|First appearance||Web of Spider-Man Annual #4 (October, 1988)|
|Created by||Steve Gerber and Cynthia Martin|
|Alter ego||Cecilia Cardinale|
|Team affiliations||The Hand|
|Abilities||superhuman strength, endurance, agility, and reflexes
limited matter manipulation over skin
Poison first appeared in the lead feature of Web of Spider-Man Annual #4 (1988), by writer Steve Gerber and artist Cynthia Martin. The annual also included a 7-page origin story for the character. Poison returned in an eight-part serial in Marvel Comics Presents #60-67 (October–December 1990), also by Gerber and Martin. Since then the character has fallen into disuse, and did not appear again under six years later, in Spider-Man #64.
Fictional character biography
While a first year student at the University of Havana, Cecilia Cardinale becomes romantically involved with Vassily, a member of the military staff at the Soviet embassy. Soviet embassy personnel are forbidden from fraternizing with locals, and when Cecilia becomes pregnant with Vassily's child, he signs a statement saying that she is a prostitute in order to escape full punishment for his violation. She is held in a Cuban prison for several months, and becomes ill from the unsanitary conditions. She is later deported to America, where she lives in a Florida refugee camp. A mysterious entity named Ylandris emerges from the Nexus of All Realities in the Florida Everglades and comes to Cecilia as she lays dying from her illness; Ylandris needs a physical form to survive in Earth's dimension, and proposes merging her essence with Cecilia to keep both beings alive. She later gives birth to her son, Carlos. Once trained in the use of her new power by Ylandris, she takes the name Poison, and becomes a vigilante, working as a motel housekeeper in her civilian identity.
Poison kills three of the High Evolutionary's Purifiers, who were sent to kill her because there was a possibility that her powers could be passed on to her offspring. She then journeys to the Nexus of All Realities, where Ylandris splits herself off from Cecilia and uses the Nexus to return to her home dimension. Because Ylandris had modified her genetic structure, Poison retains her superhuman powers even after her departure. Before departing, Ylandris informs her that because she was still pregnant at the time of their merging, Carlos might retain some form of her power as well.
She aids Joe Trinity, who communicates with his mop, which he calls Myrna. In reality, it is a supernatural force called Mrinhä that is seeking to possess him, taking advantage of his breakup with his ex-wife, whose new husband is working for the mobster called the Slug, to interface with him, eventually joining with him and destroying the mop. Poison destroys Mrinhä by taking it up herself and having her Ylandris powers destroy it.
Paris Scott hires Poison for the Great Game, so the Cardinales move to New York City. Intending to take her job with Scott, El Toro Negro attacks Poison, but she overpowers him. The wounded Poison is approached by Ben Reilly and, assuming him to be the same Spider-Man that she previously met,[note 1] entrusts her son's safety to him. When El Toro Negro kidnaps Carlos, she realizes Reilly betrayed her and severs her contract with Scott so that El Toro Negro will release her son. El Toro Negro tries to kill them both anyway, but Reilly saves them both.
Much later, Poison was one of numerous minor heroes and villains killed and resurrected in the service of the Hand. She took part in a combined assault by the forces of the Hand and HYDRA on the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier.[volume & issue needed] While many of those involved in the assault were killed, Poison's fate remains unknown.
Powers and abilities
The full range of the mutagenic changes wrought on Cecilia Cardinale's body by the presence of the alien being Ylandris is still unknown. Thus far, Poison has demonstrated superhuman strength and exceptional athletic ability including enhanced endurance and reflexes, as well as the power to levitate, fly at slow speeds, and teleport herself and others. She can also psionically alter the flesh of others to make them sick, injured or diseased, even killing them, disfiguring them as they die. She does not need to touch a person to exercise this power, but can do it simply by looking at them.
- This is one of several continuity errors in Spider-Man #64; contrary to Poison's greeting to Reilly, and the accompanying editorial note, Poison and Spider-Man had only met each other in their civilian identities.
- Web of Spider-Man Annual #4
- Marvel Comics Presents #60-67
- Spider-Man #64