Warning: SPOILERS for Black Cat Annual #1
To say Spider-Man has bad luck when it comes to love is an understatement. His girlfriend Gwen Stacy? Murdered by the Green Goblin. His marriage to Mary Jane Watson? Null and void, thanks to the devil known as Mephisto. Peter is constantly constantly putting the famous "Parker luck" to the romantic test. While most of his relationships have suffered because of his responsibility as Spider-Man, one seemed to have flourished under it -- when he dated the Black Cat.
So it should really come as no surprise that she's the woman putting a ring on Peter in his latest comic adventure. But the timing couldn't be worse. With Peter and MJ once again dating, it had seemed Marvel might actually undo the widely-hated "One More Day" story arc. So what's caused Spider-Man to hear wedding bells with Black Cat? The vows may be fake... but the flirtation isn't.
Spidey and Black Cat walk down the aisle in Black Cat Annual #1, dressed in civilian clothes, with veils over their faces. The larger play is tricking the entire Maggia crime family, masquerading as the 'prince' and 'princess' from warring families, for a Wedding of Martyrs. In the crime syndicate, the two families solve their bad blood by forced a son and daughter into marriage. Once they say "I do," they're sealed in the family catacombs to "consummate" the marriage... only in this context, that means a fight to the death to settle the differences. But why would Spider-Man and Black Cat assume the roles of the newly weds?
The ultimate explanation is that Black Cat is after bank codes to the Maggia family's fortune. Codes that are tied to the graves within the catacombs, and guarded by death traps and robots -- all a walk in the park with Spider-Man at her side. While Spider-Man readers don't know why he's helping Felicia finish the job, he trusts her, despite their rocky history. But the flirting sure didn't hurt. Felicia was either enjoying playing with Spider-Man, or there are some real feelings that still exist. Feelings Peter doesn't turn down, opting for 'cool nerdy awkwardness.'
After the duo meet up with Black Cat's team, it's revealed that Felicia agreed to help the actual prince and princess that were set to be wed, as they truly are in love. The couple wanted to run away and start a life together, hence the heist. Felicia gives $1 million to the couple to help start their new life together -- and at Spider-Man's request -- agrees to donate the remaining "half" of $1 million charities across New York. Felicia seems to have been able to pull one over on Peter, though, since a total of $3 million was stolen.
The chemistry still seems to be alive and well between the two, with almost every single exchange between them either a double entendre, or an outright reference to their romantic past. The Black Cat could simply be flirting with Spidey to toy with him for her own amusement, which wouldn't be out of character. However, the body language and insecurity is convincing. Throw in Peter's behavior and awkward responses, and the issue seems determined to show the tension between these two isn't as 'over' as many fans would assume.
So what does this mean for Peter and MJ's newly rekindled relationship? Will this fake but not-so-fake marriage fade into obscurity? Or will it toss a wrench in Peter and MJ's re-found love? With the two currently navigating the trials of a long-distance relationship, and Peter contemplating proposing to Mary Jane, this could be the wedge to cause the two to once again split -- Peter getting cold feet about commitment and running to Felicia's arms. Are there spider-kittens in their future? Only time will tell if the Parker luck will hit Spidey's love life once again.
Black Cat Annual #1 is available now at your local comic book shop, or direct from Marvel Comics.