Welcome to another article! This week, we’re taking another suggestion from hargendarsh, and coincidentally, their second animal themed character suggestion! Also, this is the second article in a row about an animal character, I guess. Plus, holy shit, I disappeared for a month! Again! How did that happen, you probably don’t ask? In short, I’ve been working through all kinds of issues lately. Some good things, but mostly bad things. I don’t want to get into it too much, but at least like, twelve of the people reading this are fans of mine, and even if none of you were and you were just reading these strings of loosely connected thought, you would still be owed some sort of explanation as to why these things just vanish every now and again. And while I don’t really want to fully explain everything (my semi-anonymous column about funny book characters is hardly the time or the place to delve into my ever-creeping depression), I still want to tell you all something, as well as apologize. I’m sorry I vanished again. Hopefully I won’t in the future, but honestly, who knows. I’m notoriously unreliable, and to be quite frank, as much as I adore writing these (and I really, truly do), writing something I don’t get paid for sometimes has to take a backseat to other things. Oh, also I’m trying to start working on some other projects, but that’s hardly as relevant. Yet, at least. I guess you’ll see if they ever come to fruition.
Well, with that out of the way, let’s get back into a bit of a lighter mood, shall we?
Tigra’s walked a long, strange road, going from a relatively bland science and technology based hero to a mystically powered furbait lady. But regardless of when you know her from, there’s a good chance that you remember her. No matter the quality of her stories, Tigra always stands out, from her awesome turn in Avengers Academy, to her less than fantastic appearances in Secret Invasion. Basically, if you’ve seen her, she’s pretty hard to forget, and hey, it’s natural that you might be intrigued by a cat lady in a bikini. Maybe you just thought she was interesting, seeing her just awakened some stuff in you, but you probably want to know more about her. This is fine. This is what I am here for.
So without further ado, let’s fake an education in comics!
Tigra, Tigra, Burning Bright
SCENARIO: Look, I’m gonna be completely honest with you guys here: I really don’t have too much of a stake in this character. So I guess we’re back to the bullshit scenario section of the article. It’s fine, I’m sure everything will work out if I use my mutant power to pull anything necessary out of my ass!
Ok, uh… You’re at your local comic shop/arcade/place of nerdery, and an argument breaks out about what fictional catgirl is best catgirl. Now, obviously the correct answer is Felicia from Darkstalkers, and the correct argument to back that up is “because she’s a hot cat chick who does Blanka rolls”, but this is not a series about scantily-clad Darkstalkers characters that sexually confuse/worry us, because if it were, you’d better believe that I would be writing a 9000 word essay on why Annakaris is the tightest shit in the universe instead of writing about Tigra. However, fortunately for you, this is a series about comic book characters, and someone suggested Tigra, so I’m writing about Tigra, no matter how much I would rather be writing about Darkstalkers at all hours of the day.
So, here’s all the information you need to know about Tigra to prove she’s better than, say, Cheetarah or The Cheetah, but not nearly as radical as Felicia.
Step One: I Can’t God Damn Believe I Already Used the Poetry Reference
Greer Grant began her life in comic books as a lab assistant to Joanne Tumolo, coming in at a close second to the title of “Worst Secret Identity Name” with a first name that sounds like some kind of shitty goblin in a homemade D&D campaign. For those of you who may want to know, the current title holder in that category is Captain Cold, otherwise known as Leonard fucking Snart.
As a lab assistant to a scientist who specialized in the field of Bullshit Comic Science, Greer quickly became involved with Tumolo’s secret project to create a physical conditioning program that would elevate a human to the peak of their physical and mental abilities. Initially, Greer was only going to remain a lab assistant, however, desperate times had forced Dr. Tumolo to look to outside sources for funding, resulting in “famed” eccentric Malcom Donalbain funding the project in the hopes of creating a skeezy chain of health clubs. Not trusting the creepy rich douche, Tumolo convinced Greer to take the test in secret alongside the test subject that Malcom had selected, a young woman by the name of Shirlee Bryant. They both emerged as superhumans, by the barest definition of the world. Honestly, I’m beginning to think that comic books think that elevating a human to “peak potential” always results in some blend of Cap and Deathstroke, when in reality, it would not only differ from person to person, it would hardly be someone who could contend with Avengers-level threats on their own.
Anyways, Shirlee promptly put on a cat costume “specially designed” by Malcom, who had the suit ready and made for “definitely not a sex thing”. While demonstrating her abilities, Shirlee promptly died like a punk, causing Malcom to hire henchman to bomb Tumolo’s lab, resulting in her apparent death. Believing her mentor to be, you know, super dead, Greer stole the cat costume for herself and became the blandly named super heroine known as The Cat.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking something along the lines of “Gee whiz, that sure looks a lot like Patsy Walker, Hellcat, my favorite comic that I read to let people know I’m quirky!”. Well, Greer was the first hero to wear the costume and don the mantle of the Cat, although I’m fairly certain that she never called herself Hellcat, because comic censorship rules are fucking weird, man. And before you ask, no, she was not the cat lady who fought Thanos in his Thanoscopter using the power of Hostess Fruit Pies, that was the infinitely more interesting Patsy Walker. You can tell because Patsy is a redhead, and also not super, super boring.
Greer’s tenure as The Cat didn’t last very long, although to her credit, she got revenge for her mentor almost absurdly quickly, tracking down Malcolm and, holy shit, forcing him to commit suicide! I take it all back, Greer, you’re kind of super metal. After this, she spent a short amount of time as a crime fighter, mostly operating out of Chicago. Unbeknownst to her, not only was Tumolo super alive and recuperating in a hospital, but she was also secretly a member of an ancient race of Cat People, who had magically evolved from cats in Europe during the Middle Ages, and oh my god I cannot believe that I typed out that sentence. Tumolo had elected to slip away, using the explosion as a convenient cover to check into a hospital and feign brain damage in order to escape Hydra, who were after a bacterial culture developed by the Cat People. This is a move presumably inspired by the writer of this very plot point, who feigned not having brain damage in order to get a job writing for Marvel. Of course, this wasn’t effective at all, because holy shit that plan is terrible, and Hydra found and abducted her. As soon as Greer found out, she gave chase in an attempt to rescue her mentor. She managed to drive Hydra away, however, they shot her with deadly ALPHA RADIATION, which is, if I remember basic physics, stopped by materials as thick as a sheet of paper, so I’m going to assume that this is a dumb comic book thing as opposed to an actual science thing. In order to save Greer’s life, Tumolo was forced to summon the Cat People and transform her into the mythical half-human/half-cat known as Tigra.
After defeating the Hydra agents, Tigra was given a mystical totem known as the Cat’s Head Amulet, which allowed her to change back into her human form whenever she desired. However, it turned out that Greer really, really liked being a cat lady, and almost never used the amulet. Moving away from Chicago, she took to a life of fighting crime alongside some of Marvel’s greatest, taking on such threats as the Rat Pack, the Super Skrull, and Kraven the Hunter, as well as working with Red Wolf, the Fantastic Four, and Spider-Man, leading to a sort of impressive rise in popularity and in-universe importance. And so, after what is possibly one of THE FUCKING DUMBEST/COOLEST character retcons in comic book history, Tigra became an Avenger.
Step Two: Eye of the Tigra
Tigra began her Avengers career semi-inauspiciously as one of the heroes who were telepathically coerced by Moondragon into attempting to join the team, and as far as I remember, the only one who actually made it onto the team, which should speak for both the quality and willingness of the other applicants. The handful of months she served on the team were dominated by the self-doubt she became consumed with, leading to her eventual exit. She moved to San Fransisco and befriended Jessica Drew, better known as everyone’s favorite Spider-Woman, except for maybe that one with the giant spider legs coming out of her back.
Shortly after that, Hawkeye arrived in LA with the intent of forming the West Coast Avengers, a team that has almost always been known for collecting some of the lamest doofuses from around the Marvel universe and putting them on their own Avengers team, and also Moon Knight. She did pretty well on the team, but soon after their formation, her human and cat sides began to clash, resulting in her behavior becoming increasingly erratic. This led to wild, murderous urges, but more often than that, she just fucked everybody on the team. In fact, she was with Henry Pym and Wonder Man at the same time, which is probably the lowest a person can fall on a romantic level. On a journey to a place called the Land Within, where the main tribe of the Cat People lived, Greer was presented with a solution to her problem: the ruler of the Cat People would cure her of her split personality, provided that she murder Master Pandemonium, who you might know as “that guy with tiny demons for hands”. However, when the time came, Tigra found herself unable to go through with the deed, and rejoined with her team.
Of course, her split personality was still an issue, and after it caused her to almost eat Hawkeye during a training session, she swore off her Tigra form for good, a promise which lasted all of fifteen minutes before the demon Allatou kidnapped her and Hawkeye, believing them to be agents of Master Pandemonium. The rest of the WC Avengers contacted Hellstorm and Hellcat to help search for their missing teammates, and quickly made it to Allatou’s realm, followed shortly by Pandemonium. After a fight, the WC Avengers wound up stranded on a boat racing through the various realms of Hell, eventually crashing in the Land Within, where it was revealed that the Cat People were, in fact, demons, and that they were working for Master Pandemonium, and that they had only wanted Tigra to murder him so that they could protect a fragment of his soul that they had been ordered to guard by Mephisto. After this litany of bullshit, the leader of the Cat People stripped Tigra of her cat soul as punishment for not killing Pandemonium, reverting her back to her significantly weaker powers that she had as the Cat. Luckily, Hellcat had Greer’s old Cat costume on hand for… some reason, and after a brief change of clothes, Greer led an assault on the Cat People, defeating their champion Balkatar. This resulted in Greer’s cat soul returning to her body, curing her of her split personality as well as giving her more power than ever before. Tigra continued her membership as a West Coast Avenger after this, breaking up with every other dude she was with, but banging Moon Knight almost immediately after the team recruited him, because come one, have you seen that guy?
Step Three: From Controversy to Controversy
Tigra was one of the heroes who stood with Mockingbird after she revealed that she had let the Phantom Rider die after he had raped her, but why talk about that super interesting plot line when we could talk about what it was retconned to in the new Mockingbird series, where it was revealed that she had a consensual affair with Phantom Rider and that Hawkeye made up her rape in order to cope with the idea that she had cucked him, a change which implies that she just murdered the Phantom Rider to try and cover up her affair, and certainly wasn’t helped by the author seemingly implying that rape victims are at fault when she had Bobbi claim that she was too “strong” to be raped. But that’s enough about that, because not only is that about a different character, it’s also going to trigger an utter shit fit if I keep going off on a rant about it. Plus, I’m like, two months late to really be on time to talk about it anyways.
Tiger’s cat soul began to clash once again with her normal soul, causing her to become more and more cat like, even being shrunk down to about the size of a house cat to keep her from murdering her teammates. Tigra was eventually cured by an old nemesis of hers known as Tabur, who is a housecat forcibly evolved into Cat Person form. After saving her, he attempted to coerce her into mating with him in an attempt to legitimize his usurping of the Cat People throne, and oh my god comics are retarded. Ultimately, he was defeated when Agatha Harkness forced Tigra’s cat soul into him, turning him into a normal cat and somehow allowing her to retain her cat form and powers sans-murder-rage. After a brief leave of absence that was spent hanging out with native Australians, she aided an Avengers team during the Kree-Shi’Ar War before fading back into obscurity, only reappearing to attend Mockingbird’s funeral.
She popped back up pretty quick, however, it was as a couple with legendary creep Starfox, who she took to space with in search of gross sexcapades. When she returned to Earth, it was to help the Avengers stave off the Infinites, as well as solve the mystery of the secret cult that murdered her husband. Oh, also, she apparently had a husband. As far as I know, he is not mentioned prior to this story line. An undercover gig as a police recruit during this quest led to her undertaking a new career as a cop, however, the Civil War would break out shortly afterwards.
During the War, she fought for Iron Man’s side, and as if being on what was pretty much unequivocally the wrong side of the war (protip: don’t join the side of the war that builds gulags and skips due process, kids!) wasn’t bad enough, she became a mole for Iron Man, joining Cap’s Secret Avengers in order to feed information to Tony “MechaHitler” Stark. Of course, Black Panther found her out within the week, and Cap used her to feed Iron Man false information about his strategies. During the Secret Invasion, she got back together with Hank Pym when he was Yellowjacket, however, he turned out to be a Skrull. Oh, and he got her pregnant too, so… yeah. After he killed the Skrull Queen and became the Iron Patriot, Norman Osborn began to try very, very, VERY hard to get this baby from her, and it was super gross and creepy.
After the fall of Iron Patriot and the Dark Avengers, she accepted a position as a teacher at Avengers Academy, helping shape the heroes of the future as well as getting Henry Pym to take a look at her horrible nightmare baby, who will forever stalk the shadowy corners of my mind. Luckily for her, the baby somehow had no traces of Skrull DNA, and she made Henry the child’s godfather.
Tigra didn’t really get up to much after that, although she was a part of the Fearless Defenders, and was one of the female members of the team who was qualified to become a shield maiden to Valkyrie and help save Asgard. After this, the last we’ve seen of her was during Secret Wars, where she got her ass handed to her by Emma Frost and helped in the final battle against GOD EMPEROR DOOM.
Okay, so I didn’t have too much nice to say about Tigra during the article, so I’ll say some of it here. Yeah, she’s a really dumb and ridiculous character, and way more convoluted than she has any right to be, but if that isn’t what reading a comic book is about, than what is? Plus, she was actually really, really interesting and engaging in Avengers Academy, and she was definitely one of the best members of the West Coast Avengers (better than Wonder Man, at least).
Once again guys, I’m real sorry about how inconsistent my release schedule is on these, and I’m going to try and be better about it. Hopefully you’ll stick with me if you like my writing, and if you don’t, well, hopefully you’ve just read too many of these to turn back now. I’ll see you all next week. Promise.