No Supergirl this week, but in the promotional material for the next episode we have a first look at a new recurring villain. In Menagerie, Kara will help J’onn with his new P.I. activity to forget about what happened at the DEO, but the case she’ll follow him to will bring them to Pamela Ferrar, portrayed by Jessica Meraz… who’s also the same criminal Alex is pursuing. We don’t know much of Menagerie’s role in the series, apart from the fact that she’ll end up joining Manchester Black as in the comics soon enough, and that she surely looks different from her original counterpart, who’s definitely more alien-looking (an appearance that’s thought to be some sort of homage to Top Cow‘s Witchblade). Let’s take a look.
Pamela, surname unknown, was born in Puerto Rico, and she grew up with her little sister Sonja. Apparently, the two girls were orphans, and could rely only one on the other, living in the streets. Nobody would have even noticed their disappearance, or so thought a group of rogue agents from the DEO, the Department of Extranormal Operations: they abducted Pamela, and experimented on her as they were doing with a number of “invisible” people (the “dregs of society”, they called them). The goal of the DEO agents was to weaponize those people and sell them on the black market as slaves, but something didn’t go as planned. Pamela was forcefully bonded to a group of Symbeasts, an alien warrior crèche that became part of her body, living in symbiosis with her and making her able to do with them whatever she could imagine… including slaughtering her captors and escaping. It’s unknown what happened after that, and for how much time Pamela wandered before she was found by Manchester Black, an extremely powerful British psychic. Black was putting together a team of gifted superhumans, and he offered Pamela a place in it. Using the name Menagerie, Pamela became a founding member of the Elite, a group formed to “free the Earth of scum”, taking the drastic measures that the so-called superheroes were too coward to take. Together with her teammates, Menagerie made quite a name for the Elite, brutally dispatching of criminals in the most violent and permanent way. The Elite even crossed paths with Superman in Lybia, where they met as they were trying to solve a terrorist situation in Tripoli. Needless to say, Superman didn’t like seeing the Elite slaughtering the terrorists, but as he tried to stop them, he was swiftly defeated. Victorious, the Elite left, leaving the outdated do-gooder behind.
The chapter seemed to be close, but Superman wasn’t done with the Elite, and with Manchester Black in particular: he challenged the entire team to a showdown, one versus four, on Io, one of the moons of Jupiter. The anti-heroes accepted the challenge, and they met Superman in space… where they quickly killed him in an impressive display of their powers. Superman, however, was still alive and kicking, and he attacked each member of the team without restraining himself anymore: as he faced Menagerie, it looked like he ripped her apart, murdering her with no hesitation. In reality, Menagerie was merely unconscious, as the hero had poisoned her and disrupted the bond between her and her Symbeasts. Just like her, all the other members of the Elite were defeated and arrested, and they found themselves in prison… but they didn’t stay there for long, as President Luthor graced them. While Black became a government operative, all the others were set free, Menagerie included, but her former boss had other ideas. Obsessed with Superman, Manchester Black betrayed President Luthor, and used his powers to mind-control dozens of superhumans, including his former teammates, launching an all-out assault on his enemies. Menagerie was forced to participate to an attack on the President’s life, an assassination attempt that was promptly thwarted by Superman. Seeing in the hero a chance to break free, Menagerie revealed to him that all the villains he had been fighting lately, the Elite included, were not acting on their free will… but before she could explain further, Black sensed her betrayal, and he induced a stroke in her. With her brain severely damaged, Pamela was put on permanent vegetative state: her Symbeasts would have found a new host, one unexpectedly close to her…
Pamela is a woman who had nothing from life, and who’s been taken even what she didn’t have: it’s only natural for her to seek retribution for what she suffered, in a form of “justice” that’s just as brutal and cruel as the injustice it seeks to eliminate. As Menagerie, she has total control over the Symbeasts that live on and in her body, manipulating the alien parasites in whatever form she wishes to (armor, wings, claws, spikes…), and even detaching them from her body to make them attack separately, usually to make them eat someone alive. As blood-thirsty and violent as she is, though, Menagerie is different from her teammates, and knows when to stop… if the others let her, of course.