Iron Man and Black Cat would make the perfect couple, but there’s a very good reason why the famous Marvel antihero sticks with Spider-Man.
Warning: contains spoilers for Iron Cat #2!
Marvel’s Iron Man has recently partnered up with Black Cat, the famous villain-turned-hero – and while they would make the perfect couple, there’s a very good reason why she sticks to Spider-Man. Felicia Hardy has always been a fan-favorite character, but her popularity has especially grown in recent years and Marvel has capitalized on this by placing her in multiple storylines in 2022. Case in point: the new Iron Cat series, in which Black Cat seeks out Iron Man for help – but this feline femme fatale fends off flirtations from the famous ferrous fighter, and would rather be with Peter Parker.
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Black Cat is a master thief with Olympic athlete-level abilities; she’s studied several martial arts and is a capable fighter in her own right. She technically has the ability to influence her opponents in the form of granting them bad luck, but this power is largely out of Black Cat’s control and many modern writers rarely use the ability in influence stories. Her mysterious past is illuminated in the first issue, in which she details her education in the art of the steal under the famous Black Fox thief – along with his other protege, Tamara.
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In Iron Cat #2, written by Jed MacKay with art by Pere Perez, Black Cat desperately needs Iron Man’s help. A mission has gone wrong and Tamara, who has since turned against her, is using the Stark-created Iron Cat armor. Felicia hatches a plan to draw Tamara out in the open and defend against her from a position of strength. “There’s a time to be quiet and tricky…and there’s a time to be seen,” says Black Cat; Tony heeds her advice and the two attend a lavish party on Tony’s yacht. Here the audience is treated to the commonalities between the two characters: both are incredibly image-conscious and more than a tad vain.
Unlike Spider-Man, who is continuously socially inept to a fault, both Tony and Felicia know how to function in high society; their professions (a businessman and a thief) demand it. But for all his – admittedly many – faults, Spider-Man actively tries to be a better person and changes over time. Meanwhile, Tony Stark continually falls back into bad habits (such as his addiction to alcohol and painkillers in the Christopher Cantwell run) and is consistently his own worst enemy. Fundamentally, Peter Parker works to better himself and others while Tony continually puts himself and his own ego before others.
Despite her taste for the high life, Black Cat also prefers to keep heists simple. Iron Man’s armor takes the fun out of most assignments (the Black Fox preferred Felicia over Tamara precisely because she had fun stealing, despite Tamara being the superior thief). In current comics continuity, Felicia appears to be Spider-Man’s only remaining friend. This is because the Black Cat trusts Spider-Man to rise above himself, while she sees Iron Man as a man firmly stuck in a battle with his own vices.
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