White Tiger (Ava Ayala)

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Researched by: Venom 2009

White Tiger is the identity used by several fictional character in Marvel Comics. All of the people who called themselves White Tiger have been minorities with special abilities.

The first White Tiger (Hector Ayala) was created by writer Bill Mantlo and artist George Pérez in the black and white Marvel magazine, Deadly Hands of Kung Fu in the early 1970s. Hector Ayala was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He could transform into the superhuman White Tiger through the power of the Jade Tiger amulets. In his alter-ego, Ayala fought foes such as the Corporation crime cartel and teamed with heroes including Daredevil and Spider-Man. After many years of fighting crime and nearly being killed, having his secret identity publicly exposed by the villainous Lightmaster and becoming psychologically and physically addicted to the tiger amulets, Ayala retired. But after a while, the call to don the amulets and fight evil became too strong and Hector once again became the White Tiger. Soon after, Hector was framed for murder and convicted despite the efforts of his lawyer, Matt Murdock (Daredevil). Ayala was shot and killed trying to escape, shortly before evidence emerged that belatedly proved his innocence.

The second White Tiger was an actual white Bengal tigress evolved into a woman of East India descent. She was part of the short-lived Heroes for Hire revival in the 1990s. She was created by the High Evolutionary to hunt down an evil evolved wolf he had created, called the Man-Beast. White Tiger's bestial origins gave her cat-like speed and reflexes, and she was highly skilled in martial arts. White Tiger met Iron Fist, and intrigued by him, joined Heroes for Hire. White Tiger tried to keep her origins a secret, but during a training session with Iron Fist, she lost control and reverted to her tiger form. She was a valued member of the team, but she found that human emotions were more complex than her tiger mind could handle. She found herself growing more and more attracted to Iron Fist. White Tiger attacked Misty Knight when she felt that Iron Fist was attracted to Misty, trying to display dominance to the encroaching female, just as a tigress would do in the wild. When White Tiger finally captured the rogue Man-Beast, she begged the High Evolutionary to remove her human persona, unable to bear the heartbreak of not being able to be with the man she loved. He conceded and turned her back into a white Bengal tiger, promising Iron Fist that he would return her to the rainforests where he found her.

The third White Tiger was Kevin "Kasper" Cole, a police officer of mixed Jewish/African-American heritage who impersonated Black Panther when he found T'Challa's costume. Advised by the Falcon (Sam Wilson) that he needed to be more than just a man in a cat suit to achieve his goals, Kasper sought permission to eat the heart-shaped herb and gain enhanced powers like T'Challa by undertaking the Rite of Ascension. The villainous Erik Killmonger, offered him another option: a synthetic version of the heart-shaped herb and help finding Sal's son, in return for Kasper dropping the Black Panther identity, becoming a White Tiger of the Panther Cult, and doing a favor for Killmonger in the future. Kasper accepted, but then tracked down the boy using his newly enhanced senses and help from Queen Divine Justice and Everett Ross, thus lessening his debt to Killmonger. Afterwards, Kasper took on the identity of the White Tiger. He continues to chase promotion, allied with The Crew (a team of inner city superheroes) against 66 Bridges and Triage.

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