Throughout the years, Spider-Man had numerous love interests, but none of them were as ambiguous, passionate, and interesting as Felicia Hardy, aka Black Cat. Black Cat is best known as an antihero, walking that thin line between being a hero and a villain. However, her loyalty to Peter Parker often made her the former.
Since the introduction of the character in 1979, Black Cat has been a part of numerous incredible storylines. Most of them revolved around Spider-Man and their fiery relationship, but there were other Black Cat stories one simply has to know. So, without further ado, here are the fifteen best Black Cat comics every Marvel fan should read, listed in no particular order.
Amazing Spider-Man #194-195
What it’s about: A new Marvel villainess got an introduction in these issues – the Black Cat, also known as Felicia Hardy. Black Cat breaks the law, and Spider-Man is there to hold her responsible.
She stops at nothing to achieve her goals, but right from the start, you can tell that her goals are actually noble, deep down. Pete’s Spidey Sense works this time, but not in the way you might think. There’s an instant spark between the seeming villainess and Spider-Man, marking this the official start of their tumultuous relationship.
Why you should read it: This particular storyline is known under the name Never Let The Black Cat Cross Your Path. I put it on the list first because, well, it was Black Cat’s first appearance ever.
And, it was as good as you could hope for. Instantly, you got to see her relationship with Spidey develop, and you got to see Felicia’s character and personality right away. She is a criminal, yes, but there’s a reason why Spidey eventually fell for her…
Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #74-76
What it’s about: Black Cat appears yet again after everyone – including Peter Parker- thought she was dead. Their passionate relationship rekindles, but Peter starts struggling with the fact that another woman is back in his life.
He realizes how the women in his life seem to always perish in some way, so he tries to distance himself from Felicia. Meanwhile, she finally turned a new page and started acting more like a hero than ever before.
Why you should read it: You learn so much about the Black Cat here, as well as her relationship with Spidey. The character truly came into her own here, though this wasn’t the first time she kind of faked her own death. It’s also the first time Peter acknowledged he had real, deep feelings for Felicia, and they officially started dating.
Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #79
What it’s about: The Kingpin gets a hold of a device – a detonator, that is – that puts thousands of lives in huge jeopardy. Black Cat realizes that, so she embarks on a solo mission to steal the device from Wilson Fisk – and she manages to do so. If you know who the Kingpin is, you’ll know it was no easy task.
Unfortunately, Black Cat was followed by Doctor Octopus and beaten so badly that she was likely going to die. Fortunately, Spider-Man found her at the very last moment and took her to a hospital, and Felicia survived.
Why you should read it: Subsequently to the previous entry on this list, Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #79 finally saw Black Cat fully embrace the role of a hero for the first time. She almost perished in the process, but it only fortified her bond with Parker, who saved her life by intervening at the right moment and taking Felicia to a hospital before it was too late.
What it’s about: Black Cat and Wolverine find themselves trapped and locked in cages on an island somewhere. The unlikely duo works together to get out and catch a life-saving boat waiting to take them to safety on the other side of the island.
Why you should read it: Black Cat usually operates alone, or with Spider-Man. However, as you’ll see on this list, she teamed up with some awesome, unexpecting partners over the years, and this team-up with Wolverine was one of my favorites. The humor was epic, and the Claws storyline was so popular that it prompted a sequel series, Claws Vol. 2.
Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #9-12
What it’s about: Black Cat and Spider-Man team up to face some of Peter Parker’s most brutal, well-known foes. To do that, however, they have to release one of the worst of them from prison, if they wish to save Aunt May – Norman Osborn, aka the Green Goblin. Black Cat takes it upon herself to do it, knowing that Peter would never be able to forgive himself…
Why you should read it: This 12-issue series was the one that did it for me, and really rounded out the character of Felicia Hardy. There’s this now-famous monologue in the tenth issue of the series she has where Black Cat confronts herself with her villainous, criminal past, and accepts that she’ll never be this pure hero – but she can always try.
And, the fact that Peter couldn’t bear that guilt, so she took it upon herself, being ready to risk everything, including her own life, to save Peter and help him out. This piece is highly emotional, but one you just have to read.
Sensational Spider-Man Vol. 2 #33-34
What it’s about: Aleksei Sytsevich, aka Rhino, is on a total, blistering rampage. So much so that he had beaten Peter Parker to the brink of death, basically putting him in a coma. Black Cat doesn’t fear him at all. Instead, she gets filled with anger and attacks him to avenge her friend, lover, and the most important relationship she has – Spidey.
Why you should read it: Despite Rhino being as powerful as ever, going on a total drunken rampage, Black Cat risks everything to get back at him for hurting Peter. It just goes to show how incredibly loyal she was to Spider-Man, even when she was in a more villainous phase of her life.
She reflects on her criminal behavior again and realizes how much of an influence on her Peter had over the years in making her a better person and setting her on the right path.
Iron Cat #1-4
What it’s about: The Iron Cat armor is back after first appearing in Black Cat #11 – and nobody is happy about it. Neither Black Cat nor Tony Stark. The unlikely duo teams up to find out who’s behind the Iron Cat mask, and as they uncover the mystery, past mistakes of both come back to bite them.
Why you should read it: I absolutely loved the dynamic between Iron Man and Black Cat – the sarcastic humor will almost literally bite you through the pages. Though it’s a newer series from 2022, it’s a great one, full of twists, regrets, and epic characters. I won’t spoil the ending, but the first out of four issues in the miniseries was my favorite.
Amazing Spider-Man Presents: Black Cat
What it’s about: Black Cat is being manipulated and forced by the Kravinoffs to steal precious artifacts for them, which puts her on a collision course with her old friend, Spider-Man. An issue full of twists and turns, Amazing Spider-Man Presents: Black Cat has Felicia dab between right and wrong once again, and Peter is there to guide her to the right path…
Why you should read it: While this one isn’t as well-known or important as some other entries on the list, I chose to include it because it holds everything a Black cat fan could hope for – there are twists, there’s comedy, drama, a hint of romance, sarcasm, tons of action, and above all, incredibly breathtaking artwork.
Amazing Spider-Man #341-342
What it’s about: Black Cat is, at the moment, dating Flash Thompson, to exact her version of revenge on Peter Parker and make him jealous. However, after he gave up his powers and found himself in trouble, Felicia puts all her emotions aside to help get Spidey out of trouble and save him against the Scorpion.
Why you should read it: Again, this is a beautiful testament to Felicia Hardy’s undying love and loyalty to Spider-Man. Even when they’re not really on the best of terms, she sacrifices her powers to save him. Perhaps the ending of the storyline wasn’t what most fans expected, it was a cool storyline that every Black Cat fan should read.
Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #128-129
What it’s about: Peter Parker’s fight against the Foreigner is coming to a boil, and he suspects that his partner on the mission, Felicia, is working for the enemy. In reality, she developed a plan to not only help Spidey win but also clear his name in the process. However, not without kind-of revenge exacted on Peter for saving her when she thought she didn’t need help.
Why you should read it: This particular storyline perfectly sums up Black Cat’s character and who she is. She is always there to help Spidey when he needs her, but her strong personality always emerges in these kinds of situations. It’s a must-read that presents her cunning intelligence in spectacular fashion.
Giant-Size Black Cat: Infinity Score #1
What it’s about: This one actually collects numerous issues and provides a climax to both Infinite Destinies and Infinity Score storylines. Black Cat manages to collect three Infinity Stones, becoming as powerful as she had ever been, and adds some. Nick Fury is after her, and so is The Mad Titan…
Why you should read it: This Giant-Size issue was just awesome, in my opinion. Although we see Black Cat in a bit more mischievous light again, it’s by far the most powerful version of Black Cat I could think of, so it’s definitely a must-read for Felicia Hardy fans.
Black Cat #1-3 (2020)
What it’s about: The God of Symbiotes, the darkest of the dark, the horrible Knull is here. However, he’s going against the blackest of black cats, the Black Cat herself. Felicia’s heist is interrupted by Knull’s invasion of Earth, so in a vengeful fit, she decides to steal from Knull himself. She gets a hold of an anti-venom armor, becoming incredibly mighty…
Why you should read it: I might be biased because Knull is one of my favorite Marvel characters, but I absolutely LOVED this storyline. It shows Black Cat in all her awesomeness, and the series includes a bunch of guest characters like Captain America, Doctor Strange, and even the X-Men. Definitely, one of the better Black Cat storylines among more recent issues.
Amazing Spider-Man #226-227
What it’s about: Felicia Hardy is back in all her villainous glory. She pretends to be a mentally ill Spider-Man-obsessed fangirl so she would be sent to a low-security mental facility, from which she easily escapes. However, the underlining tone shows that Black Cat is, in fact, lonely, and desires a real relationship with Peter.
Why you should read it: This one had me split several times because you don’t even know if Black Cat is being real or not. The story jumps between her acting goofy and childish to deep and serious, but overall, it just presents her intelligence and skill in an awesome, almost brutal way. Also, it establishes the fact that her feelings for Peter Parker are absolutely real.
Amazing Spider-Man #677/Daredevil #8
What it’s about: Daredevil enters the mix in Felicia and Peter’s relationship, which makes Spider-Man kind of super jealous. Pete’s heart was recently broken, so he asked Black Cat to date him, but she refused to be a rebound for him. But, after she ends up in prison, Felicia realized she was framed, so Matt Murdock and Peter help her get to the bottom of things.
Why you should read it: This storyline crosses over two issues was incredibly fun, and had some panels that will make you burst into laughter. Daredevil and Black Cat share passionate kisses, and Spidey sulks, but eventually, they work together to make an awesome story. The thing is, you never know where exactly Black Cat sits…
Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do
What it’s about: Black Cat and Spider-Man are forced to work together yet again due to their cases overlapping. However, Felicia gets arrested and threatened with the death penalty for a crime she didn’t commit – killing a rapist named Garrison Klum. Peter seeks help from Matt Murdock to save Felicia from such a horrible, unjust destiny.
Why you should read it: This isn’t a ranked list, but if it were, this would absolutely be my number one. It’s a controversial storyline, and most people don’t like it for it, but I think it’s the deepest that Black Cat had ever gone in the comics, and it speaks of real issues in real life that still causes major issues in our society.
It’s a difficult subject but written extremely well, and it reveals more about Black Cat’s tragic past than you probably ever knew…