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Emma Steed as the London Black Queen
|First appearance||X-Calibre #1 (March 1995) (AoA version)
Excalibur (1st. series) #96 (April 1996) (616 version)
|Created by||Warren Ellis
Ken Lashley (AoA version)
Carlos Pacheco (616 version)
|Alter ego||Emma Steed|
|Team affiliations||Hellfire Club|
|Notable aliases||Black Queen|
|Abilities||Ability to create psionic weapons,
Immunity to telepathy
Miss Steed (Emma Steed), also known as Black Queen is a fictional character created by Warren Ellis and Carlos Pacheco, a mutant in the Marvel Comics Universe. Her first appearance as Miss Steed was in Excalibur #96. Emma Steed was an obvious homage to Emma Peel and John Steed, from the British television show The Avengers. Early art for the character, in fact, matched the appearance of Diana Rigg who played Mrs. Emma Peel.
Miss Steed initially appeared as Damask during the Age of Apocalypse, an event which caused the history of the Marvel Universe to diverge from its usual path. Although many Age of Apocalypse characters were alternate versions of existing heroes and villains, Damask did not appear to have an Earth-616 counterpart until Miss Steed was introduced over a year later.
Fictional character biography
During the London Hellfire Club's failed attempt to take over London using a demon, Emma Steed killed their Black King, who had been driven insane by the monster. She was apparently in contact with Onslaught as well, although their connection was never fully revealed. When Brian Braddock approached Steed about the chaos in London, she attacked him using glowing psionic blades attached to long burning chains, but her blades bounced off his forcefield, which he then threw at her, nearly taking her head off. The Black Queen's current whereabouts are unknown, although she may have been arrested by the authorities. She will make an appearance in X-Men Legacy vol.2 #16.
Age of Apocalypse
Little is known about Damask before her first appearance. She was a student of the Shadow King, who was sexually attracted to her, and quickly became a high-ranked assassin, working for Apocalypse as the leader of the Dark Lord's elite taskforce, the Pale Riders. Her fellow Pale Riders were Dani Moonstar and Dead Man Wade.
When Dani finds out that the X-Man Nightcrawler is looking for the mysterious place known as Avalon, a haven for humans, Apocalypse sends Damask and her Pale Riders to find Avalon and wipe it out. Nightcrawler is in search of the precognitive Destiny, who lives on Avalon. To find Destiny, Nightcrawler teams up with his mother, Mystique. The Pale Riders follow them to Avalon. During the trip, Dani amuses herself by torturing Dead Man Wade, whose healing factor instantly restores all the damage she does. Damask gets annoyed by Dani and kills her, enjoying her death.
When they arrive at Avalon (a tropical paradise in the middle of Antarctica), Nightcrawler and Mystique meet up with the mutant known as Switchback and with Destiny and her adopted son Douglas Ramsey. Destiny reveals that she has a vision of Avalon on fire. Damask and Wade follow Nightcrawler and his friends, but when Damask sees the beauty of Avalon, she begins to doubt her mission. Wade hates all that lives though and attacks the group, only to be quickly dispatched by Damask and Nightcrawler. Damask tells the group that she never knew that life could be like it is on Avalon and that she wants to join them. Nightcrawler, Mystique, Switchback and Damask form a group, which Nightcrawler calls X-Calibre after the caliber of bullets in Mystique's guns. The group is determined to take Destiny back to the X-Men before the future Destiny saw becomes true. Damask also kisses Nightcrawler, curious if his skin does feel like velvet.
X-Calibre is then attacked by another one of Apocalypse's servants, the Shadow King himself, who possesses various inhabitants of Avalon in quick succession, turning them against their friends and loved ones. He then possesses Mystique. Nightcrawler, Damask and Switchback combine their powers to kill the Shadow King, but he makes another mutant kill Douglas with the last of his strength. With Douglas dead, Destiny is convinced that Apocalypse must be stopped and travels with X-Calibre back to New York.
Powers and abilities
Miss Steed possesses the ability to create blades of psionic energy that attack and disable a person's brain and mind. These blades seem to appear from the area around her head, and although visible, are not corporeal weapons. They destroy both the physical portions of a brain, and psionic forms (including the Shadow King's astral form) on contact. This ability has been referred to as psionic skinning.
Her nature is also destructive to psionic and astral projections rendering her resistant to telepathic intrusion.
- Marvel Atlas #1
- Excalibur #96-100
- X-Calibre #1
- X-Calibre #2
- X-Calibre #3
- X-Calibre #4