ENIGMA

Real Name: Tara Virango

Identity/Class: Human mutate (Bangladeshi citizen)

Occupation: Unrevealed

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Spider-Man (Peter Parker)

EnemiesKirkland, Virus (Corman)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: New York City

First Appearance: Peter Parker: Spider-Man II#48 (November, 2002)

Powers/Abilities: Enigma possesses superhuman strength, speed,  durability, and agility.  She seemingly possesses the ability to teleport, can nullify Spider-Man's spider-sense, and carries (or possibly generates) large numbers of scarves and lotus flowers.  She also has some unspecified mental abilities and may also possess some mystical connection with the goddess Tara.

 

History: (Peter Parker: Spider-Man II#49 (fb)) - The AGK Corporation was commissioned by the CIA to create an intelligent metal nano-virus capable of enhancing latent mutant abilities.  AGK tested the virus on the Bangladeshi village of Malpura, killing four thousand people.  Tara Virango survived, but was infected with the virus, which granted her superhuman abilities.

(Peter Parker: Spider-Man II#48) - Years later, Tara moved to New York City and adopted the identity of Enigma, patterning herself after the Buddhist goddess Tara.  She stole the fifty-million-dollar Star of Persia diamond from AGK's vaults, and encountered Spider-Man, who she contacted mentally, giving him flashes of her memories of the Malpura disaster.  The following night, she tracked Spider-Man to his apartment, and led him on a chase across the city, ending when she presented him with a scarf and head-butted him.  Upon waking, Spider-Man found that she had led him to AGK's headquarters...where the lights had been altered to display Enigma's question-mark insignia...

(Peter Parker: Spider-Man II#49) - Enigma met AGK head Kirkland and his security director Corman at AGK's headquarters.  She demanded that an additional fifty million dollars in compensation be paid to the Malpura survivors in return for the Star of Persia.  Corman refused, and threatened her with a squirt gun filled with the control virus - which would kill her instantly.  Spider-Man soon arrived to break the standoff, and the two heroes pursued Corman into a research lab, where they battled until Corman accidentally shattered a number of test tubes of the virus onto himself, which transformed him into the Virus.  The Virus melted through the floor, and Enigma disappeared.  She later had a brief encounter with Peter Parker on the streets of New York; she thanked him for his help, and then melted into the crowd.

(Civil War: Battle Damage Report) - Tony Stark listed Enigma as a "foreign national" in his Initiative files.

Comments: Created by Paul Jenkins, Mark Buckingham, and Wayne Faucher.

This is a weird damn story.  I'm not sure I fully understood it, but there's something...beautiful about it.

The Malpura disaster is likely based on the 1984 methyl isocyanate leak in Bhopal, India, which killed thousands of people.  Union Carbide, the owner of the chemical plant, has been heavily criticized for providing insufficient compensation to the victims of the disaster.

Tara is an actual Buddhist deity, whose history and characteristics are far too complex and multi-layered to explain here.  She was said to have arisen from a lotus flower, and has multiple aspects, each represented by a color.  The red and yellow scarves used by Enigma symbolize her fierce, violent aspect.  Enigma may have a literal, mystical connection to Tara, or she may just have patterned her superhuman identity after Tara.  There's a pretty good explanation of the whole thing in the comments section of the Virus' page - and by an actual Buddhist, as opposed to a Johnny-didn't-take-World-Religions-in-high-school like myself.

Enigma is never referred to as such in the two issues she appears in.  Her "Enigma" alias and her real name were revealed in Civil War: Battle Damage Report.

Profile by Minor Irritant.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Enigma has no known connections to


 

Kirkland

(Peter Parker: Spider-Man II#48) - Kirkland accompanied Corman to the AGK vaults, to find that the Star of Persia had been stolen.  Later, he convened a meeting of his staff to determine what to do about the theft, and whether it was connected to the release of the CIA virus in Bangladesh.

(Peter Parker: Spider-Man II#49) - Kirkland and Corman met Enigma at AGK's offices.  Kirkland expressed remorse for the destruction of Malpura, and stayed on the sidelines when the meeting turned into a battle between Enigma, Spider-Man, and Corman.  Spider-Man released the building's surveillance tapes to the media, implicating Kirkland in the Malpura disaster.

--Peter Parker: Spider-Man II#48 (Peter Parker: Spider-Man II#48-49

 




images: (without ads)
Peter Parker: Spider-Man II#48, p14, pan6 (main image)
Peter Parker: Spider-Man II#49, p7, pan1 (headshot, civilian identity)
Peter Parker: Spider-Man II#48, p5, pan3 (Kirkland)


Appearances:
Peter Parker: Spider-Man II#48-49 (November-December, 2002) - Paul Jenkins (writer), Mark Buckingham (penciler), Wayne Faucher (inker), Axel Alonso (editor)


Last updated: 07/12/08

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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