Felicia Hardy, the Black Cat, yep, is treading the fine line between being a cat burglar and doing the right thing. With this series, she finds herself caught up in a feud between two pharmaceutical companies over some sort of mystery drug. To add to the fast-paced action, she is also winds up between both companies, Cardiac (the self-styled medical vigilante and a group of super-powered cyborgs.
While onboard a sea-faring yacht belonging to Cobalt Chemicals that seems to be doubling as a biolab. The Black Cat is there to steal the Chimera for Morelle Pharmaceuticals, only she runs into Faze, a super-powered being who works for Cobalt. Naturally enough, the two of them go at it as Faze (using his phasing ability and his Mechabyte 'bots) tries to stop the Cat who is attempting to download info off the Cobalt computer.
The pair of them slug it out for a couple of pages when Cat finally gains the upper hand by convincing Faze that she is about to blow up the craft, whereupon Faze heads for the exit, and Cat pops out her CD and stops the detonation sequence. Once onboard the helicopter that is on the ship's main deck, Faze spots the pilot rushing towards him, and enjoins the pilot to take off and had back to Cobalt HQ. Only it isn't the pilot, but the Cat dressed up in the pilot's clothes.
On board the chopper, Cat executes some fancy maneuvers and dumps Faze out of the bird. As she heads for land, she calls in the coast guard to fish Faze out and stop the craft. Later on, at the Parkgreen Correctional Facility a prisoner identified as Loop is brought to a special visitor cell where his "wife" awaits him. Only it isn't his wife, it is Felicia, who reveals that Loop is actually a former partner of her cat burglar father. Cat arranges to come back later to deliver the CD and some tools to Loop's cell so that he can decode the information on the disc.
At a different — the far more secure prison that we saw last issue — the mysterious prisoner from last issue attacks a guard and makes his escape by killing his guards. Back in NYC, Felicia approaches Paul Proust at a nightclub, and manages to pry him away from his two female companions. Proust convinces Felicia to go back to his place to further discuss their plans. However, once there, Cat renders Proust unconscious and hacks his computer looking for information on the Chimera. Here search brings her back to Morelle Pharmaceuticals where she and Spider-Man tangled with Cardiac (again, last issue).
Once there she breaks into the building and — overpowering a number guards — makes her way into a secure lab with a cryogenic chamber. It is inside this chamber that she discovers a group of mechanically augmented individuals who have been collectively called First Strike. Even as Black Cat defends herself against the quartet of cyborgs, Cardiac blasts his way into the chamber and enters the fray; which is the set-up for the next issue.
Here again, we have an issue that is for all intents and purposes, this is an all-out-action issue. Cat is (as always) a person who is torn between the polar opposites of her personality, someone who seems to want to do good, but is often driven to her weaker side ("The body is willing but the flesh is weak"). This issue offers us little in background but plenty of action, not at all bad, and given that the cat has always had something of a mysterious past, something that simply plays to her character.
I really like both the style and pacing of this story, as well as its visual appeal. I subtracted a full point from the score simply because I think that it would have played better if Spidey had made an appearance. (Not that he was necessary to make the story work, I just really enjoyed his presence so much last issues that I was sort of looking forward to it in this issue.
Knowing that The Cat's unstable history makes her not the proper partner for either Peter or Spider-Man is truly unfortunate. I always liked her and (at one point) thought that she would have made the perfect partner for both. Who knows, with the future outcome of Spider's life in flux due to Brand New Day, I suppose that anything is now possible.