||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (May 2014)|
|First appearance||Fear #11 (Dec 1972)|
|Created by||Steve Gerber
|Alter ego||Jennifer Kale|
|Team affiliations||Midnight Sons
Legion of Night
|Partnerships||Dakimh the Enchanter
Howard the Duck
|Notable aliases||Witch Woman|
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Fictional character biography
- 3 Powers and abilities
- 4 Sexuality
- 5 Other versions
- 6 In other media
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Jennifer Kale was created by Steve Gerber and Rich Buckler, and debuted in Adventure into Fear #11 (December 1972). She is the cousin of Ghost Riders Johnny Blaze and Danny Ketch, and a founding member of the Legion of Night. She is based on one of Gerber's friends, Jennifer Meyer. She has appeared as a supporting character of Doctor Strange and her connection to Man-Thing is strong enough that she knows his true identity and sometimes calls him "Ted".
Fictional character biography
Zhered-Na was a sorceress in Atlantis c. 18,000 BC. Exiled by emperor Kamuu for her prophecy that Atlantis would sink, Zhered-Na was relocated to the mainland Thurian continent where she taught about her god Valka. These lessons spawned the Cult of Zhered-Na. When Kamuu caused the Great Cataclysm while warring against Lemuria, sinking Atlantis, Zhered-Na was killed by an evacuee. Zhered-Na's former apprentice, Dakimh, continued her teachings and perpetuated the Cult throughout his extended lifespan. Centuries ago, an unnamed demon and angel shared the mystic knowledge of their realms with cultist Illyana Kale, who added it to her own knowledge to complete the Tome of Zhered-Na. To prevent the knowledge's abuse, only the combination of a Kale family member and angelic and demonic agents could utilize the Tome.[volume & issue needed]
Jennifer was born into the Kale family, born in the fictional town of Citrusville, Florida, and living in the Florida swamp regions. Attuned to mystical forces since birth, she began studying her family's history at an early age and eventually became an asset and ally to the Man-Thing. Jennifer learned of the Tome via her grandfather Joshua, who led the modern incarnation of the Cult. Soon after, Jennifer and Man-Thing became mentally bonded, and she learned his identity as Ted Sallis and his life history. Dakimh put Jennifer and Man-Thing to the test in a mock execution in which Man-Thing welded Mongu's axe to his hand, after which he granted them freedom. Drawing energies from the angelic realm Therea, Jennifer was sent to the demonic realm Sominus to free the Tome and prevent Earth's invasion by the demonic Thog, which also ended Jennifer's mental bond with Man-Thing. After being plagued with incapacitating (and real) dreams of the world of Katharta, the aged Dakimh then took Jennifer as his apprentice. Jennifer joined the Dakimh, Man-Thing, Howard the Duck and Korrek in opposing further plots of Thog and the Congress of Realities, the wizard Klonus and barbarian Mortak, and the mad demon Bzzk'joh and his Imperium Emporium organization. She was later kidnapped by Baron Mordo as part of a power bid involving using thirteen people as a human sacrifice to the Chaos Demon. Mordo restored Ted's mind and gave him a bogus promise to restore his body. Jennifer's words helped to keep Ted in line, but his appearance was causing him to go insane, so Doctor Strange was forced to remove his intelligence.
Even after Joshua's death, his spirit continued to advise Jennifer. Between her efforts to live a normal life at various colleges, she has been drawn into numerous magical conflicts, including learning of her familial connection to the Ghost Rider. She reflects upon this fact when Eternity calls upon her aid. When last seen (aside from in a vision) in the pages of Ghost Rider, she was riding on the back of Johnny Blaze's motorcycle trying to help him find his kids, supposedly last seen with Wendigo during the Siege of Darkness,[volume & issue needed] although Wendigo was not involved in the Siege of Darkness, and Blaze got his kids back in Blaze #12, after the Siege of Darkness and before Jennifer met Blaze. Blaze says that they got bus tickets back to New York by selling the bike.
Jennifer was also once sought out to help the mutant team known as X-Force. She helped against Pandemonia, who had taken mystic control of several of their other members. Based on their description of her, Jennifer identified her via her Demonic Corcordance text. Jennifer joined X-Force in confronting Pandemonia. She freed Pandemonia's mental slaves (Locus, Meltdown, Warpath, Skids, Sunspot) and, assisted by Danielle Moonstar, she banished Pandemonia back to her home dimension on the chaos plane. Jennifer examined the reality warping energies that Danielle Moonstar had recently begun to display, confirming that they were not supernatural in origin.[volume & issue needed] Later, Jennifer taught t'ai chi to members of X-Force,[volume & issue needed] having become friends with Danielle Moonstar. Again some time later, Jennifer assisted X-Force against the Queen of Star Swords, the extra-dimensional counterpart of Moonstar's friend, Arcadia Deville, who summoned four counterparts of Moonstar herself, and another reality's Cable, which also drew Man-Thing to their location.[volume & issue needed]
The demon Marduk Kurios, one of many to use the alias Satan, duped Jennifer's brother Andrew into touching the Tome of Zhered-Na. Hereby they unleashed the curse of the Hellphyr which threatened to destroy all magical beings on Earth. Jennifer was recruited by Doctor Strange, alongside some other magical heroes to oppose this plot. During the battle, Jennifer was forced to slay her Hellphyr-possessed brother. After the battle, Jennifer refused to surrender her familial Tome to Doctor Strange, who had lied to her about his true intentions of possessing the Tome for himself. Instead Jennifer decided to remain with fellow magicians Topaz and Satana. Together, they formed the group known as the Witches, hoping to keep the world safe from mystical threats and stop would-be thieves from stealing her family book.
Marvel Zombies 3
Kale appears with Wundarr the Aquarian and Siege as a member of Florida's Fifty State Initiative team, "The Command", which is sent to Citrusville (home of Man-Thing) to investigate strange sightings. There they are attacked by zombies who have been transported from the Marvel Zombies universe to Earth-616. They are then attacked by zombie Deadpool, who uses throwing knives to sever the tendons in her arm to prevent her from casting spells. Wundarr throws Deadpool into the blades of a nearby skiff and Kale activates them, reducing most of Deadpool's body to a bloody pulp. Siege, who has been turned into a zombie, attacks Kale and breaks her ankle before his cybernetic parts take over and shoot his head off. She is later shown quarantined at A.R.M.O.R. headquarters, apparently shellshocked. She sits in her room, paralyzed with fear, as zombies began to infect the A.R.M.O.R. personnel and take over the base.
Marvel Zombies 4
Jennifer appears as part of the new Midnight Sons team, killing zombie Men-Fish and fighting their leader, Piranha. Dormammu comes and offers her his power when she is in grave peril, leaving her to make a decision with no time to spare. Desperate after seeing Jack Russell apparently infected with the zombie virus, she calls on Dormammu and accepts his offer. Jennifer then battled Daimon Hellstrom, who helps free her from Dormammu's control, and she confines the zombie virus inside the Zombie (Simon Garth) with the Black Talon's help.
Because Strange had abused his position as Sorcerer Supreme, he had to seek out a successor, searching all over Earth in hopes of finding one. As he tells to Wiccan (who lacked knowledge of both Kale and the Man-Thing), he managed to track down Jennifer, though for some reason he had great difficulty in doing so, but determined that she was not the one, despite his belief that she would have been suitable due to her high ability.
Jennifer tried to stop the Thunderbolts from using Man-Thing as their transportation, recalling him to the swamp to fight off an invasion from the Nexus of All Realities. Eventually, she realized that Man-Thing was willingly working with the Thunderbolts, and that she would simply need to alert him any time someone broke through.
Jennifer is apparently killed by Victoria Hand who is at the time possessed by Daniel Drumm. Drumm wanted to eliminate all users of dark magic before enacting his revenge on Doctor Strange and the New Avengers.
Jennifer uses dark magic to return to life, but at the cost of having no skin on the right side of her face. Her resurrection is kept mostly secret from the world, but Maria Hill recruits her to support Elektra against Bullseye and the Hand.
Powers and abilities
Though initially only a novice in the mystic arts of the Marvel Universe, Jennifer Kale held tremendous potential for wielding magic and has since honed it through many years of intensive training and tutelage. Though her training was based upon the brand of magic wielded by Zhered-Na, she has since been tutored by other sorcerers and she is also self-taught to a degree. As of now, Kale can fire magical bolts, form shields, open dimensional portals, mesmerize people, affect the memories of others, teleport herself and others, and cast numerous spells for a variety of effects.
The Tome of Zhered-Na is named after the antediluvian sorceress who foretold the end of Atlantis, and the Tome allegedly possessed all the mysticism known to man and demonkind at the time of its creation. For speaking this truth, Zhered-Na was banished and set adrift upon the sea. While she floated, her god, Valka whispered secrets to her about the world and the world of the future. After many weeks she landed at Thuria and founded the Cult of Zhered-Na. She lived and taught there until she was slain by the demon D'Spayre. Atlantis met its fate that same day. Two spirits rescued the wisdom of Zhered-Na and decades later gave it to Illyana Kale, the descendant of a cult member. Kale was inspired then to write the Tome. Certain deities felt that too many secrets were contained inside the Book, so they placed the demon Hellphyr inside its pages to ward away unwelcome users. When the Book was recently opened and Hellphyr was released, Illyana's descendant Jennifer Kale joined with fellow witches Topaz and Satana to stop the demon and save the Tome. The Tome of Zhered-Na is currently with Jennifer Kale. Though presumably less powerful than the Darkhold or the Book of the Vishanti, it is nonetheless powerful enough to strike awe into the Sorcerer Supreme Doctor Strange and was sealed so only a member of the Kale lineage could access it, and only then assisted by a representative of divinity and a representative of the underworld.
While Jennifer did have a boyfriend named Bernard Drabble during her time in the Legion of Night, and was originally shown with a boyfriend named Jaxon (surname unrevealed), and shown romancing a boy named Chris in Over the Edge #2, in the Ghost Rider series her cousin Danny Ketch has a vision of a life where their family never was involved in magic. In this scenario he envisions Jennifer (who has been depicted throughout the series with a "butch" haircut) as having a girlfriend of three years named Marie. Later during her encounter with Satana, the latter suggests that Jennifer is not interested in boys and makes a snide comment about Jennifer staring at her chest.
Jennifer was officially recognized as bisexual in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Mystic Arcana - The Book of Marvel Magic (2007) in the entry for Witches - the informal trio of Kale, Topaz, and Satana.
In Marvel Zombies 4, Jennifer Kale quotes Topaz as having called her "girlfriend" in an ironic sense.
The final remaining among Earth's mystics and superheroes that were not turned into demons after the loss of Inferno convene at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Jennifer Kale is among the mystics, along with Doctor Strange, Dakimh, Daimon Hellstrom, Dr. Druid, Margali Szardos, Shaman, and Baron Mordo. She-Hulk interrupts their mystic circle, and S'ym's demon horde, led by the demonically possessed Incredible Hulk and Wolverine, immediately burst in. The Hulk smashes Jennifer's skull and crushes She-Hulk's neck, while Wolverine slashes to death Dr. Druid, The Captain, and Spider-Man, and the other mystics, apart from Strange and Mordo, are destroyed in friendly (and suicidal) fire from Thor.
In Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's 2008 Marvel MAX retelling of Man-Thing's origin (which is supposed to be Roderick Krupp's interpretation of the story—Krupp is considered highly untrustworthy by Ulysses Bloodstone), Jennifer Kale is 22 years old, and 10-year-old Andrew Kale's legal guardian (they were much closer in age in the original material). She works as an exotic dancer as the Witch Woman, which also doubles for her witch's-garb when she is actually casting spells. She helps to save some amateur documentarians from mutates created in the Super Soldier Experiments, but not from Ellen Brandt leading forces of A.I.M., although she is able to protect herself and Andy from A.I.M. using a magic chalk circle.[volume & issue needed]
During the Secret Wars storyline, a variation of Jennifer Kale resides on the Battleworld domain of Weirdworld where she is the Queen of the Man-Things that reside in the Forest of the Man-Things. After a brief conversation with the two warriors, the Swamp Queen forced Arkon and Skull the Slayer to face their fears in order to survive it and become her allies against le Fay. However, only Skull the Slayer accepted the offer to become her ally while Arkon continued to look for his kingdom of Polemachus.
In other media
- Jennifer makes a cameo appearance in Doctor Strange's ending in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 as part of a gathering of mystics from across the Marvel and Capcom universes.
- Sub-Mariner #63
- Fear #15
- Fear #13-14
- Fear #13
- Fear #14
- Fear #15
- Fear #17-19
- Fear #19
- The Man-Thing #1
- Giant-Size Man-Thing #3
- Howard the Duck #22-24
- Doctor Strange (vol. 2) #41
- Devil's Reign (1997 Marvel, Top Cow) (Jan. 1997)
- Ghost Rider #89
- Ghost Rider #94
- X-Force #85 (Jan. 1999)
- Marvel Zombies 3 #1
- Marvel Zombies 3 #3
- Avengers: The Initiative #19
- Marvel Zombies 4 #1-2
- Marvel Zombies 4 #3
- Marvel Zombies 4 #4
- New Avengers #51
- Thunderbolts #154
- New Avengers v2 #31
- New Avengers v2 #34
- Elektra vol.3 #9
- Fear #13, 18; Man-Thing vol. 2 #4
- Ghost Rider #92
- Witches #2
- Marvel Zombies 4 #2
- What If (vol. 2) #6 (Mid-November, 1989)
- What If (vol. 2) #95 (March 1997)
- Marvel Monsters: From the Files of Ulysses Bloodstone and the Monster Hunters
- Dead of Night: Man-Thing #2
- Weirdworld #4
- Jennifer Kale at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Jennifer Kale bio at Gay League.com
- Jennifer Kale bio at Marvel.com