Nakia (Malice)

Let’s take a look at another main character from Black Panther, this time the female lead: Nakia, portrayed by Lupita Nyong’o. In the trailer, she’s the red-dressed young woman holding two chakrams, and she’ll be a member of the Dora Milaje, the women-only elite squad of Black Panther‘s bodyguards. Apparently, in the movie she also acta as a love interest to King T’Challa, and this puts her in quite a weird position, especially considering how things turned out in the comics. Let’s see together.

Nakia was born in a peaceful village in the Q’Noma Valley, in the African secluded nation of Wakanda. She was the daughter of a simple fisherman, and a simple and poor life awaited for her…but she was chosen for a different destiny, as the tribe elders selected her when she was still a girl to be one of the Dora Milaje, the “Adored Ones“, a group of women coming from every tribe in Wakanda. Nakia would have been trained to be one of the deadliest warriors in the country, a loyal bodyguard to the king…as well as his wife-in-training, if he preferred her over the others. She arrived at the Royal Palace of Wakanda when she was fourteen years old, little more than a girl, facing a luxury she could only dream of as a simple fisherman’s daughter. As the girl she was, Nakia developed a crush on her king, T’Challa, and she did everything she could to get his attention, hoping she would have been the one to marry him; she even nearly drowned herself trying to impress the king with a dangerous dive, and when T’Challa revived her with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, she was delighted for the “kiss”. Nakia’s friends and fellow Dora Milaje, especially Okoye, tried to distract her from this crush of hers by making her focus on her bodyguard duty. Things, however, became extremely difficult (and weird) when Nakia accompanied T’Challa in a mission to avenge Jaime Robins: the Black Panther succeeded, but Mephisto‘s magic made him allucinate and, thinking he was with his girlfriend Monica Lynne, he kissed Nakia. From this point, her crush became an obsession, a dangerous passion that led her to try and kill Monica Lynne by throwing her out of a plane, later claiming she had been killed by enemies. T’Challa saw through her lies, and he dismissed her from his service, ignoring her declarations and sending her away from the palace in disgrace.

Unable to come back to her village due to her public shame, shunned by everyone in Wakanda, Nakia wandered through the country and, during a rainstorm, she sought shelter in an ancient monastery. Luck wasn’t with her, as the master of the place was the evil sorcerer Achebe, who recognised her as a Dora Milaje and captured her, torturing her for days. When he was over with her, Achebe left Nakie to die, hanging on a tree. She was found, close to death as she could be, by Killmonger, who offered her a chance to exact revenge on the king who had scorned her. Killmonger brought her to the Altar of Resurrection, where he used its arcane powers to restore Nakia back to health and to imbue her with superhuman powers. He also named her Malice, after one of his first lieutenants. With a new name and new abilities, Malice was set free by Killmonger, who stepped aside and watched as she consumed her vengeance. Nakia wanted to kill all women in T’Challa’s life, thus becoming “the one” and making him suffer as much as she had when he rejected her. First, she used a poweful mind-bending herb, the Jufeiro, to seduce Wheeler, the American husband of Black Panther’s cousin M’Koni; when M’Koni eventually found out about her husband’s affair, she fell into a deep depression and tried to kill herself. In the meanwhile, Malice had continued her plan, and she had killed Maria, one of T’Challa’s students from Harlem; following the homicide, she sent a simple message to the Wakandan Consulate: “She’s dead”. This was enough to lure Black Panther to New York, where Malice continued her killing spree by murdering one of T’Challa’s ex-girlfriends, Nikki Adams. When she realised that Black Panther was following her, and so was doing the private detective he had hired to protect Monica Lynne, Dakota North, Malice made Dakota believe T’Challa was under her mind-control, so that she turned on him and allowed her to abduct the king. Now, she could put an end to her plan, sending Man-Ape against Queen Ramonda and Queen Divine Justice, looking T’Challa right in the eyes as the most important women in his life were killed…

Nakia is a single-minded, obsessed woman, a rejected lover consumed by a burning passion, and a just as burning hatred, for T’Challa. As Malice, her training as a Dora Milaje makes her an impressive martial artist, and she’s extremely skilled in the use of blades, knives and sword especially; the Altar of Resurrection granted her superhuman strength, speed, agility, stamina, senses and durability, as well as a limited healing factor; thanks to the Jufeiro herb, she can make any man fall in love with her to the point of turning him into a mindless slave. Smart and cunning, driven by an inhuman focus and determination, Malice is a remorseless killer who only lives to make the former object of her love suffer.

Egeria

Let’s go back to Themyscira, as we meet another Amazon from Wonder Woman: this time it’s the turn of Egeria, portrayed by professional martial artist Madeleine Vall. In the movie, she’s one of Antiope‘s top warriors, and we see her both during her training and during the brief battle that sees the Amazons repel a division of German soldiers arrived on the island following Steve Trevor. Not much more is seen of her in the movie, as she’s just one of the many cameos on the island…but even in the comics her role is quite a secondary one, albeit she’s remembered for quite a heroic ending. Let’s see together.

Egeria was one of the very first Amazons, born when some of the goddesses of Olympus, wanting to put a stop to humans’ thirst for violence and destruction, imbued magical clay bodies with the souls of the women who had been killed by men’s brutality since the dawn of times. Egeria rose from the Mediterranean Sea along with her sisters, and she dedicated herself to the mission of bringing peace in the heart of men, quelling their conflicts and helping them controlling their impulses. The paradise the Amazons were building ended when the legendary hero Heracles invaded Themyscira, their island, and enslaved, raped and humiliated the Amazons. Athena freed the Amazons, but she demanded them not to pursue the path of vengeance: Queen Hippolyta agreed to do that, while her sister Queen Antiope wanted to organize a punitive expedition against the aggressors. The Amazons split between their queens, and despite being a warrior born, and quite a skilled one, Egeria chose to be faithful to Hippolyta, rejecting the path of violence. Hippolyta’s Amazons stayed on Themyscira, and from that moment on the gods granted the island their protection, preventing any enemy from ever finding it. Egeria was assigned by Hippolyta with quite an important task, as she was named the first Captain of the Guard in the reborn nation of Themyscira. Egeria personally selected the members of the Guard, chosing among the most skilled warriors of the island; she selected the strong and wise Philippus as her lieutenant, and the two became friends.

Knowing that no enemy would have ever attacked from the outside, Egeria focused her and her women’s efforts in exploring the island, which was still untamed for the most part. In the entire island, the only possible menace could come from the Doom’s Doorway, a mystical gate connected to Hades; the God of the Dead Hades had tasked the Amazons with guarding it, but he had also sealed the Doorway with a stone slab so that no demon nor cursed soul could escape his realm. Egeria believed it to be solid, so she tasked her Guard with collecting lumber to be used for building Themyscira…but she had overestimated the barrier, which cracked, letting one demon out. The evil spirit possessed Philippus’ horse, turning it into a fanged monster. The creature nearly killed its rider, but Egeria intervened quite in time: she saved her lieutenant’s life, and she faced the monster in combat, managing to slain it. The warrior, however, soon realised that the slab was quickly crumbling, menacing to release all the demons of Hades on the island and, so, on Earth. Without the slightest hesitation, Egeria blocked the Doom’s Doorway with her own body, and she ordered her Guard to release all the lumber they had collected from their carts: albeit shocked, the Amazons obeyed their Captain, and they buried her and the Doorway with her under tons of tree trunks. A true hero, Egeria was honored by Hippolyta with the first statue ever in the Temple of Hades, the hall in which the fallen Amazons would have always been remembered, their stories told to the new generations as examples of heroism and selflnessness.

Egeria is a strong and resourceful Amazon, who however chose to use her strength only to protect mankind and her sisters. As an Amazon, she possesses superhuman strength, speed, agility, stamina, durability and reflexes, and she’s also immortal (albeit she’s not invulnerable); she’s one of the best warriors ever existed on Themyscira, a master swordswoman and archer, expert in horse-riding and in the use of the spear, as well as an impressive hand-to-hand combatant. A true hero in Themyscira’s history, Egeria represents the best an Amazon can be: all the strenght and ferocity of a lioness, accompanied by the kindness and the love of a mother.

N’Jadaka/Erik Killmonger

It’s time now for the main villain in Black Panther, the man we see donning a ritual mask at the beginning of the trailer, and later taking captive by Wakandan guards: Erik Killmonger, portrayed by Michael B. Jordan. In the movie, he’ll be a Wakandian exiled from his land due to his past crimes, and he’ll come back to his homeland with no good intentions (possibly allied with the mercenary Klaw). We don’t know anything else as for now, but he surely looks menacing…and he’ll hopefully redeem Jordan from his previous Marvel role, a bad Johnny Storm in a worse FF movie. In the meanwhile, let’s meet the original Killmonger.

N’Jadaka was born in an unspecified village in the hidden and secluded nation of Wakanda. When the villainous Klaw attacked Wakanda to steal its Vibranium supplies, N’Jadaka’s village became his headquarters, and he forced the male population to help him in his quest against the country’s protector, Black Panther. N’Jadaka’s father helped Klaw, but he was killed in the following battle; as a punishment, King T’Chaka exiled everyone who had helped Klaw and their families as well, so even young N’Jadaka was kicked out of his homecountry, sent to a foreign land. He moved to the United States of America, specifically to New York City, a place with many souls in which he could have found a new home; he settled in Harlem, where however his anger rose. He hated Klaw for being responsible of his father’s death, and he also hated T’Chaka, whose weakness was the reason Klaw was in Wakanda in the first place. Plotting his revenge, he honed himself into the weapon that would have put an end to T’Chaka’s kingdom and life; he legally changed his name in Erik Killmonger, and he took advantage of the best education the US could offer to him, studying in the Massachussets Institute of Technology and earning a PhD in Engineering. Coming back to Wakanda wouldn’t have been easy, though, but the gods heard Killmonger’s angry prayers, and Prince T’Challa, who had become king after T’Chaka’s death, arrived to New York as a new member of the Avengers. As he paraded in the streets after a new victory, Killmonger introduced himself to him, and told T’Challa his story, on how he had been exiled for his father’s crimes, and how he was a victim of Klaw: his hatred for the mercenary was genuine, but he concealed the one he still harbored against the royal family. T’Challa took pity in his former citizen, and allowed Killmonger to come back to his village. Back home, he could finally obtain his revenge, and he started gathering people that, just like him, had a grudge against the royal family.

The village changed its name into N’Jadaka Village in honor of its new ruler, and Killmonger gathered quite an impressive number of followers, chosen among the rebellious souls whose families had been in contrast with T’Chaka. He promised his men he would have gotten rid of all the “white colonialists’ influence” that had been corrupting Wakanda’s ancient spirit, starting with a king who had opened the country’s borders to his new “friends” from across the ocean. A xenophobic populist, Killmonger became a living legend, and he did create a myth around himself, always presenting himself at the top of physical condition, with a pet leopard called Preyy; he even used the ancient magic of the ruins of the Altar of Resurrection, hid in the forbidden Land of the Chilling Mist, to give supernatural powers to his most trusted agents. When the time came, he sent his Death Regiments to ravage several villages, untill he obtained Black Panther‘s attention: he battled the king on top of the Warrior Falls, and albeit T’Challa managed to kill Preyy, Killmonger overpowered him and threw him down the falls. Black Panther survived out of pure luck, and engaged Killmonger and his men in battle once again: albeit he lost some of his lieutenants, such as Sombre and Venomm, Erik once again bested the king in combat. As he was about to inflict the final blow to his hated enemy, Killmonger was hit from behind by a boy, one of the many he had orphaned while attacking the villages. Losing balance, Killmonger fell into the waterfalls, killed on the rocks below. This, however, wasn’t the end for him, not yet: the warlord Mandarin claimed his body, and he resurrected him using his rings. A minion of the Mandarin now, Killmonger was under his control, and obeyed him in kidnapping Jim Rhodes to lure Iron Man in Wakanda…but his ambition of becoming the new king was far too strong, and he retained his free will, once again challenging Black Panther for the crown. Not even death could quell his neverending hatred for T’Challa.

Erik Killmonger, born N’Jadaka, is an ambitious and pitiless man, a warrior driven by his thirst for vengeance and for power. Thanks to an artificial version of the Heart-Shaped Herb, he obtained powers similar to a Black Panther, namely refined senses, superhuman strength, agility, speed, stamina and durability; he’s Wakanda’s finest warrior, so skilled that not even Black Panther ever managed to best him in one-on-one combat. A revolutionary with a genius level intelligence and a charismatic leader with hundreds of followers, who commands savage beasts and an army of zombie-like soldiers born from the Altar of Resurrection, Killmonger is the greatest living threat to Wakanda’s royalty, a man who channels the rage and the grudge of the many people who feel betrayed, ignored and damaged by the ruling monarchy.

Ares

Finally we arrive to Wonder Woman‘s main villain, the deceptive Ares, God of War. In the movie, Ares is the one who, according to the myth, doomed humankind and led the first men and women to destroy each other corrupting their pure souls with his art, war, and he also killed all the other Olympians in a fearsome battle immediately after. In modern times, Diana looks for him on World War I‘s battlefield, but is unable to recognize him behind the facade of meek and peaceful Sir Patrick Morgan, portrayed by David Thewlis, until he reveals himself. The final fight is a little bit too Sailor Moonish, with the heroine clearly overpowered until she annihilates her enemy with the “power of love”, but Ares is nevertheless quite a good villain, impressive especially considering his not exactly intimidating appearance (the armor does a lot in that sense). In the comics, killing Ares is not as easy as in the movie, and he keeps coming back, over and over again, war after war. Let’s see together.

Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera, king and queen of Olympus and of the gods. A god himself, Ares was the patron of war and all its violent and cruel aspects, and his nature compelled him in putting all his efforts into making the world a temple of war, influencing mortals into fighting themselves to total annihilation. Due to his goals and character, Ares was never close to his brothers and sisters, not even to his parents, so he left Mount Olympus and built a new home for himself, a pocket dimension whose access was on the hill Aeropagus, near Athens: from here, in a realm safe even from Zeus’ intereference, he put thousands of plans in motion to bring men to kill each other. Since the dawn of mankind, however, Ares’ sister AphroditeGoddess of Love, swore she would have protected mortals with her own power, sending love to quell their violent ambitions. To protect humans from Ares, Aphrodite and the other goddesses put their powers together and created the Amazons, a tribe of superhuman women devoted to build and keep peace among peoples and nations. The Amazons obviously became Ares’ first hindrance in the fulfillment of his millennial goals, so he started focusing on destroying them: the sacred women, however, were also skilled combatants, and they could annihilate any army he put against them. Luckily enough, he found the perfect candidate in the annihilation of Amazons in his violent step-brother, Heracles, and he easily convinced him to attack Themyscira, the land of the Amazons, accompanied by his friend Theseus. The two “heroes” at first failed in their quest, but they eventually tricked Queen Hippolyta and Queen Antiope, chained and raped them, putting an end to the golden age of the Amazons: after that episode, the warrior women split into two tribes, one devoted to war, thus strenghtening Ares, the other isolated from the world, thus letting him do whatever he wanted with mortals. Apparently, he had exacted his definitive victory over his enemies, and the world was engulfed in the flames of war in the following millennia.

From the Trojan War to the Roman Empire‘s campaigns, from the Crusades to the French Revolution, Ares was behind any small or big conflict ever happened on Earth, and he became increasingly stronger with every battle being fought. His power reached a peak during World War I and World War II, but the God of War never had enough: he wanted more, and the newly discovered atomic bomb could provide him with a conflict of unprecedented scale, so that he could have annihilated the world itself pulling the right strings. In the meanwhile, to make sure the Amazons didn’t rise just in time to foil his most ambitious plan ever, he manipulated events so that an American plane crashed on their island, launching a preventive attack. Things, however, didn’t go as planned, since his human puppet was accompanied by Captain Steve Trevor, who instead of following his primeval urges he allied himself with the Amazons and especially with their last born, Princess Diana, who saw Ares’ presence behind the many attacks that were plaguing the world. Ares, in fact, was trying to bring the two new super-powers, USA and USSR, to start World War III, resulting in a nuclear holocaust that would have represented a masterpiece in his collection of wars and conflicts. Soon, Trevor’s help allowed Diana and the other Amazons to see through Ares’ plans, and the princess, in Wonder Woman‘s armor, confronted the God of War: unable to face him on equal ground, the Amazon however used her Lasso of Truth on him, and forced him to see the inevitable consequences of his actions. If his plan succeeded, humanity would have destroyed itself…and Ares would have starved to death, with no conflict feeding him anymore, no warrior to worship him. The inescapable logic of Diana’s words hit Ares, so the God of War agreed to make a step back: he would have allowed Wonder Woman to operate in the mortals’ world, saving humans from themselves, but he made it clear that the conflict she so desperately wanted to eradicate from men’s heart was of their own making, while he only fed on it. From behind the curtains, he would have always operated in mortals’ hearts and history, banqueting on every failure on Diana’s side, and making sure some would have come.

Ares is a cruel and violent deity, whose only reason for existing is causing and inspiring conflicts which he feeds upon; extremely intelligent and cunning, he also possesses an immortal patience and an unbreakable determination. As the God of War, he’s inhumanly strong (matched only by Heracles among the Olympians) and invulnerable, superhumanly fast and agile, a master of any known form of combat; he’s immortal, and his armor is virtually indestructible; he can inspire feelings of hatred, bloodlust and vengeance, and the more these feelings spread on Earth, the stronger he gets; he’s a master of every existing weapon, and he can control each one of them telekinetically; he can teleport anywhere he wants, and he can assume whatever form he wishes. An immortal threat to mankind as a whole, Ares is one of the most powerful gods of Olympus, an eternal force that guides humans’ bloodiest and most brutal actions, and who thrieves on them augmenting his power in a neverending cycle.

Shuri (Black Panther)

The first trailer for Black Panther has been released as well, and most of the main characters have been seen. Let’s start from a girl who’s been already announced to appear in Avengers: Infinity War as well, the girl who’s seen wielding a couple of big bad guns: Shuri, portrayed by Letitia Wright. In the movie, Shuri is Wakanda‘s princess and T’Challa‘s sister, as well as a skilled inventor who’s behind much of the advanced technology in the country. In the comics, Shuri has become an increasingly more relevant character, T’Challa’s step-sister and his successor in both leading the country as queen, and protecting it as the new Black Panther. Let’s see together.

Shuri was born in the technologically advanced nation of Wakanda, the daughter of King T’Chaka and his third wife Queen Ramonda. Since since was a kid, Shuri felt like a burden the tradition according to which only the kingdom’s males could become the legendary Black Panther, and against her mother’s will she secretly trained to be the first woman in history to don the mantle of Wakanda’s protector. When T’Chaka was killed by a foreigner, his brother S’yan inherited the title, and Shuri trained even harder than before to challenge him in the Black Panther Tournament, a ritual held every year to allow Wakandans to challenge their king if they wanted to replace him. Shuri participated in disguise, as women couldn’t attend to the tournament (and because she was far too young to become queen), but another masked contestant defeated S’yan before she did: T’Challa, her older brother. Albeit too young himself, T’Challa won his right to become king and Black Panther, and succeeded his uncle in leading the country; Shuri, as a princess, swore her loyalty to him, but kept training as a warrior. The day Klaw invaded Wakanda with his mercenaries, Shuri did her part, and she faced Igor Stancheck, the Russian Radioactive Man: she managed to kill him with the legendary Ebony Blade, but albeit victorious she was shocked by her first killing. Wanting to allow his sister to fight on her own terms, and to defend her people if she ever succeeded him, T’Challa offered to train her personally in hand-to-hand combat. A skilled warrior now, she was the one who protected Wakanda from Erik Killmonger and his mercenaries when they attacked the country, taking advantage of the absence of King T’Challa and Queen Ororo, who were with the Fantastic Four: Shuri was captured by Killmonger, but she was freed by Zuri, and she defeated most of Killmonger’s mercenaries single-handedly. Then, king and queen returned, and together with them Shuri repelled an invasion from the Skrulls.

Shuri proved herself over and over again, so when Black Panther was nearly killed by Doctor Doom and sent into an irreversible coma, Queen Ororo named her T’Challa’s successor. Princess Shuri went through the various trials to obtain the Heart-Shaped Herb, and she managed to pass them all, thus becoming the new queen of Wakanda…and the new Black Panther, as she had always dreamt of. As she consumed the Herb, however, Bast the Panther God was offended by the girl’s arrogance, and also saw the taint in her soul caused by her long-lived envy towards her brother and his role. Because of this, she wasn’t granted the powers of the Black Panther. She didn’t even have time to think about what happened, however, as Morlun, an interdimensional vampire who fed on the animal avatars such as the Black Panther came. Weakened, Morlun was after an easy prey such as the comatose T’Challa, but Shuri decided to protect her brother by donning the mask and costume of the Black Panther to distract the vampire and to lead him away from her brother. In the meanwhile, the sorcerer Zawavari performed an ancient ritual to make a bargain with Lady Death, making her trade the soul of T’Challa, trapped in Limbo, with the one of Morlun. The ritual succeeded, and T’Challa was freed…just when Morlun was about to slaughter a helpless Shuri. Bast was pleased by the queen regent’s act of self-sacrifice, and he finally granted her his powers, now making her a full Black Panther. In the meanwhile, the revived T’Challa had discovered the conspiration of the Desturi, a group of Wakandans infected by Doom with special nanites: under Zawavari’s tutelage, he started to train in the ancient magic of his people to face Doom, and when he left he made Shuri Queen of Wakanda in his absence. Soon, however, Doom took control of all Wakandans, until Shuri and T’Challa were the only ones free from his control: it was time the royal family brought war to Latveria and they joined forces with ColossusWolverine and Nightcrawler of the X-Men to free their people from Doom, brother and sister together.

Shuri is a proud and headstrong woman, a princess and a queen who devoted all her life to hone herself into the perfect ruler for her people and country, and who in her arrogance believes to be the fittest ruler ever for Wakanda. As the Black Panther, the Panther God grants her superhuman agility, strenght, speed, durability and stamina, as well as enhanced senses; her Vibranium armor makes her nearly impervious to damage, and she’s a master martial artist and a skilled user of both sword and spear; after her stay in the mystical realm of the Djalia, Shuri also gained the ability to turn herself into a large black bird (or even a flock of them), and to turn her body into stone, becoming invulnerable. One of the fiercest Black Panthers ever, Shuri has fought all her life to obtain the privilege she felt was robbed from her by old and surpassed traditions, and she’ll prove to anyone how worthy she is of the role she’s filling.

Venelia

New day, new Amazon, as we keep seeing, on alternate days, the many characters appeared in Wonder Woman. Today we meet Venelia, another proud warrior we see fighting on Themyscira‘s beach against the German Army. Portrayed by Doutzen Kroes, Venelia is one of the many riders who fight bravely against the armed soldiers on Steve Trevor‘s trails, but apart from this small appearance we don’t see anything else of her (it’s not even entirely clear if she’s among the ones who survive the battle). In the comics, she has quite a weird history, as she appears both as an Amazon of Themyscira, and as an Amazon of Bana-Mighdall, with no indication if the two are different characters with the same name (unlikely, even if the first one is spelled Venilia), or one and the same who appears in both cities (unexplicable). Let’s see together.

As all the other Amazons, Venelia was born when some of the goddesses from Olympus decided to contain men’s thirst for violence and war: her soul once belonged to an unspecified woman who had fallen victim to men’s brutality, and her body was created directly from the goddesses, receiving all their blessings. She rose from the sea to keep peace in the World of Men, following her two queens along with her sisters. Then, the sacred island of the Amazons, Themyscira, was attacked by the army led by Herakles and Theseus, who tricked the Amazons and managed to capture and humiliate them. At this point, there are two different versions of the story. According to the first one, as the Amazons were freed by Athena, Venelia chose to be faithful to the goddess and to Queen Hippolyta, and she remained on Themyscira, renouncing to exact revenge on her attackers and rapers. In the following years, Themyscira became more and more isolated from the rest of the world, and Venelia never met another man. Her only known contact with the world outside of Themyscira was when Princess Diana came back home the first time, bringing along two friends, Julia and Vanessa Kapatelis, who studied the Amazons’ way of life. When the girls arrived on the island, it was the time of the Dive of the Nereids, a ritual meant to honor the goddesses of the sea: with all her sisters, Venelia reached the Cliffs of Poseidon and gracefully dove into the sea, paying her tribute to the Nereids who protected Themyscira’s waters. As she reemerged, she insisted that Vanessa made the jump after her, so that she could understand better Amazonian traditions. After this episode, she was never seen again.

In the second version of the story, Venelia wasn’t even born when Herakles and Theseus invaded Themyscira, as she was a descendant of the Amazons who had chosen to follow Queen Antiope in her bloody revenge against Men’s World. She was born in Bana-Mighdall, a new city for the Amazons in Egypt, protected from the local goddesses and devoted to a military life: mercenaries and weaponsmiths, these Amazons were fierce warriors, who enslaved the men they defeated in combat keeping them for reproduction, and leaving only the female babies alive. Venelia witnessed an Amazon of Themyscira, Wonder Woman, arriving in Bana-Mighdall to look for an enemy of hers, the feral Cheetah, and she joined the others in trying to kill her, fueled by all the myths about Themyscira circulating among the rogue Amazon tribe. When the god Hermes attacked Bana-Mighdall, making its position known to its enemies and thus causing its destruction, Venelia found herself homeless, and accepted Circe‘s offer to exact revenge and attack Themyscira to make it their new home. Circe, however, betrayed the Amazons, and transported them all in the Demon Dimension, where they fought for ten years before being freed by Wonder Woman. Little more than a child when she marched on Themyscira, Venelia emerged from the Demon Dimension as a grown up woman, and she had a different attitude towards the Amazons of Themyscira after fighting side by side with them for a decade of war. Venelia was allowed to live on Themyscira with her sisters. Soon, Queen Hippolyta announced that a new Contest would have been held for the title of Wonder Woman. Needless to say, Venelia participated, and she squared off pretty well: in the race around Themyscira, she was second only to Artemis, with Diana following at close range. On the last day of the Contest, however, Hippolyta had the race cross the mystical lands of Themyscira: first, Venelia had to fight the Harpies on her way, but just as she was sure she would have reached Artemis, a new foe appeared, the Gorgon Medusa…and literally in a blink of an eye, all Venelia’s ambitions faded as she turned to stone.

Venelia (or Venilia) is a proud Amazon, but her character differs much from a version or another: the Themyscirian one is a serious and pious woman, devoted to the gods and to her people, a peace-bringer who despises war; the Bana-Mighdallian is quite the opposite, a fierce mercenary who lives for the fight and who devotes herself to conflict and warmongering. As an Amazon, she possesses superhuman strength, speed, stamina, agility, reflexes and durability, and she’s an expert in the use of any blade (the Bana-Mighdallian is also a proficient markswoman, while the Themyscirian is also immortal). Being it from a sacred city or another, Venelia is always loyal to the Amazons and her queen, committed to a sacred mission that crosses the centuries.

Elizabeth Brant

Another character from the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming has been revealed, and this one is quite a surprise: do you know the girl in Liz Allan‘s group, the blonde one portrayed by Angourie Rice who looks exactly like Gwen Stacy and everybody believed to be Gwen Stacy? She turns out to be Betty Brant, another well-established character in the comics, but with a completely different look. Betty already appeared in the first three Spider-Man movies as J. Jonah Jameson‘s secretary, little more than a cameo in the first two movies, but with a slightly larger role in Spider-Man 3: in here, she’s been tasked by Marla Jameson to keep an eye on Jonah’s medicines and blood pressure, she’s hit on by Eddie Brock and she even flirts with a now rebellious Peter Parker. The rest of the time, she’s always the poor secretary who always gets yelled at…in the comics, luckily, she managed to free herself from that position. Let’s see together.

Elizabeth Brant was born in PhiladelphiaPennsylvania, the daughter of single mother Eleanore Brant. She grew up with her little brother Bennett, and since her mother always worked all day long, she took care of him in her stead. When she was still in high school, however, Eleanore fell ill, and Betty found herself being the one responsible for both herself and her brother. Eleanore’s boss, J. Jonah Jameson, knowing the girl had a tough future ahead, offered to Betty her mother’s position as his “Girl Friday”, a job Betty gratefully accepted. She dropped out of high school and she moved to New York City, where she started working for Jameson as his secretary at the Daily Bugle. In the meanwhile, Bennett became an attorney, thus helping her in paying for Eleanore’s medical bills. It turned out, however, that most of the money Bennett had used came from gambling, a risky activity that had brought him a lot of debts: Betty helped him repay them, making him promise he wouldn’t have gambled ever again. Unfortunately, it was Betty’s own boyfriend, Gordon Savinski, who convinced Bennett to go back to his old ways, and this time the debt was even bigger than the first time: the gangster Bennett owed money to, Blackie Gaxton, rushed into their house, and he attacked Eleanore, causing her to go into a coma (she would have died months later in a clinic). Betty was heartbroken, and didn’t know how to help her brother. She obviously broke up with Gordon, and she entered one of the worst moments of her life. The only person who managed to cheer her up a little was the new freelance photographer at the Daily Bugle, Peter Parker: he was a kind young man, and Betty admired him seeing how he took care of his old Aunt May, and even for the way he stood up for his ideas when he questioned J. Jonah Jameson for what he wrote with his pictures (usually articles against Spider-Man). Unfortunately, Gaxton had found a powerful ally in Doctor Octopus, and the villain kidnapped both the Brant siblings for him, as an insurance to his debt. Things couldn’t go any worse…apparently.

Soon, Spider-Man intervened to free the Brants, but during the following battle between him, Doc Ock and the Gaxton gang, Bennett was accidentally shot and killed. This, for Betty, was the final drop, and she snapped on Spider-Man, whom she accused of being reckless and irresponsible, blaming him for her brother’s death. She told the hero she didn’t want anything to do with him anymore, and she left. In the following days, she mourned her brother, and Peter was the one closest to her: the two started feeling a strong mutual attraction, and they dated for a while. Eventually, however, Betty felt that Peter was unable to commit time to her (she couldn’t possibly imagine he usually left her because he was Spider-Man), and when she even became jealous of Liz Allan, she broke with Peter. Albeit she still loved Peter, Betty accepted the avances of a colleaguer, reporter Ned Leeds, and she kept hearing from him during all the time he was in Europe. When Ned came back, the two started dating, and eventually he proposed to her: despite her attraction to her ex-boyfriend Peter, she accepted, with Mary Jane Watson as her maid of honor. The marriage was nearly interrupted by the mercenary Mirage, but Spider-Man saved the day (in this occasion, Betty finally forgave him for the incident with her brother, realising he was trying to protect them also in that occasion), and the two could finally get married. The marriage wasn’t the happiest one, as during their trip to ParisFrance, Betty started noticing some changes in her husband’s personality, who was interested in work only. The two grew increasingly distant, with Ned taking a case after the other to investigate on, and Betty eventually cheated on him with her friend Flash Thompson, the one she confided with. Tragedy struck again, as Ned was framed by Hobgoblin and died with the world believing him to be the villain: Betty suffered from a major breakdown, unable to accept the loss. In this state, Betty was far too an easy target for the cult of the Students of Love, a sect preying on the weakened and the desperate ones…

Betty Brant is a woman forged by a number of tragedies in her life, who found her strenght and her temperament in loss, betrayal and loneliness. A secretary who completely reinvented herself as an investigative reporter, Betty is a skilled markswoman able to use a variety of guns, and she’s even been trained in a number of martial arts. Determined never to be a victim anymore, Betty took her life and her problems in her own hands, finding an unhoped-for rebirth in her new attitude.