Cover of Magdalena TPB by Eric Basaldua
|Publisher||Top Cow Productions|
|First appearance||The Darkness #15 (June 1998)|
|Created by||Joe Benitez
|Team affiliations||Catholic Church|
|Abilities||The power of the Holy See
The Spear of Destiny
Skilled hand-to-hand combatant and swordswoman
The character first appeared in The Darkness #15 (June 1998), subsequently appearing in two limited series. It has been featured in comics with the Darkness, the Witchblade, Tomb Raider, the Angelus and Vampirella, and in its own series of twelve issues from April 2010 to April 2011.
Fictional character biography
The Magdalena is characterised as one of a female lineage, only one of whom is extant (or active) at a time, descended from Jesus Christ via his purported marriage to Mary Magdalene. The lineage is described as a royal bloodline giving descendants great power and great honor. The Magdalena's role is that of a warrior defending the Catholic Church.
Each successive Magdalena is described as having the innate ability to see into the human heart, to show people the error of their ways and give them the choice to redeem their sins. Additionally, the current Magdalena is said to wield the Spear of Destiny, characterised as the spear that pierced the side of Christ, as a weapon against evildoers.
The Roman Catholic Church is cast as the Magdalena's employer since the Middle Ages, raising her from childhood and training her until she is ready to carry out her role. The Inquisition, re-cast as a secretive and powerful council of cardinals, is described as overseeing the Magdalena's activities and choosing her missions.
Sister Rosalia, a former Magdalena, is introduced as a 33-year-old who was raped as a teenager by a masked assailant, as a result of which she gave birth to a daughter who was taken from her and brought up in an unidentified convent. The storyline hints, without being explicit, that the Catholic Church was responsible for the rape.
In one mission, she is sent to investigate vampirism in France. She is told that vampirism is a retrovirus that forces vampires to consume blood to restore their hemoglobin. She decides that they are not evil and aids their escape. She is killed by the soldiers of the Inquisition, the Garduna, for trying to prevent them from slaughtering the vampires. It is hinted that Rosalia might have been infected with the vampiric virus and would rise three days after her death, mirroring the Resurrection.
Chronologically Rosalia is the first Magdalena portrayed, although the Blood Divine mini-series (#1-3) created by Marcia Chen and Joe Benitez in which she appeared was the second printed appearance of a Magdalena.
Mariella is the above-mentioned daughter of Rosalia and the mysterious masked assailant. She was the first Magdalena character to appear, in The Darkness #15 - 18 by Malachy Coney and Joe Benitez. She appeared again in Magdalena/Angelus #1/2 by Marcia Chen and Brian Ching.
She is sent to kill Jackie Estacado with the Spear of Destiny, but unbeknownst to her she is not yet fully trained and cannot differentiate between superstition and fact. Even after the Sisters of the Order of Magdalene perform the ritual which gives her the ability to divine a person's sins, she and the Sisters are still overpowered and defeated by Jackie, who makes an example of them by crucifying them in the church. Having physically recovered from her combat with Jackie and her crucifixion, Mariella is told where the Spear of Destiny (which she has lost) is, and sets out to retrieve it. In the process, she encounters the Angelus and Appolonia Francetti in the Amazon rainforest and is again left for dead after Appolonia uses a portion of The Darkness' power to subdue her.
Mariella is sent on these two dangerous missions by the devious and corrupt Cardinal Innocent. The possibility is raised that a senior figure in the Church, probably Cardinal Innocent, wants an end to the Magdalena and her line because of their true origin as the heirs of both Christ and his female followers, a fact that the Church publicly regards as heresy.
The third Magdalena character to appear is named Patience. No information is given as to her exact lineage or her relation to her two immediate predecessors, and as introduced, she appears too old to be a daughter of Mariella (though of an age to be her sister). When introduced, Patience is in her novitiate but leaves her convent suddenly, forcing the Inquisition to send an agent, Kristof, to track her down when her time comes to assume the role of Magdalena.
Kristof finds her living on the streets of New York City with a homeless girl called Rowan Barry. Kristof becomes Patience's mentor and gives her her basic training. Patience is initially hesitant but gives in to her destiny when Rowan is abducted by agents of an evil force. The events of her first adventure in her new role lead to a disagreement with Kristof and the Inquisition, prompting her to declare herself independent of their control but allied with them only when their goals do not conflict with her sense of ethics.
Patience appears again when Sara Pezzini, an officer of the New York City Police Department and wielder of the Witchblade, is attacked by a bloodthirsty demon posing as a young woman. Sara finds that Patience might prove a valuable ally against an unspeakable evil that roams the streets of New York City.
Patience appears in Magdalena/Vampirella #1 by David Wohl and Joe Benitez, in Witchblade #62-65 by David Wohl and Francis Manapul and also in the new Magdalena mini-series by Brian Holguin and Eric Basaldua.
Benedetta Maria Ferro
Benedetta is a Magdalena of Spanish descent who appears in The Darkness one shot, Black Sails. She tries to stop Jackie Estacado's ancestor, Miguel Estacado, from obtaining a treasure meant for the Pope. She and Estacado battle, and she is fatally wounded before plunging the Spear of Destiny into the ship's hull. Before her death, Miguel takes the spear, intending to return it to the Holy See, and leaves her to her death, which he later feels guilty about.[better source needed]
- The Magdalena: Volume One
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