There are characters in Marvel and DC that are seen as each other equivalents. Maybe not the biggest names (I bet we could generate beautiful debate over who is Marvel's counter part of Superman – Captain America or Thor), but there are some characters that gets placed together at instant. Flash and Quicksilver or Aquaman and Namor just to name a few. One of commonly made pairing is Catwoman and Black Cat.
Selina Kyle and Felicia Hardy have a lot in common and I doesn't mean just obvious cat theme. They both are often switching between the light and dark sides of the force, a lot of their appeal comes from how they blurry the line between good girls and bad girls. A lot of their charm comes from provocative and seductive approach and their complicated relationships with respective heroes – Batman and Spider-Man. Every time we see one of them interacting with hero, we don't know if this time they will be opponents, allies or lovers. Both are attractive women and are well aware of it and aren't afraid of using it to archive their own goals.
However where Catwoman could carry own two ongoing series, who both lasted long enough to score near magic number of 100 issues (first has 96 and second has 83), Felicia's never got more than a mini-series or supporting character role in other people's comics. And yet, as her recent appearances shows, under the wings of right writer she has gigantic potential. In Marvel Divas we could see her more realistic, human side, it showed more of her as Felicia than Black Cat. Heroes For Hire has subplot about her romantic relationship with Paladin and how she tries to drag him completely on the side of angels. Even one of Spider-Man backstories put her in different light than usual. I haven't read read her last mini, but I heard good things about her portrayal there too.
On the other hand, in Spider-Man, she seems mostly reduced into infamous T&A and poor man's Catwoman, aside abovementioned backstory. Brand New Day staff couldn't agree over which girl Peter should be with to the point the started raping them but they could agree to completely ignore all Felicia's character development and put her in her old role again (which is one of multiple reasons why I'm not reading Spider-Man anymore).
Black Cat's problem is, that she is struck in this „Spider-Man's Catwoman” role and not a lot of people want her to be anything else. Where Selina has been developed into her own woman, so she could get away from Batman's shadow and carry her own comics, Felicia has every mayor character development hidden under the carped the moment Spider-Man writers wants her to be his funny naughty girl that can tease him again. Thanks to that she is struck in role Catwoman grew out long time ago, like a younger sister having to wear older sister's clothes.
This reminds me of another character, our beloved Merc With A Mouth, Deadpool. As we all remember, Deadpool was created as a partial parody and partial rip-off of Teen Titans arch enemy, Deathstroke and he would remain as only that, if it wasn't for Joe Kelly, who put him through serious revamp. New Deadpool has been born partly by taking all that was different between him and Deathstroke and exploring it. This, combined with humor and good alternative his comics became for grim and gritty titles of the 90s are one of many reasons behind his huge success. After that he no longer is seen as poor man's Deathstroke and his hidden potential can shine in all it's glory and billion of comics. I think that Black Cat, to achieve her true potential as a character, needs the same thing. At this point it's mostly wasted and for every time she can shine there is a time they force her to be Spider-Man's theme park version of Catwoman, a role she grew out long time ago.
And what do you think?