Thursday, September 11, 2014

Felicia's Getting A Little Off-Course

One thing I've tried to do with the Favorite Character posts is not talk about things done with the characters I don't like. Because it's a series of posts about why I like certain characters, not a series of "Marvel and DC have dumb editors who let bad writers write things I hate" posts. That's what the "Civil War" label was for.  It hasn't always worked - trash fire that it was, War Games was an important part of three characters' stories - but I've spent less time ranting than I feared I would.

This, however, isn't a Favorite Character post, so I can discuss poor decisions by creative talent as much as I want. Which brings us to the current state of the Black Cat in Amazing Spider-Man. If you aren't up to date, here's the situation: While Octavius was still in Parker's body, he caught Felicia leaving a high-rise she was robbing, punched her in the face and left her webbed up for the cops. Now Felicia is back on the loose and hellbent on revenge against Spider-Man, unconcerned with his explanation that it was Octavius, teaming up with Electro to try and kill the web-slinger.

First, we'll set aside the fact Felicia can't tell the difference between the Spider-Man she'd known all that time, and one that is Otto Octavius playing at being Spider-Man. Never mind Felicia's had some bad run-ins with the good Doctor. Never mind the fact that she once met Ben Reilly during his stint as Spider-Man and immediately knew he wasn't the webhead she'd flirted with and fought beside for years. Sure, Ben was an exact clone of the guy she knew, but Otto is clearly a master thespian, and Felicia, like all the other heroes in the Marvel Universe, was brain-damaged as hell.

Setting that aside, though, here's the thing. If I accept that she couldn't tell the difference, and that she thinks that really the best excuse Spidey can make up for it now, I can see Felicia being outraged Spider-Man would turn her in to the cops. She thinks they have a sort of "gentleman's agreement", and he broke it. I can see her wanting revenge for that. It's not a mature response, it's not the best response, but Felicia doesn't always go for those, not right away. I just can't see her going about this way.

Like I said, she's attacking Spider-Man in broad daylight, teaming up with a schmuck like Electro to do it, while yelling about how Spidey ruined her rep and she's going to get it back. Last thing first, Felicia is a thief. She's not hired muscle, she's not an assassin. She's the person you hire when you want something stolen quietly that supposedly can't be stolen, and you have the good sense not to hire Gambit. How does killing Spider-Man in a series of dramatic, public battles, which endanger innocent people, reestablish that rep?

It's like that Cable/Deadpool issue where Wade - having been literally pantsed twice by Cable on worldwide TV in the last three issues - tries to drum up some work by kidnapping a bunch of generals and making them watch him fight Taskmaster (as a showcase for his skills). Wade wins, but afterward, the generals point out they already knew Wade was a remarkable instrument of violence. Just like they already knew he was an unreliable looney-toon you couldn't count on to handle things professionally, something he also reenforced when he kidnapped them.

If prospective employers had questions about whether the Black Cat was still the best thief around, her current course does nothing to assuage those concerns. If anything, it should heighten them because she's seemingly obsessed with revenge and can't even do that quietly. If she wants her rep as a thief back, here's an idea, go fucking steal something. The Wand of Watoomb. The key to Tony Stark's liquor cabinet. One of Elektra's sais. Galactus' underpants, I don't know, whatever would prove she was still a really awesome thief.

I have been entertaining the possibility that Felicia is testing him. Spider-Man says that was Octavius and he's back to his old self now? Let's see. She put him in a situation last week where he could leave Electro to die, or probably die trying to save Electro. Being Spider-Man, he jumped in, as Felicia even said she was testing to see who was inside his head. Except, it doesn't seem to have changed anything. Spidey was down there, doing his best to save Max, and he asked Felicia to try throwing her luck powers into the mix. Felicia turns him down cold, vowing to watch him burn. It was bad enough when she was hellbent on attacking him when he was trying to save people from a burning building, now, even after he should have seemingly answered her question, she's still content to watch people die.

It's a disappointing direction by Dan Slott. Felicia's just another villain now, focused on revenge against the hero for misfortunes stemming from her own choices (I like the Black Cat, but stealing is still a crime, and she chose to steal, so jail time is the risk she runs), completely unconcerned with who she hurts in pursuit of that goal. Because it isn't like Spider-Man doesn't already have 5,000 people like that in his rogue's gallery. Oh well, someone can fix it somewhere down the line. If Marvel can sit there with a straight face and try to portray Octavius as a hero while he parades around in a stolen body, they can rehab the Black Cat's image after this nonsense is over. It'll turn out to be some valuable lesson about not letting anger rule your life, they way Peter's apparently rolled with all the crap Octavius did without becoming an angry, dark hero over it.


SallyP said...

I agree, that her tantrum is a tad absurd. She's also the villain behind something else in a Marvel book, showing her on the last page, but it was a couple of weeks ago, and I've forgotten what it was, which is terrible.

Maybe SHE'S the one possessed by...something?

CalvinPitt said...

It's going to turn out Octavius is controlling her now. Only it's that lady Dr. Octopus from the '90s, crap what was her name? Carolyn Trainer, I think. Her dad was buddies with Ben Reilly.