The story begins with Spider-Man investigating the death of Donald Phillips, a student who seemingly died from a drug overdose but with no evidence as to how the drugs got into his system. Spider-Man's only lead is an actor named Hunter Todd. Meanwhile, the Black Cat, Spider-Man's ally and former romantic partner, is searching for her friend Tricia Lane who was last seen with Todd. When they realize the connection between their two cases, Spider-Man and the Black Cat team up to solve them together while dealing with their unresolved feelings for each other and the tragic end of their relationship. Spider-Man and Black Cat's investigation ultimately leads them to Garrison Klum a.k.a. Mr. Brownstone, a mutant with minor teleportation powers which he uses in his drug dealing business. When Garrison is killed, Felicia is suspected but it turns out to be Garrison's brother Francis.
The series was infamous for two things. One was the long hiatus. The series began in 2002, as an intended lead in for a planned run on the main Spider-Man title by Smith. However, after the third issue, the series went on an unplanned hiatus until 2005, when Smith revealed he had finally finished writing the scripts. The final three issues were published in 2006.
The other source of controversy was the Retcon to the Black Cat's backstory. Originally, Felicia Hardy became the Black Cat to follow in her father's footsteps as an expert thief. However, Evil That Men Do rewrites Felicia's reasons for becoming the Black Cat to be rape at the hands of her college boyfriend. This retcon was not well received and has thus far gone unaddressed outside of this series.
The mini-series' most lasting introduction to the Spider-Man franchise was Francis Klum, who served as the third Mysterio for some time.
Tropes used in or associated with Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do:
- Attempted Rape: When Felicia breaks into his house to get information on Tricia Lane, Garrison Klum incapacitates her by teleporting drugs into her system and tries to rape her. The final scene of the third issue is him cutting open her costume. The fourth issue reveals that Garrison is dead and Felicia is in jail under suspicion of killing him. In reality, Francis, Garrison's brother, killed him to stop him from raping Felicia.
- Bathing Beauty: Felicia seems to love to bathe and even calls herself a "shower junkie". The very first scene she has is in the story is a Shower Scene.
- Batman Gambit: At the tale's conclusion, this is basically Francis Klum's reason for buying the equipment of the currently-absent Mysterio rather than establishing his own supervillain identity, reasoning that by assuming the identity of a known foe he'll put Spider-Man off-guard as the wall-crawler will assume he knows what to expect and be taken by surprise by Klum's other abilities.
- Better as Friends: Peter (who's Happily Married to Mary Jane at this point) wants to go back to being friends with Felicia. But there's still some Unresolved Sexual Tension between them.
- Big Brother Bully: Francis' slide into evil began after his older brother Garrison started sexually abusing him and then forced him to use his low-level teleportation abilities to help create a criminal empire.
- Big Brother Instinct: Subverted with Garrison. A flashback shows him beating up a bully who picked on Francis for being Jewish. However, this is followed by the reveal that he has been sexually molesting Francis since they were teenagers.
- Brother–Sister Incest: Francis Klum has been repeatedly raped over the course of his life by his older brother Garrison.
- The Cartel: The Ortega Cartel are the Klums' chief rivals in the drug dealing business. They send the supervillainess Scorpia to kill Garrison at a humanitarian award event but she is thwarted by Spider-Man and the Black Cat. Garrison kills them all in retribution along with the leader's wife. Only their baby survives.
- Cerebus Retcon: Felicia was initially just a laidback adventuress who became a thief because it was fun (and to help break her father out of prison). The miniseries reveals that she was raped by her boyfriend, Ryan, in college. The experience led to her becoming bitter and angry, and she became the Black Cat with the intended purpose of killing Ryan for revenge. Unfortunately for her, Ryan died in a car accident, denying Felicia her vengeance and leaving her without closure. Feeling that her life had been stolen from her, Felicia turned to a life of theft.
- Charm Person: Francis can telepathically "prompt" people into doing acts they don't want, such as having Spider-Man and Daredevil beat each other up or forcing a prostitute to have sex with him.
- Combo Platter Powers: Francis has teleportation (far stronger than his brother) and telepathy. Lampshaded by Daredevil who asks Nightcrawler how a Mutant can possess both. Nightcrawler theorizes that Francis' telepathy is an extension of his teleportation in that he is "teleporting thoughts and suggestions into other people's heads".
- Commonality Connection: Felicia finds common ground with Francis in being a rape survivor like him.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Spidey and Felicia are interrogating an imprisoned Scorpia on who recruited her to assassinate Garrison:Spider-Man: Either you're gonna tell us who hired you, or I'm gonna hang outside your window pegging you with web-balls all night. And if that's not annoying enough, I'll have Black Cat sing "Memories" from Cats. Hit it, Cat!
Black Cat: [without missing a beat] ~MEEEEMO-RIES! ALL ALONE ON THE PAVE-MENT...! I RE-MEM-BER A TIME I KNEW WHAT HAP-PI-NESS WAS...~
Scorpia: All right, all right, all right! God, I hate you two...
- Depraved Bisexual: Garrison is a rapist whose victims include both women (like Felicia) and men (like his brother Francis).
- Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male: Averted and deconstructed. Garrison's sexual abuse of his brother Francis (which occurred all the way up to adulthood) is treated just as seriously as Felicia being raped by her college boyfriend. Felicia shows empathy for Francis and all the pain that Garrison's treatment of him has caused him. However, Francis is afraid to turn himself in and tell others about it because he fears people will either not believe him or mock him for it.
- Disc-One Final Boss: Garrison is the main antagonist of the first three issues. Francis takes on the role of the final villain for the last three issues after he kills Garrison.
- Eating the Eye Candy: One cop comments on how fit Spider-Man's butt is, which gets him a lot of disapproving looks from his fellow officers.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Francis is Garrison's brother and partner in crime, but he is shown to be disturbed by Garrison's sadistic and ruthless actions, which run the risk of either exposing them or making them more enemies than they need. Part of the reason Francis kills Garrison is because he feels he is going out of control.
- Everyone Has Standards: Felicia is disgusted when she sees the aftermath of Garrison's massacre of the Ortega Cartel.
- Fanservice: The story opens with Felicia talking in the phone wearing only a Modesty Towel since the call interrupted her shower. After finishing she walks bath to the bathroom, drops the towel and resumes showering. We get a lot of close up shots of her washing her body, but a combination of Censor Suds, Godiva Hair and Scenery Censor conceal any actual nudity.
- Heart Is an Awesome Power: Garrison can teleport matter... a few grams at a time. He uses this power to become a drug dealer catering to wealthy clients wishing to indulge in heroin without any nasty needle marks. Naturally, he can also teleport drugs to people's systems against their will...
- Hate Sink: Garrison Klum, a.k.a. Mr. Brownstone. Being a murderer and a drug dealer would be reason enough to despise him. Then we see him try to rape Felicia. Later, we learn that he sexually abused his younger brother Francis all the way up to adulthood and that he also molests teenagers.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Peter threatens to eat a low-level drug pusher in order to give him information about who got Donald Philips involved in drugs.
- Lethal Harmless Powers:
- Garrison Klum has the ability to teleport matter... but only a few grams at a time. Since he works as a drug dealer, a few grams of heroin teleported straight to the heart is all he needs to incapacitate or kill someone. On a more mundane but equally criminal front, it can be used to immediately get a customer high by teleporting a smaller dose of heroin directly into their bloodstream.
- Francis has teleportation abilities far stronger than that of his brother and can use them to far deadlier effect as he isn't limited to teleporting a few grams of matter. His feats include teleporting Black Cat's mask into Spider-Man's neck and killing his brother Garrison by teleporting into his body and blowing him up.
- Literary Allusion Title: The subtitle of the comic comes from Mark Anthony's "Friends, Romans, countrymen" speech in William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar ("The evil that men do lives after them; / the good is oft interred with their bones.")
- The Loins Sleep Tonight: One of the things that drives Francis Klum into villainy is the fact that the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of his older brother has left him with persistent impotence.
- Male Gaze: Felicia's introduction in the first issue has her wearing a form-fitting towel before taking a shower, a sequence which focuses a great deal on her body, such as a close up of her washing her legs. It isn't until she checks into a hotel while working the case that we finally see her face. Even after that, there are multiple shots in the first three issues which focus on her breasts, ass or both at once. The covers also draw a lot of attention to her figure.
- Malicious Misnaming: Felicia refers to Mary Jane (who doesn't appear in this story) as "Mary Plain".
- Masturbation Means Sexual Frustration: Heavily implied during the Shower Scene at the beginning of the series. Felicia reaches for the detachable showerhead 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 her Sexy Silhouette standing behind the shower glass.Felicia: Far too long...
- Modesty Towel: The story opens with Felicia talking in the phone wearing only a towel since the call has interrupted her shower. After finishing, she just walks bath to the bathroom, drops the towel and resumes showering.
- Mood Whiplash: The first two issues are a mostly fun rump with humorous banter between Peter and Felicia. Then the third issue ends with Felicia about to be raped by Garrison Klum. The three remaining issues feature discussions of rape and sexual abuse as well as anti-Semitic motivated bullying. All while we have your usual snark from Spider-Man and Daredevil.
- Mr. Exposition: Nightcrawler is the Marvel Universe's foremost expert on Teleportation and is contacted by Spider-Man and Daredevil to provide exposition about people in concentration camps who had Mutant genetic material grafted onto them. This is how the audience learns that the Klums' powers are a result of them being descended from one of the camp's victims.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Felicia is just about to get through to Francis as another rape victim but Spider-Man swinging in and assaulting him from trauma-induced rage (Francis and Felicia were talking on top of a bridge) makes Francis think Felicia was setting him up.
- Our Ancestors Are Superheroes: Garrison and Francis are descendants of concentration camp inmates who were implanted with genetic material stolen from mutants.
- Playing Hard to Get: Felicia when she acts nonchalant about inviting Spider-Man to her apartment.Felicia: Stay or come, it's your call. But I'm going.
[Felicia jumps off the roof and starts swinging away]
Felicia's Thought Balloon: Please be following me... Please be following me... Please be following me...
- Professional Killer: Scorpia is hired to kill Garrison by a rival drug cartel. Thanks to the intervention of Peter and Felicia, she fails.
- Psychic Teleportation: Francis Klum can teleport and compel people to do whatever he wants. His later appearances show him displaying telekinesis.
- Rape and Revenge: Subverted with Felicia. She wanted to kill Ryan for raping her but he died in a car accident leaving her without any closure and a lot anger issues which she used as motivation to become a thief. Somewhat played straight with Francis killing Garrison, who had been sexually abusing him since they were kids, though it took seeing Garrison attempt to rape Felicia for Francis to do it.
- Rape as Backstory: Both Felicia and Francis. Felicia is retconned into having been date-raped by her college boyfriend, which was the catalyst for her becoming the Black Cat. Francis meanwhile was sexually abused by his older brother Garrison.
- Rape Discretion Shot:
- Issue #3 ends with Garrison undressing an immobilized Felicia and getting ready to rape her, when the scene cuts to outside the apartment as a Dramatic Thunder goes off. It turns out to be a subversion, as Francis kills Garrison before he can rape her.
- Played straight with Francis raping a prostitute and Ryan raping Felicia.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: The story does not pull any punches about how horrible rape is and the effect it has on the victims. Ryan and Garrison are portrayed as the lowest form of scum for being rapists. Felicia's conversation with Matt Murdock, who is serving as her defense attorney, in issue #4 spells this out blatantly.Felicia: Have you ever been raped, counselor? Have you ever had anyone climb into your body that you didn't want there? And I don't just mean someone you got tired of sleeping with but didn't know how to dump. I'm talking about someone who forces himself into you, against your will. And the whole time, you know he's not doing it because he wants you. He's doing it to hurt you. He's doing it because he wants you to know how powerless you are. He's doing it to take away everything good and positive about yourself. He's doing it to humiliate you. He's doing it to break you.
- Save the Villain: Spider-Man and Black Cat end up saving Garrison and Francis from Scorpia, although it's before they know they're the real villains.
- Self-Made Orphan: Garrison discovered he had powers when he teleported some mouthwash into his mother's heart, killing her instantly. Unlike most examples of this trope, Garrison's killing of his mother was an accident, but given his complete lack of regret or remorse, he might as well have done it on purpose.
- Sexy Packaging: All of the covers place a great deal of emphasis on Black Cat's breasts, ass, or both at once.
- Shield Surf: Spider-Man surfs on a garbage lid while webbed to a car of the criminals he's chasing.
- Siblings in Crime: The Klums, though it could not be more clear that Garrison is the one truly calling the shots.
- Sleeping Dummy: Garrison uses one to get the drop on Black Cat when she comes for him in his apartment.
- Start to Corpse: The story begins with Tricia's dead body found in a dumpster.
- Stronger Sibling: Not only does Francis have greater teleportation powers than Garrison, but he is also a telepath who can influence people and project illusions. However, Francis is far less evil than Garrison and only comes into conflict with Spider-Man due to confusion, fear and misunderstanding.
- Tele-Frag: Nightcrawler remarks on the effects of killing someone by teleporting into their body. He avoids the act based on the squick factor, and because he doesn't kill people, although he acknowledges an academic curiosity about what it would look like if someone did that. Francis performs this on Garrison to prevent him from raping Black Cat.
- Teleportation: Garrison and Francis both use this ability to dangerous effect throughout the series.
- Garrison has the ability to teleport small amounts of material over a distance. He uses this ability to deliver drugs directly into his customer's system, avoiding telltale signs of drug use such as needle marks. He can also kill or incapacitate people by teleporting a few grams of heroin straight into their heart.
- Francis' teleportation powers are far less limited. He can teleport himself, anyone else he is carrying and smaller items so long as he can visualize them and where they are. He fights off Spider-Man by teleporting Felicia's mask into his neck and was able to kill his brother Garrison by teleporting into his body and blowing him up.
- Thanks for the Mammary: Garrison pushes up against Felicia's breast while thanking her and Peter for saving him from Scorpia. Given that he later tries to rape Felicia and is revealed to have been sexually abusing his younger brother Francis since they were kids, it's likely him touching her breast wasn't an accident.
- Trauma Button: When Peter finds Felicia and Francis at the top of the Queensboro Bridge, he flashes back to The Night Gwen Stacy Died and thinks Francis is trying to kill Felicia the same way the Green Goblin killed Gwen. This causes Peter to fly into a blind rage and attack Francis.
- Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Francis' powers activated during his mother's funeral.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Peter and Felicia.
- Use Their Own Weapon Against Them: When Peter tries to stop her from going after Garrison Klum, Felicia sucker punches him and restrains him with his own web shooters.
- Vengeance Denied: Felicia trained herself to get revenge on the boy who raped her, but he ended up dying in a random drunk-driving accident before she could get her hands on him.
- Villainous Incest: Garrison sexually abused his younger brother Francis for years. This was so traumatizing to Francis that he became unable to enjoy consensual sex.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Garrison Klum's public persona is that of a wealthy and beloved philanthropist. The second issue has him receiving an award for donating money to victims of 9/11 before he is attacked by Scorpia, who has been paid to kill him by his rivals in the drug dealing business.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Peter and Felicia have this dynamic along with some heavy Belligerent Sexual Tension.Felicia: I really hate you, you know that?
Peter: And I am thoroughly disgusted by you. Welcome back, Party-Hardy.
- Weaponized Teleportation:
- Garrison can teleport small grams of drugs into people's systems to incapacitate or kill them.
- When he sees Garrison about to rape Felicia, Francis teleports inside him and explodes him from within.
- Nightcrawler remarks on the effects of killing someone by teleporting into their body. He avoids doing this himself because of how gross it can be, and because he doesn't kill people.
- Will Not Be a Victim: After Felicia was raped by her boyfriend, she Took a Level in Badass and became the Black Cat because she "didn't want to be another statistic". This attitude is deconstructed; in the present Felicia says that she wished she had reported the rape and gotten therapy instead.
- Working the Same Case: Peter and Felicia team up when they learn that the two missing persons cases they are each working on are connected.
- Working with the Ex: Peter and Felicia's relationship did not end well and is a source of conflict in their partnership.
- You Are Fat: Peter makes a few jokes about Felicia having put on some weight which she shows some annoyance at, even going as far as asking him if he's trying to make her bulimic. A flashback to Felicia's college years has her expressing worry about gaining weight from the beers she is drinking suggesting that she might have some body image issues.