Monday, December 10, 2012

Superhero 411: Tigra

Today we're featuring one of the superheroes on the American Superhero Team, and delve deeper into their history. In this article, we'll be looking at the furriest superhero on the list, Tigra. Warning! Some Spoilers Ahead!

File:The Cat 1.jpg The Birth of Tigra Founders of West Coast Avengers Mini-Cat Tigra In Austraila Tigra
Real name: Greer Grant-Nelson
First Appearance:As The Cat: Claws of the Cat #1 (1972), as Tigra: Giant-Size Creature #1 (1974)
Creators: The Cat: Roy Thomas (writer-editor), Linda Fite (writer), and Marie Severin (artist), Tigra: Tony Isabella (writer), Don Perlin (artist)
Occupation: Professional Superhero
"Mystically empowered"
Operates in: All over America

Greer Grant was a native of Chicago, and when she was a sophomore at the University of Chicago, she met her future husband, a policeman named Bill Nelson, and dropped out to marry him. While their marriage was strong, her husband was soon killed in a shooting, and she had to take a job as an assistant to a former professor, Dr. Tumulo, who was working on an experimental treatment to make people physically enhanced to peak performance. Not trusting the project's financial backer, Greer convinces the professor to preform the experiment on her, where she gains superhuman physical and mental capabilities. After the backer has the lab destroyed in an attempt to keep the experiment under his control, Greer sets out to expose the backer while wearing a costume designed to further enhance her abilities, but he commits suicide rather than be apprehended, and all the equipment is destroyed in a fire started by the fight.
Greer takes the codename The Cat and begins a career as a superhero, later encountering a community of advanced sorcerer scientist cat people who had been hiding in society, which includes Tumulo. Unfortunately the community is discovered by HYDRA, and while Greer managed to drive them off, she was mortally injured in the fight. Tumulo summoned a gathering of Cat people and offer Greer a chance to survive, let the Cat people to transform her into their legendary warrior Tigra. She accepts, and becomes a super-powered human-animal hybrid, with razor-sharp claws, superhuman senses and strength. She has since effectively abandoned her previous life as Greer Grant and The Cat, with the Cat identity and costume being taken up by Hellcat, and fully become Tigra. She's had many adventures with numerous heroes, including Spider-Man, X-Men and the Fantastic Four, later becoming a members of the Avengers, where she saved the world on a few occasions, including single handedly stopping Molecule Man and convincing him to seek help from a therapist.
Tigra later left the Avengers after an encounter with Ghost Rider deeply affected her, and moved to San Francisco where she started a detective business with the then depowered Jessica Drew. The two forged a strong friendship and made a very effective team, so much so that they were going to make it permanent when Tigra was approached by The Vision to become a founding member of the Avengers' new west coast-based team, which she accepted. During her time with the team Tigra felt increasingly dominated by the cat side of her personality, which came to a head when a long banished colony of cat people summon her and the West Coast Avengers, offering to help her if she kills a longtime foe of the cat people. She accepts, but is unable to carry out the deed at the critical moment, refusing the violate the Avengers' code of not killing. The colony strips her of the "Tigra soul" granting her powers, which reverts her back to her human self, and is imprisoned with the rest of the team. Hellcat, who had been with the group when they were abducted, gives Grant back the Cat supersuit, which again enhance her still present superhuman abilities. The group then attempts to escape, and during the fight the colony king decides to release the "Tigra Soul" back into Grant in the hopes it will turn her into a loyal cat person that would turn on her team mates, but the tactic fails as her supersuit enhances her human side and allows for the two sides to fully merge, making her much stronger, faster and more feline than before and completely in control of herself. The cat people instantly recognized her as the true legendary warrior Tigra and stopped their hostility instantly. The full merger saw a change in her personality, as she now freely indulged her natural feline inclinations without feeling guilty or self-conscious. Most notably she changed her mind about killing, stating that it was sometimes necessary, eventually leaving the Avengers for a time and joined with Mockingbird and Moon Knight.
When she returned to the team she underwent another transformation in a more beastly and feral form, completely losing her human intellect and becoming a danger to those around her. In order to contain her she was shrunk smaller than a housecat and put in a cage while her teammates looked for a cure, but she escaped and lived as a wild animal in the suburbs for awhile until rescued and restored by associate of the West Coast Avengers and noted witch Agatha Harkness, and rejoined the West Coast Avengers. During a mission in Japan Tigra was badly stabbed in the abdomen by some supervillians, and using one of the Avengers' Quinjets to escape she passed out from blood loss and crash landed in Arnhem Land, an Aboriginal territory in northern Australia. The Aboriginals rescued her and helped her back to health, and she decided to stay there for a while, enjoying the pleasures of the area and naming a replacement for the West Coast Avengers. Soon after however, the West Coast Avengers disbanded, and Tigra resumed her wide-ranging adventures before finding herself as a member of the New York City police force and occasionally aiding in Avenger operations when called upon, which later leads her to join the space fairing Avengers Infinity team briefly before returning to Earth, where she was instrumental in saving the planet after alien underestimated her abilities.
During the Civil War storyline she supported the superhero registration act and became a member of S.H.I.E.L.D. to help enforce it, eventually infiltrating those opposed to it as a mole, but their own mole quickly outed her to those in charge and she was used to feed disinformation to the pro-registration forces. After the war she was made a founding instructor at Camp Hammond, the training compound for the Fifty State Initiative, and resumed her romantic relationship with fellow superhero Hank Pym, whom she had had a brief relationship with when they were both members of the West Coast Avengers, unaware that he had recently been kidnapped and replaced by a Skrull imposter. Tigra served in the Initiative as a senior staff member of the central organization, and was the leader of the Arkansas Initiative team "The Battalion".
Later she was shot and severely beaten by the supervillian Hood in her home in retaliation for having beaten a member of his fledgling super-criminal organization. The Hood and his gang later reappeared in her apartment demanding to know the location of the new Avengers headquarters, and intentionally misled them into an ambush, where she personally took down the Hood.
When Norman Osborn took over the Initiative she learned of the Hood role as Osborn's right hand man and resolves to out the two for their wrong doings.
After the Skrull invasion reveals Hank Pym, among others, as having been replaced, Tigra discovers that she is pregnant and believes the father to be Hank, although she is unsure if it was the real Hank or the imposter, and becomes conflicted about terminate the pregnancy, regardless of the father's identity. When Norman Osborn learns of her pregnancy, he tells her that he is going to take the baby for genetic testing in the hopes of creating an anti-Skrull bio weapon, as well as make the Hood chief operating officer of the Initiative. Tigra quickly escapes along side fellow hero Gauntlet and co-founds the Avengers Resistance, hoping to restore honor to the team's traditions, and acting as the de facto leader. Outlaws under Osborn reign, the team start going after members of the Hood's gang, savagely attacking and beating them. After Norman is brought down, the Hood depowered and the two taken into custody, Tigra confronts him in a jail cell and tells him that she's comfortable with the idea of killing him, the sight of his child outside convinces her that a life in prison or on the run would be far worse punishment, as he'd never be able to get close to his child again, and killing him would jeopardize her own future with her child.
As Tony Stark's administration begins taking over and rebuilding the Initiative, she gives birth to a healthy cat person kitten, the gestation period having been only two months due to the feline physiology. She names her son William, after her late husband. Tigra vows to not only restore the good name of the Avengers, corrupted in the hands of Osborn, but to also make the world a safer place for her child to grow up in.
With the dismantling of Osborn's criminal empire and the repeal of the Superhuman Registration Act, Steve Rogers is named America's head of a new national security team. Tigra is among the 25 heroes he personally invites to join him in creating a new heroic age, and she serves as part of the founding faculty of Avengers Academy, training a new generation of heroes in the traditions of the world's elite superhero team, along side other heroes, including the real Hank Pym. Here she learns that while the Pym she met at the Initiative was a Skrull impostor, he had copied Pym down to the genetic level, making William half-human, not half-Skrull, making Pym the genetic father. Tigra asks Hank to take care of William in the event anything happens to her.
When a former associate of the Hood plans to release a commercial video of Tigra's beating, she arranges to have the footage broadcast live in its entirety during a live interview, so that her experience may serve as an example to other trauma survivors and inspire them to seek help, and announces the foundation of several "Always an Avenger" centers to provide support to veterans, children, spouses and other trauma victims. Several members of the Avengers Academy react to news by tracking down the unpowered on the run Hood, attacking him and releasing video of the attack on the internet, rather than simply taking him into custody. Tigra becomes furious at them for their unheroic actions and refusal to take the situation serious, and so expels all those involved, although after talking with the rest of the faculty staff they are instead put on probation.

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