Giuletta Kristina Nefaria/Whitney Frost (Madame Masque)

New production pics from the upcoming second season of Agent Carter provided us with a first look to the new recurring cast… that includes a couple of characters from the comics. Let’s start from this season’s villain(ess), Whitney Frost, portrayed by Wynn Everett. Frost will be an actress in Los Angeles, married to businessman and politician Calvin Chadwick: apparently vain and interested only in her acting career, Whitney will be actually the brain behind her husband’s rise to power, and a formidable threat to Peggy Carter and her allies. The comics readers know far too well that “Whitney Frost” is but an alias for Madame Masque, an iconic criminal from the Marvel Universe who infiltrated Stark Industries and seduced Tony Stark (not too hard a task, that one…) in order to spy on him. If Madame Masque is going to be a major character in the show, it’s obvious she won’t be an enemy of Iron Man as her original version, but the hero’s father is always at disposal… Anyway, let’s see together who this versatile actress is in the comics.

Giuletta Nefaria was born in RomeItaly, the daughter of Count Luchino Nefaria and of his wife Renata. Giuletta’s mother died in childbirth, while the Count, leader of an important branch of the Maggia (the most powerful international criminal association born in Italy), didn’t have will or time to take care of a daughter, especially considering that he wanted a male heir for his empire. Nefaria, under the pretext of wanting a respectable life for his daughter, gave her in adoption to Byron Frost, a rich American businessman who couldn’t have children from his wife Loretta. The Frosts renamed their adoptive daughter Whitney, and brought her to the United States with them, raising her without telling her anything of her true parentage. Whitney Frost had everything she wanted, as her rich parents gave her everything her heart desired, and she grew up pretty spoiled and arrogant. The Frosts died when Whitney was in her twenties, but she was a well known and connected socialite by that time. The girl met Roger Vane, a young and ambitious man with a bright political career in his future: the two fell in love, and soon madamemasquecomics1were engaged. It was in those days, however, that Whitney’s past came knocking to her door: Count Nefaria didn’t father any other possible heir (apart from Lloyd Bloch, a criminal whose true origins were unclear), so he tracked his daughter down and approached her, revealing himself to her as her true father. The Maggia was expanding in the States, and was now controlling a good part of the East Coast: Nefaria wanted his Giuletta to take her rightful place at his side as his heir. Whitney, understandably, refused, and went to her fiancé, telling him everything that had happened. Roger, worried that his future wife’s ties with organized criminality would have damaged his political career, immediately chose to dump her, and fled never to be seen again. Abandoned and distraught, Whitney reconsidered her father’s proposal, and eventually she accepted to join the Maggia. Count Nefaria personally trained her in strategy and combat, making her a criminal mastermind in a few years: a prodigious student, the girl impressed her own father, and she quickly rose in ranks within the organization, earning the title of Big M, the new leader of the Nefaria family.

As her first mission, Big M had to infiltrate Stark Industries to steal weapons’ projects, and to do it she seduced the liaison between Tony Stark and S.H.I.E.L.D. (the espionage agency Stark Industries had become the contractor of), agent Jasper Sitwell. Things became extremely more complicated the moment Whitney realized she had developed true feelings for Sitwell, to the point that her very mission was at stakes. Eventually she had to call for a sudden raid on Stark Industries in order to quit the task before she failed it, but the intervention of Stark’s bodyguard Iron Man made everything more difficult: the Maggia managed to steal what they wanted, but their escape was made harder by the Armored Avenger, and during the fight Whitney Frost’s plane crashed. The woman barely survived, but her face was horribly disfigured by the explosion: only the intervention of Greek criminal Mordecai Midas saved her life. Grateful, Frost started working for Midas, a man obsessed with madamemasquecomics2being the richest person in the world, and fascinated in particular by gold: in order to make his new minion the perfect right-hand-woman for him, Midas created a golden mask for her, allowing her to hide from the world her scarred face. From that moment, Whitney abandoned her “Big M” identity, and she became Madame Masque. Working for Midas, Madame Masque kidnapped a Tony Stark lookalike and trained him to replace the original, so that he would have given the company to Midas once the mission was over. Unfortunately, the Stark running the Industries was a rogue Life Model Decoy, and the “lookalike” was the real deal: Midas’ plan failed, but during the time spent together Madame Masque and Stark had developed strong feelings one for the other, and Tony accepted the woman even with her mask and burnt face. The two started a relationship, but when Stark realized Giulietta still had feelings for Sitwell he broke with her; soon after, he had another girlfriend, Marianne Rodgers. Madame Masque, still working for Midas, tried to get close to Stark once again, but during yet another mission involving Maggia as well, her father was apparently killed by S.H.I.E.L.D. and Iron Man: this was the final straw, and Masque started to hate both the men she had once loved. From that moment, she would have been a fierce and determined enemy, with no space for childish sentimentality.

Giuletta Nefaria, aka Whitney Frost, is a woman who had her life completely turned upside down from a day to another, and who still dreams of having the chance of resuming her old dreams one day; right now, however, she’s a determined and pitiless criminal, lethal and uncompromising. As Madame Masque, she’s an accomplished tactician and a proficient hand-to-hand combatant, as well as an expert with nearly any kind of firearm; she’s also a mistress of disguise, able to fool even the world’s best spies in concealing her identity. With a cracked personality, Masque can be extremely compassionate or unbelievably cruel, thorn between the woman she believed to be and the one life turned her into; paranoid and slightly neurotic, she’s both a damsel in distress and a fierce dragon, a bliss and a catastrophe for any man coming near her.