basket of Roberta Elk Step

Classification: Magic item

Creator: Unrevealed (but presumably a person, deity, or something of Native American association, and likely and more specifically, associated with the Keewazi

User/Possessors: Roberta Wingfoot, William Wingfoot, Roberta Elk Step, She-Hulk (Jen Walters), Carlton Beatrice, Wyatt Wingfoot, Clara Menninger
    briefly the apparent curator of Harlem's Museum of the American Indian and possibly various members of the US postal service

First Appearance: Sensational She-Hulk in Ceremony#1 (1989)

Powers/Abilities/Functions: The basket has mystic powers that can join together that which belongs together. Its power is only effective if given to someone. If stolen, taken by force, etc., its power could not be used.

(Sensational She-Hulk in Ceremony#1 (fb) - BTS) - The mystic basket was an engagement present from Roberta (Wyatt's mother) to William Wingfoot.

(Sensational She-Hulk in Ceremony#1 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, presumably following the deaths of Wyatt's parents, the mystic basket came into the possession of Roberta Elk Step.

(Sensational She-Hulk in Ceremony#1 (fb) - BTS) - Realizing Carlton Beatrice would seek her mystic basket (the last thing he needed for his ritual that would allow him to steal the world's feminine energies (souls) all at once), and understanding that the basket required both male and female partners to fully access its magic, Roberta sent the basket to She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters), the former girlfriend of her grandson Wyatt Wingfoot.

(Sensational She-Hulk in Ceremony#1 (fb) - BTS) - Carlton Beatrice summoned Roberta Elk Step to the astral plane, where he told her to give him the basket, but she explained that it was no longer hers to give.

(Sensational She-Hulk in Ceremony#1 - BTS) - Presumably as part of either the magic of Roberta's mystic basket or a spell utilized by Roberta herself, Jen (She-Hulk) and Wyatt were drawn back together, to complete the male and female magics needed to oppose Beatrice.

(Sensational She-Hulk in Ceremony#1) - She-Hulk opened the package -- which lacked a return address or a note of any sort -- containing the basket, which she thought was beautiful. When the doorbell rang that second, she assumed the mailman had forgotten something and returned. Instead, it was Carlton Beatrice, who introduced himself as a collector of Indian artifacts. Realizing the basket would only be useful if it was given to him (rather than being taken by force), Beatrice attempted to convince She-Hulk to give it to him in exchange for his donating a large sum of money to her favorite charity. Appreciating the gift and suspecting its greater significance, She-Hulk refused to give Beatrice the basket.

(Sensational She-Hulk in Ceremony#1 - BTS) - Misunderstanding their mystic connection and the presence of the basket, Jen considered proposing marriage. Confused and unsure of herself, Jen asked him to be the surrogate father of her child.
    Wyatt was upset and insulted by this request, but the Thing (Ben Grimm) explained to him that Jen likely meant it as a marriage proposal.

(Sensational She-Hulk in Ceremony#1 - BTS) - Failing to understand that the basket could only be given to Beatrice, Beatrice's apprentice and vice-president, Mickey Souris, sent an Indian Anung-Ite spirit to take the basket.

(Sensational She-Hulk in Ceremony#1) - Still confused about her feeling, Jen was cradling the basket when Wyatt visited her to discuss things. Wyatt recognized the basket as his mother's engagement present to his father and assumed she had gone to great lengths to obtain it as part of her misguided effort to propose marriage. Seeing Wyatt look at the basket, Jen incorrectly "realized" that the basket was a gift from him. Wyatt proposed marriage to Jen, and she accepted.

(Sensational She-Hulk in Ceremony#1) - Seeking answers on my the basket was so important to everyone, She-Hulk took it to Harlem's Museum of the American Indian. The apparent curator failed to recognize the particular butterfly design on the basket, but as he noted that the markings on each basket usually depicted an animal representations of the basket's nation of origin, the Anung-Ite reached through the wall and pulled She-Hulk to smash through to outside; surprised, she dropped the basket, which the curator caught.

(Sensational She-Hulk in Ceremony#1 - BTS) - She-Hulk thwarted the Anung-Ite's efforts.

(Sensational She-Hulk in Ceremony#1) - Reclaiming the basket, She-Hulk arrived in tatters and very late to her own wedding shower; everybody but Janet Van Dyne (the Wasp, whose townhouse it was) and Jen's former college classmate and recent reacquaintance, Mavis, had already left.

(Sensational She-Hulk in Ceremony#1 - BTS) - Wyatt brought Jen to the Keewazi reservation in Oklahoma (near Tulsa?). When he introduced Jen as his fiancee, Roberta noted they had confused things, though she was sure they would work things out wonderfully. At dinner, Roberta told Wyatt only he could halt the imminent threat of Carlton Beatrice, which involved the basket. She-Hulk suggested they destroy the basket, just to be safe, but Roberta warned that this should not be done, as the destruction of the basket would unleash terrors as formidable as Carlton's victory would. Jen then recommended they hang on to the basket, and that if Carlton showed up, that they kick his butt; Roberta countered that it would not be so simple. She further explained to Jen that the confrontation would involve her as well, as she and Wyatt completed one another.

(Sensational She-Hulk in Ceremony#2 - BTS) - As Rain explained to She-Hulk the nature of the basket and her link to Wyatt (she was his spirit guide), Carlton summoned She-Hulk to an astral plane and tried to coerce her into surrendering the basket to him; however, upon learning She-Hulk knew he could only use the basket if it were given willingly to him and that she could not be bluffed, Carlton dismissed her back to the Earthly plane.

(Sensational She-Hulk in Ceremony#2 - BTS) - Rain and Wyatt encountered She-Hulk as Carlton cast her back to Earth, and they traveled together to the factory -- in which Roberta had sensed a mystic disturbance -- where they found the soulless victims of Carlton Beatrice. After Carlton stole Wyatt's soul, She-Hulk -- remembering Rain's description of the basket's abilities -- took the container holding Carlton's "soul wafers" and dumped it into the basket, which released the souls as butterflies that rejoined with their host bodies. However, Carlton held Wyatt's soul and threatened to consume it unless She-Hulk gave him the basket willingly. Despite Rain's advice that Wyatt must be sacrificed to protect the soul of the world, She-Hulk was unwilling to leave Wyatt as he was, and she gave the basket to Carlton, figuring she could always get it back later. Upon receiving the basket, Carlton graciously dropped Wyatt's "soul wafer" into it, and Wyatt's soul was restored to him, after which Carlton vanished with the basket.

(Sensational She-Hulk in Ceremony#2 - BTS) - Leaving Rain behind, She-Hulk and Wyatt (who had been trained in "woman's medicine" (soul magic) by Roberta before her death) confronted Carlton as he began to use the basket to perform the ceremony that would wed him to the Earth's feminine energy, which would make him husband to the world's soul. Carlton dispatched a pair of Anung-Ites against them, and She-Hulk occupied them, while Wyatt attempted to disrupt the energy flow from the basket, but, as a man, he was incomplete and could not withstand the energies, which threatened to destroy him. Recalling that she completed Wyatt, She-Hulk led the Anung-Ites to run in front of the energy beam striking Wyatt. They were destroyed, dispersed, banished, or whatever, and She-Hulk then joined hands with Wyatt. Together, their male and female energies completed each other, allowing them to reverse Carlton's spell and send the many souls already gathered into the basket back to their homes.
    Carlton was apparently destroyed by the energies released in his spell's disruption, and a black soul butterfly flew forth, unseen from his empty, collapsed clothes.

(Sensational She-Hulk in Ceremony#2 - BTS) - With their purpose fulfilled and the mystic attraction between Jen and Wyatt faded, they realized that, while they would always love one another, that they did not want to marry each other. Wyatt promised to call her when she could do anything to help the Keewazi regain their land, and Jen gave the basket to Wyatt, telling him to save it, and when the time was right, to give it to the woman he loved. He agreed to do so, when the time was right.

(Blaze#4 (fb) - BTS) - Receiving a home on loan from the tribal council in Arizona (see comments), in which he stored his grandmother's basket.

(Blaze#4 (fb) - BTS) - Joining forces with Apache James Proudstar (aka Warpath) in investigating a series of murders in an Indian reservation that involved the mystic Wendigo and led to an alliance with John Blaze (then separated from Zarathos but still channeling hellfire).

(Blaze#4) - Wyatt brought Blaze, Proudstar, and Clara Menninger, who held the magical Eyes of the Kristall Starrer (which granted visions, among other things), to his on-loan home. Suspecting the basket was a focal point to channel mystic energies and hoping that would help them locate and learn more about the murderer, Wyatt placed the basket over the jar containing the Eyes. After a burst of bright light, those present saw a vision involving the Wendigo, Ice Box Bob, and the god-demon Ba'al (though they could not identify who he was).

(Blaze#5 - BTS) - After serial killer Darryl Licht was transformed into the Anung-Ite (while being used as a pawn by the god-demon Ba'al, who was apparently posing as the Native American trickster god Coyote (see Nanabozho)), the Anung-Ite captured both Blaze and Warpath and brought them inside a mystic mesa.

(Blaze#5) - Seeking to locate their missing allies, Clara Menninger had the Eyes of the Kristall-Starrer bond with her (replacing the eyes she lacked), and then had -- though she had no idea what to expect -- Wyatt place the basket over her head. When Wyatt removed the basket, Clara sensed a searing incandescence, after which beams of light burst forth from the Eyes of the Kristall-Starrer (still in Clara's head), and Clara jumped on a motorcycle to follow the path to the mesa illuminated by the Eyes' beam; Princess Python climbed on the back of the motorcycle as Clara took off. The beam of light passed both within the mesa (or whatever pocket realm was accessed within the mesa), where the Anung-Ite was battling Blaze and Warpath; and through another realm (possibly the former prison of Icebox Bob) that held Jesse Pinto and Emma and Craig Blaze. Into the latter realm -- via his own eyes following the mystic eyebeams -- passed a mystic, apparently benevolent manifestation of the Wendigo, who took from Jesse the magic number 7 nail file and then continued following the beam into the former realm, where it gave the nail file to Blaze before following the eyebeams out the far wall.
    Meanwhile, en route to the mesa, Princess Python's snake, Benny, grabbed Blaze's hellfire shotgun, which Blaze had dropped while the Anung-Ite was taking him to the mesa. As Clara and Princess Python arrived within the mesa, the eyebeams ceased, and Clara tossed the hellfire shotgun to Blaze. Sticking the mystic nail file through one of the shotgun shells, Blaze blasted the Anung-Ite with said shell propelled by the hellfire shotgun, and the Anung-Ite reverted to a powerless Licht, and the mesa vanished.

Comments: Created by Dwayne McDuffie, Robin D. Chaplik, and June Brigman.

    Given the involvement of the Apache James Proudstar and the Keewazi Wyatt Wingfoot, I'm really not sure on what reservation the investigation of Darryl Licht took place. I think it was Arizona, as they referenced a flash of light that made the Arizona sun seem pale and cold. But I didn't read the first couple issues of the series in preparation for this profile, so if there's information I missed, please let me know, and I'll better clarify the profile.

    I know the Blaze story are kind of out there and hard to follow, but there was a lot of stuff going on. My best recommendation is to check out the related profiles linked to therein, and wait for Markus to profile the other characters and items on the Appendix!

Profile by Snood.

The basket of Roberta Elk Step should be distinguished from:

images: (without ads)
Sensational She-Hulk in Ceremony#1, introductory page (basket);
    #2, final introductory page (or closing's the same image; the basket being used in the ritual);
        pg. 36 (She-Hulk and Wyatt joining their energies via the basket);

Sensational She-Hulk in Ceremony#1-2 (1989) - Dwayne McDuffie (script), Robin D. Chaplik & Dwayne McDuffie (plot), June Brigman (penciler), Stan Drake (inker), Gary Barnum (assistant editor), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Blaze#4 (November, 1994) - Larry Hama (script), Henry Martinez (penciler), Bud LaRosa (inker), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Blaze#5 (December, 1994) - Larry Hama (script), Henry Martinez (penciler), Bud LaRosa, Al Williamson, & Troy Hubbs (inkers), Bobbie Chase (editor)

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

First Posted: 06/29/2014
Last Updated: 06/27/2014

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