When having a discussion about iconic super-villainess, it is often important to note that while there are certainly numerous female villains who are every bit as evil and nasty as their male counterparts, there are some that are, well are well, totally hot bad girls with the proverbial hearts of gold. In fact, there are some great romances that have been either hinted at, or totally open secrets (Catwoman/Batman, Black Cat/Spider-Man, etc.). well, when having these types of conversations about super-villainess and their flirtatious relationships with the superheroes against whom they often find themselves in conflict, one of the “bad” girls you have to talk about is none other than Iron Maiden.
The complete Background and origin of Iron Maiden are not completely known at this time, the very first time we encountered her was during T.H.U.N.D.E.R’s initial conflict with Warlord in issue #1 (Tower, Nov, ’65). In her “battle garb” she is covered with a flexible steel skin and adorned with a red cloak. She was originally a high ranking commander in the forces of the villainous Warlord when he was attacking the surface world. At the time it was assumed that she didn’t realize that he was not human but a subterranean she helped him facilitate his plans. During the various incarnations of the T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents, she remained a recurring threat, but the Agents were never able to capture her. In spite of her villainous nature, and proclivity for world domination she did, on occasion, put aside her differences with the team to assist them save the world. Part of this flip-flopping on her part can be attributed to her on-again-off-again (never fully realized) romantic relationship with Dynamo .
Still, as a full-fledged supervillain, and opponent of the Agents, Iron Maiden has been known as being relentless, inventive, and devious. In fact, her only known weaknesses is her lustful obsession with Dynamo. While considered a rogue element within her own criminal network, Iron Maiden (affectionately referred to as “Rusty” by Dynamo) always proved to be something of an enigma; until now. With the release of DC’s T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents#7 that largely changes.
Spoiler Alert, key information is revealed in the next two paragraphs.
Issue #7 opens up with Agent Colleen Franklin looking over Iron Maiden’s file, and immediately we are launched into a flashback from 28 years ago, in Melbourne, Australia where we witness a strangely familiar red-headed woman caring for an equally—red-headed infant. The woman is on the phone to someone, and making a salad while holding the infant, suddenly she tosses the very large kitchen knife into the throat of a non-powered T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Squad Agent. Soon her house is crawling with the rest of his team. We cut to the other side of her phone conversation to discover that, yes, it was an out-of-costume Iron Maiden talking to an out-of-costume Dynamo, and now Len Brown is also being chased by T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Squaders.
In spite of their resistance, both Len and Rusty are captured and their daughter (yes — in all probability — the future Colleen Franklin) are taken into custody. Back in the present Miss Franklin has arrived at her destination and reveals to her driver that she intends to kill her mother. Quite a bombshell that is dropped at the conclusion of this issue, and while we don’t know for sure this is actually Len & Rusty’s daughter, it is pretty clear that she probably is.
End Spoiler Alert
Writer Nick Spencer has crafted another compelling tale of the new Agents, proving once again that he is perhaps the first writer since Wally Wood and his initial team who truly understands who these characters are, and how best to bring them into the 21st Century. As fans of both the original series, and the John Carbonaro (authorized) version that followed. We can honestly say that this series remains true to its roots, and only gets better with each successive issue. We can hardly wait to see what he has in store next.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing comicbooks for some 30 years. During that time, his reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular comicbook articles and reviews.