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MADAME LA MORTE

Real Name: Unrevealed

Identity/Class: Unrevealed (see comments - possible vampire / aspect of Death) (fictional character? - see comments)

Occupation: Guardian/predator;

formerly spy/assassin in the Roman Empire

Group Membership: Unrevealed

Affiliations: Emissaries (Diablo, others unnamed)

Enemies: Marvel Boy (Bob Grayson), Starr Ryder, Dr. Ryder, others who entered her tomb

Known Relatives: None

Known Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Rosetti catacombs, Sicily, Italy

First Appearance: Astonishing#4/1 (June, 1951)

Powers/Abilities: Madame La Morte was a long-lived being with many of the traits associated with vampires. She had an aversion to light, with pure light able to disintegrate her body, and resided in a dark underground tomb. She thirsted for blood and commanded a group of skeletal corpses. She had certain mind-control powers and was able to force people deeper into her tombs so that she could have them executed.

History:

(Astonishing#4/1 (fb) - BTS) - Originally identified as a spy and murderer in the service of the Roman Empire, the figure who would become Madame La Morte was transformed into a vampire upon dying (according to the local legends) and terrorized the surrounding countryside for centuries. Her grave site was located near the Sicilian village of Benedetto and the Rosetti tombs became known as haunted by the locals, who feared to enter the caverns which they dubbed the Screaming Tomb, claiming that the female death figure would scream at those who disturbed her tomb.

Madame La Morte screams at Marvel Boy from her coffin

(Astonishing#4/1) - The archaeologist Dr. Ryder and daughter Starr, along with several other explorers, went into the tombs, despite a warning from the local guides. The group ventured deep into the tombs, at one point assailed by vampire bats. Hidden, Madame La Morte let out an inhuman scream and Starr, fearful, became separated from the group. Madame La Morte dispatched an emissary and the team of explorers felt compelled to follow the zombie-like being, arriving in a large cavern with a sacrificial altar and greeted by Madame La Morte herself. Meanwhile, Starr managed to contact Marvel Boy and he rushed to the scene, but the two were soon overpowered by several emissaries and taken before Madame La Morte. However the two were able to escape and ran to where the expeditionary team were about to be executed by beheading before Madame La Morte. The animated cadavers were destroyed by Marvel Boy's light blast from his wrist bands, but Madame La Morte protected herself with her cloak, before running away deeper into the catacombs, seeking to hide in a coffin. Marvel Boy and Starr pursued. Screaming to be left alone, she was instead disintegrated by Marvel Boy's light blast, with Marvel Boy then quickly bricking up her tomb for good measure. Marvel Boy then revealed that he thought she was actually the personification of death.

Comments: Created by uncredited writer and Bill Everett (art).

OHotMU A-Z vol.7 identifies that Madame La Morte was apparently a millennia-old vampire, while the Death entry also acknowledges that she may have been a manifestation of Death. So where does she lie? Despite her green robe image from the cover (see main image), she wore a purple robe like Death, but her vampiric figure indicates a new appearance for Death. She certainly looked like a vampire and had similar traits - afraid of light, ability to animate corpses and hiding in her coffin (see image at right). Alternatively, she may have been a minor demon or spirit occupying the tombs. Given her long-lived history and actions, I'd side with the vampire definition.

Marvel Boy: The Uranian#2 (April, 2010) retconned this adventure as a story from the Marvel Boy comic produced by Timely on Earth-616 shortly after Grayson arrived on Earth. Interestingly, the "Screaming Tomb" story was first published in Astonishing#4, which was initially titled Marvel Boy for the only the first 2 issues before the name change (in our reality), yet the comic used in the story in The Uranian LS shows it to be titled Marvel Boy.

Profile by Grendel Prime.

CLARIFICATIONS :
Madame La Morte has no known connections to:


Emissaries

Madame La Morte's emissaries were resurrected corpses under her command. They would carry the victims to their master and prepare them for execution. They carried Marvel Boy, Starr Ryder and her father before Madame La Morte. They stripped Marvel Boy down to his shorts, taking away his jeweled wrist bands, with one emissary deciding to try them on. However, Marvel Boy was able to remotely control his wrist bands, with the resulting light flash destroying the animated corpses. Other cadavers under Madam La Morte's control likewise crumbled to dust before the light beams.

 

 

--Astonishing#4/1


images: (without ads)
Astonishing#4/1, cover (main image)

p7, pan6 (head shot)
p8, pan2 (screeching)
p6, pan2 (emissaries)


Other Appearances: None (?)


Last updated: 02/10/10

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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