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Cover of X-Men: Deadly Genesis #4, by Mark Silvestri
|First appearance||X-Men: Deadly Genesis #1 (2006)|
|Created by||Ed Brubaker (Writer)
Pete Woods (Artist)
Petra is a fictional character appearing in the comic books published by Marvel Comics. Petra first appears in the limited series X-Men: Deadly Genesis #1 (2006), and was created by writer Ed Brubaker and artist Pete Woods. She is one of the "Missing X-Men". The word "petra" means "rocky" in Latin, and "stone" in Greek.
Fictional character biography
Petra was the first of her family to be born in the United States. Her mother, father and brother emigrated from Denmark while her mother was pregnant with Petra. They lived the typical American life in the suburbs of New York City for most of Petra's childhood. Shortly after her thirteenth birthday, Petra's family was killed by a rockslide while on a camping trip. Unknowingly, Petra used her mutant powers of earth manipulation to avoid getting hurt.
After spending weeks in Child Protective Services, Petra was sent to live in New Jersey in a foster home. She was placed in a home that had five other children that were forced to share the same bedroom. Her foster mother was old and uncaring, and her foster father was too caring, trying to hold and touch Petra all the time. One day on an outing to Central Park, Petra's foster father tried to touch her but sank knee-deep into the ground. It was then that Petra realized that she was a mutant, and she ran away. She found a cave and hid there for days crying, knowing that with her abilities she could have either killed or saved her family.
She camped in Central Park for a couple years, using her power to manipulate rock caves into shelters to avoid being arrested and sent to juvenile detention centers. When she was sixteen, she discovered another useful aspect of her ability: she could turn coal into diamonds by concentrating hard enough. For a year, she used this aspect of her power to make diamonds of varying size to sell to pawn shops so she could buy food and survive.
One day, however, a pawn shop employee said he was going to call the owner of the store, but he really called the police. Running to her rock shelter, the police found Petra before she could hide, and took her into custody after a brief battle. When she awoke, a female guard informed her that she was being released into the custody of a woman, later revealed to be Dr. Moira MacTaggert, who was there to help Petra. This at first frightened Petra because she had never known anyone to try to help her because of her abilities, only hurt her.
After some time with Dr. MacTaggert, Professor Charles Xavier took Petra and the other children within custody (Sway, Darwin and Vulcan) to rescue the original X-Men team trapped on the mutant island Krakoa.[volume & issue needed] Petra instinctively used her powers to bury Vulcan and Darwin, and then gets incinerated by the volcano creature that was created by Krakoa.
Powers and abilities
Petra was a "terrakinetic" or "geo-morph", having the ability to psychokinetically manipulate, control, levitate and reshape the classic element of earth—sand, stone, rock, lava, and/or dirt—and could even transform the consistency of earth and rock, such as turning a lump of coal into a diamond. She also could use this power to cause minor earthquakes and create shapes out of solid rock.
In this reality, the X-Men team had not survived during the battle against Krakoa. Since the original X-Men died, this team (Vulcan, Darwin, Sway and Petra) became the X-Men. They were able to finally beat the Brotherhood of Mutants.
The Ultimate Marvel incarnation of the character is Petra Laskov, a female mutant of Syrian descent that initially appears as the supervillainess Insect Queen, and later as the superheroine Red Wasp. This iteration of the character is created by Mark Millar and Brian Hitch. As Insect Queen, she has Swarm-esque powers to control insects (although she is fully corporeal), with features of grey skin and horns similar to Margali Szardos. Insect Queen is one of the members of a supervillain group that invades the United States to kill many in order to put a stop to perceived American aggression. During a showdown with the Ultimates, Insect Queen is apparently killed after being stomped by a giant-sized Wasp. However, the character is later rebuilt as the human-looking Red Wasp, a modified variation of the late Wasp. As Red Wasp, Petra serves as a member of the Avengers led by Nick Fury and Gregory Stark. The character's past is also revealed: Petra was the wife of Georgian activist Nikolai Laskov, and the couple together had a child. Unfortunately, the couple's child is held at gunpoint, forcing Petra to kill her husband to save her own child. She does so, only for Petra's child to be killed anyway, and then Petra was raped by thugs. When the Avengers fight the Red Skull, the villain torments Red Wasp until Captain America and Hawkeye saves the team. Afterwards, Petra (disguised as a nurse) shoots her family's executioner in the head in a hospital. Petra continues to serve with the Avengers. When the Avengers fight Vampire X, Petra confides with an ex-teammate that's also added to the Avengers.
In other media
- A character with both Petra's striking resemblance and powers appears in the Wolverine and the X-Men animated series: Christy Nord (voiced by Kari Wahlgren). This iteration is the daughter of kinetic energy absorbing mutant Christopher Nord. Like Petra, she has the mutant ability to manipulate the earth and stone. In the episode "Past Discretions", she was seen in flashbacks living with Christopher on a farm near the Canadian border at the age of 6, when her father became Team X's target. Wolverine was sentenced to capture Nord, only to realize this could Christy an orphan. Ten years later, Wolverine reappears to which Christy attacks the man for apparently being responsible for her being an orphan. However, Christy realizes that Wolverine had saved her and Sabretooth was responsible for her father's apparent demise. In the episode "Stolen Lives", Christy gets abducted by Maverick for Dr. Abraham Cornelius and Professor Thorton, however, she is rescued by Wolverine and Mystique. With Emma Frost's help, Christy reunites with her father.
- X-Men: Deadly Genesis #1
- X-Men: Deadly Genesis #6
- X-Men: Deadly Genesis #4
- X-Men: Deadly Genesis #1
- Ultimate Avengers #5
- Ultimates 2 #9
- Ultimate Comics: Avengers #3
- Ultimates 2 #12
- Ultimate Avengers #6
- Ultimate Comics: Avengers 3 #5