Characters : Black Cat
Superb gymnastic and fighting skills
Ropes and claws (for climbing), balance earings, contact lenses to see in the dark, and something that increases agility
Enhanced by uniform
Citizen of the US
The Black Cat
Spider-Man, Mary Jane Parker
Walter (father, deceased), Lydia (mother)
Criminal record, but granted legal amnesty
Kingpin, Doctor Octopus, the Owl, Tombstone
Queens, New York
New York City
Felicia Hardy is the Black Cat, who first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #194. She began a career in crime out of respect and adoration for her cat-burglar father. She broke Walter Hardy out of jail as he lay dying, promising him that she would carry on in his foot steps. She left before he could tell her that he told her mother to lie to Felicia that he had died in a plane crash. He hadn't wanted her to be tainted by his crimes. He died soon after.
Felicia stayed a criminal in a misguided attempt to attract the attentions of Spider-Man. She stole many works of art to prove her love for him, such as "The Two Lovers" statue and the "Eyes of Eros" diamond. Spidey only saw Felicia as a disturbed young woman, who was more a child than a grown woman. "His death must have shattered her emotional balance...So she latched on to me as a substitute father! In her own, childlike way, she really does love me!" He took her to a psychiatric hospital, hoping she would get the help that she needed. Her plan to fool him about her sanity worked, as it was much easier to break out of a hospital than a prison. Eventually, Felicia and Peter became very close and she is fully aware of his secret identity.
Initially, Felicia's abilities were 100% natural, with the 'accidents' which seemed to befall those who crossed her path being merely well-planned stunts. After her near-death at the hands of The Owl and Dr Octopus in Spectacular #72, Felicia feared that her lack of powers made her a vulnerability to Spider-Man, and that she would lose him.
While Peter was away in Secret Wars, Felicia turned to Kingpin, and made a pact with him in return for his scientists giving her super-powers. She kept the secret from Peter for quite some time. What she didn't realize was that her newly-gained genuine 'bad luck' power was infectious, and that it was permanently jinxing Spider-Man. That of course was the Kingpin's plan all along.
She broke up with Spider-Man, and Doctor Strange removed her bad-luck power, changing her other abilities in the process. Since then she has settled into a life of her own, albeit one which regularly intertwines with Peter's. She dated Flash Thompson for a while, primarily to irritate Peter. Mary Jane and Black Cat have become close friends in spite of their once intense rivalry over Peter. Mary Jane has even asked Cat to search for Peter if he has been gone for too long as Spider-Man. Black Cat bought some nifty strength enhancing equipment from the Tinkerer, started Cat's Eye private investigation service and occasionally teams-up with Pete.
Felicia briefly tangled with the Black Fox when she returned home to find him stealing a gold necklace from her. (Granted she had stolen it from the Borovian Royal Family, but that was beside the point.) The Fox escaped from her with the necklace, leading her on an adventure across Europe.
She also worked with Ben Reilly, the Spider-Clone. She first met Ben while he was covering for Peter in jail. Peter had been arrested for the murder of a Salt Lake City police officer and Ben took his place while Peter looked for answers. She went to the prison to talk to "Peter" and was confused when he didnt seem to recognize her. They worked together again when Felicia was under suspicion of murdering Andrea Havershaw.
Havershaw was a New York socialite who was found clawed to death and security camera footage showed a silver haired woman near the scene of the crime. Felicia had formed a bond of trust with Peter Parker, but Ben Reilly was a stranger to her. He had to earn her trust, which he failed to do by nearly accusing her of committing the murder. He was sorry he had hurt her feelings (mostly because he was so attracted to her) and set out to catch the real killer.
Turns out that Jason Havershaw, Andrea's son, had substantial drug and gambling debts and connections to the Russian mob. He used those connections to hire a Chameleon wannabe called "Skull-Jacket" to impersonate the Black Cat and kill his mother. Naturally, by the end Felicia had learned to trust Ben like Peter because his sense of responsibility was as strong as the original Spider-Man's.
During one such partnership, Peter and Felicia were investigating the disappearance of two teenagers that they were connected to. The clues led to Garrison Klum, the brother of Francis Klum. Cat went after Garrison but was immobilized by him. Francis came to the Cat's rescue, but Felicia was found by the police next to Garrison's body and charged with murder. Francis teleported into Ryker's Island and freed Felicia, taking her to the Brooklyn Bridge. It was there that he revealed that Garrison had controlled him by molesting him. Felicia was later saved by Spider-Man, Nightcrawler and Daredevil.
Felicia pitied Francis and related her own story of how she had been raped in college. Felicia described how 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. One night, Ryan demanded that it was time for their relationship to become physical. Felicia's protests were in vain.
Felicia's rage lead her to begin to contemplate killing Ryan, until fate intervened and Ryan was killed in a drink-driving accident. Felicia's anger was left unabated, making her become reckless. Turning to crime, Felicia justified the theft of her first diamond by telling herself that something had been stolen from her, so she was going to steal back. Her father gave her the inspiration to be a thief, but rape gave her the motivation. From the rage of her attack, The Black Cat was born.
The Black Cat has proved to be a valuable ally against foes such as Carnage, Demogoblin, Doppelganger, Shriek, Malcolm McBride (Carrion II), Hobgoblin, Arcade and Doctor Doom. She also helped Spidey break Norman Osborn out of jail when Osborn hired the Scorpion to kidnap Aunt May. Peter foolishly trusted that the Green Goblin would set May free after he had escaped, but instead Spider-Man and the Black Cat faced the Sinister Twelve. It was only the timely arrival of the Avengers that saved their lives.
Felicia got payback for helping Spidey break out Osborn when he helped her get into the Latverian Embassy. This was no simple task, as Latveria is the home of the dictatorial maniac, Doctor Doom. Felicia needed to steal something from Doom but refused to let Spidey know what it was. He was uneasy but knew he owed her after the Sinister Twelve debacle. After dealing with flamethrowers, lasers and a Doombot they found the technology that Felicia was so worried would destroy so many lives: a Spider-tracer. Peter was indignant that she would have him break into the Embassy for one of his useless old tracers.
That's when Felicia explained why she didn't tell him what they were after. He would always take the superior attitude with her, not realizing that she knew the tracer was dead. The tracer was useless, but the finger print of Peter Parker that was on the tracer would be more valuable to certain people. People who would love to hurt Spider-Man and his loved ones.
Felicia may have finally found a man that suits her. After defeating Stegron, she and Thomas Fireheart, aka Puma, have begun a passionate relationship. Like Spider-Man, Fireheart shares Felicia's love of adventure, but has a bad boy attitude. They became something of a team, taking on the Rhino after he beat Peter to a pulp. Peter had unmasked during the Superhuman Registration Act, which not so shocking, made him a target for all of his enemies.
Felicia forgot Spider-Man's secret identity after Peter and Mary Jane made their marriage ending bargain with Mephisto. Spider-Man ran into the Cat as she was breaking into the penthouse apartment of Dexter Bennet, the current owner of the Daily Bugle. (Felicia had returned to crime after she was financially broken and couldn't get a loan to re-start Cat's Eye investigations because of her past robberies of various banks.) They found the body of a dead man behind a painting of Bennet, which came as a surprise to Felicia. She started to leave with the book that she came looking for, but the body was booby trapped. Black Cat and Spider-Man survived the steel spikes that exploded from the body, only to face the man behind the trap: Diablo.
Spider-Man and Cat escaped but Felicia gave Spidey the cold shoulder. He caught up to her, reminding her that she was the one that dumped him. She may have forgotten his identity but not the fun, the thrills and the heartache. She and Puma had ended their relationship, as Fireheart had some sort of "control issues," so Felicia and Peter had no qualms about a quick smooch on a rooftop. Unfortunately, a camera man was taping the kiss and broadcasting it live to the Times Square mega TV for Mary Jane to see.
Peter and Felicia rekindled their old relationship, with no strings attached and masks kept on at all times. They became an on again off again team, working together against Mr Negative and others. Felicia sold a vial of Peter's blood back from Negative and promptly sold it to a group of vampire wannabes, leading Spidey to Morbius. Cat 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.
The relationship ended and Peter began dating Carlie Cooper. This didn't keep Spidey and Cat from working together, as they both broke into the Kingpin's headquarters to steal back a substance called reverbium. The material had been pilfered by the Hobgoblin (Phil Urich), who accidentally destroyed the skyscraper they were in by using his sonic laugh. The sonics were amplified by the reverbium, which caused the building to collapse. Kingpin, Hobgoblin, Spidey and Black Cat escaped. Montana was not so lucky.
Felicia was later arrested for stealing a hologram machine from Horizon Labs. Spider-Man believed her to be innocent and teamed with Daredevil to prove it. He was seemingly proven wrong when they fell for a hologram induced trap, with Cat standing over them. After the misunderstanding was cleared up, Daredevil, Cat and Spidey tracked down the machine's creator to his apartment, where Felicia had to be kept from tearing his apart for her being framed. The scientist had been poisoned by the men he had sold his device to and Spidey took him to the hospital, while Cat and Hornhead tracked down the machine. Afterward, Felicia stole a device from Daredevil that had information regarding some of the biggest crime organizations in the world, as per the deal she made with a mysterious man.
Quiz: Quick Quiz on Black Cat.
|Jul 1979||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #194|
|Aug 1979||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #195|
|May 1980||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #204|
|Revealed to be in love with Spider-Man|
|Jun 1980||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #205|
|Origin fully told|
|Mar 1982||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #226|
Here is the Full Appearance List (146 Apps) for Black Cat.
The assistance of the Marvel Chronology Project is gratefully acknowledged.
Some of the above information is extracted from the various versions of the Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe and the more recent Marvel Encyclopaedias.