THE CAT STALKS AT NIGHT. In her first Marvel Universe appearance, we learn the origin of Greer Grant and her unusual role in an experiment. Enter…The Cat!
On the splash page, we saw a young brunette woman, dressed in a yellow catsuit and mask, clinging to the side of a Chicago building. She was Greer Nelson, but tonight she became known as the Cat. She was on a mission of vengeance, and to stop a madman.
In subsequent pages, we saw flashbacks that revealed how University of Chicago sophomore Greer Grant met rookie policeman Bill Nelson and fell in love, only to be widowed a year later. We also saw flashbacks of Greer's frustrated attempts to find a job, until she met her old physics professor, Dr. Joanne Tumulo. Dr. Tumulo hired Greer for a special project. Her aim was to allow women to achieve their full mental and physical potential. Greer was to be the first subject, until their backer interfered. Malcolm Donalbain, a "world-famous sportsman, eccentric, and entrepreneur," had paid for the doctor's equipment and time and now demanded he provide their first subject. His choice? Shirlee Bryant, a young blonde model in his employ. Greer persuaded Dr. Tumulo to let her undergo the conditioning in secret, rather than cancel the experiment. Greer’s faith in the experiment was not misplaced. All her faculties were improved…her mental prowess……her physical strength and agility…her hearing…and something more…the indefinable sixth sense…intuition…empathy. Donalbain envisioned himself as the head of an army of amazons. He told Shirlee that she was the prototype and had her don a yellow uniform with clawed blue gloves and boots. When she was given a cat-earred cowl and mask to wear, Shirlee complained that it looked "like a Hallowe'en costume." Donalbain overrode her objections, and told her to adorn her neck with a studded blue collar. Without regard for her own safety, Shirlee followed Donalbain's orders to use her claws to climb a six-story wall and swing by her grappling-hook lines to the other side. She fell to her death. Dr. Tumulo, who had gone to Donalbain's headquarters to call off the experiment, witnessed Shirlee's demise. She was outraged when Donalbain callously dismissed Shirlee as an "incompetent fool" and vowed to create as many more prototypes as he needed. She fled, taking one of the Cat uniforms. She showed it to Greer and described Shirlee's fate. Donalbain had his henchmen go to her lab and set off an explosion, hoping to eliminate the doctor and all traces of the experiment. Greer returned to find her critically-wounded mentor amongst the rubble. She took the Cat uniform and swore to avenge Shirlee and the doctor. Due to her enhanced abilities, she adapted quickly to the strange apparatus (and brought us back to the present).
The Cat immediately ran into Donalbain's henchmen when she broke into his headquarters. She defeated them, but fell victim to a soporific gas while searching for Donalbain. When she awakened, she found they had bound her hands behind her back. When Donalbain arrived, he recognized Greer. He told her that he was opening a nationwide chain of health emporiums and he needed "specialists" to operate them -- women with the same powers she had gained. He showed her a duplicate of Dr. Tumulo's equipment that he had constructed based on Shirlee's notes. Using the machines, he would build a force of perfect physical specimens. Each woman he transformed would be given an accessory like Shirlee's, which he called a Will Nullifier, which would place them under his control. He ordered one of the collars be placed around Greer's neck, but she mananged to dodge his henchman and, using a shoulder charge, knock him into Donalbain. Donalbain suffered from severe haptephobia (the fear of being touched) and ordered the bumbler punished. In the confusion, the Cat escaped. She returned to sabotage Donalbain's machine, but was discovered. She'd done enough damage to short out the electrical service to the building. In the dark, her enhanced night vision gave her the advantage, even though Donalbain and his men were armed. Rather than let the Cat rake him with her claws, Donalbain turned his pistol on himself. The Cat escaped as the building burst into flames, wondering "have I misused my powers? Have I become a stronger woman only to become a poorer human being?"