Felicia Hardy, also known by her alias Black Cat, appears as a prominent supporting character in The City That Never Sleeps downloadable content for Marvel's Spider-Man. A former love interest and ally of Spider-Man, she is a master thief who returns to New York for a heist. Black Cat also appears in a voice role in the main game, where she is introduced during the mission Stakeout.
Felicia was born in Flushing, New York. She is the only daughter of former cat-burglar Walter Hardy, the original Black Cat, who faked his death to prevent the Maggia crime families from coming after her after he refused to work for them. When Felicia grew up, she decided to follow in her father's footsteps, becoming the new Black Cat.
As Black Cat, she chose to only steal from well-off people, or in her eyes, "people who deserved it". At an unknown point, she met Spider-Man, whom she grew fond of, eventually falling in love with him. Due to her feelings for the wall-crawler, Black Cat gave up on her criminal ways and became Spider-Man's partner for a brief period, both professionally and romantically. However, the partnership ended when Spider-Man realized she had started robbing criminals again, prompting Black Cat to leave New York.
Black Cat calls Spider-Man from a blocked number, taunting him to catch her by coming to a specific address, where she has left a tape recorder and a message for him. Apparently back in town, she tricks Spider-Man into collecting several cat dolls throughout the city, knowing that he would report them to police captain Yuri Watanabe. Together, the dolls shut down the alarms of the police department's evidence lockup, allowing Felicia to recover her old costume and gear, instead of looting $50,000,000 worth of stakeouts. This makes Spider-Man note that Black Cat has something bigger planned.
The City That Never Sleeps
Now working for Maggia mobster Hammerhead, Black Cat sneaks into the MMoCA art museum, with her eye on The Maria masterpiece, where she comes face-to-face with Spider-Man. To his surprise, she breaks the painting in half, revealing that she is in fact after a data drive hidden within it before escaping. This triggers conflicts between the Maggia families, one of which she orchestrates to distract Spider-Man while she steals more drives belonging to the Maggia for Hammerhead. When Spider-Man arrives at her current location, Black Cat escapes, leaving him to deal with Maggia thugs as she watches. Black Cat claims ignorance when asked by Spider-Man about the contents of the drives. When Spider-Man asks why she's stealing them for Hammerhead, she answers that Hammerhead will kill her son if she doesn't and retreats via smoke grenade.
Black Cat proceeds to steal more Maggia data drives throughout the city. Her next target is hidden within a rare book; after taking the drive, she hands the empty book to the Maggia thugs while she keeps the drive to hand to Hammerhead. As Black Cat steals the last drive, Spider-Man catches up to her, wanting to talk. Black Cat responds by throwing an EMP grenade to disable his web-shooters, forcing Spider-Man to chase after her on foot through the streets. Eventually, Spider-Man's web-shooters reactivate, and he manages to finally catch her. Explaining that he knows about the nature of the drives, he talks her into letting him help. Felicia agrees to stall Hammerhead while Spider-Man finds her son, being coy when Spider-Man asks if he could be her son's father.
Black Cat later contacts Spider-Man after discovering that Hammerhead recently purchased a room-sized impenetrable vault to store high-value items in, noting it as the most likely location for him to be holding her son. She continues to evade Spider-Man's questioning of her son's paternity, asking instead if he ever misses the two of them working together.
Felicia is contacted by Spider-Man after he locates the vault in a storage harbor. The two work together in stealthily taking out all of Hammerhead's goons in the area. However, she disappears as more Maggia goons arrive. When Spider-Man enters the vault, Black Cat turns on him, locking him inside the vault and revealing her trickery: her "son" was just a ruse to trick Spider-Man into helping her steal Hammerhead's own drive from the vault. Having kept all the data drives for herself and giving Hammerhead duplicates, she intends to steal the Maggia's collective wealth for herself.
Learning of Black Cat's deception, Hammerhead orders his men to kill her. She retreats to her hideout with Spider-Man too late to save her from an explosion from within (by Hammerhead). A few days later, she is revealed to be alive and saves Spider-Man from certain death against Hammerhead, and provides a drive that reveals Hammerhead's weakness to repay him for her previous actions.
Felicia is a tall, curvaceous woman, weighing 150 lbs. and standing 5'10" in height, with white-platinum blonde hair and blue eyes. Her outfit consists of a black suit with white accents and black goggles. The gloves of her costume form retractable claws at the fingertips.
Felicia is a cunning and morally ambiguous individual, whose playful and flirtatious demeanor masks an intelligent and relentless burglar with a powerful self-righteous streak. She has little to no qualms about lying and manipulating others, even the people close to her, for personal gain. While she tried to come clean during her relationship with Spider-Man, she has since resigned herself to criminal ways, claiming that being altruistic is simply not who she is.
Black Cat is displayed as the embodiment of attraction and a pinnacle of dominating superiority, specifically over men. She isn't afraid to make explicitly suggestive comments and frequently flirts with Spider-Man on numerous occasions. She also appears to enjoy her days as Spider-Man's partner, both professionally and romantically, often attempting to seductively allure him into an affair with her, dismissing his current romantic relationship with Mary Jane.
Despite her morally dubious behavior and multiple counts of criminal activity, Felicia is, ultimately, not devoid of morality or repentance as she only steals from wealthy individuals or from criminals—people who in her eyes deserve it. This attitude may stem from her father's supposed death, who was targeted by the Maggia for refusing to work for them. She also shows concern about Hammerhead's plans for retaking New York, as well as retain genuine affection and admiration for the wall-crawler, as she sincerely apologizes to him for her cold deception towards him after bravely rescuing him from certain death.
Abilities and equipment
A world-class cat burglar, Black Cat has reflexes and agility of an Olympic level acrobat. She is able to crawl, climb, and leap at extremely high speeds and outmaneuver almost all her enemies. In addition to her cat-like agility, Black Cat is physically very strong and athletic and has great physical endurance, having trained herself in martial arts. She is, therefore, an excellent street fighter capable of taking on several thugs with refined brute force and incapacitating them without being injured herself.
Black Cat draws additional strength from her suit and equipment. Her costume is both form-fitting and practical. It is equipped with a grappling hook which enables her to swing from buildings in a manner similar to Spider-Man and is armed with tough, retractable metal claws which enable her to tear through most surfaces. Black Cat also utilizes electromagnetic pulse (EMP) grenades, which upon activation emits a powerful electromagnetic pulse capable of temporarily disabling electronic equipment.
Felicia has a complicated relationship with Spider-Man. The two began as enemies, stemming from the standard criminal-vigilante relationship. Eventually, Spider-Man managed to convince Felicia to give up her criminal ways and use her abilities in the service of others. During their time as partners, the two engaged in a romantic relationship, having intercourse at least once. Their relationship ended when Spider-Man learned she had relapsed to her criminal ways.
Felicia generally interacts with Spider-Man in a playful and flirtatious manner. Before, during, and after their time as partners, she would use her charms to take advantage of him, leaving him with the brunt of the issues while she helped herself to what she pleased, much to his chagrin. However, within her misdirections and manipulations hides genuine admiration and affection for Spider-Man. She has difficulty understanding his selfless righteousness, especially in light of all the things she has done.
Interestingly, while Spider-Man refers to her as Felicia, Black Cat never refers to him by his name, only calling him "Spider".
Walter Hardy is Felicia's father. A well-known cat burglar and the first to operate under the Black Cat moniker, Hardy was arrested when Felicia was young, and apparently died while trying to escape prison. Unbeknownst to her, he was still alive and had faked his death to protect her. She eventually followed in her father's footsteps, becoming the second Black Cat, pulling off many difficult heists as the infamous cat burglar. Hardy re-emerges during the story; taking on an alias, he secretly contacts Spider-Man and asks him to take care of Felicia, before disappearing again.
Black Cat first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #194 (July 1979).
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