Updated on December 10, 2021
This week’s minorities in cartoons entry is Yolanda Montez, who became the second hero known as Wildcat.
Yolanda first appeared in “Infinity, Inc.” #12 in 1985. Roy Thomas and Todd McFarlane created Yolanda.
Yolanda was born a mutant, thanks to experiments conducted on her mother during her mother’s pregnancy by a doctor who was secretly a mad scientist. Growing up on Earth-2, Yolanda became close to her godparent, Ted Grant (the original Wildcat).
During the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Yolanda assumed Ted’s role as Wildcat after Ted became injured saving a child’s life. Ted at first disapproved, but then gives her his blessing upon discovering her identity.
Yolanda survived the post-Crisis merger of DC’s multitude of heroes onto on Earth. She soon joined Infinity, Inc., the team consisting of the offspring and godchildren of various Golden Age heroes. Infinity, Inc. was a big deal on their native Earth-2. However, they became redundant once folded into the post-Crisis Earth. Infinity, Inc. was forced to coexist alongside the more popular (and similar-aged) Teen Titans.
The continuity issues of shifting from Earth-2’s real-time timeline to post-Crisis Earth inheriting Earth-1’s sliding-timescale also couldn’t have helped the team. Questions started being raised about how their increasingly-elderly parents could’ve had twentysomething kids. Due to all of this (and other changes, such as DC ditching the Justice Society itself right after “Crisis”), “Infinity Inc.” was eventually cancelled. In-universe, the team itself dissolved.
Yolanda came out of semi-retirement to participate in the 1992 crossover “Eclipso: The Darkness Within.” It was a storyline that tried to retcon Eclipso from a mediocre villain into a (purportedly) major-league-powered villain. To prove such, Eclipso killed a team of heroes meant to stop his deeds—said heroes unfortunately including Yolanda.
Later stories show Yolanda’s cousin Alex Montez eventually defeated Eclipso and gained his power, before losing it and committing suicide. Apparently, Alex exists in the New 52 reboot (as Eclipso again?), but as far as I can tell, there’s no sign of his cousin Yolanda, even on the new (and hyphen-less) Earth 2.
Yolanda also appeared on the short-lived version of Earth-2 that appeared in 2000s stories (after the multiverse’s revival, but before the New 52 reboot), as a member of that world’s Justice Society.
Yolanda’s powers consisted of the ability to retract and extend sharp claw-like nails, as well as possessing cat-like agility.