Comics : Spider-Man Family (Vol. 2) #1
This review was first published on: 2007.
Not much to know about this one before hand. Maybe, if you don't know who the Black Cat is you should check out her profile. Other than that, this being a stand-alone story, there's nothing else needed to be know to help shred any light on any of the events that take place within.
Spider-Man Family (Vol. 2) #1 (Story 2)
Summary: No Spider-Man
"Chicago: A While Ago..." Sitting atop a museum at night, a costumed woman silently witnesses another woman race into the museum's front door. Inside as a security guard is busy watching a wildlife documentary of jungle cats and not actually watching the museum, the Black Cat knocks him out, leaving the television running for a narration on the behavioral habits of large cats in the wild to go along with the actions of the two costumed cats breaking into the museum.
Felicia Hardy has absolutely no trouble getting past all of the museum's security measures, but as she makes her way to whatever target she is after, what she doesn't know is that she's currently being "stalked" by the Hell Cat who watches her every move. Waiting outside of the ancient Egyptian room, the Hell Cat sitting on top of the entrance-way picks the precise moment to jump down and attack Felicia on her way out.
After a quick fight in which the Hell Cat schools Felicia in hand to hand combat, the Hell Cat shoots a grappling hook out of her fingers which wraps around the Black Cat, leaving Felicia at her mercy. While Felicia can't move, the Hell Cat looks through her bag to find out exactly what she stole from the museum, only to discover that she didn't steal anything. She only left a card reading: "Your security STINKS. Want to improve it? Call me @ 555-BCAT".
The guard finally revives and hits the alarm. Realizing that the Black Cat isn't a cat burglar, the Hell Cat unties her and helps her get out of the museum before the rest of the guards get there. Up on the roof, the Hell Cat tells Felicia that she has marked this town as her own and that she should leave to peddle her services somewhere else. Felicia says she might try New York, seeing as how the superheroes are less territorial there.
Before Felicia leaves she asks the Hell Cat if she's new at this too. Not knowing what made Felicia ask her that, Felicia tells her that most superheroes don't carry their wallets on them when they're in costume. Felicia leaves taking the wallet she pick-pocketed off the Hell Cat, saying that if she's ever in Chicago again, that maybe she'll look up Patsy Walker and save the Hell Cat the trouble of trying to track her down.
In a large museum at night in Chicago, while the Black Cat, aka Felicia Hardy, goes running into the building, another feline-costumed woman watches from above. As the Black Cat stalks through the museum looking for her intended target what she doesn't know is that she's actually being stalked by the other cat, who, for reasons I can't imagine, has decided on a bright yellow color for her costume. Not sure how that is supposed to help her be discreet but what do I know.
Anyway, at some point the Hell Cat pounces down and starts attacking the Black Cat. The fight goes on for a few pages of basically T & A shots until the Hell Cat manages to tie up Felicia with ropes that shoot out of her fingers. Looking in her bag to find out what the Black Cat stole, the Hell Cat finds that she didn't actually steal anything. Felicia broke into the museum just so she could leave her business card telling the museum administration just how easy it was for her to break in, and if they want to know how to up their security, they should call her. As the guards finally figure out what's going on and come rushing into the museum, the Hell Cat makes it up to Felicia and unties her and helps her get out.
On the roof, the Hell Cat tells her to go somewhere else to peddle her services, that she has "marked" this city as her own. I immediately thought of how normal cats "mark" their territory, but that's my own issues. Felicia takes off saying that she might give New York a try, but before she leaves she some how managed to pickpocket the Hell Cat, who was foolish enough to carry her wallet on her. Now the Black Cat, as well as ourselves, know the true identity of the Hell Cat (Patsy Walker).
While all of this is going on a television is running a wildlife documentary about cats and throughout the story we get small bits of narration about cats' behavior. Weak.
The art work was pretty good but other than that there wasn't much here. This was just a short Black Cat story, which I can only guess takes place before Felicia Hardy made her debut as the Black Cat in New York City. We learn of some other costumed do-gooder who also takes the disguise of a cat, but she somehow decided on the color bright yellow. Not sure what kind of cats she knows that are bright yellow, or how she thinks wearing a bright yellow costume will help her blend into the night, but whatever. Plus with a name like Hell Cat, you'd think she'd pick red or something. I think this might actually be a poke at some of DC's old heroines but I could be mistaken.
This was pretty much a "Girls in skin-tight outfits, rolling around, fighting each other" story. Lots of chest and butt shots, and there was even a scene with a little bondage as the Black Cat gets tided up. I've always hated this trend in comics myself, making the mid 90's almost too much to bear.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having your female super heroes and villains look extremely hot. If it's not wrong for the guys to look completely hunked out, there's nothing wrong with having your ladies all look like supermodels. But you can't make a story just as a means to show off those traits. Come up with a decent story first and then, if the artist must, make the main characters look hot. If you just want to do a series of pin-up shots, then do that. Don't try to disguise a pictorial spread as a bona-fide story.
UPDATE: After talking to another of the spiderfan reviewers (Bob Sodaro) I learned that the Hellcat was actually an old Fantastic Four/ Avengers character, who made her debut in Fantastic Four #3 as Patsy Walker and then in Avengers #144 as the costumed Hellcat. Later she went on to marry Daimon Hellstrom, better known as the Son Of Satan, and joined Hellstrom and Hellstrom, Paranormal Investigation.