Membership: Madam Qwa, Master Zei, Dragonfly (Karsano), Dragonfly (Meiko Yin), Yano, countless others unnamed

Purpose: Monetary gain, physical perfection

Affiliations: Black Tarantula, Rose (Conover), Delilah

Enemies: Spider-Man (Peter Parker), the Hand, Electro, Elektra, Rose (Jacob Conover), Delilah, Joe ‘Robbie’ Robertson, Doctor Octopus (Carolyn Trainer), Stunner, Angela Yin

Base of Operations: Mobile, primarily Korea

First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man I#421/1 (March, 1997)

History: The True Believers are an offshoot of the ninja cult the Hand. Needless to say, there is a lot of bad blood between the two groups.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#421/1(fb)) - The True Believers gained two new members, Meiko Yin and her fiancée, Karsano. The two were both new to the martial arts, but made good progress. At the request of the groups sensei, Madam Qwa, Karsano was ordered to kill Meiko to take on the coveted role of the cults chief assassin, the Dragonfly. By their code of honor, he had only three attempts in which to kill her. He failed in his first attempt.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#421/1) - When Meiko went to visit her cousin Angela in America, Karsano and a group of True Believers followed her to New York. They attacked her at the fair where the pair were to meet, but Meiko was prepared and, with the help of Spider-Man, drove the group away. Later, they attacked her on the roof of Angela’s apartment, but during the battle Karsano was humiliated by Spider-Man and Meiko. Feeling he had shamed the True Believers, he committed a ritual suicide. Later, Madam Qwa told Meiko she had passed her test.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#421/2) - At the command of the Black Tarantula, the True Believers began harassing the Rose. They started by attacking a warehouse that belonged to him. Later, Madam Qwa reported on the mission to the Black Tarantula.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#422) - Dragonfly trained against a group of True Believers. Later, Madam Qwa received orders from the Black Tarantula to assassinate Joe ‘Robbie’ Robertson, and frame the Rose.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#423) - The Dragonfly and a group of True Believers attacked Robertson, only for Electro, who’d been hired by the Rose to kill the True Believers, to attack them. He would have killed her, if it were not for the intervention of Spider-Man and Robertson. As he saved her life, she spared him.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#424) - The Hand, who had come to New York to stop the True Believers, were attacked by Elektra, who learned of the cult from them. She planned to stop them herself, so the Hand would depart. Meanwhile, outraged by Meiko’s failure, Madam Qwa offered a lenient (by the True Believers standards) punishment – to kill Angela or be killed. She reluctantly accepted, but, when she received the opportunity, she fled. This was observed by one of the True Believers other assassins, Yano. He pursued her to a train yard, but was opposed by Spider-Man and Elektra. The heroes won, and the True Believers present were apprehended, alongside Yano. Meiko, meanwhile, quit the cult.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#425) - Taking an ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, hire ‘em’ approach, the Rose hired the True Believers to resurrect Doctor Octopus as a pawn, much to the disgust of his own personal assassin, Delilah. They later dug up his grave.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#426) - The True Believers prepared to perform the resurrection in a meat packing plant. Although the resurrection could be done, the True Believers high priest, Master Zei said a sacrifice needed to be made, to transfer living essence into his body. Later, the plant came under attack from two of Octopus’ former allies, Carolyn Trainer and Stunner. However, they met some resistance from the True Believers and Delilah. When Spider-Man arrived, they teamed up to battle him, and he was taken down by a drugged throwing star. When he awoke, Zei was trying to transfer his life force into Octopus’ body.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#427) - Spider-Man managed to regain his strength in time to break free. While a group of True Believers attempted to stop him on the roof top, inside the ritual went on, with Stunner in Spider-Man’s place. However, the ritual went awry, and, although Doctor Octopus was reborn, Zei, and all the True Believers present, were killed.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#428) - Madam Qwa learned of Zei’s death. The Black Tarantula promised he would avenge his death himself.

COMMENTS: Created by Tom DeFalco and Steve Skorce

Eeugh… another generic ninja cult. As Spider-Man himself said in Amazing Spider-Man I#421/1, Jackie Chan has a lot to answer for…

One thing puzzles me… from #421-424, the True Believers wear all green, yet from then on, it’s all red. Why? Perhaps they have color-coded uniforms for each of their branches of operation, i.e. Assassins = green, resurrections = red, etc. Or maybe they just wanted to make them look more like the Hand. Whatever.

Presumably their name was a reference to Stan Lee's term "True Believer," which referred to the loyal fans of Marvel. Although I’m not sure about naming a group of murderous assassins after the term.

By Voice of Doom

CLARIFICATIONS: The True Believers were an offshoot of:

But had no known connection to:

Madam Qwa had no known connection to:

Master Zei had no known connection to:

Madame Qwa was the cult's sensei, and the sister of Master Zei. She was also a close friend to the Black Tarantula.

- Amazing Spider-Man I#421/1 (421(fb), 421/2, 422, 423, 424, 427, 428

Master Zei was in charge of resurrections, and the brother of Madam Qwa. He died resurrecting Doctor Octopus.

- Amazing Spider-Man I#425, (426, 427(d)

Yano was one of the True Believers assassins, and planned to become the new Dragonfly. He attempted to kill Meiko, but she defeated him with the aid of Spider-Man and Elektra. He was taken into police custody and deported, presumably.

- Amazing Spider-Man I#424


main: Amazing Spider-Man I#421/1 Page 3 Panel 2

Madam Qwa: Amazing Spider-Man I#421/1 Page 4 Panel 5

Master Zei: Amazing Spider-Man I#426 Page 21 Panel 3

Yano: Amazing Spider-Man I#426 Page 6 Panel 2

Amazing Spider-Man I#421/1 (March, 1997) - Tom DeFalco (writer), Steve Skroce (pencils), Bud LaRosa (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)

Story 2: Tom DeFalco (writer), Geif Isherwood (artist), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man I#422-428 (April, 1997) - Tom DeFalco (writer), Joe Bennett (pencils), Bud LaRosa (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man I#423 (May, 1997) - Tom DeFalco (writer), Joe Bennett (pencils), Ralph Cabrera, Harry Candelario & Bud LaRosa (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man I#424 (June, 1997) - Tom DeFalco (writer), Joe Bennett (pencils), Ralph Cabrera & Bud LaRosa (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man I#425-428 (August-November, 1997) - Tom DeFalco (writer), Steve Skroce (pencils), Bud LaRosa (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)

Last updated: 08/05/13

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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