Monday, December 2, 2013

A Natural For The Hellfire Club


Name This Marvel Villain??

Given this villain's choice of fashion, it's a fair bet she's not going to care to be in the super-hero category. And with a name like Malice, there's not much room left for doubt about her intentions. But the identity of Malice revealed a shocking transformation, indeed:

So how do you like the Invisible Girl's new uniform? I'll bet it does a few things for Reed, if you know what I mean. But this is really no time to make light of the situation. Malice was essentially a creation of Psycho-Man, working in tandem with the Hate Monger, by preying upon Sue's subconscious feelings of inadequacy and subverting her personality. Thus corrupted, she made for the perfect tool in Psycho-Man's revenge against the Fantastic Four.

And indeed, she was able to take out members of the team one-by-one--in part because her identity was unknown to them, and she was able to use her powers of invisibility to mask her methods of attack and take them by surprise. But with the help of Daredevil, Reed was able to pierce her disguise. Realizing the Hate Monger's handiwork, he deduced that in order to snap Sue out of her state he had to battle her not with powers, but with brutal words:

And after lunging for Reed's throat (which would have been understandable even in her right mind), the strategy works, and Sue's personality returns to normal. Sort of. Reed may be willing to leave the matter behind, but Sue vows vengeance on Psycho-Man (the Hate Monger would be dealt with in an issue of Secret Wars II, at the hand of Scourge) and insists that Reed put aside the potential threat of the Beyonder's presence on Earth and help her go after her tormentor. And after seeing the emotional effect the ordeal has had on Sue, Reed agrees. (Though I'd lay odds that he tells her to hang onto that Malice costume for later. Alright, I'll let this go.)

But Sue isn't out of the woods yet. And if you expected Psycho-Man to just roll over for the FF, think again. He captures the entire team when they come after him in the microverse. And just to rub salt in the wound, he decides to pay particular attention to Sue, and sadistically remind her that he'll be the one doling out the vengeance:

But this is the FF we're talking about. Eventually, they turn the tables on Psycho-Man--and Sue corners him later in private and uses the villain's emotion-control technology to conduct a little vengeance of her own off-stage. Payback's a bitch--and thanks to Psycho-Man and the Hate Monger, Sue's become a bit of one herself. But she harnesses those feelings, and uses them to put behind her the naivety and innocence she carried with her as the Invisible Girl, to adopt a new identity as the Invisible Woman.

An identity which, Reed hopes, will still want to slap on those Malice duds from time to time. (All right, I'll stop!)

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