Maria Bonita Rodriguez

Now, back to Iron Fist episode 4 for the next character appearing in the series. In Eight Diagram Dragon PalmDanny Rand tries to get acknowledged with his company and its activities, and he introduces himself during a board meeting interrupting Ward Meachum who was speaking about leishmaniosis. Among the board members, there’s one white-haired woman who, like the others, looks at him puzzled, and who comes back later in the series: that’s Maria Rodriguez, portrayed by Elise Santora. In the comics, Maria Rodriguez is a very different character, not related to Iron Fist (albeit she has some connections with Colleen Wing), and very close to one of the weirdest supervillains ever. Let’s see together.

Maria Bonita was born in San AntonioTexas, from an unknown family. A beautiful woman, she was courted by many, but only one man managed to win her heart eventually: Antonio Rodriguez, the beautiful and damned kind. Bonita and Antonio passionately fell in love with each other, and they eventually got married…however, this didn’t make Antonio change his way of life, and he continued with his petty criminal activities even after their marriage. The woman loved her husband for who he was, and as far as we know she didn’t oppose Antonio’s life choices, not even when he ended up in jail following one of his deeds. While her husband was serving his time, however, Maria’s health started failing her for unknown reasons. She didn’t tell anything to Antonio not to worry him, but when he finally came back home, he found her lying on the floor, senseless. The situation couldn’t be ignored anymore, and Antonio brought his wife to every doctor and physician he knew, but nobody was even able to understand what kind of illness was killing Maria. All hope seemed to be lost…until another doctor, some Karlin Malus, presented himself to the couple, claiming he could heal Maria…for a price. Desperate, Antonio was ready to accept any offer, and Malus told him that he would have cured his wife only if he let himself be experimented on by him; the man accepted, and the scientist mixed his DNA with animal one, turning him into the Armadillo, a monstrous and super-strong hybrid. Malus, however, still blackmailed Antonio, telling him he would have cured Maria only if he did his bidding as long as he told him to: not wanting to lose the woman he loved, the Armadillo became Malus’ henchman.

Luckily enough, during one of Antonio’s missions for Malus he met and fought Captain America, who forced him to tell him his story, and took pity in him. Cap defeated Armadillo, but didn’t hand him over to the authorities, and followed him to Malus’ lab, where he defeated the scientist as well and forced him to keep his promise and heal Maria Bonita. Finally, the woman was cured from her terminal disease, and she could come back to a normal life with her husband…well, her now gigantic and monstrous husband. Antonio, however, seemed to have learnt his lesson, as he was trying to do something good with his life and joined the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation, the WWA for superhumans, so that he could earn some honest money. At a certain point, however, Armadillo fell under Doctor Doom‘s mind control, and attacked the Fantastic Four: defeated by the combined efforts of The Thing, the Human Torch and She-Thing, he came back to jail, this time at the Vault…and Maria grew pretty tired of it. Her husband was being a model prisoner, waiting for parole, but Maria Bonita was already with her mind somewhere else: another man, a guy named Ramon, had entered her life, and he had brought back all the romanticism and passion that a giant-armadillo of a husband couldn’t give her anymore. She started an affair with him, and she would have gotten away with it, if it wasn’t for a guy who saw her and later informed the Armadillo of everything. The Armadillo went into a rampage, and swore to kill his unfaithful wife, the one he had given up his humanity for: he escaped from the Vault, and attacked anyone in his sight, including his manager Lenny J. Feitler and Captain America. Arrested once again, he nearly joined a mass-escape from the Vault, but Vagabond talked him out of his revenge plans. Apparently, Maria Bonita had been born under a very lucky star, despite all.

Maria Bonita Rodriguez is a passionate woman, full of life and romantic. A loving wife, she is grateful to her husband for saving her life…but she also misses their old life, made impossible by Antonio’s transformation into Armadillo; chasing her old romance (and being quite vain), Maria looks for another man to fill the empty space left by her husband…quite underestimating the consequences of cheating on a supervillain with super-strength and sharp claws.

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