Black Cat (comics)

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Black Cat
Black Cat
Art by Terry Dodson.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance The Amazing Spider-Man #194 (July 1979)
Created by Marv Wolfman
Keith Pollard
In-story information
Alter ego Felicia Hardy
Team affiliations Heroes for Hire
Defenders[1]
Partnerships Spider-Man
Notable aliases Felicia Harmon, Felicity Harmon, Leesh, Party Hardy
Abilities
  • Probability manipulation
  • Grapnel hidden in sleeves
  • Expert martial artist with excellent gymnastic abilities
  • Expert burglar
  • Superhuman sense of smell and night vision

The Black Cat (Felicia Hardy) is a fictional character, an antiheroine and sometime supervillain that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Marv Wolfman and artist Keith Pollard, she first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #194 (July 1979).

Felicia Hardy is the daughter of a world-renowned cat burglar. After suffering a traumatic event as a college freshman, she trained herself in various fighting styles and acrobatics and, after deciding to follow in her father's footsteps, adopted her costumed identity as the Black Cat.[2] She was ranked 27th in Comics Buyer's Guide's 100 Sexiest Women in Comics list.[3]

Felicia Hardy makes her cinematic debut as Harry Osborn's assistant in the 2014 film The Amazing Spider-Man 2, portrayed by actress Felicity Jones.

Publication history[edit]

In 1979, creator Marv Wolfman was looking for a female foil for Spider-Woman. He decided to base a character on a Tex Avery cartoon "Bad Luck Blackie", in which a black cat brought misfortune to anyone in close proximity.[4] The Black Cat's costume and appearance were designed by Dave Cockrum.[5]

When Wolfman changed writing assignments within Marvel Comics to The Amazing Spider-Man, he brought his character with him. He made considerable changes to the character and her appearance over this time; the Black Cat intended to debut in Spider-Woman had only her name and powers in common with the one who finally appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man.[6] On the bottom of the letters page of The Amazing Spider-Man #194, a thumbnail of the intended cover for Spider-Woman #9 appears along with a rejected cover for The Amazing Spider-Man #194.

The Black Cat is sometimes mistakenly considered an homage to DC's Catwoman,[7] yet Felicia Hardy's signature low-cut black costume, cat burglar profession, and steady relationship to Spider-Man predate Selina Kyle's similar depiction in comics by almost a decade. Catwoman originally appeared in comics as "the Cat", a maskless pickpocket in a green dress and unrequited love interest for Batman,[8] but later became a supervillain who used big cats for elaborate crimes.[9] Although she was eventually given a black catsuit and was a romantic interest in the 1966-1968 live-action Batman television series, her modern incarnation combining these elements did not occur in comic books until 1987 with Frank Miller's Batman: Year One.[10] Wolfman said in an interview, "I didn't plan Black Cat to be in Spidey. I created her for Spider-Woman (look at the letter column of the first B.C. story and you’ll see). I then decided to leave Spider-Woman and moved her over. So, I never even thought of Catwoman when I did her. I got the idea for her from a Tex Avery cartoon, Bad Luck Blackie."[4]

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.[11] 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 than it would've been had I completed it back in '02."

In the mid-2000s, she starred alongside Wolverine in a limited comic book miniseries titled Claws. A sequel to this miniseries, entitled Claws II, began publication in July 2011. Black Cat was a lead character in the 2006-2007 Heroes for Hire series.

Fictional character biography[edit]

The Amazing Spider-Man #194 (July 1979): The Black Cat's debut. Cover art by Keith Pollard.

Felicia Hardy was born in Queens, New York. Her father Walter pretended to be a travelling salesman, but 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.

Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil that Men Do reveals that, as a freshman at Empire State University, Felicia was raped by her boyfriend Ryan. Hating the idea of being a victim, she trained herself in various fighting styles and acrobatics, intent on killing her rapist. 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 for revenge, Hardy decided to utilize her new skills to follow in her father's footsteps. After amassing a fortune in stolen items, Felicia adopted her costumed 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. Unfortunately for Felicia, her father died, and she then faked her own death.[12] 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.[13] 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.

Felicia had been placed in a mental institution, but escaped. She joined forces with Spider-Man against the Maggia. She was granted conditional amnesty, and again convinced Spider-Man that she had died.[14]

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. Meanwhile, Doctor Octopus planned to use the weapon to destroy the city altogether. However, 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 Doctor Octopus' 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.[15]

After she recovered, they began a relationship and soon Peter revealed his identity to her. Felicia had great difficulty accepting the fact that Peter was just a man beneath the mask and could not understand his need for a civilian life. Peter was hurt, but continued the relationship since it was the first time he did not need to hide his life as Spider-Man from someone.

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,[16] Felicia feared her lack of superpowers made her a liability to Spider-Man. She was terrified that his overwhelming need to protect her would eventually get him killed. So, Felicia sought a way to make herself Spider-Man's equal. After learning Tony Stark was missing, Henry Pym would not return her calls, and being rejected by the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, Felicia was offered an opportunity to undergo the same process that was used to create the Scorpion and the Fly.[17] 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 Avengers Mansion; 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.[18] Felicia then began a "Robin Hood crusade," stealing from the rich to give to the poor.[19]

Peter soon realized something was amiss with his own luck and enlisted the aid of Doctor Strange to remove the "hex" on him. By doing so, he altered the hex's source and changed the Black Cat's powers in the process. She soon found she had heightened strength, agility, balance, vision, and retractable claws. While burglarizing the mercenary known as the Foreigner, Black Cat was attacked by Sabretooth, the Foreigner's hitman; Spider-Man saved her life.[20]

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 Foreigner. Eventually, just as his life seemed to be coming together, 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.[21] She then battled and defeated Sabretooth.[22] Her apartment was fire-bombed by the Foreigner's hitman Blaze, and she began living with Peter Parker.[23] During her ruse against Peter and despite her anger, Felicia began to fall back onto her desire to love him. She soon donned another new costume. Spider-Man then discovered her association with the Foreigner. She cleared Spider-Man of a murder charge. In the end, the Black Cat doublecrossed the Foreigner and left for Paris to find a new life,[24] which unexpectedly pushed Peter to find support and a new relationship with Mary Jane Watson.[25]

Years later, the Black Cat returned to America, and went "shopping" with Dagger.[26] She returned to her original costume, went to seek out Peter Parker, and in a chance confrontation with Venom learned that Peter had married Mary Jane Watson.[27] Angry and jealous, Felicia began harassing the couple, taunting Peter as she dated his friend Flash Thompson.[28] She began physically threatening Mary Jane, confronting her and swearing to ruin their marriage.[29] She saved a powerless Spider-Man from the Scorpion, but then all her powers were rendered inert by one of the Chameleon's devices. She began to believe that she sincerely cared for Thompson,[30] but he broke up with her when he found out her secret. The Black Cat later made up with both Spider-Man and Mary Jane, becoming close friends with them.[volume & issue needed] 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.[volume & issue needed] 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. In the process, the Black Cat's cat-like abilities were completely erased.[volume & issue needed] She subsequently purchased equipment from the Tinkerer to incorporate into her costume in order to compensate for her lost abilities, and occasionally teamed up with Spider-Man.[volume & issue needed]

After Spider-Man unmasked himself, the Black Cat was enraged, because she had felt that they shared a bond over knowing his identity, which she described as "sexy".[volume & issue needed] Though she is dating Thomas Fireheart (a.k.a. Puma), her new sexual interest notes that Felicia may still have some romantic inclinations toward Peter.[31]

Civil War/The Initiative[edit]

The Black Cat became a member of the new Heroes for Hire during the on-going Civil War although Misty Knight believed that Felicia was just there for the money.[32]

Marvel Divas[edit]

Black Cat returns in the limited series, Marvel Divas (a parody of Sex and the City).[33] She is one of the main characters, alongside Firestar, Hellcat, and Photon. The writers are Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Tonci Zonjic.[33] Summoned by her friends to cope with Firestar's breast cancer, Felicia is revealed financially broken: unable to restart her investigation firm, she's too proud to accept Puma's monetary assistance, and her attempts to get a loan are met with open hostility from the banks of New York, often targets of her villainous activities as the Black Cat. Thus, feeling rejected and angry, Felicia begins to consider returning to villainy.[34]

Following Marvel Divas, Black Cat returns as a recurring character in The Amazing Spider-Man, following a storyline in #606-607 entitled "Back in Black Cat".[35] Although she remembers her previous encounters with Spider-Man, the events of "One More Day" have erased her memory of his identity.[35] Also, she has regained her "bad luck" powers.[36]

Spider-Man ran into the Black Cat as she was breaking into the penthouse apartment of Dexter Bennett. Spider-Man caught up to her, reminding her that she was the one that dumped him. She and Puma had ended their relationship, so she and Spider-Man share a kiss,[36] and later they slept together with the lights off, so Felicia could not see Peter's face.[37] Following this encounter Peter and Felicia begin a sexual relationship.[38] Peter later enlists the Black Cat's help in getting back his vial of blood from Mister Negative.[39]

Following this, Black Cat received her own four issue mini-series, which was written by Jen Van Meter, drawn by Javier Pullido and covered by Amanda Conner. In the series, Felicia became caught up in the events of "The Gauntlet" and "Grim Hunt" storyline after her mother, Lydia, was kidnapped by the members of the Kravinoff family.[40] Felicia agreed to turn herself over to the Kravinoffs in exchange for her mother's freedom, but instead sent a decoy while she tracked down her mother and attempted to free her herself. After removing the duct tape from her mother's mouth, Felicia discovered that the Kravinoffs had strapped an explosive device to her wrists in order to kill both of them.[41] Felicia is ultimately able to rescue her mother and keep her safe from the clutches of the Kravinoff family.[42]

Mary Jane enlisted the Black Cat's help after Spider-Man was captured by Doc Tramma, who turned out to be the one who restored Felicia's bad luck powers. Together they managed to defeat Tramma and save Spider-Man, and agreed to become friends afterwards.[43] Black Cat is next seen in the "Big Time" storyline helping Spider-Man retrieve some experimental vibranium the new Hobgoblin stole for the Kingpin.[44]

Spider-Island[edit]

Black Cat appears in the story arc of the spider island, fighting against the half-spider creatures, when the Heroes for Hire are called in to help with the quarantine of Manhattan.[45]

Afterwards, Black Cat was blamed for the theft of a Holographic Projector from Horizon Labs. Since Spider-Man was with her at the time of the robbery he knew that she was innocent, and he recruited Matt Murdock (a.k.a. Daredevil) to help prove her innocence. It was later revealed that the criminal organization Black Spectre framed her to test her as part of their plot to recruit the Black Cat to their side and offer her a huge cash reward for retrieving a device that Matt Murdock has in his possession. Afterwards she goes to Matt's apartment and they start a relationship which is part of her plan.[46][47] However she betrays Black Spectre and alerts Daredevil, leaving him a note saying the organization is monitoring his actions, before going into hiding.[48]

Marvel NOW![edit]

As part of the Marvel NOW! event, Felicia was later contacted by her friend, Misty Knight, in order to help the Fearless Defenders fight the so-called Doom Maidens along with other female heroines such as Storm, Tigra, Hellcat and Valkyrie.[49]

Superior Spider-Man (Doctor Octopus' mind in Peter Parker's body) swings in his patrol heading for another date with his girlfriend Anna Maria Marconi only to bump into the Black Cat, who was committing a robbery. Felicia attempts to flirt, but suddenly Superior Spider-Man attacks her punching her straight into her face taking out a tooth in the process. Superior Spider-Man continues the assault reminiscing about how he once tried to kill her, but now he was just apprehending her as a criminal. This leaves Felicia totally shocked and angry while swearing revenge after Superior Spider-Man wraps her in webbing.[50]

Following the conclusion of The Superior Spider-Man storyline returning the true Spider-Man, Black Cat later escapes at the beginning of the new Amazing Spider-Man series when Electro stages a breakout at the prison where she was being held.[51] Determined to regain her standing by defeating Spider-Man, she attacks him while he is trying to evacuate a burning building, forcing Spider-Man to pretend to still be Doctor Octopus to drive her away as he cannot afford to lose time rescuing civilians. Felicia then makes contact with Electro, suggesting that they collaborate in seeking revenge on Spider-Man.[52] Black Cat is in Parker Industries, making a record of all the tech they are currently producing. However she does not understand them, and opts to 'steal' someone who does. Sajani has had enough of Peter's constant disappearances and vows to make Peter see how he deals with everything without her help. Black Cat then pulls her away, commenting on her perfect timing.[53] Black Cat and Electro later raid Eel's hideout where she has Electro defeat him. Black Cat and Electro later show up at a meeting between Mister Negative and Phil Urich (who is now leading the remnants of the Goblin Underground as the self-proclaimed Goblin King) where they throw Eel's body in between them. Black Cat states to Mister Negative and Phil Urich that she has heard about how they were outed by Spider-Man and wants in on their plan. During Peter's interview on the Fact Channel, Electro attacks the security team on the channel and Black Cat arrives announcing her demand that if Spider-Man does not show up in fifteen minutes, Peter will be dead. Electro complains about the plan but Black Cat stays determined that Spider-Man will show up, but then Silk arrives to confront the both, giving Peter the time to change into Spider-Man and jump into action, naming Silk. As she battles against Electro and Spider-Man deals with Black Cat, J. Jonah Jameson remains on the channel forcing the cameraman to film the action. Spider-Man tries to convince Black Cat to stop even while she does not believe his story of being mind-swapped. Black Cat deviate one of Electro's bolts hitting Spider-Man, knocking him down in the process. Black Cat attempts to unmask Spider-Man as Jameson aims the camera,[54] Jameson's angle prevents anyone seeing Spider-Man's face long enough for Silk to knock Black Cat back and Spider-Man to put his mask back on. Although Electro accepts being depowered when his uncontrollable abilities prove dangerous even to himself, Black Cat continues her vendetta against Spider-Man regardless of who is behind the mask.[55]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Initially, the Black Cat had no superhuman abilities. Later, a test induced by the Kingpin gave her the psionic ability to affect probability fields;[volume & issue needed] essentially, she could produce "bad luck" for her enemies. The "bad luck" power 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. 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 that briefly removed her bad luck abilities, along with the unwanted side effect. However, this magical tampering temporarily endowed her with cat-like abilities, giving her night vision, retractable talons in her fingertips, superhuman speed and strength, agility, and endurance, proportionate to a cat.[56] Her "bad luck" powers were eventually restored by Doc Tramma through the use of cybernetics.[57]

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 assailants and incapacitating them without being injured herself. She is trained in several martial arts styles.

The Black Cat has also acquired several devices from the Tinkerer that increase her agility and heighten her strength. She wears earrings 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 infrared 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, the costume is extremely distracting and provocative (due to its skin-tight shape and plunging v-neck that exposes her cleavage), which can make it difficult for a male assailant to concentrate on what he is doing. Using this equipment, the Black Cat has been able to beat enemies who have superhuman abilities.

The Black Cat has a miniature grappling hook device hidden in the "fur" of each glove, designed by her father Walter Hardy, which enables her to swing from buildings in a manner similar to Spider-Man, though not quite as fast. She can also use the cable from this device as a tightrope, wall scaling device, swing line, or as a weapon in combat.

Other versions[edit]

House of M[edit]

In the House of M reality warp, Felicia Hardy appears as the Black Cat, having gained her powers through the Kingpin.[58] She, alongside Elektra, Bullseye, Gladiator, and Typhoid Mary, are among the Kingpin's top assassins,[59] however she is a double agent for Luke Cage's "Avengers" and feeds them information whenever she can. The Kingpin knows this and has Bullseye and Elektra beat her, while he throws her out a window. She survives and tells Luke that they have been set up, along with the Wolfpack and the Dragons.[volume & issue needed] She stays with the group and is a more vocal member of Luke Cage's resistance. She takes part in the final battle at Genosha.[volume & issue needed]

Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man[edit]

In issue #14 of vol 1 of this all-ages series, Spider-Man battles the Black Cat.[60]

Marvel Mangaverse[edit]

Marvel Mangaverse Black Cat. Art by Tommy Ohtsuka.

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.[volume & issue needed]

Marvel Zombies[edit]

A zombified Black Cat is briefly seen battling Iron Fist. He punches a hole straight through her.[volume & issue needed]

However, somehow (in Marvel Zombies: Dead Days) during events set after her appearance above (which happened in Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness), she appears alive and well, also uninfected on one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Carriers.[volume & issue needed]

When asked about this during his Joe Friday 100, Joe Q explained that "the MZ world is not exactly like the regular Marvel Universe. Our Captain America is their “Colonel America”. Their Reed Richards is evil. A lot of the costumes are from different eras in our world. We assumed it was obvious from the context that in the MZ world, Felicia Hardy has a twin sister, Felicity Hardy, who is the costumed adventurer known as Night Cat."[61]

MC2[edit]

In the alternate future comics known as MC2, Felicia Hardy married Flash Thompson and had two children, Felicity and Gene, before they divorced.[volume & issue needed] 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 Diana, a woman she works with, a fact that has produced tension between herself and her daughter.[volume & issue needed]

Spider-Man: Fairy Tales[edit]

Issue #1 of Spider-Man: Fairy Tales follows the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood. Mary Jane plays the part of Little Red Riding Hood, and Peter is one of the woodsmen. Mary Jane owns a black cat named Felicia. #3, a Japanese ghost story, features a demoness resembling a humanoid black cat, with long white hair.[volume & issue needed]

Marvel Noir[edit]

In Marvel Noir, Felicia Hardy is the owner of "The Black Cat", a speakeasy that caters to the most powerful and corrupt in New York City.[62] In Spider-Man Noir: Eyes without a Face, she takes on a more prominent role, sheltering Peter after he is almost killed by Sandman, as well as dating Crime Master. Like most incarnations, Felicia has a relationship with Spider-Man Noir. Crime Master slashes her when he finds out about this, but before passing out, she alerts the FBI that he is in league with Otto Octavius and his inhumane experiments. The final panel of the series shows her with a mask similar to Madame Masque, angrily refusing to see Spider-Man since she blames him for her scars.[63]

Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane[edit]

Felicia Hardy makes her appearance in issue #17 of the series. She is a teenager who transfers to the same high school attended by Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. Felicia is considered "bad luck" due to her violent past and confrontational personality. She flirts with Flash and challenges his girlfriend, Liz Allan, to a fight, which was merely a ruse to establish her reputation as a girl not to be messed with.[64]

Supernaturals[edit]

A different version of Felicia Hardy is part of a team led by Brother Voodoo. Unlike her 616 counterpart, this version of Black Cat possesses enchanted vocal abilities that allow her to alter the outcomes of events by speaking certain phrases aloud. (For example, at one point, saying "Break" causes a noose to snap.) This ability is shown to be useless once Jack O'Lantern tapes Felicia's mouth shut.[65]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

Ultimate Black Cat on the cover to Ultimate Spider-Man #82 (November 2005). Art by Mark Bagley.

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. When Black Cat threw it into the harbor, Elektra threw one of her sai into the Black Cat's chest, sending the thief over the edge. She was presumed dead, though no body was found.[66]

She later returned during a gang war, stopping Hammerhead from shooting Spider-Man in the right temple.[67] She later expressed interest in working for Hammerhead if it would mean getting rid of the Kingpin although Spider-Man opposed this.[68] She later assisted Hammerhead and Elektra in a confrontation against Moon Knight, Shang-Chi, Iron Fist and Spider-Man.[69]

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 costume.[70] She is next seen trying to assassinate the Kingpin. However, Mysterio beats her to it.[volume & issue needed] She then tries to steal the Zodiac Key from the Kingpin's vault. Mysterio, knowing that it contained great power, tried to steal it from her. Felicia tried to wish Mysterio to go away, but instead she accidentally caused the key to create a massive explosion. Shocked by what she did, she handed it over to Mysterio. Spider-Man came to the scene with Iron Man. Mysterio subdued Iron Man and then Spider-Man, Mysterio, and Felicia then fought over the key. Spider-Man won and then both he and Felicia decided to help the people who were caught in the middle of Felicia's mistake.[volume & issue needed]

In this version, the Black Cat actually has short brunette hair, but wears a white-haired wig as part of her costume.

What If?[edit]

In the What If? storyline What if the Alien Costume had Possessed Spider-Man?, after the symbiote forms a permanent bond with Spider-Man due to Mister Fantastic being unable to examine the web-slinger until it is too late to break them apart, Felicia goes on a brief crime spree until she learns that the symbiote - which here lives on adrenaline from superhumans - has abandoned the now-deceased Spider-Man in favor of the Hulk; she favors killing the Hulk over the objections of the other heroes. After Spider-Man's funeral, she is contacted by the Kingpin, who helps her develop a weapon that will kill the symbiote in exchange for a lifetime of service from her; despite the heroes having already defeated the symbiote thanks to the actions of Thor and Black Bolt, with Doctor Strange being about to banish it, Felicia kills the symbiote anyway, subsequently berating the heroes for not knowing the price she had to pay to ensure that justice was done.[71]

In another storyline, Spider-Man marries the Black Cat rather than Mary Jane - Alistair Smythe's attack having left Mary Jane injured in this reality, leaving Peter doubting his ability to look after her, with he and Felicia rekindling their romance while fighting supervillains together, but their relationship is complicated by such factors as Peter and Felicia being unable to live together in order to preserve his secret identity. After Felicia's carelessness results in Spider-Man's identity being discovered by an unidentified informant, combined with her own jealousy over Peter's continued friendship with Mary Jane, she is killed by Paladin after he mistakenly assumes she attempted to kill Mary Jane, resulting in Peter forming a romantic relationship with Silver Sable as the two bond over their shared grief at the loss of their loved ones.[72]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

Spider-Man (1981)[edit]

Black Cat appeared in the 1981 Spider-Man episode "Curiosity Killed the Spider-Man", voiced by Morgan Lofting.[73]

Spider-Man: The Animated Series[edit]

Felicia Hardy in Spider-Man: The Animated Series.

In the 1990s Spider-Man: The Animated Series,[vague] Felicia Hardy (voiced by Jennifer Hale) is originally depicted as the first love interest of Peter Parker, although she is eventually replaced in this role by Mary Jane Watson. She also dates Morbius in this series. In this incarnation it's revealed her father "The Cat" was fooled into sneaking into an American lab during World War II, to memorize the super soldier formula that created Captain America and report back to the Red Skull. At the last moment he realized the deception and ran away to a life of crime. In the present, The Cat is in a S.H.I.E.L.D. prison but is then broken out by the Kingpin. Doctor Octopus (working for the Kingpin) kidnaps Felicia as leverage and to be used as a guinea pig for an improved super soldier formula. The formula proves a success, making her overall physical prowess comparable to Spider-Man and also gives her the ability to switch between her normal blond haired form and her empowered well-muscled white haired form at will; she then recruited Spider-Man to assist in a rescue attempt for her father. After Kraven the Hunter was believed to be creating havoc in New York City, Black Cat helped make Spider-Man realize that he was trying to help his love Dr. Crawford. She was also featured in a smaller story arc where she was again kidnapped this time by Alistair Smythe to be used as leverage to get Spider-Man to kidnap either the Scorpion or the Vulture. It was later revealed that Smythe had developed a machine reversed engineered from the Time Tablet and Vulture's talons and that data extracted from the genetic and molecular structure of the Scorpion (both Vulture and Scorpion suffered heavy exposure to Vulture's earlier prototypes) was needed. The three components were used in conjunction in an attempt to swap age and abilities of the baby Silvermane and Spider-Man but a rescue attempt by Black Cat, Vulture, and the freed Scorpion destroyed the machine and returned Silvermane to his proper age. After Morbius awakens as a vampire, she struggles at figuring out how to stop him because of her feelings for him. She then finds herself teaming up with Blade, Spider-Man, and Morbius to take down Blade's vampire mother who was using Dr. Connors' genetic recombinator to create an army of vampires. She then decides to leave Spider-Man to work for Blade along with Morbius, but not before she admits her love for him. She does come back however to help Spider-Man defeat Hydro-Man and also appears at the wedding of Peter and Mary Jane Watson. She as Black Cat allies herself with Spider-Man and Kingpin fighting droids created by Alistair Smythe that are crashing the wedding. After Blade, Morbius, and Black Cat nearly succeeded in capturing Blade's mother, Black Cat was brought into the Secret War due to an effort by Storm, Iron Man, and Spider-Man. She is initially angry and wants to return to Earth. She nearly fell into a river of lava, but Spider-Man saved her by webbing Black Cat's ankle. When the Red Skull's stronghold is attacked she goes after him while the others are distracted trying to destroy the Cyber-Skulls. However she is seized by Doctor Octopus, who covers her mouth. The other heroes are unable to attack with her hostage, but she is freed, though the two villains escape. She is later seen fighting them with other heroes before Doctor Doom sends them back to Earth. After the Secret War was over she was sent back to the exact time and place she was taken from with no memory of the war. Despite her aristocratic background she flirts, kisses, or dates other characters in her age range. She does so more than once with Spider-Man while dating another person. It is alluded to that her promiscuous nature is rooted in her relationship with her father. With him having left her when she was young, she constantly tries to fill that void and if a man disappoints her, leaves, dies, etc.; she turns to Spider-Man because he tends to "always be there" unlike her father.

The Spectacular Spider-Man[edit]

Black Cat appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man, voiced by Tricia Helfer. She is depicted as simply a thief with no bad-luck probability abilities in "Persona" and her alter ego is revealed to be Felicia Hardy in "Opening Night". She has cameos in "Intervention" (via flashbacks from the season's previous episodes)[74] and "Nature vs. Nurture".[75] In the second season, she appears in the episode "Accomplices",[76] and in the twelfth episode "Opening Night".[77] In that episode, her father is revealed to be the cat burglar that shot Uncle Ben. Black Cat flirts with Spider-Man and kisses him to distract him enough for her to escape. But in "Opening Night", she reveals that she indeed has feelings for Spider-Man.

Film[edit]

  • Felicia Hardy appeared in early scripts for Spider-Man 2 in a subplot in which she tries to convince Spider-Man to give up being Peter Parker.[citation needed] This idea was to contrast the other subplot of Peter giving up being Spider-Man. Though she was cut from later scripts, the Black Cat and her subplot are used in the video game based on the film.
  • Felicia Hardy was originally supposed to appear in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 4 and be played by Anne Hathaway, though she would not have transformed into the Black Cat, as in the comics. Instead, Raimi's Felicia was expected to become a new super-powered figure called the Vulturess.[78] However, in 2013 Raimi stated that Anne Hathaway would have played Black Cat if Spider-Man 4 had been made.[79]
  • In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Felicity Jones portrayed a character named Felicia, later confirmed to be Felicia Hardy.[80] Her character has a "special relationship" with Norman Osborn.[81][82][83] Felicia will reportedly become the Black Cat in future Spider-Man films.[84] In the film, Harry Osborn's first act after taking control of Oscorp was to promote her over his father's former inner circle as a demonstration of his power.

Video games[edit]

  • Black Cat made her video game debut as a playable character in the 1991 arcade game Spider-Man: The Video Game, a side-scrolling fighting game. Black Cat can scratch enemies, pounce on them with leaping kicks, or use her grappling hook like a whip to strike from a distance.
  • In the Sony PlayStation, Sega Dreamcast, PC, and Nintendo 64 Spider-Man video game, Black Cat appears in the first stage giving gaming tips every time the player walks into a question mark, and reappears later in the game. She is knocked out by Rhino and kidnapped by Doctor Octopus and Carnage who have thugs pose as paramedics. Spider-Man eventually finds her and rescues her from the symbiote base. Jennifer Hale reprises her role from Spider-Man: The Animated Series.
  • Black Cat appears in the Spider-Man 2 video game, voiced by Holly Fields. She is not a playable character. During the game Black Cat appears as a thief who develops an interest in Spider-Man. Throughout certain levels of the game Spider-Man has to meet with Black Cat in certain places on top of buildings; once met, Black Cat will usually race Spider-Man to another region which she claims to be trouble. During cutscenes in the game Black Cat will continuously persuade Spider-Man to 'ditch' his normal life as Peter Parker for a permanent life as Spider-Man. Black Cat makes her first appearance during a theft at an art museum. She later reveals her identity as Black Cat before diving off a building and vanishing into the city below. She later leads Spider-Man to Shocker's location where she helps defeat the foe. Black Cat makes her final appearance in the game after Spider-Man helps here defeat a fleet of armed mechas, after which he tells her the world needs both Spider-Man and Peter Parker. She departs, telling Spider-Man "once I cross your path, I'm not so easy to get rid of."
  • Black Cat is a playable character in the game Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, voiced by Audrey Wasilewski. Spider-Man encounters her outside of Doctor Octopus' secret lab in a Japanese industrial plant. During the game Black Cat's skills are best suited to the art of infiltration, but she is no pushover in a fight. Her grappling hook, usually employed to climb walls, is a quick and efficient weapon in her capable hands. After meeting Black Cat she will assist Spider-Man throughout the chapter. During fights Black Cat wields her grappling hook and has two power moves called: Heaven's Claw and Tornado Claw.
  • Black Cat appears in Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, with Tricia Helfer reprising her role. Near the beginning of the game she serves as the first boss having gone to work for Kingpin, though after the fight she revealed in utter distress that it was a complex attempt to impress Spider-Man and comes on to him. If the player chooses the Red Suit path, Spider-Man rejects her advances stating that he both does not want her and cannot be with her as he leaves to go meet up with Moon Knight. If the player chooses the Black Suit path, Spider-Man accepts Black Cat's advances and stays the night with her. If the player choose her, she will also give Spider-Man missions to track down who was manufacturing weapons for Kingpin instead of Moon Knight. Sometime after helping Spider-Man, S.H.I.E.L.D., and Kingpin's forces clear a rooftop full of symbiotes, Black Cat becomes possessed by a symbiote and fights Spider-Man. After the fight, Black Cat is gravely injured, freeing her of the symbiote. The player is then given two choices again. If the player takes the Red Suit path, she is brought on to a S.H.I.E.L.D medivac uttering her last conscious words to Mary-Jane "He really does love you". If the player chooses the Black Suit path, Spider-Man reinfects her with his more powerful symbiote to heal her leaving her in more control of her symbiote. Doing this will cause Mary-Jane to leave in tears. In one Black Suit ending, Spider-Man rules with the symbiote-controlled Black Cat by his side telling Spider-Man that she had offered him the entire city.
  • In Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, the Noir version of Felicia Hardy is referenced as Spider-Man Noir's tip about Hammerhead and one of the background billboards in the 2099 era depicts Black Cat seemingly being used to advertise a shampoo brand.
  • An exclusive 2099 incarnation of Black Cat appears in Spider-Man: Edge of Time, voiced by Katee Sackhoff.[85] According to her in-game profile, Alchemax acquired the original Black Cat's DNA when she came to the company looking for a way to halt or reverse the aging process. Although she escaped when she realised the extent of Alchemax's corruption, the company created her clones so that Alchemax could use her skills as a security force. One clone was given the Vanisher's powers, instilled with a powerful agoraphobia so that she wouldn't be tempted to escape the building, upgraded with cybernetic weaponry, and has been seemingly force-fed anti-aging pills.[86] After fighting and defeating the other Black Cat clones, Spider-Man (Peter Parker) fights Black Cat 2099 (the special clone). After being defeated, she implied that she still has feelings for her opponent. Later when Spider-Man 2099 sets off to confront Alchemax's CEO, Spider-Man 2099 has to fight the other Black Cat clones along other Alchemax guards.
  • Felicia Hardy serves as a villain in The Amazing Spider-Man video game, voiced by Ali Hillis.[88] She is seen as a patient at Beloit Psychiatric Hospital until she escapes during the breakout. Felicia and her hired thugs, mercenaries, and urban commandos later invade St. Gabriel's Bank to rob it. She takes the bank director hostage in order to get into the vaults. When Spider-Man catches up to her in the vaults, she uses a subway car to escape into the subway. Upon catching up to Felicia in an underground parking lot, Spider-Man defeats her and hands her over to the police. In one of the photo missions, it is revealed Felicia escaped, gained cat like abilities, and has taken on her Black Cat persona. She even leaves a note with a paw mark and a kiss saying "You missed me Spider-Man."
  • Black Cat is available as downloadable content for the game LittleBigPlanet, as part of "Marvel Costume Kit 6".[89]
  • Black Cat appears in Marvel Heroes, with Tricia Helfer reprising her role once more.
  • Black Cat appears in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 video game, voiced again by Ali Hillis. Felicia Hardy was sprung from Ravencroft by Kingpin who has his doctors do a cross-species experiment on Felicia causing her to become Black Cat.

Live performance[edit]

Novels[edit]

  • Black Cat appears in the novel Spider-Man: The Darkest Hours, where she works with Spider-Man and the Rhino to battle the Ancients, three 'relatives' of Spider-Man's deceased foe Morlun. Felicia also reveals that she was one of the detectives hired by Ezekiel- an old man with similar spider-powers to Peter- when he sought to work out who Spider-Man was, Felicia tracking Spider-Man's out-of-country appearances.
  • Black Cat appears in the novel Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk: Rampage by Danny Fingeroth and Eric Fein, the first book of the Doom's Day trilogy.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil that Men Do
  3. ^ Frankenhoff, Brent (2011). Comics Buyer's Guide Presents: 100 Sexiest Women in Comics. Krause Publications. p. 25. ISBN 1-4402-2988-0. 
  4. ^ a b "Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #22!". 
  5. ^ Matt Powell (2006-11-27). "Saying Goodbye to Dave Cockrum". Wizard.com. Archived from the original on February 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  6. ^ Johnson, Dan (August 2006). "Marvel's Dark Angel: Back Issue Gets Caught in Spider-Woman's Web". Back Issue (17) (TwoMorrows Publishing). pp. 57–63. 
  7. ^ Beatty, Scott, 2004-06-01, Catwoman: The Visual Guide to the Feline Fatale, Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd
  8. ^ Batman: The Dark Knight Archives, Vol. 1 (DC Comics, 2005), pp. 37, 156. ISBN 1-4012-0375-2
  9. ^ Batman in the Fifties. (DC Comics, 2002), p. 102. ISBN 1-56389-810-1
  10. ^ Miller 1987, Batman #404
  11. ^ Kevin (Presumably Kevin Smith) (2005-07-28). "The impossible has happened...". View Askew Message Board. Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
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  13. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #204-205
  14. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #226-227
  15. ^ Spectacular Spider-Man #74-76
  16. ^ The Spectacular Spider-Man #75
  17. ^ Spectacular Spider-Man #87-89
  18. ^ Spectacular Spider-Man #100
  19. ^ Spectacular Spider-Man #112
  20. ^ Spectacular Spider-Man #115
  21. ^ Spectacular Spider-Man #115-117
  22. ^ Spectacular Spider-Man #119
  23. ^ Spectacular Spider-Man #123-124
  24. ^ Spectacular Spider-Man #128-129
  25. ^ Amazing Spider-Man" #290 -293
  26. ^ Strange Tales Vol. 2 #10
  27. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #316
  28. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #329
  29. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #331
  30. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #342-343
  31. ^ Sensational Spider-Man vol. 2, #27, #34
  32. ^ Heroes for Hire vol. 2 #2
  33. ^ a b "MyCup o’ Joe Tea, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning". MySpace Comic Books. 2009-04-09. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
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  41. ^ Amazing Spider-Man Presents: Black Cat #3
  42. ^ Amazing Spider-Man Presents: Black Cat #4
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  44. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #649-651
  45. ^ Spider Island: Heroes for Hire
  46. ^ Amazing Spider-Man (vol 1) #577
  47. ^ Daredevil (vol 3) #8
  48. ^ Daredevil (vol 3) #10
  49. ^ Fearless Defenders #5
  50. ^ The Superior Spider-Man #20
  51. ^ Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 3 #1
  52. ^ Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 3 #3
  53. ^ Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 3 #4
  54. ^ Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 3 #5
  55. ^ Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 3 #6
  56. ^ Spectacular Spider-Man #116
  57. ^ Web of Spider-Man vol. 2 #12
  58. ^ House of M: Avengers #4
  59. ^ House of M: Avengers #3
  60. ^ Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man #14
  61. ^ Joe Fridays - Week 100, A Weekly Q&A With Joe Quesada, Part 2, Newsarama
  62. ^ Spider-Man Noir #1
  63. ^ Spider-Man Noir: Eyes Without a Mask Issues #1-4
  64. ^ Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #17
  65. ^ The Supernaturals #4
  66. ^ Ultimate Spider-Man #53
  67. ^ Ultimate Spider-Man #81
  68. ^ Ultimate Spider-Man #82
  69. ^ Ultimate Spider-Man #84
  70. ^ Ultimate Spider-Man #85
  71. ^ What If...? vol. 2 #4
  72. ^ What If...? vol. 2 #20-21
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  74. ^ "Intervention". The Spectacular Spider-Man. Season 1.
  75. ^ "Nature vs. Nurture". The Spectacular Spider-Man. Season 1.
  76. ^ "Accomplices". The Spectacular Spider-Man. Season 1.
  77. ^ "Opening Night". The Spectacular Spider-Man. Season 2.
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External links[edit]