back, Black Cat
Editor:  Tom DeFalco
Writer:  Roger Stern
Pencils:  John Romita, Jr.
Inker:  Jim Mooney
Cover Art:  John Romita, Jr.
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 Reprinted In: Spider-Man Megazine #2
 Reprinted In: Murder By Spider (TPB)
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man vs Black Cat (TPB)
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man Annual (UK) 1985 (Story 1)
Articles: Black Cat

At the Mitcchell State Hospital, Felicia Hardy, in the company of a nurse recounts her last run-in with Spider-Man. Since she knew Spidey was going to find her eventually, she made him think she was mentally unbalanced when he saw the walls of her home covered with pictures of him. So why the cover up? Its a lot easier to spend time in a hospital than it is in prison. After telling the nurse what she was really up to, Felicia throws her in a straight jacket and makes her escape.

A few nights later, Spider-Man gets clued in on what Cat was really up to by Captain DeWolff. Spider-Man is left feeling hurt, used, angry and confused. You and so many other dudes, Spidey.

One week later, Black Cat is stealing an original Enrenreich from a Mr. Bradshaw and having no trouble at all doing so. When the job is done, she ponders on how the job was too easy, getting no joy out of an easy heist. Spotting a billboard calling Spider-Man a menace, Felicia beings to wonder what the web-head is doing.

Spidey has spent the entire week webbing over the city looking for Black Cat and he's come up with nada. At his apartment, Peter realizes that there isn't any food in the place and on top of that, he has to do his laundry. While waiting for his cloths to dry and eating a sandwich from McDonald's, Peter tries to make with some nice chat with a pretty lady, who clearly does not want to talk.

Felicia thinks of how she should be walking on air after lifting that painting but all she feels is depressed. Sure she gets a kick out of being a cat burglar, but it's also a solitary life. Like Mr. Parker, she also needs to do her laundry. Down at the laundromat, Felicia, just like Peter strikes up a conversation with a potential mate, except the person she's talking to is actually friendly. In the end, she politely turns him down because he isn't her type. It dawns on her that she only has eyes for a certain wall-crawler. Picking up a newspaper, she spots an ad for skywriting.

The very next day, while leaving class, Peter gets word of the Black Cat's message for him:

"Spider-Man, meet me at our first date site... tonight!"

Spidey makes his way to where Black Cat first crossed his path and remembers that he made a joke about it being their first date. After escaping one of Cat's easily evasive bad luck traps, Cat tells Spidey that she only wanted to talk. Spidey is still (understandably) peeved about her lying to him before, so while he's willing to hear her out, he's got a grip on her to keep her from getting away. Cat says that she only fooled him because she didn't want to rot in jail like her father. Cat mentions that she'll stop being a cat burglar if it would help their relationship, even offering the painting she stole, which it turns out was already stolen beforehand. Spidey says that if Cat is serious about going straight, she'll have to turn herself in. Felicia tells him that she can't do that and bolts. Down in the alley, Spidey finds the painting she mentioned along with a note, asking him to think about what she said and to meet her at Phil Bradshaw's costume party tomorrow night.

The night of the party, Cat has been across the floor three times and still hasn't found Spider-Man, convinced that he isn't coming. Spidey sneaks up on her, asking if she'd like to dance, wearing a costume over his costume. On the dance floor, both are fully aware that the party is just a front and that gang members are all over the place. Cat just wants to prove that she meant what she said about giving up crime.

She purposely lets it slip to Bradshaw that she took his painting and when Spidey tries to stop Bradshaw, the bullets start flying. Spidey thinks Cat is liable to get them both killed if she isn't stopped so he purposely gets in her way in mid-flip to stop her. After taking out the last of Bradshaw's men, Bradshaw makes for the exit, only to be met with Captain DelWolff and a group of officers. The police captain finds one of Spider-Man's usual notes, but also gives credit to the Black Cat.

Outside, Cat asks Spidey if he's convinced that she can do a 180 on crime. He says they've got a lot to talk about. Cat asks why don't they kiss first. After some hesitation, Spidey obliges.

In General...

Who says only Spider-Man's life has to miserable? I really liked that despite the fact that she's up to her arms in money, Black Cat still feels alone. I know it's been said a million times but it bears repeating. Money does not buy happiness. What good is all that dough if you don't have people you care about to spend your life with?

As if Cat's inner turmoil wasn't enough, she's actually willing to walk away from crime just to be with Spider-Man. At this point in her life, being a cat burglar is Cat's lively hood, her life. And she's willing to chuck it all for one man. That speaks volumes that she'd even consider it.

Overall Rating...

Another enjoyable read from Roger Stern.