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Black Cat

Black Cat

Felicia Hardy

Prime Marvel Universe

Black Cat's History

The Black Cat's father was a world renowned cat burglar who, before his arrest, encouraged her to never settle for second best. If she loved basketball, she should work to become a basketball player and not just a cheerleader. During her freshman year in college, she had gone to a party and was nearly raped by a drunken student in a bathroom, when she was saved by another student, named Ryan. Felicia and Ryan became close friends, spending most of their time together until one night Ryan demanded that it was time for their relationship to become physical. Felicia's protests were in vain. Hating the idea of being a victim, she decided that she would murder her rapist despite the consequences. She put aside her studies and began training in various fighting styles and acrobatics. Finally, after months of preparing, she set out for revenge, but before she could find him, Ryan was killed in a drunk driving accident. Furious that she was denied the chance to steal the life of the man who had stolen hers, and feeling reckless, Hardy decided to utilize her new skills to follow in the footsteps of her father. After amassing a fortune in stolen items, Felicia chose to adopt a costume identity. She first donned the Black Cat costume in order to break her father out of prison. On the same night, she met Spider-Man. Despite her antipathy towards men, Felicia felt a kinship with this lone hero. Spider-Man was the first man she felt she could trust and she grew to love him. Felicia looked for a way to earn his trust and continued with the Black Cat persona as a misguided attempt to attract his affection. Seeing the good in Felicia, Spider-Man made every attempt to have her criminal record expunged.

The Black Cat finally found the opportunity to prove herself after learning the Kingpin controlled an incredibly powerful detonator. The Owl planned to use the weapon to hold New York City hostage. Doctor Octopus, however, planned to use the weapon to destroy the city altogether. But the Black Cat was able to use her abilities to steal the item first and protect it from all parties. She gave the detonator to Spider-man and became the target of Doc Ock's revenge. Although Spider-Man was able to tear off his mechanical appendages, Octopus was still able to mentally control them and hold the Black Cat still while his men opened fire. Spider-Man barely got her to the hospital in time and as they operated on the dozens of bullet and knife wounds, Peter realized just how much he cared for Felicia. After she recovered they began a relationship and soon Peter revealed his identity to her. But Felicia had great difficulty accepting the fact that Peter was just a man beneath the mask and couldn't understand his need for a civilian life. Peter was hurt, but continued the relationship since it was the first time he didn't need to hide his life as Spider-Man.

Initially, the "accidents" which seemed to befall those who crossed the Black Cat's path were merely well-planned stunts and traps. After her near-death experience, Felicia feared her lack of superpowers made her a liability for Spider-Man. She was terrified that his overwhelming need to protect her would eventually kill him. So when Spider-Man disappeared during the "Secret Wars", Felicia sought out a way to make herself Spider-man's equal. After being rejected by the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, Felicia was offered an opportunity to undergo a process similar to that used to create the Scorpion and the Fly. After learning the machine only had enough power to alter one more human, the Kingpin chose to use it on the thief who had stolen from him. Scared and ashamed, she kept her new abilities secret from Peter. Her newly-gained 'bad luck' power was infectious and began to permanently jinx Spider-Man, which was exactly the Kingpin's intent.

Feeling a wall of secrets growing between them, Spider-Man broke up with Felicia. He soon realized something was amiss with his own luck and enlisted the aid of Doctor Strange to remove the "hex" on him. But doing so altered the hex's source and changed the Black Cat's powers in the process. She soon found a heightened strength, agility, balance, vision, and retractable claws.

The Black Cat updated her look and her attitude and rekindled her relationship with Spider-Man. She made peace with his need for a normal life as Peter Parker and stood by him while he was being accused of murder as Spider-Man. Together they tracked down the source of the elaborate scheme to frame him and fought the mercenary known as the Foreigner. Eventually, just as his life seemed to be falling apart, Spider-Man came home to discover Black Cat discussing her plans to ruin his life. He followed her to find she had never forgiven him for breaking up with her and in revenge became the Foreigner's lover. Yet during her ruse and despite her anger, Felicia began to fall back in love with Peter. In the end, the Black Cat double crossed the Foreigner and left for Europe to find a new life, which unexpectedly pushed Peter to find support and a new relationship with Mary Jane Watson.

Years later, the Black Cat returned to America to seek out Peter Parker and was devastated when informed by Venom that Peter had married Mary Jane Watson. Angry and jealous, Felicia began harassing the couple, physically threatening Mary Jane and taunting Peter as she dated his friend Flash Thompson. She began to sincerely care for Thompson but he eventually broke up with her when he found out her secret. The Black Cat eventually moved past her feelings of anger and jealousy, and became friends with both Spider-Man and Mary Jane. After Spider-Man used a device to remove his superhuman abilities, the Black Cat aided him in finding the device again in order to restore them. But in the process, the Black Cat's cat-like abilities were completely erased. She subsequently purchased equipment from the Tinkerer to incorporate into her costume in order to compensate for her lost abilities, and occasionally teams up with Spider-Man.

At some point after this, Black Cat - along with the mutant Wolverine - was kidnapped and forced to survive against multiple assailants on an uninhabited island. They managed to survive many traps, including the volcano in the middle of the island erupting, and tracked down the one who kidnapped them, Arcade. They easily tracked him down and left him tied up on in the Savage Land.

During the Civil War resulting from the Superhero Registration Act, Black Cat accepted an offer from Misty Knight and Colleen Wing in the new Heroes for Hire, purely for the money. Felicia, along with her teammates, were assigned to apprehend any unregistered hero.

Black Cat returned to Spider-Man's life when Black Cat was breaking into Dexter Bennett's apartment to steal a folder. They found the body of a dead man behind a painting of Bennet, which came as a surprise to Felicia. She started to leave with the book that she came looking for, but the body was booby trapped. Black Cat and Spider-Man survived the steel spikes that exploded from the body, only to face the man behind the trap: Diablo. After a fight with Diablo, Spidey and Black Cat slept together with all the lights off, so Felicia couldn't see Peter's face. Black Cat remembers Spidey unmasking she just can't remember who was under the mask. Spidey and Cat eventually found Diablo's hideout but he even eventually escaped.

Spider-Man and Cat escaped but Felicia gave Spidey the cold shoulder. He caught up to her, reminding her that she was the one that dumped him. She may have forgotten his identity but not the fun, the thrills and the heartache. She and Puma had ended their relationship, as Fireheart had some sort of "control issues," so Felicia and Peter had no qualms about a quick smooch on a rooftop. Unfortunately, a camera man was taping the kiss and broadcasting it live to the Times Square mega TV for Mary Jane to see.

Peter and Felicia rekindled their old relationship, with no strings attached and masks kept on at all times. They became an on again off again team, working together against Mr Negative and others. Felicia sold a vial of Peter's blood back from Negative and promptly sold it to a group of vampire wannabes, leading Spidey to Morbius. Cat was forced to work for Sasha Kravinoff after her mother was kidnapped. She was forced to steal back the lost family possessions that had been missing since the Russian Revolution.

The relationship ended and Peter began dating Carlie Cooper. This didnt keep Spidey and Cat from working together, as they both broke into the Kingpin's headquarters to steal back a substance called reverbium. The material had been pilfered by the Hobgoblin (Phil Urich), who accidentally destroyed the skyscraper they were in by using his sonic laugh. The sonics were amplified by the reverbium, which caused the building to collapse. Kingpin, Hobgoblin, Spidey and Black Cat escaped. Montana was not so lucky.