By Marc Strom
Fans may not be familiar with the new White Tiger just yet, but that will change once she joins your Friendly Neighborhood Wallcrawler in “Ultimate Spider-Man,” beginning April 1!
The young super heroine will join Spidey, Iron Fist, and two more heroes as part of a special team-in-training that will form Peter Parker’s core supporting cast in his new animated adventure. But who is the White Tiger, and what brings her to this team of S.H.I.E.L.D. trainees?
|White Tiger from "Ultimate Spider-Man"|
“As a legacy heroine and the newest in a family of heroes to use the White Tiger name, Ava feels she has a lot to prove to S.H.I.E.L.D., to her teammates, and to herself,” divulges “Ultimate Spider-Man” Creative Consultant Paul Dini. “It's important to her that she excels at everything she does, as she plans on leaving the team someday as a full super heroine in her own right. She was Fury's fair haired girl until Spider-Man showed up, and she wants to show the newbie that despite his rep as a solo hero, he still has a long way to go toward earning her respect.”
“She’s really into S.H.I.E.L.D.,” elaborates Supervising Producer Cort Lane. “She would love to be the next Black Widow. She enjoys the S.H.I.E.L.D. training, and she thinks the Helicarrier’s the coolest thing in the world.”
The White Tiger doesn’t have a large history in the comics, but while she’s never typically been associated with the Webhead that freshness brought a new and interesting dynamic to the series.
“We wanted a young female voice on the team and while she is new, White Tiger proved to be the perfect choice,” explains Dini. “She's tough and smart, and her cat-like reflexes allow her to match Spider-Man leap for leap in agility. Also, Spidey's wisecracking attitude really rubs the more serious Tiger, a.k.a. Ava Ayala, the wrong way, which gives us a lot of character conflict when they are trying to solve a bigger problem. It's fun to make sparks fly when you're writing for two contentious teammates.”
And while Lane finds there’s “less pressure in keeping continuity for her” given her relatively shorter history in the comics, he promises viewers “will find over time that her origin is closely connected to the original White Tiger and is linked to the Marvel Universe in really interesting ways.”
“We were free to experiment with her powers, her history and her look until we came up with a character that fit the unique tone of our show,” echoes Dini. “That said, White Tiger is very much a heroine in the classic Marvel mode, and while she is new, there's something about her that seems very right in Spider-Man's universe. Cool powers, defiant attitude, compelling backstory, it's like she's been there all along.”
While Iron Fist, revealed yesterday as a member of Spider-Man’s super heroic supporting cast, provides a more calming influence on the group, White Tiger brings her own unique temperament to the mix.
“Like her namesake, White Tiger is tough, proud, and when the chips are down, will fight to the very end,” says Dini. “She's in there fighting it out side by side with the boys, or throwing them around if they get in her way. She's as smart as she is strong, and while brainwork comes easily to Peter Parker/Spider-Man, White Tiger is more focused and a much better student. You also get the idea that Ava has to work harder to keep the savage Tiger side of her nature in check. Without discipline, she could be one claw pop away from becoming Wolverine. That's why she is a bit of a control freak and a girl who pushes herself to be better than her teammates.”
Come back to Marvel.com later today to learn who else will join your Friendly Neighborhood Wallcrawler on "Ultimate Spider-Man," premiering April 1 on Disney XD!