Mari Jiwe McCabe (Vixen)

VixenPromotional images gave us a first look at a “new” heroine coming to Arrow: not entirely new, as she debuted in the animated web series of her same name, Vixen. The live action version of the character will be portrayed by the same actress that voices her in the animated series, Megalyn Echikunwoke…and she looks astonishing, by the way. Surprisingly enough, this is not the first live action adaptation of the character, as she already appeared in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, albeit in a very different attire. Portrayed by Lori Fetrick, Vixen was a super-strong and super-fast villainess who posed as a heroine in a plan ordained by the disfigured Lex Luthor Jr. and his top scientist Leslie Luckabee, but she got inevitably defeated by Superman. If the animated series promises anything concrete, this new version will be much more similar to the original one…the one we’re now seeing together.

In ancient times, the Zambesi warrior Tantu, powerless against the tyranny of the warlords, prayed the trickster god Anansi to grant him the strength to protect the innocents: in response, Anansi created for him a talisman, a powerful artifact holding the power of the entire Africa. Its wielder would have been able to summon the power of any living animal, becoming an incredible force for good: Tantu became the first hero of legends, and his totem was passed down to his successors, from generation to generation. Mari Jiwe was born in a small African village, the last descendant of Tantu: her father was Reverend Richard Jiwe, and her mother, Jeanne-Mari, was the first one to tell her the story about the family’s power (and duty). When Jeanne-Mari was killed by poachers, Richard raised his daughter alone, and kept the Tantu Amulet for her to inherit when she came of age. Unfortunately, the Reverend’s half-brother, General Mustapha Maksai, wanted the power of the artifact for himself, and he ended vixencomics1up enlisting the poachers that killed Jeanne-Mari, led by a man named Aku Kwesi, to kill Richard as well. The other villagers, fearing for Mari’s life as well, sent the girl away from home, to the United States of America, so that she would have been safe from her uncle. Mari arrived in New York City, where she reinvented herself as Mari McCabe, a new identity for a new life far away from her home, her family and her heritage. Beautiful and determined, Mari became a famous fashion model, and she managed to earn quite a fortune with her job. Nearly oblivious to her first years of life, Mari used her wealth to travel the world, until she came back to Africa during a tour outside the US. In the Zambesi territory, she eventually came across the President of the region, her uncle Maksai, who had earned the nickname The Ox thanks to the powers of the totem. Suddenly, everything that Mari had tried to forget and to leave behind came back to her with all the strength of the millennial heritage that was still awaiting for her. Willing it or not, the Amulet called for her to defend her people, and Mari McCabe eventually joined the local forces who opposed President Maksai. The battle was eventually won, and Mari claimed the Amulet for herself.

Mari McCabe, however, was now a citizen of the world, a modern woman who knew no boundaries, and the Tantu Amulet adapted to its new host, freeing her from the bounds to her land: she was now free to use its power anywhere in the world, as long as she defended the innocents as Tantu had sworn. At first, Mari was more than reluctant to embrace her family’s power and all the responsibilities it carried along: she wished she could just go on with her regular life as if nothing had happened. The Amulet itself, however, claimed her services: in India, it nearly forced her to fight some poachers hunting down elephants and tigers, during her first public appearance as a “super-heroine”. After a clash with the criminal Admiral Cerebrus, Mari realised she would have never escaped her new life, and she finally embraced the Amulet and what it meant: she renamed herself Vixen, a heroine ready to fight injustice with all the power of Africa running through her veins. When Aquaman started to reform the Justice League of America, Vixen knew that was her place, and she applied for membership. After being examined, she vixencomics2was admitted as part of the new team of the most powerful heroes on the planet. It was during her time with the League that Maksai came back hunting for his niece: he managed to steal the Amulet from her, and to claim its power…but now that it had known the blood of a true heir of Tantu, the Amulet transformed Maksai into a raging beast. Vixen fought her uncle for one last time, killing the monster he had become and finally taking full and undisputed possession of the Tantu Amulet. Back to the League, Vixen helped her teammates fighting several threats, such as the galactic tyrant Despero or the evil superteam Cadre, but she managed to distinguish herself only when the killer android Amazo, who possessed the power of all the original Justice Leaguers, managed to subdue the entire team. Left the last one standing, Vixen faced Amazo on her own, and emerged victorious, destroying the android and saving the lives of all her teammates. Eventually, the new JLA was disbanded by the Martian Manhunter, and Mari came back modeling…until her colleagues were murdered in cold blood by drug dealers. To make justice, Vixen joined forces with the Suicide Squad: whenever she went, injustice followed, and the Amulet’s legacy always prompted her to intervene…

An independent and strong-willed woman, Mari McCabe is the heir of a millennial tradition of legendary warriors, a position that she not always likes to hold, but that she finds herself forced to. As Vixen, she has access to the powers of the Tantu Amulet, a powerful totem that puts her in connection with Earth’s morphogenetic field: with that, she can borrow the ability of any animal ever lived on the planet, such as the cheetah’s speed, the eagle’s flight, the lion’s fangs and claws, the rhinoceros’ strength, the spider’s ability to stick to any surface, the chameleon’s camouflage and so on; she’s also able to summon the abilities of extinct animals such as dinosaurs, or even mytical beasts. An extremely powerful, yet reluctant and insecure heroine, Vixen fights injustice wherever it manifests itself, faithful to a family legacy that had her destiny decided before she was even born…

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4 Comments

  1. […] Mari Jiwe McCabe (Vixen) […]

  2. […] by Lady Blackhawk, and over the years many other heroines (such as Big Barda, Hawkgirl, Dove, Vixen, Catwoman, Manhunter and many others) joined and left the Birds’ ranks. After a battle with […]

  3. […] along with her friends from the Suicide Squad: Deadshot, Bronze Tiger, Duchess, Enchantress and Vixen, plus Captain Boomerang who didn’t want to come but was drugged and forced into the […]

  4. […] in the show he’s portrayed only as an armed muscle for Barnum, and one disposed of easily by Vixen by the way, while in the comics he’s so much more. Let’s see […]


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