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Comic Book / Iron Cat

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Iron Cat is a 2022 miniseries from Marvel Comics. Written by Jed MacKay with art by Pere Pérez and Frank D'Armata, the series stars Marvel superhero Iron Man and antihero/thief Felicia Hardy, aka the Black Cat.

In the first volume of her 2019 series, the Black Cat infiltrated Tony Stark's company building to create an "Iron Cat" suit of armor for her own purposes using Tony Stark's Nanoforge. Tony confiscated the armor and stashed it away. So imagine both Tony and Felicia's surprise when someone attacks Felicia wearing the Iron Cat armor which has now been upgraded with a much more powerful arsenal. Motivated by intersecting goals — Tony wanting to keep his technology out of dangerous hands and Felicia wanting to save her skin — Iron Man and Black Cat team up to stop the wearer of the Iron Cat armor who turns out to be Felicia's ex-girlfriend Tamara Blake.

Tropes found in this miniseries include:

  • Always Someone Better: Part of Tamara's motivation is also residual jealousy and anger at how Felicia was always Black Fox's favorite pupil.
  • Antagonist Title: The Iron Cat is one of the two main villains of the story and the titular character.
  • Arc Welding: While MacKay is continuing his multi-year Black Cat narrative, he also merges it with threads from Dan Slott's Tony Stark: Iron Man (specifically the post-run fate and status quo of Sunset Bain).
  • Avenging the Villain: Tamara wants revenge on Felicia for killing the Black Fox, who was the mentor to both of them.
  • Batman Gambit: See Not Me This Time.
  • The Bus Came Back: Tamara Blake, who despite appearing during a flashback during MacKay's early issues, hasn't actually been seen in the Present Day narrative of the run (let alone appeared in over 30 years).
  • Commonality Connection: Played for Laughs. When Felicia comes to Tony for help, he tells her they have no common ground and nothing she can say will make him let her in. Which leads to this exchange:
    Tony: What was that?
    Felicia: I said... my ex-girlfriend is trying to kill me with super-science.
    Tony: Oh my god. We do have something in common. Come in. That has happened to me so many times.
  • Continuity Nod: Felicia mentions Tony being officially out of the big tech game, which happened in his solo series by Christopher Cantwell.
  • Disney Death: Tamara is seemingly killed by Sunset in issue #4. Five pages into the next issue and it is revealed she survived and saves Felicia from Sunset.
  • Everyone Has Standards: In the final issue, Tamara accepts Felicia’s reasons for killing the Fox when she learns that the Fox’s plan to secure immortality would have killed over a million people.
  • Faking the Dead: At one point, Tamara is able to fake her death by giving the impression she was blown up in an exploding fuel tank, when in reality the armour was tough enough for her to crash through the explosion and out the other side, using the heat of the explosion to hide herself.
  • I Know You Know I Know: Felicia attends a lavish yacht party to lure Tamara out. Tamara, being fully aware of what Felicia's intentions are, takes the bait anyway as she has a plan of her own. When she lands on the yacht, all the guests reveal themselves to be armed life-model decoys who train their weapons on Tamara. However, Tamara counters this by having Sunset hack the LMDs and take control of them. Felicia, who had prepared for this, calls in an Iron Man suit of her own built by Bruno and Korpse.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Issue #1 shows a flashback to a job Black Fox, Felicia and Tamara pulled in Pershyy Misto, the Republic of Carnelia. Felicia managed to get the items they wanted but is failed to make it out unseen and is being chased by the local police. Black Fox calls the country's national police who have a mutual hatred for Pershyy Misto's local police due to their overlapping jurisdictions. The two factions end up clashing, allowing Felicia to escape.
    Tamara: Oh my god. You've set the cops on the cops.
    Black Fox: Take note, darling. Even your enemies have enemies.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Ultimately Sunset Bain is defeated when Tamara reacquires the original A.I. of Bain and gives it to Tony, allowing him to upload the original Bain into a server to fight the new A.I. in anger for the new version having not freed her yet, distracting them both long enough for Tony to purge them both from the system.
  • More Dakka: When Felicia created the Iron Cat armor, it had no ranged weaponry, only had claws for offense and made up for its lack of durability with speed and maneuverability. Tony rebuilt the suit after it fell apart and added repulsors and missiles.
  • Not Me This Time: Tony initially suspects Felicia of stealing the Iron Cat armor which she truthfully denies. Issue #2 reveals that this was what Tamara was hoping for: when Tony calls Felicia to accuse her of the theft, Tamara has Sunset Bain trace the call, allowing her to find Felicia's location and ambush her.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Felicia acknowledges that she’s not used to actually fighting enemies rather than stealing things, to say nothing of the high stakes involved when Madame Menace threatens to trigger a mass meltdown of Stark power plants and she, Tony and Tamara are the only people available to stop it.
  • Rivalry as Courtship: Felicia and Tamara started out as rivals due to their differing approaches to thievery and Black Fox's obvious favoritism towards Felicia despite Tamara being the better thief. They later became girlfriends.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Sunset Bain is now an A.I. locked up in an ultrablack server. She agrees to help Tamara by serving as a co-pilot for the Iron Cat suit in exchange for letting her make a copy of herself to exist outside of the server.
  • Sequel Episode: This comic is a follow-up MacKay's Full Metal Black Cat arc from the first year of his Black Cat run.
  • Technician Versus Performer: Tamara and Felicia's approaches to theft are portrayed this way. Tamara is the more practical of the two, being good at planning heists and staking out targets but is also noted to be predictable. Felicia is more impulsive and careless when it comes to heists but can also adapt to problems much more quickly.
  • Villain Team-Up: Tamara teams up with Sunset Bain aka Madame Menace, an Iron Man villain who had previously menaced him in the Iron Man 2020 storyline by Dan Slott and is now an A.I.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Felicia and Tony set a trap for Tamara in the form of a yacht party where all the guests are LMDs. But Tamara has Sunset hack the LMDs and turns them on Tony and Felicia. Then Felicia reveals that she had Bruno and Korpse infiltrate Stark's holding facility and build her a suit of Powered Armor for her to fight Tamara with. Tamara then plays her final hand by unleashing the Sunset Bain A.I. who has been infiltrating all of Stark's systems for the past 24 hours and has now commanded every Stark-built and Stark-programmed reactor worldwide to melt down.