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Black Cat (Marvel Comics) (Early) dating Spider-Man

Black Cat

(Felicia Hardy) (Profile #1)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

The Black Cat (Felicia Hardy) appeared in 1979 and has been a recurrent Spider-Man character ever since. To Peter Parker she has been an ally, an opponent, a lover, a foe, a friend and others.

This profile describes her early career, before she obtains super-powers. It is thus followed by .

At this stage she is a mistress thief using careful planning to simulate “bad luck curse” powers.


Background

  • Real Name: Felicia Hardy
  • Other Aliases: Felicia Harmon, “Party Hardy”
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Walter Hardy (father, deceased), Lydia Hardy (mother)
  • Group Affiliation: Partner of Spider-Man
  • Base Of Operations: New York City
  • Height: 5’9” Weight: 116 lbs
  • Eyes: Green Hair: Platinum blonde (practically white)


Powers and Abilities

The Black Cat is an Olympic-level athlete with superb gymnastic skills. Her extreme agility allows her to execute complicated flips, springs and rolls with minimal effort. She moves with the grace of a cat, and her running, tightrope-walking and jumping abilities are particularly impressive.

She also has a black belt in karate, and in judo (that was back during the 1970s).

When she first faced Spider-Man, she surprised him by fluidly jumping over his head from a standing position. Her ability to jump, leap and bounce, even from a standing start, would be considered superhuman in any genre less colourful than super-hero comics or over-the-top wuxia.

Felicia’s combat moves mostly revolve around dodging and outmaneuvering her opponent. Due to her low mass she relies on the offense on kicks, tumbling into her opponents and clawing attacks. Her gloves bear tiny claws – more like sharp and hard fingernails, really.

Black Cat (Felicia Hardy) and Spider-Man over the Manhattan skyline

The Black Cat is cinematically skilled at casing potential theft sites, and researching their security and floorplans. When she makes her move she’ll know almost everything about guard patrols, locations, security systems, etc. and will get hot tips from informants.

Part of her extensive preparations will concentrate on her escape routes, and she’ll rig them with various traps that simulate bad luck. This includes rigging brick walls or wooden flooring so that they will break easily, preparing ropes so that they will easily rupture, rigging fire escapes so that they will crumble, etc.

To convince opponents that she has bad luck powers, Felicia will usually exclaim “Never let the Black Cat cross your path !” when one of her prepared traps is triggered. In DC Heroes terms, she gets a cost break to retroactively declare that she installed a trap even if the player didn’t think of it.

Her casing, anticipation and trapping skills were no longer used as Spider-Man’s partner, since the context was completely different.

Early on Felicia had two odd gadgets. One made her eyes glow in the dark, to ominous effect – presumably the eyeholes of her mask could be backlit. The other somehow allowed her to project the shadow of a giant cat when illuminated at night. Perhaps it was a very minor magical items she stole ?


History

Felicia Hardy is the daughter of a highly reputed cat burglar. As a girl, she decided to follow in his footsteps and intensively trained herself for strength, endurance and agility and to learn such skills as acrobatics, gymnastics, karate, lockpicking, judo, safe-cracking, etc.

She also developed a crush on the mysterious New York City adventurer Spider-Man (Peter Parker), and kept a scrapbook about him. Her teenage fascination for Spidey likely played a role in her decision to adopt a costumed identity, which she called the Black Cat.

To reinforce her theme, she pretended to have “bad luck powers” by extensively preparing the site of her thefts so that seemingly random accidents would befall her pursuers.

Black Cat (Felicia Hardy) training as a youth

As a NYC costumed criminal, the Black Cat soon ran into her idol Spider-Man. She brazenly rolled up the bottom of his mask and kissed him, leaving a very confused Spidey behind.

After flexing out her thieving muscles, Hardy launched her main plan – free her aged father from prison. The youth hired Bruno Grainger and Boris Korpse, and the daring operation was successful. However it allowed Spider-Man to deduce whom the Black Cat was.

During their confrontation, Felicia seemingly fell to her death in the East River. As to Mr. Hardy he soon died of old age, as he could now do so a free man and in his own bed.

Stray cat strut, I’m a lady cat

The Black Cat’s next move was to woo Spider-Man. She stole 4 love-themed, invaluable objects from museums and collectors — evading security and Spider-Man at every turn. She then let Spidey follow her to her hideout, which was by then a shrine to him.

As it was obvious that Ms. Hardy was neurotic, Parker convinced her to seek professional help. She was arrested, and taken to a prison hospital for therapy.

(The official Marvel account is that Hardy faked insanity, which seems off when re-reading the vintage story. Here we’ll assume she had actual psychological issues, and the therapists were successful in relieving her condition.)

Black Cat (Felicia Hardy) leaping

After some beneficial months at the Mitchell State Hospital in upstate New York, Hardy easily escaped. Still having a crush about Spider-Man (but no longer being pathologically obsessive) and seeking excitement, she sought him out to become his crimefighting partner.

To overcome Spidey’s reluctance the Black Cat triggered a fight with a Maggia boss. They won – and she obtained a first consensual kiss.

As she operated along with him, Spider-Man convinced his police contact Captain Jean Dewolff to secure a conditional pardon for Hardy. Unaware of this, the Black Cat slipped from the straight and narrow and stole a work of art.

When Spider-Man attempted to arrest her for this crime, she threw herself in the sea rather than face prison.

Get a shoe thrown at me from a mean old man

The Black Cat survived and was fished out by Doctor Octopus’ gang. By that point New York City was rocked by a major gang war between him and the Owl (Leland Owlsley). When Octopus attempted to detonate a neutron bomb to prove his determination, the Black Cat betrayed him and stole a key component to stop him.

She came to Spider-Man for protection, but Dr. Octopus captured her back.

Black Cat (Felicia Hardy) takes out Spider-Man

When the Octopus gang stormed the Owl’s H.Q., the Black Cat defiantly smashed the bomb’s detonator. She thus again prevented a carnage, but was cut down by reaction gunfire. Spider-Man rushed her to the hospital in time for a successful surgery, and Captain Dewolff had the conditional pardon passed.

Enraged, Octopus made several attempts to murder the Black Cat at the hospital. During these, her ad-hoc bodyguard Spidey admitted that he loved her, but she prevented him from revealing his identity, wanting him to remain enticingly mysterious.

Octopus nearly got Hardy when the police evacuated her from the hospital, but Dewolff saved her by crashing her roadster into one of Octopus’ supporting tentacles.

The Black Cat recovered after several months of rest.

I slink down the alley, looking for a fight

Hardy eventually admitted to Parker that she didn’t actually have powers. This greatly worried Spider-Man as it made her vulnerable against his opponents. They continued dating and adventuring together, but Parker’s fears were justified during bad encounters with the Hobgoblin and then the Fly.

Hardy convinced Parker that it was the sort of risk that she craved, though.

However, a fight with Mister Hyde again proved that the Black Cat was out of her depth. Furious that Spidey kept sidelining her for her safety but realising that the problem was real, the youth ran off to somehow acquire powers.


Description

Due to her smooth complexion and wide eyes, Felicia looks about 17 – maybe 18 or 19 near the end of the profile.


Personality

The young Black Cat carries significant baggage. Her mother told her that her father was dead, but the kid discovered that it was a lie. As a reaction, Felicia came to imagine her father as a greater-than-life, Romantic figure whom she intensely sought to emulate and make proud.

Her mother made Felicia promise to seek psychological help, but the girl didn’t actually do it.

Her admiration for her father as she imagined him, her huge crush on Spider-Man and wanting to respect her promise to seek help coalesced on a burning desire to become Spider-Man’s lover and partner.

In her view he was “almost as good as daddy”. She came to imagine him as a tangled, incestuous mix of father figure, symbol of excitement and adventure, and super-man who would heal her psyche.

The prison doctors helped her solve the bulk of her father issues. Yet, she denied having ever been neurotic and told Spidey it all had been an act not to end up in a real prison.

Spider-Man wanted to believe her, and so he did. But Felicia still occasionally referred to her dad in near-religious terms and had a vision of him during a near-death experience. This neurosis continued to fade away over the years, though.

Black Cat (Felicia Hardy) runs on a tightrope

The Black Cat’s motivation shifted to thrill-seeking. Stealing was too easy to be exciting, and she also wanted people to see her in action and recognise her skills. This strengthened her interest in Spider-Man, whom she considered to be the best super-hero ever and thus her dream partner.

As Spidey’s lover Felicia was childishly happy and playful. On the other hand she routinely created trouble as she couldn’t stand being bored. Furthermore, her respect for the law remained feeble, and she’d steal something cool rather than feel boredom.

She tends to act before she thinks since that means more excitement. Because she’s so young and starry-eyed that she believes that courage and love always prevail over deadly super-human criminals.

Felicia refuses to have anything to do with Peter Parker. What she wants is the masked, mysterious, myth-like Spider-Man. She always refused to see his unmasked face.

The Black Cat has a visceral phobia of being imprisoned and restrained. She will panic if it looks like she’ll end in the slammer — probably throwing herself to her seeming death to escape. Even grabbing her by the wrist to prevent her from leaving is likely to trigger sudden, full-force violence.

Since Felicia can make money pretty much at will, she usually lives in luxurious hotels.


Quotes

“Tsk tsk – you men never understand, do you ? Then perhaps it’s time you learned.  Never let the Black Cat cross your path !“ (an entire rack of guns collapses on Spidey)

“Wow ! That was scrumptious ! Another Spidey photo for my collection – I’ll add it to all the others I’ve taken. I need as many as I can get !”

“The world’s best safeguards can’t stop Walter Hardy’s little girl ! Of course, daddy would evaded these electric eye beams a bit differently… but I’m sure that they wouldn’t have given him any trouble. After all, he was the world’s greatest cat burglar in his day ! As I am in mine !”

(Attacking Dr. Octopus) “Get your tentacles off my wall-crawler, four-eyes !”

“Yes ! I mean, who you are – where you live when you’re not Spider-Man — all that’s unimportant ! Wearing that mask, you’re my man of mystery ! You’re the night and excitement and death-defying adventure ! Come with me lover – out into the night – where we can both be who we truly are !”


DC Universe History

(With David Johnston, Roy Cowan, William Chamberlin, Jay Myers, John Colagioia)

Note : In this timeline the Black Cat replaces both Flamebird and Pantha. I’ve also taken some liberties with the order the events happened in the DCU (Batman and Catwoman start their current (early 2004) relationship much earlier than they actually did), but Felicia’s presence would have changed things.

How many beautiful cat-themed female top-notch cat burglars who are the mischievous lover of a A-list super-hero can you have in a given universe ? The Catwoman connection is just too obvious.

A possible first step is to make Felicia Selina’s youngest sister – she would have been put in the same institution as Selina and Maggie, but lost contact with them at that point — as she was the only one young enough to be successfully adopted.

Her adoptive father, Walt Hardy, was a cat burglar of no small repute, but knew that the best of the best was Gotham’s feline fatale. Felicia’s obsession with her father in the MU becomes an obsession with her big sister in the DCU.

She’s trying hard to outdo her, and sometimes their sole contact is through Maggie – though at some points they have been on more friendly terms.

Black Cat (Felicia Hardy) shows her Spider-Man shrine to Spider-Man

At one point, as Catwoman’s barely manageable romantic entanglement with the Batman grew hotter, Felicia spitefully put the moves on Nightwing, who had just broken up with Starfire. She even designed a new identity, “Flamebird”, so she could adventure with Nightwing without tarnishing his image.

Dick fell head over heel over the manipulative minx, and much shouting ensued as Bruce warned Dick of Felicia’s real intentions, Dick shouted at Bruce that at least *he* wasn’t afraid of his feeling and acting like a frigid jerk like Bruce was acting toward Selina.

Troia, certain her best friend was being manipulated by Felicia, tried to have a showdown with her, only to clash violently with Catwoman, who wasn’t about to let some teenage girl manhandle her seductive kid sister.

Wanting to drag Dick away from the Titans and feeling weak because she couldn’t slug it out with Troia, Black Cat then sought powers and was secretly enhanced by the Wildebeest society, sworn enemies of the Titans.

She agreed to betray the Titans to the Wildebeests in exchange for her powers (the slowly emerging proportional strength, speed, prowess, senses and claws of a cat), but found out that she was genuinely in love with Dick and turned against the Wildebeest.

For a time she adopted the moniker “Pantha”, but eventually lost her powers. It then became clear that her powers had mutated to bad luck powers, and she called herself the Black Cat again.

Felicia and Dick eventually broke up after a particularly venomous verbal cat fight between Selina and Felicia. Dick and Bruce were attempting to mend their father/son relationship, but Bruce had started a quasi-regular relationship with Catwoman and it soon became obvious that one of the four had to leave.

Felicia, now genuinely in love with Dick, chose to leave so he could patch up things with Bruce ; he even admitted she didn’t mind Selina being happy with Bruce.

She moved to Los Angeles, and under her Flamebird identity occasionally headed an irregular group called Titans West until she grew bored with it.

She had a fling with Arsenal for a while, but they stopped seeing each other when Dick broke up with Barbara Gordon, as Felicia was afraid he’d think she was manipulating him by sleeping with one of his friends.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Black Cat – in her early 20s

Dex: 06 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Psycho, later Thrill
Int: 06 Wil: 05 Min: 03 Occupation: Thief
Inf: 04 Aur: 05 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 006
Init: 018 HP: 040

Skills:
Acrobatics: 08, Artist (Photography): 02, Detective (Legwork): 04, Gadgetry: 04, Martial artist (incl. Techniques): 05, Military science (Demolition): 06, Scientist (Research): 04, Thief: 08, Vehicles (Land): 05

Advantages:
Connoisseur, Schtick (Black cat’s curse), Scholar (Researching and casing areas to steal from), Schtick (My Playground My Rules (Medium – all the egress routes prepared around an extensively cased theft site, traps themed after bad luck))

Connections:
Spider-Man (High), Underworld (Low), Street (Low)

Drawbacks:
MIA toward Spider-Man, SIH of Prison and being restrained

Equipment:
Line and special grapnel [BODY 04, 05 APs of length]

By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: Spider-Man comics (Marvel Universe)

Helper(s): Frank Murdock, Darci

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