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Madame Masque(pop culture)
The daughter of Count Nefaria, Madame Masque was raised in the United States as Whitney Frost by her wealthy Wall Street foster parents, Byron and Loretta Frost. Her privileged life did not last; Count Nefaria revealed to Whitney that he was her biological father, and that he intended to train her to be his successor as a leader of the infamous Maggia, Marvel Comics' analogue to the Mafia. Shocked and distraught, Whitney refused to follow Nefaria's wishes, but when Count threatened to expose her true identity, she complied. Writer Stan Lee and penciler Gene Colan introduced the villainess in Tales of Suspense #98 (1968) as Maggia leader “Big M,” her secret identity, and as socialite Whitney Frost in the following issue. The criminal mastermind has been a former employee of the benevolent millionaire Mordecai Midas, but is mostly identified as the leader of the Nefaria family of the Maggia. Lacking superpowers, Madame Masque is, however, well versed in criminal strategy and the management of underworld operations, and she has excellent combat skills. Her face was severely scarred in a chemical accident, making her self-conscious and at times vulnerable. At the insistence of Midas she wore a gold mask, hence her moniker. The Kurt Busiek–scripted and George Pérez–penciled The Avengers vol. 3 #31–#34 (2000) revealed that the original Madame Masque had been in hiding for years, insanely paranoid after her father's seeming (but accidental) death at the hands of her sometime-lover Iron Man. Convinced she could trust no one, she ran her Maggia family through surrogates, notably “bio-duplicates” (clones) of herself. One defective bio-duplicate became a shapeshifter known as Masque and befriended the Avengers, who eventually located the real Madame Masque and joined forces with her to fight a resurrected Count Nefaria. The real Madame Masque assisted the Avengers and the Thunderbolts in defeating the Count and escaped, a villainess conflicted. Madame Masque appeared in the Iron Man animated television show (1994).
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.