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MINK

Real Name: Julie Steel

Identity/Class: Extradimensional/alternate reality (Earth-712/"Earth-S") human technology user

Occupation: Professional criminal

Group Membership Redeemers (Black Archer/Wyatt McDonald, Foxfire/Olivia Underwood, Haywire/Harold Danforth, Inertia/Edith Freiberg, Lamprey/Donald McGuiggin, Moonglow/Melissa Hanover, Nighthawk/Kyle Richmond, Pinball/Chester Freeman, Redstone/Michael Redstone, Remnant/Frank Edwards, Shape/Raleigh Lund, Thermite/Sam Yurimoto);
    formerly Institute of Evil
(Ape X/Xina, Dr. Decibel/Anton Decibel, Foxfire/Olivia Underwood, Lamprey/Donald McGuiggin, Quagmire/Jerome Michaels, Shape/Raleigh Lund)

Affiliations: Cerebrax, Master Menace (Emil Burbank), Professor Imam, Scarlet Centurion (maybe this guy?);
    Captain America of Earth-616 (Steve Rogers),

Enemies: Grandmaster of Reality-616, Squadron Supreme (Arcanna Jones, Blue Eagle/James Dore Jr., Hyperion/Mark Milton, Power Princess/Zarda Shelton, Dr. Spectrum/Joseph Ledger, Whizzer/Stanley Stewart);
    formerly Nighthawk

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "Minksy" (nickname used by Remnant)

Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
    formerly Richmond Manor, New Troy;
    formerly mobile throughout the United States of America

First Appearance: Squadron Supreme I#6 (February 1986)

Powers/Abilities: Mink possessed no known superhuman abilities. An above average hand-to-hand combatant who received additional judo training from Nighthawk, she mostly relied on her retractable claws (three on each hand) of unrevealed composition. The claws were durable and sharp enough to slash human flesh, causing severe (internal) bleeding. Mink also used doses of a noxious, mustard gas-like substance she called her "Mink stink" to either confuse her enemies or cover her escape. A talented cat burglar, she was naturally athletic and able to fall several dozen feet without hurting herself. Always chasing after the next thrill and luxury in an attempt to fill the hole she felt in her heart, Mink searched for a purpose in life. Despite the fact she usually acted debonair and flirty, Mink was also ruthless enough to kill in cold blood without hesitation. Mink, true to her codename, wore a costume made from mink fur that was scented with her signature perfume.

Height: 5'6" (by approximation)
Weight: 120 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Platinum blonde

History:
(Squadron Supreme I#6 (fb) - BTS) - Wealthy heiress Julie Steel grew bored with her privileged life over time. Longing for adventure, the boundless, flirty Julie decided to embark on a life of crime as the cat burglar called Mink. Through unrevealed ways she obtained her signature weapons: retractable claws and a noxious gas she called her "Mink stink." She often tangled with Nighthawk (Kyle Richmond) with whom she enjoyed a somewhat flirtatious relationship.

(Squadron Supreme I#9 (fb) - BTS) - At one point, Mink joined the Institute of Evil. During her time with the criminal cabal, she had a strained relationship with teammate Foxfire (Olivia Underwood) who wasn't too fond of Steele either. Mink was with the Institute when the Scarlet Centurion used the villains as pawns in a cosmic game against the Grandmaster, who pitted Mink and the others against the Squadron Supreme. Some time after that encounter, Mink left the Institute of Evil

(Squadron Supreme I#6 - BTS) - After the Squadron Supreme launched the Utopia Program and started using a Behavior Modification (B-Mod) device to brainwash criminals into walking the straight and narrow, Mink got nervous. That anxiety turned to full blown panic when she and her fellow criminals Pinball and Remnant discovered the Institute of Evil had been defeated and brainwashed by the Squadron as well.

(Squadron Supreme I#6) - Figuring Master Menace (Emil Burbank) would be able to help them escape the Squadron, they visited his citadel. Welcomed by Menace's robotic servant Cerebrax, they were forced to wait around until Burbank was ready for them. Once he granted them an audience, Mink and the others pleaded with Menace to help them get off world, claiming it just wasn't safe anymore for code-abiding criminals such as themselves. Menace agreed to aid them and used his advanced technology to transport the trio to the alternate reality Earth-616. Before she left, Mink invited Menace to join them in exile, asking what could possibly be left for him here that he couldn't find elsewhere. Menace politely declined, preferring to fight the Squadron for control of his world, even if he was the last criminal on Earth.

(Captain America I#314 - BTS) -  After arriving on Earth-616, in the New York City borough known as Queens, the three villains initially laid low. Some time after that, unbeknownst to Mink and the others, their nemesis Nighthawk was transported to Earth-616 by Professor Imam, in hopes of recruiting that Earth's super heroes in his fight against the Squadron. While he was trying to convince Captain America to help him free his planet, Nighthawk overheard a police report coming in via Cap's hotline about a flying carpet causing mayhem at a Queens movie theatre. Figuring this reminded him of his old enemy Remnant, Nighthawk accompanied Cap to check out the case. When they reached the site, Nighthawk spotted some stray hairs from Mink's costume, his enhanced senses immediately recognizing the scent of her signature perfume. He went off to chase the trail.

(Captain America I#314) - Mink's scent eventually led Nighthawk to the chic nightclub called the Magic Carpet. Nighthawk figured it was a logical choice, seeing as Mink enjoyed high end places and Remnant had always been drawn to places with "carpet" in the title. As soon as Mink and the others spotted Nighthawk entering the club, they made a run for it. Pinball puffed himself up and charged Nighthawk, buying Remnant time to get his flying carpet off the ground. However, Nighthawk ended up using Pinball as a trampoline, jumping up high enough to sink his collapsing grappling hook into the magic carpet that was carrying Mink and Remnant into the air. Hoping to cut the cable, Mink popped her claws and started slashing at the metal wire, even as Remnant threw razor sharp fabric pieces at Nighthawk. The two villains were so preoccupied with their old nemesis, they didn't notice the carpet had veered off course until it rammed into the Industrial Display Company. There, amidst prop pieces like oversized typewriters, Mink and Remnant continued their assault on Nighthawk, with Mink spraying the hero with her Mink stink, disorienting him long enough for her to get within striking distance. However, the arrival of Captain America put an end to the struggle, with Mink literally ending up throwing herself into Cap and Nighthawk's arms when she jumped off the typewriter. After explaining the situation on their own world, Mink and the others begged the Avenger for asylum, preferring jail or even a mental hospital over being forced to go back and be brainwashed. Though sympathetic to their plight, Cap reminded them they'd essentially be non persons on this Earth and might be better off joining forces with Nighthawk and bringing down the Squadron. Mink and her companions agreed to work with their old enemy, only to be transported back home moments later by Professor Imam's spell.

(Squadron Supreme I#7 - BTS) - Materializing in the Temple of Contemplation, Mink and the others met Imam who was too frail to actively join in their fight against the Squadron. However, he did supply them with a magic crystal called a "power pyramid" that would lead them to other super powered beings sympathetic to their cause.

(Squadron Supreme I#7) - Setting out on Remnant's flying carpet, the foursome first returned to Master Menace's citadel to see if Burbank wanted to join up. Mink, Pinball and Remnant waited outside while Nighthawk made his pitch to Menace, who scoffed at the idea of working with underlings not of his own choosing and summarily dismissed Richmond and his offer, preferring to take on the Squadron alone and even warning Nighthawk and company not to get in his way. After hearing the news that Menace had declined to work with them, Mink and the others got worried they might be on a fool's errand. They nevertheless decided to use Imam's crystal to look for the help they needed.

(Squadron Supreme I#9 - BTS) -  After procuring a helicopter, piloted by Pinball, Mink and the others joined Nighthawk as he followed the power pyramid's directions.

(Squadron Supreme I#9) - The power pyramid led them to a location on the Apache mountain range. Mink stayed in the helicopter while Nighthawk and Remnant, on his carpet, went down to find and recruit Michael Redstone. Bringing him on board, Remnant used his thread and needle skills to create a costume for Redstone, even as Mink noticed the power pyramid was already picking up their next recruit.

(Squadron Supreme I#10 - BTS) - In the weeks that followed, Mink and the others helped to recruit Haywire, Inertia, Moonglow and Thermite to Nighthawk's resistance now called the Redeemers. Even the former Squadron member Golden Archer, who quit the team in disgrace, joined up as Black Archer. Nighthawk had his teammates keep close tabs on the Squadron's movements and activities.

(Squadron Supreme I#10) - During one of their regular meetings, the individual Redeemers all shared what they'd learned about the Squadron, with Mink mentioning that Quagmire hadn't made a public appearance in well over a month. Nighthawk then turned the subject to how the ten of them were going to overthrow the Squadron.

(Squadron Supreme I#10 - BTS) - During the meeting, it was decided that Moonglow and Redstone would infiltrate the Squadron, literally by applying for a job as members of the Squadron Supreme. After some doing, they were allowed to join the team as provisional members, pending a background check.

(Squadron Supreme I#11 -BTS) - Over the next few weeks, Haywire, Inertia and Thermite managed to gain provisional Squadron membership as well, living and training with the team in their undetectable Squadron City base. After an unspecified amount of time had passed, the Squadron decided to officially induct them, choosing to mark the occasion during a televised ceremony.

(Squadron Supreme I#11) - Mink, Nighthawk and the others watched the swearing in ceremony and realized phase one of the plan was complete. Black Archer was growing stir crazy from waiting around however. After Nighthawk calmed him down and ended the meeting, Mink reminded him he had to contact Master Menace to check in. She later joined Nighthawk in his office to tell him how much she'd enjoyed working with him over the past few months. Their work together had given her the sense she was finally doing something that felt real and important with her life. To signify her gratitude, she kissed the surprised Richmond on the mouth.

(Squadron Supreme I#11 - BTS) -  Moonglow managed to procure the design schematics for the B-Mod device. She successfully transmitted the plans via modem to Master Menace who started work on a way to undo the effects of the machine.

(Squadron Supreme I#11) - Several days later, while Nighthawk had his team training in Richmond Manor with him taking on Mink, a call came in from Master Menace to inform them he'd created a device that could reverse the brainwashing of any mind affected by the B-Mod technology. A day or two later, Mink joined the others and Master Menace in setting up the device while Haywire conned the B-Mod controlled Lamprey into accompanying him to that location. Mink watched as Lamprey was forced to undergo the deprogramming procedure, emerging as his old self again. Lamprey agreed to join up.

(Squadron Supreme I#11 - BTS) - The group decided that Shape would be the next former Institute of Evil member to "unbrainwash." Redstone and Thermite managed to kidnap the simpleminded former villain, but were caught in the act by Blue Eagle who followed them to the Redeemers hideout. Even as Shape was being restored to normal, the Eagle was spotted and overcome by Remnant and Black Archer who brought the hero inside. After a brief discussion, it was agreed to subject the Blue Eagle to the mind control device, though Nighthawk insisted they would only erase his memory of the event. Still, even this minor violation of his former teammate's mind left the conscientious Kyle Richmond feeling like he'd just sold his soul.

(Squadron Supreme I#12) - Mink was present when Lamprey brought in Foxfire to be deprogrammed. After Olivia Underwood was in her right mind again, though rather confused by the situation, Nighthawk introduced her to the others, allowing Mink to give her old acquaintance a chilly greeting. Later, Mink joined in on the discussion whether or not they should keep the B-Mod technology around to use it on the Squadron Supreme, ultimately being outvoted by Nighthawk and the Black Archer. She then joined the others to plan an ambush for their enemies in Squadron City (whose location and access codes had been supplied by Moonglow and the other double agents). As the Squadron returned from a press conference celebrating the Utopia Program's first year's successes, they discovered Mink and the others waiting for them. Surprised when the Redeemers among their numbers showed their true colors, Dr. Spectrum still managed to trap Mink and the rest of their enemies with his power prism. However, everyone was able to break free when Inertia took control of Power Princess' movements and used her to bowl over Spectrum. Mink immediately picked Arcanna as her target, chasing the very pregnant mystic around while promising to turn her into shishkebob. Just before Mink could catch up with her, Arcanna summoned a gale force that blew her assailant away, even as she went into labor.

(Squadron Supreme I#12 - BTS) - Foxfire, torn between her supposedly true identity and the love she had for the Squadron Supreme and Dr. Spectrum in particular, figured the best way to stop the conflict was by taking out Nighthawk. She used her powers of decay to give him a fatal heart attack, which was spotted by Mink.

(Squadron Supreme I#12) - Eager to avenge Nighthawk, Mink snuck up to Foxfire and hit her in the back with her claws, yelling "a heart for a heart, pig!" Shocked by this brutality, Dr. Spectrum slammed Mink aside with his power prism. She recovered fast enough to witness how Hyperion accepted his team's defeat and announced he and Power Princess were going to disband the Squadron Supreme.

(Squadron Supreme I#12 - BTS) - Minks' attack caused Foxfire to suffer massive internal bleeding. She died in surgery several hours later.

(Squadron Supreme I#12) - Mink and most of the Squadron and Redeemer members later visited their deceased friends in the morgue, with Mink sobbing and turning to Remnant for comfort when they saw their associate Pinball's dead body.

Comments: Created by Mark Gruenwald, Paul Ryan, Sam de la Rosa & Keith Williams

    Seeing as the Squadron Supreme was loosely based on the members of DC's Justice League, it's fairly obvious that Mink, as a Nighthawk villain, is a thinly veiled homage to Catwoman, Batman's flirty fiend... Only slightly more deadly. Also, those three retractable claws, combined with her murderous tendencies, are rather reminiscent of a certain X-Man who goes *snikt* a lot.
    Those over-sized props from the Captain America issue also seem to be an homage to the oversized items that seem a recurring theme in some of the older Batman stories.--Snood

    It's not been revealed what happened to Mink between the final issue of the Squadron Supreme limited series and the 1989 graphic novel Death Of A Universe. The fate of most of the other Redeemers is touched on (the death toll is staggering), but Mink is a baffling absentee. One would assume she was sent to prison for murdering Foxfire.

    Unless otherwise specified, all locations and beings related in this profile refer to Earth/Reality-712 versions.

Profile by Norvo.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Mink should not be confused with


images: (without ads)
Captain America I#314, p16, pan3 (main image)
Squadron Supreme I#6, p12, pan7 (trying to convince Master Menace to join them in exile)
Captain America I#314, p16, pan5 (pops her claws)
Squadron Supreme I#9, p20, pan3 (holds the power pyramid)
Squadron Supreme I#11, p12, pans 2&3 (kisses Nighthawk)
Squadron Supreme I#12, p39, pan1 (kills Foxfire)


Appearances:
Squadron Supreme I#6 (February 1984) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Paul Ryan (pencils), Sam de la Rosa & Keith Williams (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Captain America I#314 (February 1986) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Paul Neary (pencils), Dennis Janke (inks), Michael Carlin (editor)
Squadron Supreme I#7 (March 1986) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Jackson Guice (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Squadron Supreme I#9 (May 1986) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Paul Ryan (pencils), Sam de la Rossa (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Squadron Supreme I#10 (June 1986) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Paul Ryan (pencils), Sam de la Rossa (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Squadron Supreme I#11 (July 1986) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Paul Ryan (pencils), Sam de la Rossa (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Squadron Supreme I#12 (August 1986) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Paul Ryan (pencils), Sam de la Rossa (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)


Last updated: 01/14/15

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