Madame Masque


Madame Masque

Superherobox|

caption=Madame Masque.
Art by Jim Cheung.
comic_color=background:#ff8080
character_name=Madame Masque
real_name=Originally Giulietta Nefaria, legally changed to Whitney Frost
publisher=Marvel Comics
debut="Tales of Suspense" #97 (January, 1968)
creators= Stan Lee
Gene Colan
alliance_color=background:#c0c0ff
alliances=Maggia Inner Guard
aliases=Big M, the Director, Kristine "Krissy" Longfellow,
powers=Skilled combatant
Proficiency with robotics|

Madame Masque (Whitney Frost) is a fictional character that has appeared in various comic book series published by Marvel Comics. As the occasional love interest, and sometimes enemy of Iron Man, she exists in Marvel's main shared universe, known as the Marvel Universe.

Fictional character biography

Madame Masque was born as Giulietta Nefaria, the daughter of the master criminal Count Luchino Nefaria, in Rome, Italy. Her mother died when giving birth and Luchino wanted his daughter to lead a respectable life, so he gave the child to Byron Frost, a wealthy financier and an employee of Nefaria, and his wife Loretta to be raised. He called the child Whitney and raised her as his own.

As a young adult, Whitney was a debutante and socialite, and became engaged to politician Roger Vane. The Frosts died and Count Nefaria approached Whitney and revealed her true parentage. He told Whitney that he wanted her to take his place as leader of the Maggia, a Mafia-like organization running the East Coast of the United States. Whitney at first refused, but when she told Roger about her father, he left her, afraid that her connections to a known criminal would hamper his political career.

Whitney accepted her father's offer to become a professional criminal mastermind and was trained by him in strategy, criminal activities, and combat. She turned out to be a brilliant student and when her father was imprisoned, she became the new Big M, the leader of the Nefaria family of the Maggia. Her role as Big M brought her into conflict with Iron Man. ["Tales of Suspense" #98] Whitney was forced to flee after a raid on his company, Stark Industries. The plane she escaped in crashed and Whitney's face was scarred, but she was saved by the criminal Mordecai Midas and started to work for him as his agent. Midas was obsessed with gold and Whitney hid her face behind a golden mask and used the alias "Madame Masque". ["Iron Man" vol 1 #17]

Madame Masque met Tony Stark (Iron Man's alter ego) and he showed concern for her despite her scarred face. She turned on Midas to save Stark, but left Stark because of her criminal past. Unable to forget him, she returned as Krissy Longfellow, Stark's personal secretary. Both came to know each other's secret identity and started a romantic relationship. Their happiness was short-lived as Count Nefaria, her father, was dying as the result of an attempt to gain superhuman powers. Whitney hired the Ani-Men to bring her father to her and then asked Stark to find a cure for him. Nefaria tried to use violence to force Stark, and a battle started between the Ani-Men and Iron Man. During the battle Whitney was unable to choose between her father and her lover and when Nefaria's life-support was damaged in the fight, she went insane with guilt and grief. Whitney returned to the Nefaria Maggia and as "The Director" became its leader. She often fought Iron Man and his friends.

Masque and the Inner Guard

At one point, Whitney became paranoid and started to create copies of herself, known as bio-duplicates. One of her bio-duplicates known as "Masque", was an ally of the Avengers. She also created robotic servants known as the "Inner Guard" and named individually after notable historical traitors (including Benedict Arnold, Brutus, Guy Fawkes and Vidkun Quisling).

One member of the Inner Guard, Benedict, eventually recaptured Masque for Whitney. Masque then tried to convince her the Avengers were benevolent and that she should reach out to Stark again, but Whitney was still too fearful to do so. She continued to be a criminal figure of importance, until her father returned from the dead once again and destroyed her base. She reluctantly assisted the Avengers and the Thunderbolts against Nefaria, but she secretly planned to betray and destroy both sides, her increased paranoia causing her to believe that both sides wanted only to kill her. Masque again tried unsuccessfully to convince her to side with the heroes, then joined the battle in Whitney's place and was promptly slain by Nefaria, who showed only glee at her apparent demise while Iron Man was clearly genuinely horrified at the loss of the woman he'd once loved. Shocked by her duplicate's nobility and sacrifice, Whitney joined the battle and played a key role in her father's defeat, causing him to begin leaking ionic energy until he finally collapsed. She then decided to renounce her criminal past, and MACH-II of the Thunderbolts offered her membership, but she politely declined, departing to parts unknown to consider her future. Before leaving, she asked MACH-II to thank everyone for her, especially Iron Man. Afterward, Jasper Sitwell, an old ally of Iron Man's and Whitney's who had been in contact with him over the course of the conflict asks if that was the real Whitney. Iron Man says that it was, but that she slipped away in the confusion. He says that she really came through when it mattered. He says that she is gone, but that if you look at it- she is really back.

New Avengers

Madame Masque has been hired by the Hood to take advantage of the split in the superhero community caused by the Superhuman Registration Act. [New Avengers #35] She helped them fight the New Avengers but was taken down by Doctor Strange. In Secret Invasion, she is one among many supervillains who rejoined the Hood's crime syndicate and attacked an invading Skrull force. ["Secret Invasion" #6]

Powers and abilities

Madame Masque has no superhuman powers, but is an athletic woman and a skilled hand-to-hand combatant in various martial arts and an expert markswoman. She is a master strategist and organizer, although she suffers from mental instability and is believed to be criminally insane. She has access to advanced technology like her bio-duplicates.

Madame Masque wears body of armor of an unknown composition with a gold metal faceplate, underneath which her face was chemically scarred. She carries a Wildey .475 magnum revolver or any various types of handguns, including guns firing concussive blasts of energy and guns firing sleeping-gas cartridges.

As leader of the Maggia family, Madame Masque commands unspecified numbers of Dreadnought robots modified from the original designs stolen from HYDRA.

In other media

Television

* Madame Masque has appeared in the 1994 "Iron Man" episode "Beauty Knows No Pain" voiced by Lisa Zane. Like the comics, Whitney Frost was a former love of Tony’s obsessed with her own beauty. She became bitter when she lost her beloved looks and Tony. She then became involved with the Maggia and took on the identity of Madame Masque. Upon her discovery of the Golden Sepulcher of Isis which could return her beauty to her, she and her Maggia henchmen kidnapped many workers and Julia Carpenter. Tony Stark arrived at the scene and fought some of the Maggia henchmen until they overwhelmed him upon Madame Masque's arrival. Madame Masque then threatened to kill Julia unless Iron Man retrieved the gem for her. After surviving the deadliest of traps, Iron Man gave Madame Masque the Golden Sepulcher of Isis, and restored her beauty. After becoming Isis due to the artifact's effects, she learned that all she really wanted was Tony. After Madame Masque/Isis' fight with Iron Man, War Machine, and Spider-Woman, the Golden Sepulcher of Isis is destroyed by Iron Man, regressing Isis back to a disfigured Madame Masque. Iron Man then told her the love he once felt for her was inside, and it died years ago.
* Madame Masque has been confirmed to appear in "".

Video games

* In the Iron Man video game, Whitney Nefaria speaks to Tony Stark through one of the levels as he reclaims his weapons from the Maggia. Rhodes asks Tony how he knows her, he replies "old friends." She apparently is killed by fallen debris when Stark destroys the generator powering the complex, but reappears when Stark tries to take down the Maggia's airship.

References

External links

* [http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix2/innerguardmasque.htm Handbook Appendix profile on Madame Masque's Inner Guard]


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