Black Cat (Felicia Hardy) is a Marvel Comics anti-hero and one-time foe and girlfriend of Spider-Man. Created by writer Marv Wolfman and artist Keith Pollard, she first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #194 (July 1979). The Black Cat is a skilled (and reformed) cat burglar who is currently an occasional crime fighter and adventurer. She was one of Spider-Man's notably few costumed love interests.
Creator Marv Wolfman originally intended the character to be a villain for Spider-Woman, but when he changed writing assignments within Marvel Comics to Amazing Spider-Man, he took the character with him. On the bottom of the letters page of her first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #194, a thumbnail of the intended cover for Spider-Woman #9 (as well as a rejected cover for Amazing Spider-Man #194) appears.
There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Felicia Hardy/Black Cat is an homage to DC's Catwoman. Marv Wolfman based the Black Cat on the Tex Avery cartoon character "Bad Luck Blackie" and made the Black Cat female solely due to the fact that she would be a foil for Spider-woman. Tex Avery's "Bad Luck Blackie" featured a feline with an aura that brought misfortune to anyone in close proximity.
The character has been the star of two miniseries and appears as a supporting character in various Spider-Man titles.
Writer/director Kevin Smith began writing the Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do miniseries in 2002. After the third issue the series went on a hiatus until 2005, when Smith revealed he had finally finished writing the scripts. . Smith has stated "While I have zero defense for my lateness (particularly when folks like Bendis turn out great stories in multiple books on a monthly basis), I will say this: it's a much better story now that it would've been had I completed it back in '02."
In the mid-2000s, she starred alongside Wolverine in a limited comicbook mini-series entitled Claws. Currently, Black Cat can be seen as a lead character in the second volume of Heroes for Hire.
- The Amazing Spider-Man - #194&195 The Black Cat's first appearance.
- The Spectacular Spider-Man - #75 The Black Cat reforms from villainess to hero but is nearly killed by Doctor Octopus, consuming all of Peter's attention as he awaits her recovery in a hospital. The two begin dating continuously from this point until The Spectacular Spider-Man #100, when The Black Cat learns her powers are a danger to Spider-Man and decides to leave him. But before she can tell him so, he breaks up with her.
- Felicia Hardy: The Black Cat - the Black Cat's first limited series, consisting of 4 parts. Felicia is confronted with a former partner in crime while undertaking an assignment from a new employer.
- Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do - Retconned the Black Cat's origins from a freewheeling adventuress who was inspired to become a thief because of her father's exploits to a rape victim who turned burglar as a displaced reaction to her attack.
- Heroes for Hire - The Black Cat joins the newly created mercenary group instead of taking sides during the Civil War.
Fictional character biographyEdit
Born in Queens, New York, Felicia Hardy's father was a world renowned cat burglar who, before his arrest, encouraged her to never settle for second best. If she loved basketball, she should work to become a basketball player and not just a cheerleader. During her freshman year in college, Felicia was date raped by her boyfriend Ryan. Hating the idea of being a victim, she decided that despite the consequences she would murder her rapist. She put aside her studies and began training in various fighting styles and acrobatics. Finally, after months of preparing, she set out for revenge, but before she could find him, Ryan was killed in a drunk driving accident. Furious that she was denied the chance to steal the life of the man who had stolen hers, and feeling reckless, Hardy decided to utilize her new skills to follow in the footsteps of her father. After amassing a fortune in stolen items, Felicia chose to adopt a costume identity. She first donned the Black Cat costume in order to break her father out of prison. On the same night, she met Spider-Man. Despite her antipathy towards men, Felicia felt a kinship with this lone hero. Spider-Man was the first man she felt she could trust and she grew to believe herself in love with him. Felicia looked for a way to earn his trust and continued with the Black Cat persona as a misguided attempt to attract his affection. Seeing the good in Felicia, Spider-Man made every attempt to have her criminal record expunged.
The Black Cat finally found the opportunity to prove herself after learning the Kingpin controlled an incredibly powerful detonator. The Owl planned to use the weapon to hold New York City hostage. Doctor Octopus, however, planned to use the weapon to destroy the city altogether. But the Black Cat was able to use her abilities to steal the item first and protect it from all parties. She gave the detonator to Spider-man and became the target of Doc Ock's revenge. Although Spider-Man was able to tear off his mechanical appendages, Octopus was still able to mentally control them and hold the Black Cat still while his men opened fire. Spider-Man barely got her to the hospital in time and as they operated on the dozens of bullet and knife wounds, Peter realized just how much he cared for Felicia. After she recovered they began a relationship and soon Peter revealed his identity to her. But Felicia had great difficulty accepting the fact that Peter was just a man beneath the mask and couldn't understand his need for a civilian life. Peter was hurt, but continued the relationship since it was the first time he didn't need to hide his life as Spider-Man.
Initially, the "accidents" which seemed to befall those who crossed the Black Cat's path were merely well-planned stunts and traps. After her near-death experience in Spectacular Spider-Man #75, Felicia feared her lack of superpowers made her a liability for Spider-Man. She was terrified that his overwhelming need to protect her would eventually kill him. So Felicia sought a way to make herself Spider-man's equal. After learning Tony Stark was missing, Henry Pym wouldn't return her calls, and being rejected by the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, Felicia was offered an opportunity to undergo a process similar to that used to create the Scorpion and the Fly. The Kingpin chose to use it on the Black Cat as payback for a theft she committed. Scared and ashamed of being empowered by the Kingpin of crime, she decided to keep her new abilities a secret from Peter. While Spider-Man was gone during the "Secret Wars", Felicia searched for him at Avenger's Mansion, where Vision offered her the chance to join the Avengers, which she declined, being interested solely in Spider-Man. Upon his return, her 'bad luck' power turned out to be infectious, and began to jinx Spider-Man, which was exactly the Kingpin's intent.
Feeling a wall of secrets growing between them, Spider-Man broke up with Felicia. He soon realized something was amiss with his own luck and enlisted the aid of Doctor Strange to remove the "hex" on him. But doing so altered the hex's source and changed the Black Cat's powers in the process. She soon found a heightened strength, agility, balance, vision, and retractable claws.
The Black Cat updated her look and her attitude and rekindled her relationship with Spider-man. She made peace with his need for a normal life as Peter Parker and stood by him while he was being accused of murder as Spider-man. Together they tracked down the source of the elaborate scheme to frame him and fought the mercenary known as the Foreigner. Eventually, just as his life seemed to be falling apart, Spider-man came home to discover Black Cat discussing her plans to ruin his life. He followed her to find she had never forgiven him for breaking up with her and in revenge became the Foreigner's lover. Yet during her ruse and despite her anger, Felicia began to fall back onto her desire to love Peter. In the end, the Black Cat double crossed the Foreigner and left for Europe to find a new life, which unexpectedly pushed Peter to find support and a new relationship with Mary Jane Watson.
Years later, the Black Cat returned to America to seek out Peter Parker and was devastated when informed by Venom that Peter had married Mary Jane Watson. Angry and jealous, Felicia began harassing the couple, physically threatening Mary Jane and taunting Peter as she dated his friend Flash Thompson. She began to believe that she sincerely cared for Thompson, but he eventually broke up with her when he found out her secret. The Black Cat eventually moved past her feelings of anger and jealousy, and became friends with both Spider-Man and Mary Jane. She was one of the few to stand with Spider-Man and Venom against Carnage and his "brood" in the Maximum Carnage arc. Originally she sided with Venom's belief that the only way to defeat Carnage was to kill him, but at the end, she fought alongside Spider-Man in his effort to battle the chaos with compassion. After Spider-Man used a device to remove his superhuman abilities, the Black Cat aided him in finding the device again in order to restore them. But in the process, the Black Cat's cat-like abilities were completely erased. She subsequently purchased equipment from the Tinkerer to incorporate into her costume in order to compensate for her lost abilities, and occasionally teams up with Spider-Man.
After Spider-Man unmasked himself, the Black Cat was disappointed, because she had felt that they shared a bond over knowing his identity, which she described as "sexy". Though she is currently dating Thomas Fireheart (aka Puma), her new sexual interest notes that Felicia may still have some romantic inclinations toward Peter.
Civil War/The InitiativeEdit
Originally portrayed as an unstable young woman obsessed with Spider-Man, Felicia Hardy evolved into a strong-willed and clever foil to the Webslinger. While pursuing a life of crime, she very occasionally threw caution to the winds when her greed got the better of her and could be similarly reckless when it came to her relationships. (For instance, she once set Spider-Man up so that he would be caught with her in the commission of a crime in the hope he'd then be forced to turn outlaw, allowing the pair to be together.) She could also be quite superficial (when Peter Parker revealed his identity to Felicia, she begged him to put his mask back on—she couldn't deal with the thought of Spider-Man as an average guy) and, appropriately enough, catty.
Associates and enemiesEdit
- Spider-Man (Peter Parker) - Originally on opposite sides of the law, Peter and Felicia fell into an intense (and primarily physical) romance when she reformed. However, since her initial attraction was towards Spider-Man rather than Peter Parker, their relationship was doomed to fail. After a short period of animosity, they became close friends who help each other out on a regular basis. Felicia realizes now that breaking up with Peter was a mistake and that she is in fact "crushing on" Spider-Man and Peter Parker now, whom she considers "the best guy I've ever known." She is also the only person in the Marvel Universe who calls Spider-Man by the nickname "Spider", as opposed to the common "Spidey".
- Mary Jane Watson-Parker - Peter's wife and erstwhile rival for his affections. Initially mutually hostile, as Felicia believed Mary Jane "stole" Peter away from her, the two women have grown quite close and friendly, similar to Veronica Lodge and Betty Cooper in the Archie Comics. Nevertheless, Felicia is not above referring to Peter's wife as "Mary Plain" when arguing with Peter about their previous relationship.
- Flash Thompson - A friend of the Parkers, Felicia began a relationship with him in order to dump him to get back at Peter for marrying Mary Jane. Ironically, she actually came to love Flash and was dumped by him instead. This relationship took a different path in the MC2 Universe (see below).
- Puma - After teaming up together during the storyline "Feral", they begin a romantic relationship.
- Tinkerer - A friend of Felicia who crafted much of her current equipment.
- Toxin - Patrick Mulligan was saved from Carnage by The Black Cat, then teamed up with her and Peter to defeat Venom and Carnage.
- Wolverine - The Black Cat and Wolverine teamed up in the Marvel Knights miniseries "Claws." They go on a date afterward.
- She also teamed up with Captain America, Cloak and Dagger, Deathlok, Firestar, Iron Fist, Morbius, Nightwatch and Venom during Maximum Carnage.
- Her teammates among the New Heroes For Hire are Misty Knight, Colleen Wing, Tarantula, Shang-Chi, Paladin, American Samurai, Orka, and the Humbug.
Powers and abilitiesEdit
Initially, the Black Cat had no superhuman abilities. It was later revealed that she had a latent mutant ability to affect probability fields. This ability was activated through artificial means. It entails that under stress she is subconsciously able to cause anyone in her immediate vicinity that she perceives as a threat to be susceptible to freak accidents, like guns jamming and exploding, or tripping on objects, etc. This ability also had the side effect of eventually causing problems for anyone spending long periods of time around her. Doctor Strange eventually tampered with her powers removing that unwanted side-effect. However this magical tampering temporarily endowed her with cat-like abilities, giving her retractable talons in her fingertips, superhuman speed and strength, and infra-red vision. She lost these abilities as the magic faded. In the third issue of the Claws mini-series, she states that she can smell pheromones, meaning that she may still retain some animal-like sense of smell.
The Black Cat has reflexes, agility, and stamina of an Olympic level acrobat. She is physically very strong and athletic and has great physical endurance. She is an excellent street fighter capable of taking on several armed male assailants and incapacitating them without being injured herself.
The Black Cat has also acquired several devices from the Tinkerer that increase her agility and heighten her strength. She wears ear rings that interact with the balance centers of her brain to grant her enhanced agility. She has contact lenses that let her see in various ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum, such as infra-red and ultraviolet. Her costume contains micro-servos that enhance her strength above normal human levels. The gloves of her costume contain steel micro-filaments, which form retractable claws at the fingertips when she flexes her fingers (triggering a magnetic surge which condenses the filaments into polarized talons) which enable her to tear through most surfaces and easily scale walls. In addition to this the costume is extremely distracting and provocative (due to its skin-tight shape and plunging v-neck that exposes her cleavage), making it difficult for a male assailant to concentrate on what he is doing. Using this equipment the Black Cat has been able to successfully best enemies who have superhuman abilities.
The Black Cat has a miniature grappling hook device hidden in the "fur" of each glove, which enables her to swing from buildings in a manner similar to Spider-Man, though not quite as fast.
In Ultimate Spider-Man, set in the Ultimate Marvel universe, the Black Cat is Felicia Hardy, a young woman who blames her father’s death on Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin. Seeking revenge, she stole a priceless tablet that he was going to use on his comatose wife. Kingpin hired the assassin Elektra to retrieve it, and when Black Cat threw it into the harbor Elektra threw one of her sais into the Black Cat's chest, sending the thief over the edge. She was presumed dead, though no body was found.
She later returned during a gang war, stopping Hammerhead from shooting Spider-Man in the right temple. She later expressed interest in working for Hammerhead if it would mean getting rid of the Kingpin, which didn't sit that well with the other heroes.
Later, after the crisis was resolved, she passionately kissed Spider-Man through his mask, her previous interest in him having gotten stronger. She had apparently no idea of the age disparity between her and Peter, and mistakenly assumed, after he left in a rush, that he was a married man. When she managed to unmask him and realized how young he truly was, she was repulsed. The shock and embarrassment of such a discovery caused her to vomit on his uniform.
In the Ultimate reality, Black Cat has been described as a low-level mutant, her strength and agility are on par with that of Ultimate Spider-man. In this version, the Black Cat actually has short brunette hair, and wears a white-haired wig in her secret identity. As a side note, this wig has proven itself to stick extremely well to Black Cat's scalp. More than once, Elektra yanked on it with force, and it has stayed in place. It is possible that she somehow grew her hair longer and bleached it since her previous appearance, as she does not appear out of costume at any point in this story arc.
In the alternate future comics known as MC2, Felicia Hardy married Flash Thompson and had two children, Felicity and Gene, before they divorced. In this continuity, she has apparently retired the identity of the Black Cat and runs a private detective agency. She has begun a romantic relationship with a woman she works with, a fact that has produced much tension between herself and her daughter. (There has been no implication that Felicity has a problem with the bisexual aspect, but instead it appears that she blames her mother for the divorce. The exact chronology of these events has not been established.) Felicity temporarily adopted the identity of the new Scarlet Spider. Gene is currently dating May Parker.
In the Marvel Mangaverse continuity, Black Cat is cybernetically enhanced. She was originally a simple thief who stole a cursed magical amulet for its monetary value, but this act attracted the attention of Matt Murdock, the Devil Hunter, and she was cut in half. The Kingpin of Crime reconstructed her body with cybernetics, including a shut-down mechanism he planned to activate if she failed to serve him. After completing her mission for the Kingpin, he claimed to have permanently deactivated the mechanism, but whether he kept his word or not remains to be seen. She is still Spider-Man's old flame, but in the New Mangaverse storyline (with Spider-Man having chosen Mary Jane Watson over her) she is trying to move on, and is now showing a romantic interest in Wolverine though by the end of the story arc it is clear that she has a hidden agenda as she is later seen with Nick Fury.
A different version of Felicia Hardy is part of team led by Brother Voodoo.
Spider-Man loves Mary JaneEdit
Felicia Hardy is stated to make an appearance in issue #17 of the ongoing series.
Marvel Adventures: Spider-manEdit
In issue #14 of this all-ages series, Spider-Man battles the Black Cat.
Appearances in other mediaEdit
- Black Cat appeared in the 1981 Spider-Man series in the episode Curiosity Killed the Spider-Man.
In the 1990s animated television series Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Felicia Hardy and her alter ego, the Black Cat, were depicted as the first potential love interests for both Peter Parker and Spider-Man, respectively, rivaled only by Mary Jane Watson. Felicia was the well bred, well-to-do daughter of business woman Anastasia Hardy, and had only vague memories of her father, a career jewel thief known as the Cat, who had been imprisoned for years because he had memorized the World War II super soldier formula.As her civilian identity, Felicia was a slightly petite (unlike her alter ego) but nonetheless very attractive blonde with a crisp brogue and a sharp mind. She briefly dated Michael Morbius and later Jason Macendale, who was revealed to be the Hobgoblin, and the revelation left her devastated.
In this version of her character, Felicia was experimented on by the Kingpin (Wilson Fisk) with an upgraded type of the super-soldier project used to create Captain America, gifting her with great physical strength agility and dexterity, and the ability to alter her physical appearance i.e. hair color to white and costume change (thus transforming her into the more recognizable "comic" form: the Black Cat.) Her equipment gave her the ability to emit some sort of knockout gas from her wrists and an extendable cable and grappling hooks. She appears to have claws but they may only be part of her costume, allowing her to tear/cut through steel and concrete. Spider-Man recruited her during the animated Secret Wars because they worked well together, and she and Captain America were attracted to one another. She was voiced by Jennifer Hale.
- In Spider-Man: The New Animated Series, Talon is a villain based off the Black Cat. She was originally going to be Black Cat, but was changed to this character based off her due to the fact that she was voiced by Eve.
- Black Cat was a playable character in the Spider-Man arcade game Spider-Man: The Video Game, a side-scrolling fighting game. Black Cat could scratch enemies, pounce on them with leaping kicks, or use her grappling hook like a whip to strike from a distance.
- Black Cat was a summon in the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis game Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage, where her attacks vary depending on whether the player is Spider-Man or Venom. She also appeared in many of the pages from the "Maximum Carnage" comic book that were shown between levels.
- In the Sony PlayStation, Sega Dreamcast, PC, and Nintendo 64 Spider-Man video games, Black Cat usually appears at the first stage giving gaming tips every time the player walked into a question mark.
- The Black Cat also makes an appearance in the Spider-Man 2 video game, based on the 2004 film of the same name, as an unusual seductive ally of the web slinger who also has an apparent taste for occasional burglary.
Black Cat is one of the main characters in the novel Spider-Man: The Darkest Hours.
- Cat's House (Felicia Hardy)
- Black Cat on the Marvel Universe Character Bio Wiki
- Ultimate Black Cat on the Marvel Universe Character Bio Wiki
- Cat Scratch Fever
- Black Cat fansite
- The Women of Marvel Comics Black Cat Page
- A Black Cat Profile
- Black Cat's Profile at Spiderfan.org
- Black Cat's Profile at SamRuby.com
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