- For years I was the little thief pretending to be a socialite. But this... This is new. I'm done pretending. This cat's going to be a queen. Queen of thieves. Queen of crime. Queen of this whole town! And nothing and no one are going to get in my way!
- -- Black Cat
Felicia Hardy's father Walter Hardy 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.
Empire State University
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. However, she was still cunning enough to fake mental instability when captured, ensuring she was housed in a less secure facility. When she was released, Felicia initially agreed to go straight for Spider-Man, and the web-slinger even had his friend on the force Captain DeWolff begin drawing up amnesty papers. The Black Cat decided to pull one last big score, however, and attempted to manipulate Spider-Man into joining her life of crime. He tried to capture her again, but Felicia seemingly flung herself to her death rather than go back to jail. Captain DeWolff ironically arrived with the now useless amnesty papers shortly after.
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, eventually starting to love her.
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. Only after the process was completed did Felicia learn the power came from the Kingpin.
Afraid of how Spider-Man would react, 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, which infuriated her since she was just about to break up with him to protect him from the effects of her "jinx".
Spider-Man eventually realized something was amiss with his own luck and enlisted the aid of Doctor Strange. Strange determined there was a permanent "bad luck" aura around Spider-Man. Peter rightly connected the phenomena to Felicia, but unfairly assumed she did it on purpose. He told Doctor Strange to remove the jinx despite Strange's warnings it might have unexpected side effects on Felicia. Indeed, Strange's magic not only removed the jinx but changed the Black Cat's powers in the process. She discovered her bad luck powers were gone, but replaced by 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.
Months 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 teamed up with Spider-Man.
Flash and Felicia eventually broke up, and she went on to open her own private detective and security consultants' firm.
At some point after this, Black Cat - along with the mutant Wolverine - were 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 Superhuman 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 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.
They temporarily parted ways when Peter began dating Carlie Cooper. However, when Spider-Man was captured by Mister Negative's scientist, Doc Tramma, Mary Jane was able to contact the Cat to help her save him. In the process it was revealed that Doc Tramma was the one who restored her bad luck powers. Together they rescued Spider-Man and defeated Tramma. The next day Felicia invites Mary Jane out to lunch and the two of them become fast friends, much to Spider-Man's dismay.
Spidey and Cat worked together again 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.
Someone stole a Wi-Fi hologram projector created by a scientist named Wasserschmidt at Horizon Labs and Felicia is accused and imprisoned, but at that moment she was with Spider-Man. Escaping from custody, Black Cat tries to find who framed her, encountering both Daredevil and Spider-Man. The trio goes to Wasserschmidt apartment to find any clue, when they find Wasserschmidt himself in a secret room, according to him, Terra-One Corporate forced him to commit the theft. While Spidey took Wasserschmidt to a hospital, Felicia and Daredevil went to Terra-One, there, they found the Black Spectre trying to get the projector.
Daredevil stops them while Black Cat finds herself with the mastermind of this plan, who wants Felicia to get him a Omegadrive, a piece of technology with data about every criminal organization, which is presently in the hands of Matt Murdock, Daredevil himself. Using Daredevil to be near him, Felicia is later thought to have successfully stolen the Omegadrive while Daredevil was fighting the Mole Man, but in reality she leaves him a note confirming that Black Spectre is after him and that she will be going into hiding until the matter is resolved.
Eventually, Felicia grew tired of her superhero and criminal activities and started to save money to retire. As Otto Octavius, in the guise of Spider-Man, was about to head for a date with Anna Maria Marconi, he bumped into Felicia, who was in the act of a robbery. Felicia tried to flirt with him, not realizing who he really was, and got a tooth punched out for her trouble, leaving Felicia totally shocked and angry, swearing revenge after Otto wrapped her in webbing.
She was soon found by the police and sent to the Conway Penitentiary. Humiliated, Felicia's stolen treasures were repossessed and her criminal contacts broke all ties with her. As she contemplated her predicament, she noticed a spider in her cell. Rather than immediately kill it, she realized it would be more satisfying to play with it first. One night, Electro destroyed the Penitentiary, and Felicia survived thanks to her luck powers. She got a new costume and begun stalking Spider-Man, who at the time was Peter Parker again, vowing to make him pay with his life, after she's done playing with it.
Vendetta Against Spider-Man
Now more dangerous, but also more uncontrollable, than ever, Electro had nowhere to go, Felicia offered him an alliance to finish Spider-Man once and for all.
The crime boss Eel was confronted by Felicia and Electro who formed an alliance, and informed him that they were taking over his criminal enterprise. Black Cat then interrupts a meeting between criminal bosses and tells Mister Negative that she wants in on "the big leagues". Despite her low standing in the criminal community on account of how she was previously humiliated by Spider-Man, she informs them that she intends to destroy Spider-Man. At the same time, Parker Industries began working on a way to cure Dillon and strip him of his powers.
The Black Cat used Electro's power to establish some dominance over the underworld. They later kidnapped Parker Industries' Sajani Jaffrey to learn more about the company's projects of a super-prison. The duo of villains later attacked the HQs of the Fact Channel News to demand Spider-Man's appearance, who arrived to fight them, but had to be rescued by his ally Silk from being unmasked by the Black Cat on live TV.
Meanwhile, during a press conference on the Fact Channel studio Peter announces his company planed to capture super villains and about their new containment device that is designed to house Electro. However his presentation is interrupted by Black Cat and Electro attack the studio, leading to a battle with Spider-Man and Silk. During the battle, Spider-Man is incapacitated, and Black Cat prepares to unmask him in front of the running TV cameras.
However Jonah Jameson ruins this by standing in front of the camera and announcing that Spider-Man's identity will be revealed.The only footage that was shown is the angle that he is standing at preventing anyone from seeing Spider-Man's face long enough for Silk to knock Black Cat back and Spider-Man to put his mask back on. Although Electro accepts being depowered when his uncontrollable abilities prove dangerous even to himself, Black Cat continues her vendetta against Spider-Man regardless of who is behind the mask.
Mind Controlled Drones
Black Cat used an associate's expertise in mind control to infiltrate New York's law enforcement and judicial systems, and created an army of "drones" out of the patients and staff of Brooklyn Psychiatric.
Making a Point
Two years ago, Felicia Hardy presented a painting in an elite party. In the present day at a museum, Regina Venderkamp, the woman who bought all the items confiscated from the Black Cat in an auction, presented the same painting that Felicia did. Black Cat stole back what was rightfully hers taking out Regina's bodyguards and telling her that no one stole from her. While fighting Cat reflected that her bad luck powers seem to work better when she is ruthless and she may have been holding back before. She then attacked Regina.
Hours later, back at her hideout she finds that one item is missing--it's at Jay and May Jameson's apartment. She soon steals it and placed the statue with the rest of her things while having Aunt May, J. Jonah Jameson Sr., and Regina Venderkamp tied up. Jay asked her why did she take them as she didn't need money and they didn't do nothing to her. Felicia poured gasoline around her apartment and told Jay he was wrong as they bought her things in the auction, a collection she spent years acquiring. She told him that's the problem with possessions, they can break, you can lose them or they can be taken. And when that happens, everyone thinks they can take what's yours unless you prove them wrong. She said that nothing and no one will have that hold on him before setting the apartment on fire. When Spider-Man arrived, May warned him that the Black Cat was still in there and Peter asked Felicia for help. She told him to save them if he wanted as she made her point and the more people knew the better. Parker tried to convince her that this wasn't her but she told him that the Felicia he knew was gone and she was done being who others wanted. She told him that she controls her fate and anyone who stands before that will also be gone. Spider-Man managed to save Aunt May, J. Jonah Jameson Sr., and Regina, who screamed at him for not saving her things before May shushed her, telling her that people are what count, not things and Spider-Man knows that. In the Slide-A-Way Casino, Black Cat told her men that they have seen what happens when they stay on her good side and what happens when they cross her. But from now on, there's nothing holding her back and no limit to what she will do.