Published July 1, 2022

Marvel’s New Iron Cat, Explained

Meet the new Iron Cat and discover why she's out to get Felicia Hardy, AKA Black Cat.

Originally introduced in a back-up story inside of PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL (1979) #4 by writer Bob DeNatale and artist Ron Randall, Tamara Blake seemed destined to fade into obscurity. However, more than two decades after her first appearance, Jed MacKay’s BLACK CAT began building up her relationship with titular thief Felicia Hardy. Now, with Tamara returning as an antagonist in the pages of IRON CAT #1 by MacKay and Pere Perez, here’s what you need to know about the character’s history.

When Black Cat was younger, she and Tamara learned how to become thieves from the notorious Black Fox. At some point, the two struck up a romantic relationship, with BLACK CAT eventually confirming Tamara was one of Felicia’s ex-girlfriends. However, they broke up just prior to Felicia freeing her terminally ill father from prison in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #194, which was her first appearance. Black Cat claimed Tamara wasn’t ready for such a job, and that she didn’t want to risk her girlfriend getting arrested. However, she acknowledged Tamara would likely hold this against her, and this decision did indeed result in their breakup. 

Later, while Black Cat was dating Peter Parker, AKA Spider-Man, Tamara returned. Using the alias Lieutenant Tamarind, Tamara stole a wine carafe Spider-Man gave Black Cat when the two were trying to have a quiet night at home together. This resulted in Black Cat hunting down her ex-girlfriend to get the gift back. After those hijinks ended, Tamara had dinner with Peter and Felicia, indicating everything was just fine between Black Fox’s two students.

However, that’s definitely not the case in IRON CAT #1, and to understand why requires going back to MacKay’s most recent run on BLACK CAT. In the pages of that book, Black Fox revealed he was dying and attempted to make a deal with an incredibly powerful alien god called the Gilded Saint. Black Fox promised to trade the Gilded Saint Manhattan in exchange for eternal life. Felicia, whom Black Fox tricked into helping him, voided the deal by destroying the deed to Manhattan, earning Black Fox the ire of the Gilded Saint. As an act of revenge, the alien god pulled Black Fox into his realm, known as the Vaults, confining Felicia’s mentor to eternal imprisonment.

IRON CAT #1 sees Tamara return to get revenge on Felicia, and to do so, she stole the book’s titular armored suit from Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man. Stark rebuilt that armor, which was designed by Black Cat and uses his technology, after it was seemingly destroyed in the pages of Felicia’s solo book. During a battle between the two, Tamara revealed her anger at Felicia for selling out Black Fox and promised to get revenge for her mentor. This time around, Tamara’s return will seemingly force Black Cat to wrestle with having betrayed a mentor who cared about her deeply for the greater good.

To find out what’s next for Tamara and Felicia, check out IRON CAT #1 (now on sale) and beyond.

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