Latour gets in one last issue before his mandatory "Secret Wars" hiatus, and it's a doozy.
The main event of this issue is the Black Cat emerging from the shadows to challenge Daredevil. This Black Cat is the daughter of a French cat-burglar that encouraged her to look past the riches and steal items that meant something to people. Unfortunately, he went a step too far when he stole the first dollar that the Kingpin ever made, and it appears that the job that secured Matt's role as the Kingpin's right-hand man was killing Felicia's father in front of her. Felicia lures Matt into public by inviting her to one of her shows, and he knowingly takes the bait in the hopes of finally securing the dollar.
The only part that doesn't make sense to me here is that Felicia invites the Mary Janes to replace her at the last minute. Felicia is apparently an ex-member of the band that became more successful on her own, and, although Glory is reluctant to take up her offer, Mary Jane sees the opportunity. At first I thought that she intended for the girls to become the targets instead of her...but then she jumps on stage in front of them to taunt Murdoch by burning the dollar. I still don't get it, even after re-reading it.
But, whatever. It seems possible that Felicia did it just to taunt Mary Jane along with Daredevil, and I'm just going to go with that explanation. After all, it fades into the background given the awesomeness of the fight that follows. Felicia's henchmen (dressed as cartoonish black cats, prompting Betty to comment that Felicia is living her own Hanna-Barbera cartoon) take on the Hand (who suddenly appear in that way that they do). Gwen changes into Spider-Woman and tries to convince Felicia not to rise to Murdoch's provocations. Gwen knocks out Felicia before she can get herself killed, and she has a creepy interaction with Murdoch where Latour implies that he knows her identity. (If he does know it, it's because of his powers, and Gwen is unaware that he would know.)
Along those lines, Jean DeWolff appears at the Stacy homestead to warn Arthur to watch his back, possibly because she, too, knows the truth through Castle. (She also gets in a peck on the cheek, on the heels of Arthur monologuing that his wife is dead. Interesting.)
At any rate, we have a lot happening here. This issue really brings Felicia and, most importantly, Matt from the shadows, and it feels like we're past the introductory phase of this series at this point. The stage is set and the players have been introduced. I can't wait to see where we go from here.
*** (three of five stars)