Tigra’s vengeance on the HoodPosted: 01/27/2013
Fresh off my illness shipwreck, I figured we should sail back to shore with a good ol’ fashioned investigation. I’ve wanted to do a Tigra article for a while, and finally I can declare that I have proof the supervillain the Hood may very well be Tigra’s arch-nemesis. Which honestly, is more impressive for Tigra than the Hood. Let me explain.
Debuting in 1972, Greer Grant Nelson fought minor baddies for a few years as The Cat, who was mainly like DC’s Catwoman but without the whip and Batman fetish. A few years later, she got zapped by a radiation gun. To save her life, the Cat People (pretty much as you think) gave her an amulet that turned Greer into Tigra, the legendary defender of furries everywhere. Now she has superhuman strength, agility, stamina, etc. And despite you aggressively about to click away from this article, understand that Tigra has wonderfully evolved into a complex and interesting character far beyond any potential stereotype.
Her policeman husband was shot and killed. Totally a conspiracy, too. In response, she retreated deep into a crime-fighting distraction. Nowadays, like She-Hulk, she loves her alternative self far more than her civilian identity, rarely if ever changing back into human form. But let’s be fair — she’s literally a cat lady, and she knows it. Let Greer explain herself:
Seriously, who could not have an inferiority complex when fighting alongside Thor? Still, gotta keep those streets safe, which leads to her single most superhero-defining moment in her entire comic lifespan.
So I don’t have to type each one as we go, in order, here’s a list of the issues I’m using today:
Tigra #4, written by Christina Z and drawn by Mike Deodato
New Avengers #35, written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Leinil Yu
Avengers: The Initiative #26, written by Christos N. Gage and drawn by Rafa Sandoval
Avengers: The Initiative #31, written by Christos N. Gage and drawn by Rafa Sandoval
Avengers: The Initiative #35, written by Christos N. Gage and drawn by Jorge Molina
Avengers Academy #8, written by Christos N. Gage and drawn by Mike McKone
We start off with Tigra breaking up a robbery attempt by the Punisher’s insane arch-nemesis:
Normally, the supervillain Jigsaw would go back to prison and Tigra would pat herself on the back. Evening well spent. Except at this exact moment, the Hood is attempting to create his supervillain crime gang, and Tigra gets to be an example. I’ve written about the Hood (Parker Robbins) a few times already. Using his demonic cape and some magical enhancements from Loki, the Hood gets to join a danger category equal to other great magicians like Dr. Strange and Brother Voodoo. But y’know, evil.
Unfortunately, to win over the trust and respect of the New York City super goons, the Hood has to prove that any superheroes who dare mess with his gang will get a punishment far worse than scrapes and bruises.
I would be remiss not to mention that this scene we’re in the middle of has its fair share of controversy. Fans of Tigra firmly believe that her character is written horribly — she would never act the way she does here. Others see it as Bendis using a random female superhero as a victim to showcase the Hood’s vicious capability (as his reign starts in this issue). My opinion? From a story standpoint, though certainly severe, I think this made Tigra’s character far more fascinating and prevalent than she would otherwise be today.
This single torturous act defines Tigra’s life for the next four years. She soon joins the Avengers Initiative project as an instructor and even begins dating Hank Pym, a founding Avenger. Not bad, right? But as the Hood grips tighter onto his title of crime boss of New York, Tigra hasn’t forgotten what he did to her. Not one bit.
Greer may have a legitimate reason to act the way she does, but she’s always had a temper problem. Thus begins a good ten issue revenge plot where she and her group of do-gooders would ambush and savagely beat the Hood’s henchmen.
We love the “edgier” superheroes, but Ultra-Girl’s right and we all know it. The reason we love superheroes in the first place is their ability to rise above and be morally superior to the criminals they fight. After the Hood suffers an embarrassing loss and capture by the Avengers when the Marvel event Siege concludes, Tigra finally receives that one-on-one she desperately seeks.
Oh yeah, did you know Tigra has a child? It’s a half-cat, half-Hank Pym kid.
You see, we all figure that her confrontation and moral victory over the Hood would be the end of this little tale. Now she remains a shining light of hope for superheroes everywhere. Except that’s not really how PTSD works. While she’s teaching at the Avengers Academy a year or so after this, that initial video of Tigra’s beating and humiliation by the Hood hits the Internet, forcing her to address it. Which she does, in the absolutely most perfect superhero way she can.
As happy an ending as this kind of story can get.