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Quote1 I'm not a hero. I'm a thief. Born a thief. Raised a thief. Will die a thief. Quote2
-- Black Cat src
 

Early Life

Felicia Hardy's father Walter Hardy 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.[5]

During her freshman year in college, she had gone to a party and was nearly raped by a drunken student in a bathroom, when she was saved by another student, named Ryan. Felicia and Ryan became close friends, spending most of their time together until one night Ryan demanded that it was time for their relationship to become physical. Felicia's protests were in vain. Hating the idea of being a victim, she decided that she would murder her rapist despite the consequences. She put aside her studies and began training in various fighting styles and acrobatics. After months of preparing, she set out for revenge, but before she could find him, Ryan was killed in a drunk driving accident.[6]

Black Cat

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 having been arrested, Felicia was freed from prison by the Black Fox, her father's mentor, who took Felicia as his new pupil.[4] 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 love him.[7]

Felicia looked for a way to earn his trust and continued with the Black Cat persona as a misguided attempt to attract his affection. However, she was still cunning enough to fake mental instability when captured, ensuring she was housed in a less secure facility.[8] When she was released, Felicia initially agreed to go straight for Spider-Man, and the web-slinger even had his friend on the force Captain DeWolff begin drawing up amnesty papers. The Black Cat decided to pull one last big score, however, and attempted to manipulate Spider-Man into joining her life of crime. He tried to capture her again, but Felicia seemingly flung herself to her death rather than go back to jail. Captain DeWolff ironically arrived with the now useless amnesty papers shortly after.[9]

Peter Parker and Felicia Hardy (Earth-616) from Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 194 0001

Relationship With Spider-Man

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, eventually starting to love her.[10]

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.[11]

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,[12] 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 when Spider-Man disappeared during the "Secret Wars", Felicia sought out a way to make herself Spider-Man's equal. After 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. Only after the process was completed did Felicia learn the power came from the Kingpin.[13]

Afraid of how Spider-Man would react, she kept her new abilities secret from Peter. Her newly-gained 'bad luck' power was infectious and began to permanently jinx Spider-Man, which was exactly the Kingpin's intent. Feeling a wall of secrets growing between them, Spider-Man broke up with Felicia, which infuriated her since she was just about to break up with him to protect him from the effects of her "jinx".[14]

Spider-Man eventually realized something was amiss with his own luck and enlisted the aid of Doctor Strange. Strange determined there was a permanent "bad luck" aura around Spider-Man. Peter rightly connected the phenomena to Felicia, but unfairly assumed she did it on purpose. He told Doctor Strange to remove the jinx despite Strange's warnings it might have unexpected side effects on Felicia. Indeed, Strange's magic not only removed the jinx but changed the Black Cat's powers in the process. She discovered her bad luck powers were gone, but replaced by a heightened strength, agility, balance, vision, and retractable claws.[15]

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.[16]

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 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.

Yet, during her ruse and despite her anger, Felicia began to fall back in love with 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.[17]

Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 606 Textless

Black Cat and lover, Spider-Man.

Months 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.[18] Angry and jealous, Felicia began harassing the couple, physically threatening Mary Jane and taunting Peter as she dated his friend Flash Thompson.[19]. The Black Cat eventually moved past her feelings of anger and jealousy, and became friends with both Spider-Man and Mary Jane.

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.[20] 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.[21]

New Life

Felicia began to sincerely care for Thompson, but he eventually broke up with her when he found out her secret,[22] and she went on to open her own private detective and security consultants' firm.[23]

At some point after this, Black Cat - along with the mutant Wolverine - were kidnapped and forced to survive against multiple assailants on an uninhabited island. They managed to survive many traps, including the volcano in the middle of the island erupting, and tracked down the one who kidnapped them, Arcade. They easily tracked him down and left him tied up on in the Savage Land.[24]

Civil War

After Spider-Man unmasked himself during the superhuman civil war resulting from the Superhuman Registration Act, Black Cat was enraged because she felt he had broken the bond she shared with him over knowing his secret identity. Though she was dating Puma, her new romatic interest noted that Felicia appeared to still have some romantic inclinations toward Peter.[25] In the aftermath of the conflict, Peter found a way to magically erase the public knowledge of his alter-ego.[26][27] During the civil war, Black Cat accepted an offer from Misty Knight and Colleen Wing in the new Heroes for Hire. Felicia, along with her teammates, were assigned to apprehend any unregistered heroes.[28]

Peter Parker (Earth-616) and Felicia Hardy (Earth-616) from Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 606 0001

Back in Black Cat

Felicia eventually left Puma and resumed her life of crime,[29] also regaining her bad luck powers by the hand of supervillain scientist Doc Tramma.[30] Black Cat returned to Spider-Man's life when he stumbled upon her before a break-in.[29] She and Spider-Man took the chance to rekindle their old relationship, with no strings attached and masks kept on at all times.[31] They became an on-again-off-again team, working together against Mr. Negative and others. Felicia stole a vial of Peter's blood back from Negative[32] and promptly sold it to a group of vampire wannabes, leading Spidey to Morbius.[33] Around this time, Felicia was forced to work for Sasha Kravinoff after her mother was kidnapped. She was forced to steal back the lost family possessions that had been missing since the Russian Revolution.[23]

Felicia and Peter parted ways as a couple when Peter began dating Carlie Cooper. However, when Spider-Man was captured by Doc Tramma, Mary Jane Watson was able to contact the Cat to help her save him. Together they rescued Spider-Man and defeated Tramma. The next day Felicia invited Mary Jane out to lunch and the two of them became fast friends.[34]

When a Wi-Fi hologram projector created by a scientist named Wasserschmidt at Horizon Labs was stolen, Felicia was framed and imprisoned. Escaping from custody, Black Cat tried to find who framed her, encountering both Daredevil and Spider-Man. The trio went to Wasserschmidt's apartment to find any clue, when they find Wasserschmidt himself in a secret room. According to Wasserschmidt himself, Terra-One Corporate forced him to commit the theft. While Spidey took Wasserschmidt to a hospital, Felicia and Daredevil went to Terra-One, there, they found the Black Spectre trying to get the projector.[35]

Daredevil stopped them while Black Cat found herself with the mastermind of this plan, who wanted Felicia to get him a Omegadrive, a piece of technology with data about every criminal organization, which was presently in the hands of Matt Murdock, Daredevil's alter-ego. Felicia attempted to start an affair with Murdock in order to get into his apartment, but they didn't consolidate a romance due to Matt being was called to action.[36] Felicia was tempted to steal the Omegadrive from Murdock, but opted not to, and departed, leaving behind a note warning Matt that Black Spectre was after him. Due to having betrayed Black Spectre, Felicia went into hiding until the matter was resolved.[36]

Felicia Hardy (Earth-616) from Venom Vol 3 2 001

Black Cat and her gang!

Downfall and Rise to Crime Boss

Having grown tried of her superhero and criminal activities, Felicia started to save money to retire.[37] During this time, Doctor Octopus had switched bodies with Spider-Man and taken over his life. When he bumped into Felicia in the act of a robbery, he attacked her abruptly and left her to the police.[38] Felicia's stolen treasures were repossessed and her criminal contacts broke all ties with her. After escaping when Electro destroyed the penitentiary, Felicia got a new costume and vowed to make Spider-Man pay for what happened to her, without knowing at this time the real Peter Parker was behind the mask once again.[39]

Having become heartless and revengeful, Felicia set out to become a crime boss rather than a simple cat burglar.[40] She formed an alliance with Electro, another villain who suffered by Spider-Man's hand when Octavius was possessing his body,[41] and used him as an enforcer establish some dominance over the underworld. Felicia then set her sights on Parker Industries, Peter's own company which began developing a project for a new super-prison. Felicia and Electro interrupted a Parker Industries press conference, drawing Spider-Man's attention and almost unmasking him in the ensuing confrontation;[40] however, he was saved by his newest ally Silk. Black Cat and Electro then attacked a demonstration of a device developed to depower the latter, during which the device ended up fulfilling its task. After cutting ties with Electro, Felicia consolidated her role as a crime boss by assembling her own gang of super-powered villains.[42]

Kingpin War

Now established as a major player in the underworld, Felicia bought the Bar with No Name[43] and, later, allied herself with Hammerhead to take down the new Spider-Man,[44] which marked the beginning of a formal partnership, as Hammerhead eventually became Black Cat's muscle and second in command.[45] Felicia's position was soon contested by up-and-comer Diamondback, who initially tried to make business with Felicia,[46] but later fatally injured her after she refused.[47] Felicia was saved by the Defenders and treated in a hospital,[48] from which she fled after waking up.[49]

While still recovering, the Black Cat attended a meeting oranised by Mayor Wilson Fisk, although this turned out to be a setup for her and other crimelords. [50]. She was arrested and placed in a holding cell in Ryker's Island, but alongside the other mob bosses was released by Deputy Mayor Matt Murdock provided she aided in the battle against the Hand.[51] She later assisted the Defenders when they fought Diamondback outside Club Ultimate. She shot him multiple times with a high-tech rifle, knocking him out.[52] Felicia had been detained by the time The Hood filled the void left by Diamondback. She cajoled for her release in exchange of The Hood's whereabouts and plans, that being to create a network of crime territories across the East Coast, with Hood himself as the "Kingpin of all Kingpins."[53]

Amazing Spider-Man Vol 4 9 Women of Power Variant Textless

Venom Inc.

After losing the Venom symbiote to its former owner Eddie Brock, Lee Price stole the Mania Symbiote from Andi Benton and used it to establish a criminal gang. He forced pieces of the symbiote into the faces of small-time criminals to control their minds, and formed his Inklings.[54] After obtaining a measurable amount of manpower, Lee attacked Black Cat's operations and used the Mania symbiote to take control of her subordinates and Felicia herself.[55] Since Black Cat's gang had been invited for the very first time to the gathering of the five largest crime families in the world, Lee seized Black Cat's operations so to make his way into the gathering and take control of the other families.[56]

When Spider-Man and Anti-Venom stumbled upon Lee's operations, Black Cat used what little free will she had to force herself to enter in contact with Anti-Venom, destroying the piece of symbiote controlling her.[57] Felicia then joined forces with Venom to procure samples of the Anti-Venom serum developed by Alchemax, and used it to free Spider-Man, who had fallen under Maniac's control. The alliance learned of Maniac's endgame from Spider-Man,[56] and made its way to the gathering to confront Maniac and the Inklings. After using weaponry coated with Anti-Venom to free those under Maniac's control, Price had the remains of the pieces of symbiotes used to control people merge with him to make him stronger.[58] Even though Maniac initially overpowered the heroes, Black Cat discovered that the body of those once controlled by Maniac developed immunity after being freed with the Anti-Venom. Spider-Man had Anti-Venom absorb a sample of his blood so to absorb its "Anti-Maniac" properties, giving him the boost necessary to neutralize Price.

Following Price's defeat, the alliance disbanded. Since they had worked together, Black Cat considered her feud with Spider-Man was over. When Felicia returned to her base of operations seeing that she lost her clout, Venom suggested her to see it as a fresh start, and to give up on trying to become a crime boss, arguing she could return to vigilantism.[59] Despite Eddie's hopes that Felicia had forgiven him for their initial encounter, she proved to still hold a grudge against him - dismissing him as a vicious monster to a bar full of supervillains.[60]

Peter Parker (Earth-616) and Felicia Hardy (Earth-616) from Amazing Spider-Man Vol 5 10 001

Spider-Man unmasks again to Black Cat

Fresh Start

After the Thieves Guild, an ancient society of criminals, set out to return to prominence by stealing equipment and gear from the superhero community,[61] Black Cat sought Spider-Man's assistance to find and return the stolen possessions since she believed they were necessary to protect innocent lives, though she intended to keep a share of the loot. As a member of the Guild, she was able to infiltrate their hideout and confront them and their leader, Odessa Drake.[62] The Thieves retreated after Spider-Man managed to alert the superhero community of their location, and their items were reclaimed. Afterwards, Felicia had a heart-to-heart with Spider-Man, and revealed her recent descent into villainy and mental state were greatly influenced by the fact that when she forgot Spider-Man's secret identity alongside the rest of the world, she additionally had lost all memories that revolved around his alter-ego, a significant part of her life that she still cherished. In response, Spider-Man took off his mask in front of Felicia, revealing his secret again to her and reconsolidating their friendship.[63]

Power Grid [70]
Intelligence
 2
Strength*
 2
Speed*
 3
 2
Durability
 2
Energy Projection*
 3
 1
Fighting Skills
 3
* Higher stats when empowered

Powers

Tychokinesis: The Black Cat's original "bad luck" powers were imbued by scientists working for the Kingpin through a bargain made with him.[13] After they were removed by Doctor Strange,[64] Felicia sought help from a supervillain scientist Doc Tramma. She grafted cybernetic enhancements to Felicia's body, namely a quantum probability pulsator, that causes "bad luck" to other people.[65] This power allows her to subliminally affect probability fields, which would cause improbable, though not impossible, events of "bad luck" to occur to enemies within her line of sight. As the Black Cat grew ruthless, her "bad luck" powers became more effective.[66] This power also affects magic (manipulation of local probability fields), giving Felicia some protection against magical spells.[67]

Claws: As part of the cybernetic enhancements grafted by Doc Tramma, Felicia possesses the ability to extend her nails into sharp claws.[30]

Abilities

Expert Thief: Felicia is a skilled (somewhat reformed) thief skilled in stealth, picking locks, escapology, evading alarms and cracking safes.[68]

Olympic Level Athlete: She has reflexes, agility, and stamina of an Olympic level acrobat, and is capable of many exceptional feats. She is physically very strong and athletic and has great physical endurance.[68]

Skilled Martial Artist: She has been trained in several martial arts; most notably Okinawa Goju-ryu Karate and Judo which she specializes in.[68] Felicia is capable of taking on several armed assailants and incapacitating them without being injured herself. Her strength and, when pushed too far, ferocity in battle has proven to be overwhelming enough to defeat the mutant assassin known as Sabretooth.



Equipment

Black Cat's Costume: The costume she currently uses was designed by the Tinkerer, created using leather material, and is designed to increase many of her natural physical attributes far beyond normal human levels by means of micro servos embedded into it.[68]

  • Peak Human Strength: The Black Cat's costume increases her physical strength to levels beyond the natural limits of a woman of her weight and physical build. In fact, her strength is increased to the maximum of human potential, enabling her to lift approximately 800 lbs with maximum effort.[68]
  • Superhuman Speed: The Black Cat's speed is similarly enhanced, though to levels that are slightly beyond the capabilities of the finest human athlete. Over short distances, she can sprint at a top speed of about 40 miles per hour.
  • Superhuman Agility: The costume she wears also possesses various implants. Without these implants, she has the agility of an Olympic level gymnast. However, the implants augment her natural agility to levels that are beyond the capability and physical limits of the finest human athlete.[68]
  • Retractable Claws: The gloves of the Black Cat's costume contain steel micro-filaments that form retractable claws at the tip of each finger when she flexes her fingers by triggering a magnetic surge which condenses the filaments into polarized talons. These claws are highly durable and razor sharp, allowing her to tear through most substances and to easily scale walls.[68]

Equilibrium Earrings: Felicia wears earrings obtained by the Tinkerer that interact with the balance centers of her brain to grant her enhanced agility and balance, increasing her natural bodily equilibrium and allowing her to accomplish feats beyond the capabilities of the finest human athlete.[68]

Electromagnetic Contact Lenses: Felicia wears contact lenses obtained by the Tinkerer that allows her to see in various ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum, such as infrared and ultraviolet light. When wearing these contacts, Felicia's eyes appear to have blue irises as opposed to the green irises that Felicia naturally possesses.[68]

Transportation

Grappling Hook: 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 and Daredevil despite lacking the associated speed of either. She can also use the cable from this device as a tightrope, wall scaling device, swing line, or as a weapon in combat.

  • Black Cat appears in a limited series called Marvel Divas, a parody of Sex and the City and consisting of Firestar, Hellcat, and Photon.
  • In Spider-Man and the Black Cat #1, Felicia appears thinking to herself that it has been too long since she's had a boyfriend "or a girlfriend, for that matter," indicating that she's bisexual.

Discover and Discuss

Footnotes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Women of Marvel: Celebrating Seven Decades Handbook #1
  2. Amazing Spider-Man #226
  3. Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #10
  4. 4.0 4.1 Black Cat #2
  5. Amazing Spider-Man #195
  6. Spider-Man and the Black Cat #6
  7. Amazing Spider-Man #194
  8. Amazing Spider-Man #204-205
  9. Amazing Spider-Man #226-227
  10. Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #73-79
  11. Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #86-87
  12. Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #75
  13. 13.0 13.1 Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #89-90
  14. Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #100
  15. Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #115-117
  16. Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #123
  17. Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #128-129
  18. Amazing Spider-Man #316
  19. Amazing Spider-Man #329-331
  20. Amazing Spider-Man #341-343
  21. Amazing Spider-Man #370-371
  22. The Spectacular Spider-Man #204-206
  23. 23.0 23.1 Felicia Hardy: The Black Cat #1-4
  24. Claws #1
  25. Sensational Spider-Man Vol 2 #27-34
  26. Amazing Spider-Man #545
  27. Amazing Spider-Man #641
  28. Heroes for Hire Vol 2 #1-15
  29. 29.0 29.1 Amazing Spider-Man #606
  30. 30.0 30.1 Web of Spider-Man Vol 2 #11
  31. Amazing Spider-Man #607
  32. Amazing Spider-Man #621
  33. Amazing Spider-Man #622
  34. Web of Spider-Man Vol 2 #11-12
  35. Amazing Spider-Man #677
  36. 36.0 36.1 Daredevil Vol 3 #8
  37. Silk Vol 2 #9
  38. Superior Spider-Man #20
  39. Amazing Spider-Man Vol 3 #1
  40. 40.0 40.1 Amazing Spider-Man Vol 3 #5
  41. Amazing Spider-Man Vol 3 #3
  42. Amazing Spider-Man Vol 3 #6
  43. Star-Lord Vol 2 #3
  44. Spider-Man Vol 2 #3-5
  45. Spider-Man Vol 2 #16
  46. Defenders Vol 5 #1
  47. Defenders Vol 5 #5
  48. Defenders Vol 5 #6
  49. Defenders Vol 5 #8
  50. Daredevil #600
  51. Daredevil #603
  52. Defenders Vol 5 #9
  53. Defenders Vol 5 #10
  54. Amazing Spider-Man: Venom Inc. Alpha #1
  55. Amazing Spider-Man #792
  56. 56.0 56.1 Amazing Spider-Man #793
  57. Venom #159
  58. Venom #160
  59. Amazing Spider-Man: Venom Inc. Omega #1
  60. Venom Annual #1
  61. Amazing Spider-Man Vol 5 #8
  62. Amazing Spider-Man Vol 5 #9
  63. Amazing Spider-Man Vol 5 #10
  64. Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #115
  65. Web of Spider-Man Vol 2 #12
  66. Amazing Spider-Man Vol 3 #17
  67. Black Cat #3
  68. 68.0 68.1 68.2 68.3 68.4 68.5 68.6 68.7 68.8 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #1
  69. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #1
  70. Women of Marvel: Celebrating Seven Decades Handbook #1



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