Felicia Hardy, also known under the alias Black Cat, is a Marvel Comics anti-heroine and also, supervillainess. She was introduced into the Marvel Universe in The Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #194 in July 1979. She was created by Marv Wolfman and Keith Pollard. Wolfman was looking for a female foil for Spider-Woman; he decided to base a character on the Tex Avery cartoon Bad Luck Blackie, in which a black cat brought misfortune to anyone in close proximity. The Black Cat's costume and appearance were designed by Dave Cockrum. She was initially intended to be a supporting character in Spider-Woman (vol. 1), but Wolfman abandoned this plan and moved her over to Spider-Man comics instead.
Felicia is the daughter of Walter Hardy, the world-renowned cat burglar who, before his arrest, encouraged her to never settle for second best.
In her backstory in Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil that Men Do, it is revealed that she was raped by her boyfriend Ryan when she was a freshman at Empire State University. 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, she 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. 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.
Aside from her appearance in many Spider-Man comics, Black Cat has also appeared in Heroes for Hire which took place during the Civil War and Marvel Divas (a parody of Sex and the City). In Maximum Carnage, she is one of Spidey's friends whom he seeks for help. Later after Spider-Island event, she 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 recruited Matt Murdock to help prove her innocence. She also appeared in the mini-series Claws where she has a team-up with Wolverine.
In a part of the Marvel NOW event, she was contacted by her friend from Heroes for Hire, 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.
In Superior Spider-Man, she was in the middle of a robbery when Spider-Man (who was actually Doctor Octopus in Peter Parker's body) attacked her without warning, leaving her beaten and wrapped in his webbing for the police to arrest. This left Felicia totally shocked and furious at not only her lover's perceived betrayal, but at the loss of all of her personal belongings and criminal contacts. Following the conclusion of the Superior Spider-Man storyline, which Peter Parker returned as the true Spider-Man, Black Cat swore revenge and later escaped when Electro staged a breakout at the prison where she was being held. She has since become a genuine criminal after this, and is one of villains in the 2014-2015 ongoing mini-series Hawkeye vs. Deadpool.
In the Silk Solo Series, Black Cat appears as a secondary antagonist whom Silk unknowingly thwarted by stopping her men. The two fight, but then one of Cat's men double crosses her blowing up several of her men and almost killing Cat herself, all to kidnap Silk, so he could chop her up and sell the parts on the black market. Cat tracks her man and ends up saving Silk. Cat kills the man, which angers Silk because he was the closest lead she had to finding her parents; the two fight again, but it ends in a draw. In Volume 2, Silk is working for Black Cat, though in reality, she is The Mole placed by S.H.I.E.L.D. While undercover, Cat and Silk infiltrate and destroy the Goblin Nation, freeing people from the Goblin King's control. During this, Silk begins to bond with Cat and vice-versa; Silk seems to think there might still be good in Cat, though Cat claims she is Above Good and Evil.
During the Venom Inc. storyline, Lee Price, the fifth Venom and the current holder of the Mania symbiote, took over Black Cat's criminal empire after she was affected by the symbiote. Freed by Spider-Man, Eddie Brock (now possessing the Venom symbiote again), Flash Thompson (who was transformed into "Agent" Anti-Venom) and later joined by the former holder of the Mania symbiote Andi Benson, Black Cat fought to stop Price's attempt to take over the Five Families, but lost her empire entirely. She ended her feud with Spider-Man due to his help, but was confronted by Eddie, who told her that being a criminal mastermind didn't suit her at all and she should go back to who she really is, the thief who has the heart of a hero.
After hemming and hawwing over this sort of thing, Felicia finally decided to abandon her evil ways during the attempt at filling the vacuum that Wilson Fisk left after he became mayor of New York City, exchanging information on the identities of who else was trying to play Kingpin in exchange for avoiding jail time.
Notable Comic Book Appearances
- Amazing Spider-Man Presents: Black Cat
- Claws 2
- Fearless Defenders
- The Defenders (2017)
- Daredevil (2015)
- Felicia Hardy: The Black Cat
- Hawkeye vs. Deadpool
- Heroes for Hire
- House of M
- Marvel Divas
- Maximum Carnage
- Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat!
- Power Man and Iron Fist (2016)
- Miles Morales Spider-Man (2016)
- Superior Spider-Man
- Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil that Men Do
- Star-Lord' (2016)
- The Superior Foes of Spider-Man
- The Unbelievable Gwenpool
- Venom vs. Carnage
- Nick Spencer's Spider-Man
- Spider-Man (1981-1982): Voiced by Morgan Lofting.
- Spider-Man: The Animated Series (1994-1998): Voiced by Jennifer Hale.
- The Spectacular Spider-Man (2008-2009): Voiced by Tricia Helfer.
- Marvel's Spider-Man (2017): Voiced by Grey DeLisle.
- The Amazing Spider Man 2 (2014): Only appeared as Felicia Hardy. Portrayed by Felicity Jones.
- Silver and Black, was a planned live action film featuring both Silver Sable and Black Cat, produced by Sony with no involvement from Marvel Studios, and no connection to the Marvel Cinematic Universe despite the integration of Spider-Man. In August 2018, Sony canceled the film and replaced it with two solo films, focusing on each of the title characters.
- Spider-Man: The Video Game (1991): Appears as playable character.
- Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage (1994): Appears as Assist Character.
- Spider-Man (2000): Appears as NPC and Exposition Fairy. Voiced by Jennifer Hale.
- Spider-Man 2 (2004): Appears as NPC. Voiced by Holly Fields.
- Spider-Man: Friend or Foe (2007): Appears as playable character. Voiced by Audrey Wasilewski.
- Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (2008): Voiced by Tricia Helfer.
- Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (2010): She doesn't appear but her Noir version is referenced by Spider-Man: Noir and one of the background billboards in the 2099 era depicts Black Cat seemingly being used to advertise a shampoo brand.
- Spider-Man: Edge of Time (2011): An exclusive 2099 incarnation of Black Cat appears in this game, voiced by Katee Sackhoff.
- Super Hero Squad Online (2011-2017): Appears as playable character. Voiced by Tara Strong.
- Marvel: Avengers Alliance (2012-present): Appears as recruitable playable character.
- The Amazing Spider-Man (2012): Appears as villainess as Felicia Hardy. Voiced by Ali Hillis.
- LittleBigPlanet: Appears as downloadable content as part of "Marvel Costume Kit 6".
- Marvel Heroes (2013-present): Voiced by Jennifer Hale (as a playable character) and Ali Hillis (as a boss).
- LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (2013): Voiced by Laura Bailey.
- The Amazing Spider Man 2 (2014): Appears as Black Cat. Voiced by Ali Hillis.
- Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes (2014): Appears as sidekick character.
- Marvel Future Fight (2015): Appears as a playable character.
- Spider-Man (PS4): Does not physically appear in the core game, but talks with Spider-Man over the phone during a quest. Appears as the Arc Villain in The Heist DLC. Voiced by Erica Lindbeck.
Black Cat provides examples of:
- Absolute Cleavage: She's had several outfits that all tend to draw on the same basic design scheme, but the unifying factor is that they almost all tend to have an impossibly low neckline. Totally averted after she breaks out of prison following her defeat and arrest at the hands of the Superior Spider-Man.
- Action Girl: Even though she doesn't have superpowers that can be directly used in combat. She also counts as a Dark Action Girl, depending on where she is on the morality scale.
- Adaptational Heroism: Marvel: Avengers Alliance drops most, if not all, of her cat burglar traits and she's more straight-up heroine here.
- Alternate Continuity: In the 90s cartoon, she was the Alpha Bitch at Parkers school before becoming the Black Cat via the Super-Soldier Formula (the one used by a certain Captain America), and ultimately gets paired up with Morbius the Living Vampire. She's also very different in the Ultimate Marvel Universe as well. Her Marvel Mangaverse counterpart is a cyborg with a striking resemblance to Rei Ayanami.
- Amazonian Beauty: In the 90s cartoon, Black Cat has a very muscular body in addition to being very beautiful.
- Animal-Themed Superbeing: Black cats, given her bad luck powers.
- Ax-Crazy: After the events of Superior Spider-Man she became a psycho who wants to destroy everything about Spider-Man and doesn't care that he was under someone else's control, attempting to harm anyone and everything else in the process and even joining forces with several past Spider-Man villains to do so, even several that she used to be enemies with. She almost kills Aunt May and her husband setting fire to their house.
- Badass Normal: In the world of superpowers like spider strength and Shock and Awe, she just has really good martial arts and thieving skills.
- Battle Couple: With Peter.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Her nose has been broken three times and while she has frequently been beaten up with her costume reduced to shreds and noticeably wounded a few times, she rarely has any lasting damage, with no scars at all.
- Becoming the Mask: In the comics, she starts dating Flash Thompson to get Peter jealous, but ends up actually starting to care for him (only to be dumped by him when he finds out and asks Was It All a Lie?).
- Betty and Veronica: She is the Veronica to Mary Jane's Betty.
- Bi the Way: In Spider-Man/Black Cat: Evil That Men Do #1 and in Marvel Comics 2's Spider-Girl, Felicia is stated to be bisexual.
- Biker Babe: Gets a Cool Bike courtesy of Puma.
- Blessed with Suck: Her "bad luck" power, which caused misfortune on anyone near her, but also couldn't be controlled at all.
- Break the Cutie: Good one, Otto. Now Peter's got a scorned cat after his head. There's also her Rape as Backstory.
- Building Swing: She uses a grappling hook to swing from buildings.
- Card-Carrying Villain: In her new villainy Felicia demands to be respected as the new leader of crime in New York, and she will not stop at nothing to gain power.
- Cat Girl: Despite calling herself the Black Cat, she has no cat-like powers other than bad luck, although for a time Dr. Strange accidentally gave her some.
- Character Development: As of Spider-Man/Black Cat: Evil That Men Do, it's clear that she has grown to care deeply for Peter, as she calls herself a fool for only being interested in his Spider-Man persona in the past.
- Classy Cat-Burglar: She is an attractive thief.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: A shower scene toward the beginning of "The Evil That Men Do" has Felicia reach for the detachable shower head to rinse off some Censor Suds while ruminating on how long it's been since she's had a boyfriend... or girlfriend. The view shifts to outside the bathroom with a partially obscured silhouette.
- Dating Catwoman: For a time she became Spider-Man's lover, and even tried to persuade him to give up his civilian identity.
- Deadpan Snarker: She and Spider-Man are a perfect pair when it comes to cracking sarcastic jokes.
- Derailing Love Interests:
- In the past, for publicity reasons it was decided to have Spider-Man marry at the same time in the newspaper strip and the comic book; unfortunately at the time Peter was dating Felicia Hardy/Black Cat. The solution? Make Felicia go from morally ambiguous cat-burglar to the ally of an assassin for hire. Though the storyline was badly written and not helped by various production delays, this was no derailment. Peter and Felicia had broken up in 1984, about two years before the decision to have him and Mary Jane marry was taken. When the Black Cat started dating Spider-Man again — in Spectacular Spider-Man #123 (published a mere five months before Peter proposed to Mary Jane in Amazing Spider-Man #290), she was in cahoots with the Foreigner, the assassin responsible for the murder of Ned Leeds (a.k.a. "The Hobgoblin"). It also was clear from the start that she was motivated by a desire for revenge against Peter for getting Doctor Strange to remove the bad-luck power she had bought from The Kingpin. And this period of dating began with the Black Cat faking a bomb attack on her own apartment to get a pretext to invite herself in as Peter's new flatmate.
- In the aftermath of the Superior Spider-Man she pull a Woman Scorned FaceHeel Turn and wants to destroy Spider-Man (and become the next Kingpin) because Otto Octavius destroyed her life and now she is not going to take Peter's apology unless she pries it from his dead body (and considering one of the first things she does is send Electro to kill Spider-Man, she is either teetering close to the Moral Event Horizon or has passed it, but it's imperceptible). All to promote Silk as Spider-Man's new love interest.
- Does Not Like Men: While she has no problem with casually dating men for ulterior motives, she's made it clear that there are only two men she's ever truly respected; her father, and Spider-Man.
- Domino Mask: The only thing she wears to cover her face.
- Empowered Badass Normal: Originally, all Felicia had to rely on was her gymnastics abilities and skill as a thief. When Spider-Man grew concerned that her lack of superpowers would get her killed, she purchases superpowers from the Kingpin, who gives her probability manipulation. Spider-Man had Dr. Strange remove those powers - granting her feline abilities in the process, which she later lost - and Mr. Negative restored her bad luck powers, giving her greater control over them in the process.
- Evil Costume Switch: At the beginning of the All-New Marvel NOW! Amazing Spider-Man, she switches out the white in her costume for black and added some metal belts (or something), and is acting as the Woman Scorned to Spidey for what Doc did to her as the Superior Spider-Man.
- Even Evil Has Standards: In the 2017 Defenders comic, she actually is horrified when seeing how Diamondback beats up Luke Cage and personally drops him off at a hospital.
- Evil Mentor: Has become this for Silk in the second volume of Silk's solo series.
- Evolutionary Levels: In some storylines/continuities, shes a low-level Mutant.
- Exposition Fairy: In Spider-Man (2000) and Spider-Man 2 game.
- Fallen Hero: Granted, she didn't always act like a hero, but after her capture and arrest (courtesy of Superior Spider-Man), she tosses aside any notions of righteousness in her quest for vengeance, even going so far as attempting to prevent Spidey from saving people from a burning building and teaming up with Electro.
- Femme Fatale: She started out as an attractive female supervillain, and number one temptress for Spider-Man.
- Femme Fatalons: With villains based on cats, this trope is inevitable really.
- Flirting Under Fire: Constantly with Spidey, to the point that he jokingly wonders if hitting on him is just a very specific form of Tourettes syndrome for her.
- Friends with Benefits: From time to time with Spidey, when he's not in a serious relationship with her or anyone else.
- The Gadfly: She uses her bad luck powers for amusement, at one point referring to them as her "Hilarity Ensues powers" while trolling Spider-Man.
- Gag Boobs: They act as ballast◊
- HeelFace Revolving Door: She started out as a criminal before falling in love with Spider-Man. She wavered back and forth between being a thief and superheroine, but Superior Spider-Man's actions have caused her to return to villainy with a vengeance. The events of Venom Inc. has Eddie Brock telling her to abandon her way of villainy and go back to being a hero. During the events of Defenders , she assists the Defenders in taking down Diamondback. She then turns her back on being a crime lord and offers to help the Defenders take out the up-and-coming Hood in axchange for getting released from prison.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: Her costume is a black leather catsuit.
- Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": In Roger Stern's one-shot "The Daydreamers" (ASM Issue #246), Felicia recovering from a battle injury lapses into a dream where Spidey is a jet-setting spy who steals documents for the governments and at the end of it unmasks himself to reveal that he's Cary Grant, specifically the Grant of To Catch a Thief.
- Hypocrite: Shortly before their break up, Felicia would repeatedly lay it on Peter for keeping any sort of secret from her, even though she was hiding the fact that she'd gone to one of his enemies for help in giving her powers from him.
- Karma Houdini: This is a zigzagged trope. Felicia is one of the single best professional thieves in the Marvel Universe, but she can walk right up to Captain America and say hello without a problem. This is the result of receiving a pardon in the mid-'80s after helping save the city from Doctor Octopus and becoming Spidey's partner and a fully accepted member of the superhero community in her own right. Her swift defeat at the Superior Spider-Man's hands, and the subsequent fallout afterwards, leads her back to villainy.
- Loves My Alter Ego: Becomes extremely weirded out when Spider-Man first reveals to her that he's Peter Parker. In Ultimate Spider-Man, she goes so far as to vomit on him after lifting the mask due to him being a lot younger than she expected. It's referenced in Marvel: Avengers Alliance, where their team-up bonus is called as "cosplayers", as they are closer when they're in costume. This is something she really starts mentally kicking herself for after she realizes that she really does love Peter... a little too late, since he's married to MJ by that point.
- Malicious Misnaming: She had a habit of misnaming Mary Jane calling her Molly Jo or Myra Jeanne. MJ responded by calling her Felicity.
- The Mistress: She would occasionally joke about being this for Peter when he was married to Mary Jane but Peter always turned her down.
- Most Common Superpower: While Felicia started out with a fairly average bust, she is currently one of Spider-Man's most buxom female co-stars. They act as ballast◊.
- Ms. Fanservice: She is hands-down the bustiest of Peter's love interests and isn't afraid to show it.
- Oh, Crap!: When she makes her FaceHeel Turn apparent to Peter, he scares her off by pretending to be SpOck.
- One Last Job: In Silk #9 Felicia reveals all the crimes were leading into a possible retirement. All that money and goods were taken away once she went to jail, hence her desire to go "beyond bad" against the world.
- Pet the Dog: She at one point saved Luke Cage's life after her turn to full-on villainy. This also gets her shot up by Diamondback.
- Psychoactive Powers: Following her FaceHeel Turn, Felicia discovers that the more ruthless she is, the more her bad luck powers work in her favor (which further drives her to embrace her new way of life).
- Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: After being trashed by Otto in Spider Man's body, she embraces this with a vengeance.
- Rape as Backstory: She had rape retconned into her backstory, making her similar to the Young Hawkeye version, and removing her freewheeling adventuress origin in favor of a rape victim who turned burglar as a displaced reaction to her attack.
- Really Gets Around: Openly admits to Peter during the Shed arc that she isn't adverse to getting some from people who aren't him, and advises he do the same. Granted, she tends to exaggerate to make him jealous.
- As mentioned above, she was originally more laidback and freewheeling before Kevin Smith was allowed to retcon her early behavior as a misplaced reaction to being a rape victim.
- Her current FaceHeel Turn is based on the fact that her arrest after being beaten by Superior Spider-Man revealed her identity and cost her just about everything. However, Black Cat's civilian identity as Felica Hardy was known to NYPD Captain Jean DeWolff and she's been arrested before.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When the Superior Spider-Man beat the snot out of her, knocked out a tooth, and webbed her up for the cops without so much as a backwards glance during a chance encounter, Felicia swore revenge and after Peter gets his body back refuses to let such a petty excuse as having his body hijacked dissuade her from it. To be fair, she lost everything as a result of being arrested and having her identity revealed to the public.
- Roof Hopping: By means of grappling hook, which she also uses to mimic Spider-Man's web-swinging.
- Satellite Love Interest: Played with; Peter dumps her because she only has interest in his Spider-Man persona.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: How does Peter get the now-evil Felicia to back off? By pretending that he's still Doc Ock. He later lampshades how he spoke with "Did I really sound like that when he was me?"
- Secret Identity Identity: Back in the day she identified more with herself as Black Cat than as Felicia Hardy, and preferred to think of Spider-Man as the same way, not really liking the idea that there's a person with his own life under the mask. The video-game adaptation of Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man: Web of Shadows has her try to convince Peter to give up his civilian identity and become a hero full-time.
- Secret Keeper: Until One More Day she new who Spider-man was, but like almost everyone else she was made to forget. In issue 10 of the 2018 relaunch of Amazing Spider-man, after seeing that Felicia truly was good again and how much it hurt her that she was made to forget the real him, Pete again reveals his true identity to her.
- Series Continuity Error: One of the reasons Felicia is so angry at Spider-Man is that the police now know who she is, confiscated all her stuff, and released her identity to the public, meaning that none of her underworld contacts want to associate with her anymore. However, in an early storyline it was revealed that NYPD Captain Jean DeWolff was well aware of who the Black Cat was under her domino mask.
- Sexy Cat Person: Cat-themed and heavily sexualised.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: During her first theft as the Black Cat, she meets Spider-Man. She falls in love with him, given how he's a genuinely trustworthy person who wants to help her redeem herself. Unfortunately, her constant going back on forth on being a crook or a hero makes their romance difficult.
- The Smart Girl: In Heroes for Hire, she was their infiltration expert.
- Snark-to-Snark Combat: She and Spider-Man always indulge in a very flirty version of this.
- Spanner in the Works: Plays this role in the 2017 Defenders series when Diamondback poisons Luke Cage in front of her as a show that he is the new underworld power in town. He then leaves before Luke actually dies, it apparently never occurred to him that instead of allowing one of her enemies to die Felicia would instead take him to the Night Nurse to be saved.
- Stalker with a Crush: She started out being one of these towards Spider-Man. She even had a room sized shrine dedicated to him, which he found a bit unnerving (but not enough to stop him from dating her for a while).
- Start of Darkness: Her descent into new Spidey villainhood is because the Superior Spider-Man knocked her out and left her for the cops, humiliating her horribly.
- Sticky Fingers: Even when she was a hero, she was prone to stealing stuff.
- Stripperiffic: Her costume was designed to give enemies a distracting view. Her post-FaceHeel Turn outfit dispenses with that aspect.
- The Tease: She always loves to get Peter flustered, whether or not they're actually dating at the moment. She notes that he gets so cute that she can't help herself.
- Thanks for the Mammary: Wolverine needs to stop Black Cat from walking into a minefield in the Claws mini-series. She's behind him, so he puts out his hand to stop her. Of course his hand lands right on her... chest. She gets angry, but Wolverine's in a cannot-be-embarrassed mode.
- Urban Legend Love Life: The actual number of lovers she's had is quite low compared to what her reputation says. She sometimes exaggerates it herself to see how Peter would react.
- What the Hell, Hero?: When Felicia berates him for failing to pay her, the Ringer calls her out on her new cold attitude, stating that the Black Cat he'd worked with before, the one everyone used to know and love, had a heart and asks her to show him mercy. Unfortunately, this was just a ploy to get her to let her guard down, and only serves to harden her even further.
- Winds of Destiny, Change: She had this power for a time, but Spidey had Doctor Strange get rid of it after he learned that it was permanently jinxing him. It cut off right in the middle of a life-or-death fight, and when she barely managed to get out of there and find out what happened, she was understandably pissed. Mr. Negative later had her luck-altering powers restored, giving her increased conscious control over them.
- Whip It Good: Her post-FaceHeel Turn outfit includes a metal whip.
- White Hair, Black Heart: She has platinum blonde hair, and plays the "black heart" part after FaceHeel Turn.
- You Have Failed Me: When the Ringer fails to give her a cut of his haul - having had to pay off a number of debts beforehand — Felicia has him hauled off to the back room for some Cold-Blooded Torture at the hands of Killer Shrike and Melter.