Black Cat: Grand Theft Marvel – Jed MacKay, Travel Foreman, Nao Fuji, Michael Dowling & Brian Reber (Marvel)

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There are old thieves and there are bold thieves, but there are very few old, bold thieves. Mostly because they’re either doing life without the possibility of parole, have perished in the “line of duty” or somehow, despite the odds being stacked overwhelmingly against them, they managed to find that elusive final score and sailed off into the sunset to retire on the Caribbean island that said score paid for.  And in Grand Theft Marvel that last big payday, the job that sets those brave enough to undertake it up for life, isnthe carrot that’s dangled in front of Felicia “Black Cat’ Hardy and her ever loyal duo of henchman in by a face from her past that she just can’t say no to.

It’s a gig that becomes doubly appealing to her when she finds out who the mark is and in less time than it takes a cat to clean it’s whiskers, Felicia, Bruno and Dr. Korpse (the pair of miscreants who make up the Cat’s aforementioned crew) find themselves gathering the tools they’ll need for the job by robbing a couple of of the biggest names in the superhero community. Neither of the burglaries, like most crazy ideas are want to do, go according to plan and lead to the Cat saving the world (okay, maybe not the world, but certainly New York) from evil wizards and demonic overlords from the Negative Zone while being pursued and harassed by her latest nemesis. Oh, and then there’s the whole Thieves Guild thing and the tantalising and unshakeable feeling that maybe, just maybe, the gig that the Cat has been recruited for, and her recruiter, aren’t everything that they seem to be. But if you want to know more, you’ll have to read the book. And you really, really should read this book. Because it’s all kinds of awesome.  

Why is it so awesome? Well,  first of all you’ll want to dive headlong into Grand Theft Marvel  as Travel Foreman and Michael Dowling’s art hits you smack bang in the middle of cerebellum like an out of control freight train and gives the book the sort of knockout, dynamic sucker-punch that ensures that every page and every panel crackles with energy and excitement. Then there’s the other reason you need to read it, and that’s Jed MacKay, a writer who up until now I was shamefully unaware of. Packed full of action and nefarious adventures in criminality, bright, breezy and often laugh out loud funny dialogue, beautifully detailed and immaculate characterisation and a plot that drip feeds just the right bit of enough to hook you from the off and leave you wanting more when the final whistle blows, MacKay’s tale is a zinger, a humdinger and every other kind of ‘er’ that pops unbidden into your brain. If it sounds like I’m gushing, and more than a little mushy, about this book, it’s because I am. It breezed lazily into my life, almost like an after-thought, and now I can’t get enough of it. Seriously folks, I’ve read it three times already and it just keeps getting better with each and every outing. Who would ever have thought that bad guys could be this good?  Tim Cundle

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