MARIA RUSSOFF

Real Name: Maria Russoff; Baroness Russoff

Identity/Class: Human magic user

Occupation: Sorceress

Group Membership: A group of Gypsies

Affiliations: Topaz, Werewolf (Jack Russell), zombie Gypsies

Enemies: Topaz, Transylvanian villagers, Werewolf (Jack Russell)

Known Relatives: Grigori Russoff, Baron Russoff; (great grandfather, deceased); Baroness Russoff (great grandmother, presumably deceased);
    presumably Baron Russoff (husband, deceased);
    Gregory "Gregor" Russoff, Baron Russoff (son, deceased), Phillip Russell (nee Russoff) (son, deceased);
    Laura Russoff Russell, Baroness Russoff (daughter-in-law, deceased);
    Jack Russell (formerly Jacob Russoff, Werewolf, grandson, son), Lissa Russell (granddaughter);
    Louisa Russoff, Baroness Russoff (first wife of Grigori)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: currently unknown (presumably some realm of Hell, or perhaps a higher plane);
    formerly Russoff Manor, Transylvania
    formerly a Gypsy camp in the woods of Transylvania;
    formerly Russoff Castle, Borgo Pass, Transylvania;
    location during lengthy absence from Transylvania unrevealed

First Appearance: Giant-Size Werewolf by Night#3 (January, 1975)

 

 

 

 

Powers/Abilities: Maria possesses limited psychic powers, which were sorcerous in nature. She had sufficient power to enslave the young Topaz, whom she used as a familiar to amplify her powers. Using Topaz, she could reanimate and control the dead, affect the dreams of others, and presumably many other effects. She also used a trained bear who wore a silver spike-studded collar and silver-clawed gauntlets.

 

 

 

 

 

History:
(Giant-Size Werewolf by Night#3 (fb)) - Maria was away when her son Gregor translated the Darkhold and became a werewolf @ the 1920s (see Gregor Russoff comments).

(Giant-Size Werewolf by Night#3 (fb) / Dr. Strange III#27/2) - Maria returned to Castle Russoff after Gregor was slain and discovered to be a werewolf (see comments), and the villagers accused her of spawning a demon...of consorting with Satan to mother a werewolf. They stoned her, and drove her from the village, preventing her from returning to Russoff Manor.

(Giant-Size Werewolf by Night#3 (fb)) - Homeless and starving, Maria wandered the woods for days until she stumbled into a Gypsy camp. The Gypsies fed her, embraced her as their own, and she spent over 15 years with them.

(Giant-Size Werewolf by Night#3 (fb)) - Maria's time with the Gypsies ended in shocking tragedy and the destruction of her second home. She'd been gathering firewood, and when she returned to the camp she'd found the Gypsies slaughtered by villagers who'd considered them nothing but thieves and cutthroats. This snapped Maria's mind and she vowed bloody vengeance on the villagers who had cast her out and slain her adopted tribe. She also swore vengeance on the werewolf who had initiated her nightmare ordeal, determined to exerscise her vendetta through use of psychic powers she had learned from the Gypsies.

(Giant-Size Werewolf by Night#3 (fb) - BTS) - When Topaz returned to Transylvania, hoping to find means of helping Jack Russell after her encounter in India with Dr. Glitternight, Maria senses Topaz's power and managed to enslave her. Maria used Topaz as her familiar, enabling her to reanimate the dead Gypsies and send them to murder the villagers in the name of revenge.

(Giant-Size Werewolf by Night#3 (fb) - BTS) - Maria made her base in the old Gypsy caravan in the woods outside Russoff summer house in Transylvania.

(Giant-Size Werewolf by Night#3) - Maria forced Topaz affect Jack Russell's dreams, summoning him to the Russoff summer house in Transylvania; Jack brought his sister, Lissa, and his friend Buck Cowan with him. Upon arriving they found villagers intent on traveling to Russoff Manor to slay the Gypsies that they had learned were dwelling there. Heading towards the manor, Russell became the Werewolf and came across the Gypsy caravan in which Topaz was held. Maria saw the Werewolf and unleashed her silver-clawed bear against him. While Jack battled and defeated the bear, Maria summoned her zombie Gypsies to slay the Werewolf. Buck and Lissa revived Topaz, who used her powers to restore Maria's sanity. Just then, Maria saw one of the Gypsies following her previous command by hurling a silver dagger at the Werewolf. Repentant, Maria leapt into the path of the dagger and was killed. The Werewolf turned back into Russell as the first rays of dawn arrived, and Maria realized that her target had been her own grandson. She asked forgiveness just before she died.
    After hearing the reasons for her rampage, one of the villagers stepped forward and promised that Maria would receive a proper funeral, one that would befit a woman of the Baroness Russoff's standing.

 

 

Comments: Created by Doug Moench, Don Perlin, and Sal Trapani.

    I have recently reviewed all of Gregor Russoff's information and it just can't be that he died back in 1958 after being struck down by Chthon (as listed in GS WwbN#3). If he were slain, he was subsequently resurrected. Jack Russell is firmly tied to the modern era and its sliding timescale, and he turned 18 in the early part of that. For that reason I also reject the idea that she was stoned shortly after his being struck down by Chthon, but rather that she was stoned after his death, which occurred @ 16 years before Jack Russell became a werewolf. The original story in GS WwbN#3 said that she lived with the Gypsies for 15 years, which would fit better with Gregor's death at the villagers' hands (actually their bullets).
    However, it could be that Chthon struck out at Gregor's mother and caused her to be stoned. If that's the case, people may not have retained this information when Gregor returned to Castle Russoff years later. Unless she was stoned twice, which doesn't make much sense to me.
    Of course, that means she was away for many decades (at least five as of 2004), but maybe she just went away after her husband died. Perhaps she had dabbled in magic and her interest spawned a similar interest in Gregor. He obtained the Darkhold sometime after her departure, and her work in magic, like his, extended her lifespan. Her origins from GS WwbN#3 make it appear as if she had no magical experience before her time with the Gypsies.
    It gets kind of silly with half of the characters in the Marvel Universe having extended lifespans, but its either that or just ignore all such info.

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
No known connection to:


Zombie Gypsies

 

    Slain some time before by the villagers, they were reanimated by Maria Russoff via the powers of the enslaved Topaz and sent to murder the villagers for vengeance. Only Emil (pictured here) was named; he was the one who threw the silver dagger at the Werewolf, which slew Maria instead when she leapt in its path. With her death, the Gypsies all returned to their dead state.

 

--Giant-Size Werewolf by Night#3 (3(fb), 3

 

 

 

 


images:
Giant-Size Werewolf by Night#3, p37, panel 2 + 3 (face + psychic powers)
    p36, panel 8 (zombie (Emil))
    p38, panel 5 (stoned by mob)
    p31, panel 1 (spike-gloved bear)


Last updated: 09/25/04

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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