Exiles #23 The Grim Reaper

Another pair of characters that I never really read in the comics but became fascinated with from their write ups in the old Marvel Super Heroes game.  Nekra had just the right power set to go toe-to-toe with my favorite character when he was first created so I used fights against her as a benchmark for his progression as he advanced.

She seems like an underused character and one who was very stereotyped.  She was pretty powerful and ended up heading up her own cult but always seemed to play second fiddle to the men in her life.  Men who seemed to be particularly suited to treating her with disdain.

Grim Reaper just had a really cool look and power set.  And I was into West Coast Avengers when the whole thing with the Vision losing his personality came up so Grim Reaper’s connection with Wonder Man and Vision was pretty fascinating to me, too.

Grim Reaper

Nekra Sinclair

Fighting:     RM

Agility:      IN

Strength:     GD

Endurance: RM

Reason:       TY

Intuition:     GD

Psyche:       IN

Health:        110

Karma:       56

Resources:   PR

Popularity: -5

Powers:

Strength Increase: Once every eight hours Grim Reaper can increase her Strength to Incredible for up to one hour. She can trigger this power by extremely violent hatred or a Psyche FEAT.

Armor Skin: As a side effect of her increased strength, she gains Amazing protection from both physical and energy attacks.

Tracking: Grim Reaper has the Excellent ability to follow trails left by others.

Zombie Creation: Grim Reaper has the Remarkable ability to create zombies from the bodies of any person slain by her scythe. The ritual takes 8 minutes. She can control up to 30 Zombies at one time. As a Power Stunt, she can transform a corpse into a lifelike zombie with the original person’s personality and Abilities.

Equipment:

Battle Scythe: The scythe is made of Incredible Strength Steel. The blade inflicts Strength level Edged damage. Other weapons are installed in the haft, as listed below:

Force Blaster – Remarkable damage, range 5 areas.

Knock-Out Gas – Excellent intensity, fills one area.

Talents: The Grim Reaper is a Weapon Specialist with her scythe, giving her a +2CS. She is familiar with Occult Lore and Martial Arts A, B, and E.

Contacts: Nekra has worked with the Mandrill and Black Talon.

Background: Nekra is the daughter of Gemma Sinclair, a scientist at the Los Alamos Atomic Proving Grounds in New Mexico. A year before she was born, her mother and Frederick Beechman, a janitor, were exposed to a massive dose of radiation in an accident. Nekra was born with chalk white skin, though her parents were black and Beechman’s son, Jerome, was born with deep brown skin though his parents were white.

Because of her obvious mutation, Nekra was despised by her parents and taunted by other children. When she was ten, she ran away from home and met Jerome, who had been mistreated in much the same way, in the New Mexico desert. The two began to wander together. For the next six years, they lived on the edge of civilization, surviving by stealth and cunning, and educating themselves by reading stolen books. One night, angry New Mexican townspeople, believing the two children to be “monsters,” attacked them with pitchforks and guns. Nekra responded to their fear and hatred in kind, and as her rage grew within her, her latent mutant powers surfaced. She and young Beechman slew some of their attackers and drove off the rest.

In the years that followed, Nekra developed fangs and grew more vampiric in appearance while Beechman grew to resemble a mandrill. Beechman conceived the ambitious scheme of overthrowing three small West African governments and consolidating the nations under his rule. He tookt he name Mandrill and made Nekra the priestess of his personality cult. That plan was thwarted by the jungle adventurer Shanna O’Hara. In the aftermath of their African fiasco, Mandrill and Nekra regrouped and formed Black Spectre, an organization of black women dedicated to the overthrow of the United States government. Their plot, which culminated in a brief takeover of the White House, was thwarted by Daredevil, Shanna O’Hara and the Black Widow. The Mandrill escaped, but Nekra was taken into custody by SHIELD.

Nekra spent several months confined in a SHIELD holding facility, drugged so that she would be unable to use her powers. But during her incarceration, she saw the television broadcast of a rally held by the Hate-Monger, and responded to the subliminal frequencies designed to stimulate hatred in the viewing audience. This overwhelmed the effects of the drugs given her, and Nekra escaped, vowing revenge on the Mandrill, who had abandoned her.

Nekra soon happened upon a den of fanatics in an abandoned subway tunnel in New York City and, sensing opportunity, offered herself as a sacrifice to their death-goddess, Kali, knowing that her power would make it impossible for them to kill her. When she “miraculously” survived the sacrifice, she told the cultists that she was their goddess incarnate, and demanded that the current priestesses of the cult, Shaya and Ushas, submit themselves to sacrifice as she had done. Those priestesses failed to survive, and with their deaths Nekra became the High Priestess of the Cult of Kali.

Later, Nekra established a base of operations on the West Coast by murdering Adrienne Hatos, the reclusive widow of the founder of a clinic for emotional research, and taking her place, hoped to use the clinic’s resources to learn why her powers depended on violent emotion, and why softer emotions made her vulnerable. Nekra’s connection to the clinic was discovered by Jessica Drew, the original Spider-Woman. She defeated Spider-Woman but abandoned her scheme as she knew that her cover was ruined.

Later, she made contact with the voodoo-master known as the Black Talon and combined her Cult of Kali with his voodoo cult. It was through her partnership with Black Talon that she met the Grim Reaper. Despite their vastly different backgrounds, they found themselves attracted to each other because of their shared love of hatred. Nekra joined the Grim Reaper’s Lethal Legion and assisted the Black Talon in capturing the Grim Reaper’s enemy, the Vision. They also created a zombie that resembled the Grim Reaper’s brother, Simon Williams, the Avenger known as Wonder Man. The Grim Reaper planned to give the zombie those brain patterns which the Vision and Wonder Man shared to create a Simon Williams closer to what he remembered his brother to be than were either Wonder Man or the Vision. The plan failed, however, and while fleeing the two in a cave, the Grim Reaper fell off a ledge and was impaled on a stalagmite.

Distraught over the loss of her lover and unwilling to bring him back into a false life as a zombie, Nekra instead took on the mantle of the Grim Reaper as well as his signature weapon and plotted her revenge. Finding out that one of the targets of her vengeance, Wonder Man, was now part of the West Coast Avengers, she returned to that area.

While there, she joined the Shroud’s Night Watch, believing, as most of the members did, the group to be a gathering of criminals seeking power. It did not take long for her to understand the Shroud’s ulterior motive though the group and the West Coast branch of the Avengers clashed several times in the meanwhile.

Nekra confronted the Shroud about his duplicity but, rather than reveal his secret or try to oust him, she offered to aid him. Recently, she’d come to realize that she was attracted to Simon much as she had been to his brother. Hoping to prove herself heroic to Wonder Man, she decided to turn over a new leaf.

In the meantime, Simon had recently voiced his long held attraction to the Scarlet Witch, an attraction she found hard to put off as her husband, the Vision had recently become cold and emotionless and had previously shared much of Simon’s personality. Eventually, Scarlet Witch spurned him and, stung, he left the Avengers, wandering aimlessly.

Nekra saw her opportunity and approached him. During a short fight, she convinced him she was not his enemy and the two became traveling companions and eventually romantically involved. Their happiness was not meant to last, however and those Nekra had left behind soon came seeking retribution. Black Talon and her former Kali Cult along with the remnants of the Lethal Legion and the Mandrill came for her.

With the aid of the Exiles, the pair was able to fight off their assailants but not before Simon was seriously wounded. Henry Pym was able to use ionic nature of his metabolism to save him, but in the process he was turned into a being of pure energy. A side effect of this change was that he became colder and less emotional.

Unable to reconcile herself with the change in Simon, and too exhausted by previous attempts to begin on a new quest for revenge, a resigned Grim Reaper asked and was granted permission to join the Exiles.

And as usual, if you’ve read this far (or just skipped to the end)…you can buy my novels and games at blackguardpress.com