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Black Cat (Spider-Man character) (Marvel Comics) during the 1980s

Black Cat

(Felicia Hardy) (Profile #2)


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

Context

The Black Cat (Felicia Hardy) is a classic Spider-Man character – an agile and occasionally reformed thief. This profile covers the era where she has bad luck powers, then feline powers.

This profile is #2 in a chronological series, which is best read in order. It is preceded by (start there) and followed by .


Background

  • Real Name: Felicia Hardy
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Walter Hardy (father, deceased), Lydia Hardy (mother)
  • Group Affiliation: Former partner of Spider-Man, employee of the Foreigner
  • Base Of Operations: New York City
  • Height: 5’10” Weight: 120lbs
  • Eyes: Green Hair: Platinum blonde (appear white)


Powers and Abilities

The Black Cat still has her impressive athletic abilities, training and thieving skills and is maturing in their use and as an adventurer.

The first treatment gave her the ability to manipulate probability fields to inflict bad lucks on others. It also made her faster (in DC Heroes terms improved Acrobatics, Lighting Reflexes).

She mentioned that it had increased her strength, but no such gain was apparent. Still, in DCH terms higher APs of Acrobatics (Athletics) do allow her to jump further.

Dr. Strange described her powers as a strange mixture of sorcery and science, and considered her bad luck powers to clearly be an hex. This was coherent with the way the more powerful Scarlet Witch could over-write Black Cat’s probability manipulation.

The most reasonable explanation is that Felicia has a genetic potential for some kind of cat-connected sorcery. It first expressed itself as hexes and was later scrambled by Strange to become more physical powers.

Cat power

After her powers mutated, she slowly acquired the proportional strength, agility, endurance and sensory acuity of a cat. She also could morph claws out of her nails – both on her hands and her feet. For some reason she also could perceive Dr. Strange’s astral form.

This writeup, of course, sticks to the abilities she actually demonstrated – perhaps she had other, minor cat-like abilities that were never shown.

The STR and Claws took the longest time to develop – when she left the US she still had STR 05 and Claws: 06 ; when she came back she was strong enough to snap steel chains, and her claws could wreck the Scorpion’s tail motors.

New skills

On several occasions she also took photos of Spider-Man in action to help Parker in his job as a photojournalist, and turned in surprisingly good shots. This talent for photography was later confirmed.

She also proved to be a pretty good actress when she became manipulative. Her performance was helped by the fact nobody was expecting her to have developed that skill.

A note on Black Cat vs. Sabertooth

Since this fight is often cited by fans as an example of an absurd fight, I thought I’d add a few details from the actual issue, with a DC Heroes translation.

At this point Felicia had already been enhanced. She had very sharp claws, low superhuman strength and superhuman agility and reflexes. Those powers were still emerging, but seem to make a leap forward and manifest more strongly when she flips out during the fight.

For much of the fight she is laying back and focused on dodging (Acrobatics (Dodging)). Her only attacks are vicious clawing of Sabertooth’s face. At this point Sabretooh has barely recovered from obvious facial wounds, so she’s concentrating on a vulnerable area.

Creed still manages to get the upper hand, but damages his teeth on Felicia’s hidden mini-crowbar. Felicia blows a fair bit of Hero Points  and flips out, ramming Creed’s face on the pavement. The Hero Points enhanced her attack enough to Stun him.

Sabretooth is surprised at her sudden ferocity and strength (no HP use beyond LDD to break her hold as he assumes she doesn’t have high STR). Black Cat then keeps smashing Sabretooth’s face on the sidewalk with superhuman strength until he stops moving, which isn’t too hard since she’s on top and seems as strong as he is.

Remember that Sabertooth started as an Iron Fist foe. He has gotten considerably more powerful over the years.

The fight with Felicia was in 1986, when he still mainly was a Iron Fist foe. He had yet to appear as a Marauder for the Mutant Massacre, which is the point where he starts being defined as the “anti-Wolverine” and becomes considerably more powerful.


History

This section starts where the History section of the Black Cat (early) profile ends.

Distraught, the Black Cat determined to gain superhuman powers by some means. She tried to contact Tony Stark, Henry Pym, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and an array of underworld contacts, to no avail.

Meanwhile, the Kingpin, the most powerful organized crime leader on the East Coast, sought vengeance on the Black Cat for her theft of the detonator during the Owl/Octopus gang war.

Concealing his identity, the Kingpin offered to grant the Black Cat superhuman powers in exchange for her services. The Black Cat suspected that her unknown benefactor was a criminal, but accepted the offer, telling herself that she would turn him over to the law after fulfilling her debt to him.

The scientists in the employ of her benefactor discovered that the Black Cat had latent abilities in her genes. They were able to activate those powers, using information from the notes of the late Dr. Harlan Stillwell, who had given the Fly and the Scorpion their superhuman abilities.

Platinum-haired jinx

She now had the power to cause her adversaries “bad luck”, which she had only pretended to possess before. Moreover, the Black Cat’s agility and speed had been enhanced. Only after she received these powers did the Black Cat learn that her benefactor was the Kingpin.

At that point, Spider-Man disappeared for a while – he was on another planet fighting the first Secret War. When she eventually found him (in his new black costume), she wanted to tell him she had a new power that had spontaneously developed. But she just managed to stammer a bit and couldn’t tell him anything.

During subsequent fights against such villains as the Blob or the Answer, she proved a valuable ally to Spider-Man as bad luck befell her opponents whenever they tried to hurt her.

The Answer, who was monitoring Spider-Man for the Kingpin, ordered the Black Cat to ply the role of the hostage in his next operation. The couple had been fighting, and the Answer wanted Spider-Man to stick with Felicia to protect her from villain trying to use her to get at him. The Black Cat, still having obligations toward the Kingpin, reluctantly agreed.

The Kingpin’s machination

During a fight with the Silvermane cyborg and the Kingpin, Spider-Man came to suspect that she was connected to the Kingpin and had acquired powers. Pressured, Felicia confessed to him. The Black Cat then confronted the Kingpin, who informed her that he had given her her powers in order to get revenge both on her and on Spider-Man.

The Kingpin revealed to her that her powers would, in time, bring “bad luck” to anyone who was regularly in her presence. Indeed, Spider-Man had been uncharacteristically clumsy recently when near the Black Cat.

The Kingpin said that the Cat’s powers would increasingly affect Spider-Man the more he stayed with her, and implied that the end result would be his death.

The Kingpin pledged to Spider-Man never again to force the Black Cat to do his bidding. The Black Cat decided that, to save Spider-Man’s life, she would end her affair and partnership with him. But before she could tell him, he left due to his dissatisfaction with her amorality and her disdain for his life as Peter Parker.

Men call him the Foreigner

Felicia was furious Spider-Man had broken up with her before she could. She still wasn’t over it by the next Christmas, when she took out a pair of men stealing from a luxury boutique.

Holding a pair of mink coats, she playfully decided to give them to two nearby bag ladies, and from there decided to become a modern day Robin Hood. She would steal from the rich to give to the poor. That would mean both excitement and giggles, and not being an overt criminal so Spider-Man wouldn’t be angry at her.

At one point, she stole a box of gems – with the intend of fencing them and giving the money to a charity. She took the gems, but was told they belonged to the Foreigner.

As the Foreigner was thought to be an urban legend among the underworld, she didn’t pay attention. She then decided it would be a neat challenge to go all Robin Hood on him if such a fantastic crime lord existed.

However, Spider-Man’s bad luck did not immediately change. It wasn’t as severe, but still present. When he tested it, calling heads and flipping a coin, he got tails 180 times in a row. At that point he decided to consult with Dr. Strange, who removed the source of his bad luck, Felicia Hardy’s powers.

Evolution toward strength

This resulted in the unknowing Black Cat being badly beaten and having her nose broken by a thug while robbing the Foreigner. She had gotten beyond cocky and was depending on her powers to protect her. She narrowly got out alive, but when the Foreigner came back to his office, his former pupil Sabretooth decided to track her down to impress his old master.

Black Cat (Felicia Hardy) takes out Spider-Man

Spider-Man came in, to check whether Strange’s spell had affected Black Cat’s power. She was furious at him and they got in a loud spat about how they couldn’t trust each other and kept too many secrets from each other.

When Sabretooth attacked and was defeated by Spider-Man, Felicia was even angrier. She had intended to defeat him herself, using the numerous concealed traps in her new apartment.

She then tried to get back at Dr. Strange for having taken away her powers. She only ended up frustrated by Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum peculiar defences and unique topology.

When Strange proved to be a reasonable, polite astral form who told her her powers were not gone but merely mutating, she was so frustrated that she left, rejecting his offer for help.

Agent of the Foreigner

The Foreigner went after her personally, intend on recovering what she had stolen from him. Although Black Cat’s new, superhuman powers continued emerging during the fight, she was handily defeated. Attracted to her personality, curves and Silver-Sable-like hair, the Foreigner decided not to kill her and offered her to work for him instead.

Felicia agreed, despite knowing the first mission would involve the death of Spider-Man. The Foreigner had a quasi-hypnotic strength of persuasion, and the young Black Cat weakly reasoned having Spidey out of the picture would giver her her self-esteem back. She still couldn’t manage to get her love for Spider-Man out of her mind, though.

She chose to track down Sabretooth and beat him up with her newly emerging powers as another way to boost her self-esteem. Although she nearly was killed several times during the fight, she won – and did so in the street below Parker’s apartment, winking at him after the fight.

This was also the first step to gain Parker’s confidence back – to destroy him as part of the Foreigner’s plan.

Felicia felt flushed with confidence by this first major victory on her own – and the thought that she was going to mess with Parker. Feeling she was at least her own woman, she chose to prove it by giving herself to the Foreigner.

The Foreigner’s plan unfolded, using a fake villain called Blaze and the Foreigner’s ability to impersonate police lieutenant Keating. The new, far more assertive Black Cat confidently conquered Peter’s heart again, to the furore of his ex, Mary-Jane Watson. Meanwhile Spider-Man framed for murder due to the Foreigner’s manipulations.

Back-stabbing

Spider-Man learned that the Black Cat had manipulated him along. He managed to beat the Foreigner, but was going to be arrested for murder. However, the Black Cat gave information to the police proving Spider-Man’s innocence. She actually had manipulated both Spider-Man and the Foreigner.

Felicia’s plan was that they would be even at this point. Peter would hate her as she hated him, and would have been forced to accept help he didn’t want like he had forced her to when Sabretooth attacked. The problem was that she had fallen in love with him yet again.

Since she to flee the US anyway to get away from the Foreigner’s wrath, she could only strike back in a petty way. She sent Parker a letter about her manipulations, plus some softcore photos of her so he would physically regret her.

The City of Lights and the Big Apple

Felicia lived in Paris for a few months. She then returned to New York – since the Foreigner didn’t seem big on actually trying to kill her. When she hit New York, Peter was still very much on her mind, and she intended to mend bridges and become his lover again. It took weeks to track him down, as he had moved several times.

Black Cat ran into Venom, who also had been tracking Parker. The brief fight didn’t go well for her. But the most shocking aspect was when Venom mentioned he was looking for Peter and his *wife*. The news crushed Felicia and drew her close to the edge.

Distraught that Parker was now married, Hardy lashed out and started dating Peter’s friend Flash Thompson to upset the Parkers. That didn’t sate her, however. She invaded Peter’s home, spitefully threatening Mary Jane while Peter wasn’t there and swearing to break their marriage so she could have Peter.

She also decided she would eventually break Flash’s heart into tiny tiny bits, just to show Peter how much she was hurting.

Flash, aaah aaahh

Felicia and Flash were then mugged. Flash, an amateur boxer, jumped to her defense and scattered the muggers. Felicia was flabbergasted that somebody would take such risks for her. She reconsidered her relationship with Flash Thompson, eventually starting to feel genuine respect and affection for him.

While having a picnic with Flash, MJ and Peter in Central Park, Peter had to run. Tarantula had taken hostages nearby and demanded that Spider-Man to come for him. Flash also rushed in to help his favourite super-hero. Felicia, afraid that Flash would get hurt, followed and saved him before Tarantula could kill him, soundly flattening the villain.

When Spider-Man remarked that she had saved him, too, she weakly answered that she couldn’t break his heart if he was dead.

However, she had noticed that Spider-Man was much weaker than normal. Peter recently had his powers removed so he could lead a normal life. Among other things, he reasoned that Felicia was attracted to Spider-Man, not Parker, and that putting the costume away would kill her desire.

The removal of his powers was a plot by the Chameleon, however, who continued to sent other villains against the depowered Parker. When the Scorpion attacked, the Black Cat jumped in and defeated him, with negligible help from the depowered Peter.

Repowering the spider

Parker realized he had to get his powers back. In a twisted reversal the Black Cat accepted to help him since he was Flash’s best friend and favourite hero.

While Parker was busy tinkering with the Chameleon’s machines to regain his spider abilities, the Black Cat single-handedly took on the Chameleon’s henchmen – the Scorpion, Tarantula and the Femmes Fatales. Her courageous fighting ended in a defeat, but she had bought Parker enough time to repower himself.

However, the Black Cat spent some time licking her wounds near the Chameleon’s machine while Spidey was finishing the fight. That exposure somehow depowered her.

Felicia didn’t actually consider that a bad thing. She had realized that at this point she was more interested in spending time with Flash than being the Black Cat or thinking about Peter. Her loss of aggression and obsession over Peter was so complete that they parted that night on friendly terms.


Description

After her nose was broken by the Foreigner’s thugs, she redesigned her mask to hide the (actually negligible) damage. From there she decided to redesign her entire costume. Her nose eventually healed correctly while she was in Paris, but she hated the possibility it might ever be broken again.

She only worn her black costume for a short time, while she was working for the Foreigner. When she came back from Paris, she resumed wearing her classic Black Cat costume – and did so until the loss of her powers. When she was dating Flash, she dressed mostly in sportswear and mid-80s MTV fashion.


Personality

The Black Cat is starting to mature. But this is way more obvious at the end of the period covered by this profile than at the beginning. During her bad luck powers period, she is still a lighthearted, optimistic young woman in love.

She’s then fond of both pretending that her problems do not exist and of reacting in an oversensitive, adolescent way. She also has a slight tendency to become irrationally jealous of other girls approaching Spider-Man.

Losing her powers and having her pretty nose broken in a brutal fight against the Foreigner’s thugs made her angry and bitter. She felt betrayed and dissed by Spider-Man, and still couldn’t get over their break-up.

She became more violent, devious and aggressive, in a “no more miss nice cat” way. She also became catty and manipulative. Mostly she was taking control of situations so she wouldn’t be hurt again.

Despite her attempts to let go of her feelings, she found out that she once again couldn’t get past Peter. She became the psycho ex-girlfriend from Hell when she learned about his marriage. She wrapped Flash around her finger, and was hostile toward Mary-Jane to the point of assaulting her.

In her mind Peter had just married MJ on the rebound after she left, and was truly destined to marry her.

Her confusion over her feelings for Flash greatly pacified once she acknowledged them. At this point she completely dropped her bitterness and craziness, and started trying to honestly evaluate what she wanted in life and what she wanted to build.

Being in love with Flash also broke her obsession with Peter, and let her go from hating Mary-Jane’s guts to feeling friendly toward her.


Quotes

Black Cat (bad luck powers)

“You guys have all the luck – but it’s all bad !”

(Holding her face in her hands) “What sort of unholy bargain have I struck ? I’m scared, so scared that even the night holds no comfort for me. If only I could find Spider… let him hold me in his arms…confide in him…. But what if I did ? Would he sympathize, or be angry with me ? He didn’t want me to get involved in these dangerous activities. What will he say when learns I went to the most dangerous crime lord of all for help ?”

“My Spidey will never help you ! Never !”

“’Great responsibility‘, uh ? Who says so ?”

“What am I going to do ? What can I do ? I’ve become a threat to the very man I love ! My spider ! I love him so – I – I just can’t bear the thought of him being hurt… much less the thought of me being the one to hurt him. Curse the Kingpin ! He’s left me no choice. I – I’ve got to break up with Spider-Man !”

“If I’m going to break into the Foreigner’s office tomorrow night, I’d better be in top form. The man’s supposed to be the deadliest assassin in the world. This could be the biggest challenge I’ve had since Spider-Man and I broke up !”

Black Cat (feline powers )

“He’s going to kill me. I know it. That’s the kind of day this has been.”

“All I do is to think of him. I try to hate him. Doesn’t work. I try not to think of him. No go. We shared too much. We were too close. I loved him. I don’t know how to stop. All I can think of is taking everything I have to remember him by and giving it a burial at sea.” (throws all Spider-Man photos in the Atlantic). ”Good-bye Spider-Man, I don’t love you anymore.” (pause, sobs) “Rats.”

“That sushi is delightful, Mary Jane. I’ve always felt that the very best dishes… are served cold.” (venomous glance)


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Black Cat (bad luck powers)

Dex: 06 Str: 03 Bod: 05 Motivation: Thrill
Int: 06 Wil: 05 Min: 04 Occupation: Thief
Inf: 04 Aur: 05 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 005
Init: 020 HP: 045

Skills:
Acrobatics: 09, Artist (photography): 03, Detective (legwork): 04, Gadgetry: 04, Martial artist: 05, Military science (demolition): 06, Scientist (research): 04, Thief: 08, Vehicles (land): 05

Advantages:
Connoisseur, Lightning reflexes, Pet (bad luck power), Scholar (researching and casing areas to steal from)

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

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

Equipment:
Black Cat still has her Line, and now occasionally uses it as a whip to entangle [BODY 04, EV 02, Snare: 04, Stretching: 02, Limitation : Snare has No Range – but can be used via Stretching, Stretching has No Fine Manipulation (-2), Note : length of the line itself is 5 APs]. She also has various concealed traps into her apartment, in case of home invasion.

Pet:
Bad luck powers (see below)


The bad luck powers

[INT 04, Accuracy (Telekinesis): 10, Danger sense: 06, Telekinesis: 08, Limitation. : Telekinesis can only create effects that seem like coincidences and bad luck ; Telekinesis completely fails if the target is or is bolstered by a more powerful probability control (e.g., the Scarlet Witch’s) ; Drawbacks – CIA to only working to protect Black Cat from danger, Misc.: over a period of time, her power will increasingly affect people who spend time with her even if they are not hostile].

This power is considered a Pet. Hence it acts independently of Black Cat, and uses its own means of perception (INT and Danger sense) to protect the Black Cat of its own initiative. Its telekinetic powers always appear as bad luck.

Examples of bad luck include :

  • Her opponents’ guns misfire and explode (Telekinesis does a special Take Away attack. The extra RAPs, instead of giving possession of the weapon to the Black Cat, are used as damage against the BODY of the gun). This was sometimes used in a Multi-Attack against two opponents.
  • Loose floorboard gives way under attacker’s feet, or a rope breaks (Trick Shot telekinetic attack on the floor)
  • Attacker trips on his shoelaces or on a sewer grate and falls before he can attack (Planned Knockback attack, with a 0 AP maximum distance of knockback)
  • Switchblades get locked in close position (Take Away)
  • Walls or ceiling collapse on opponents ; nearby machinery or pipes explode (direct attack using Telekinesis, not uncommon for it to be a Multi-Attack)
  • Opponents bump into each other (Planned Knockback attack as a Multi-attack with a 0 AP maximum KB)
  • Opponents accidentally hit each other ; opponent melee weapon slip from his grasp and flies into another opponent ; opponent hits an hostile object, such as a police alarm (Telekinesis used as AV/EV for a Dupe maneuver)
  • Opponent walk into an obstacle and manages to knock his weapon from his own grasp (Take Away)
  • Make guns and automated guns keeping missing her (Telekinesis wrestles the shooter – as long as the shooter is Wrestled, it cannot hit the Black Cat).
  • Holding back traps (jamming guillotines, plugging lethal gas nozzles, holding apart sliding walls who would crush her, etc. through sheer telekinesis.
  • On occasion, the Telekinesis was exerted on her – gently pushing on her back to have her crawl under invisible beams.

When affecting allies, Black Cat’s bad luck is treated as [SPI 02, Probability control: 08] – an autonomous hex that attaches itself to its target. The APs for Probability Control are a maximum – its starts with but one AP and slowly increases, although it may wane and wax for no clear reason.

Note that the effects of her bad luck power on Spider-Man were of a different nature than on crooks, hence the choice of a different Power to model them. Note that, since this is a limitation, Black Cat doesn’t pay for the costs of that side-effect.


Black Cat (feline powers)

Dex: 08 Str: 08 Bod: 06 Motivation: Thrill
Int: 07 Wil: 05 Min: 05 Occupation: Thief
Inf: 05 Aur: 05 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 006
Init: 025 HP: 050

Powers:
Analytical smell/tracking scent: 04, Claws: 10, Jumping: 02, True sight: 04, Ultravision: 06

Bonuses and Limitations:
True sight is limited to perceiving astral forms and ghosts (-2)

Skills:
Acrobatics: 10, Artist (actor, photography): 04, Detective (legwork): 04, Gadgetry: 04, Martial artist: 05, Military science (demolition): 06, Scientist (research): 04, Thief: 09, Vehicles (land): 05

Advantages:
Connoisseur, Lightning reflexes, Pet (bad luck power), Scholar (researching and casing areas to steal from)

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

Drawbacks:
MIA toward Spider-Man, SIH of prison

Equipment:

  • Line [BODY 04, EV 02, Snare: 04, Stretching: 02, Limitation : Snare has No Range – but can be used via Stretching, Stretching has No Fine Manipulation (-2)].
  • Black Cat carries Concealed Tools in her costume (mini-crowbar, lockpicks, small electronics, etc.). During her fight with Sabretooth she paid 15 HPs (environment modification optional rule) to have her BODY 09 mini-crowbar be just where Sabretooth tried to bite, and could presumably pull that stunt again.
  • In her black costume she carried at least one Smoke Bomb [BODY 03, Fog: 05, Grenade drawback].

By Sébastien Andrivet

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

Helper(s): Way to write bad luck powers is derived from a writeup in the Enemies of San Angelo sourcebook 

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