Miss Misery (comics)

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Miss Misery
Publication information
Publisher Wildstorm Productions
First appearance Sleeper #1 (2002)
Created by Ed Brubaker
Sean Phillips
In-story information
Alter ego Gretchen McDonald
Abilities Thrives on evil, increasing her health and strength when behaving amorally, while becoming weaker and sicker when doing the right thing.

Miss Misery is a fictional comic book character from DC Comics/Wildstorm. She appeared in the series Sleeper.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Gretchen McDonald was a very normal girl; an excellent student and kind to all. When she got older, Gretchen fell ill and doctors could find no cause for her illness. When she heard a male nurse tell another that her illness was all just in her head, she became furious and kicked him. She was surprised to feel better afterwards and began to seek therapy, but therapy didn't help either. Finally, an odd idea came to her: she had felt better when she had hurt another. To test this theory she stole a bottle of whiskey from a local shop and did feel better. In a short time she let all her morals go and indulged in every sin she could think of, becoming stronger and healthier with each one. She took the name "Miss Misery".

She became a part of Tao's syndicate. Her enthusiasm and personality appealed to Tao and she quickly became a Prodigal, one of Tao's three commanding officers in his organisation. When Holden Carver was promoted to become a Prodigal as well, Miss Misery befriended him. She started a sexual relationship with him, mostly for the thrill that Tao would kill them both should he ever find out, but over time they fell in love. Now the relationship was about love, Miss Misery began to feel ill and increased her aggression and criminal behaviour to compensate. Holden noticed that their relationship was killing her, but didn't want to lose her.

During a mission, Holden and Gretchen were ambushed. Holden saw no way out and Gretchen was about to get herself killed. He knocked out Gretchen and they were captured. Imprisoned, Gretchen told her guards that Holden was a traitor and one of their own, despite feeling more and more sick for saving the man that she loved. She nearly died, but was saved by Tao's troops. Holden fled and was now on the run from both Tao and the government. Tao met with Holden a few weeks later and told him that he had always known about Holden's status as a sleeper-agent. He invited Holden back, partly because Miss Misery was missing him. Holden rejoined the syndicate and he and Gretchen continued their relationship.

Gretchen tried to cheat on him, but Holden didn't blame her, knowing how her powers demanded this from her. Holden became trapped in a game between his former commanding officer John Lynch and Tao and decided to play the two against each other. He asked Miss Misery to help them and the low chances of survival appealed to her. During one of her missions, Gretchen met Veronica St. James, an agent of Internal Operations and Carver's former fiancee and spared her, despite the toll her powers extracted on her for this act of kindness.

Gretchen contacted Tao about Holden's betrayal and together with the other Prodigal Peter Grimm, she turned on Holden and knocked him out. It turned out to be all part of their plan though and Holden and Miss Misery managed to capture Tao, while Internal Operations sent Grifter to take out his syndicate. When Holden revealed to her that he had made a deal with John Lynch to cure himself and her, Gretchen became furious; she didn't want to be cured and was perfectly happy the way she was. Gretchen angrily began striking Holden and was shot and killed by Veronica, who thought that she was about to kill him. Holden reflexively shot back killing Veronica, afterward realizing she thought she was saving his life.

Powers and abilities[edit]

Miss Misery's health, beauty and strength were linked to her behaviour. Whenever she engaged in criminal and amoral behaviour, she would grow stronger, healthier and more beautiful, becoming a near perfect human specimen. In turn when she acted unselfish and kind, she would become weaker, sick and nauseated. Thus Miss Misery abused alcohol, drugs and tobacco, had sex with strangers and assaulted and killed innocents to become as strong and healthy as possible.

She was skilled in the use of firearms and often used them in missions. When she engaged in hand-to-hand combat, she was ruthless and very brutal.