Art by Jim Cheung.
|First appearance||(as Whitney Frost)|
Tales of Suspense #98
(as Madame Masque)
Iron Man #17
|Created by||Stan Lee (writer)|
Gene Colan (artist)
|Alter ego||Giulietta Nefaria (originally)|
Whitney Frost (legally changed)
Masters of Evil
|Notable aliases||Big M, the Director, Kristine "Krissy" Longfellow|
|Abilities||Skilled hand to hand combatant|
Master strategist and organizer
Proficiency with robotics
Madame Masque (birth name Giulietta Nefaria but legally renamed Whitney Frost) is a fictional character, a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. An occasional love interest and enemy of Iron Man and the daughter of Count Nefaria, she originally wore a golden mask to cover up her disfigured face and continues to do so after her face was healed.
Over the years, Madame Masque has appeared in various forms of media, including animated television series and video games. Most notably, Whitney Frost appeared in the second season of the Agent Carter television series, portrayed by Wynn Everett set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (December 2012)
Fictional character biography
Madame Masque was born as Giulietta Nefaria, the daughter of the master criminal Count Luchino Nefaria, in Rome, Italy. Her mother died when giving birth and Luchino wanted his daughter to lead a respectable life, so he gave the child to Byron Frost, a wealthy financier and an employee of Nefaria, and his wife Loretta Frost, to be raised. Frost called the child Whitney and raised her as his own.
As a young adult, Whitney was a debutante and socialite, and became engaged to politician Roger Vane. Following the Frosts' deaths, Count Nefaria approached Whitney and revealed her true parentage, telling her that Nefaria wants her to take her true father's place as leader of the Maggia, a Mafia-like organization based on the East Coast of the United States. Whitney at first refused, but when she tells Roger about her father, Roger leaves her, afraid that her connections to a known criminal would hamper a political career.
Whitney accepted her father's offer to become a professional criminal mastermind and was trained by the Count in strategy, criminal activities and combat. She turned out to be a brilliant student and when her father is imprisoned, she becomes the new Big M, the leader of the Nefaria family of the Maggia. Her role as Big M brought her into conflict with Iron Man. Whitney was forced to flee after a raid on Stark Industries. The plane she escaped in crashed and Whitney's face was scarred, but she was saved by the criminal Mordecai Midas and started to work for him. Midas is obsessed with gold and Whitney hides her face behind a golden mask and uses the alias "Madame Masque".
Madame Masque meets Tony Stark (Iron Man's alter ego) and the latter shows concern for her despite her scarred face. She turns on Midas to save Stark, but leaves Stark because of her criminal past. Unable to forget Stark, she returns as Krissy Longfellow, Stark's personal secretary. Both come to know each other's secret identity and start a romantic relationship. Their happiness is short-lived as Count Nefaria is dying due to a result of an attempt to gain superhuman powers. Whitney hires the Ani-Men to bring her father to her and then asks Stark to find a cure for her father. Nefaria tries to use violence to force Stark, and a battle starts between the Ani-Men and Iron Man. Whitney is unable to choose between her father and her lover, and when Nefaria's life-support is damaged in the fight, she goes insane with guilt and grief. Whitney returns to the Nefaria Maggia and as "The Director" becomes its leader. She often fights Iron Man and his friends.[volume & issue needed]
At one point, Frost becomes paranoid and starts to create copies of herself, known as bio-duplicates. One of her bio-duplicates, known as Masque, becomes an ally of the Avengers. She also creates robotic servants known as the Inner Guard and names them individually after notable historical traitors, Benedict, Brutus, Fawkes, Quisling, Monmouth (based on Benedict Arnold, Marcus Junius Brutus, Guy Fawkes, Vidkun Quisling and the Duke of Monmouth) and two other, unnamed members.
One member of the Inner Guard, Benedict, recaptures Masque for Whitney. Masque tries to convince her the Avengers are benevolent and that she should reach out to Stark again, but Whitney is still too fearful to do so. She continues to be a criminal figure of importance, until her father returns from the dead once again and destroys her base. She reluctantly assists the Avengers and the Thunderbolts against Nefaria, but she secretly plans to betray and destroy both sides, her increased paranoia causing her to believe that both sides want only to kill her, despite moments of doubt such as when Stark unmasks in her presence but lowers his face-plate back when preparing to talk to the rest of the Avengers.[volume & issue needed] Masque again tries unsuccessfully to convince her to side with the heroes, then joins the battle in Whitney's place. Masque uses a weapon designed to disrupt Nefaria's ionic energy that Whitney was saving until the Avengers were dead and Nefaria weakened, and is slain by Nefaria before she can fire the weapon. Madame Masque is shocked by her duplicate's nobility and sacrifice, with Iron Man's dismayed reaction at what appears to be her death compared to Nefaria's glee forcing her to recognize that her duplicate was right about the Avengers. Whitney joins the battle and plays a key role in her father's defeat, her weapon causing him to begin leaking ionic energy until he finally collapses. She renounces her criminal past, and MACH-II of the Thunderbolts offers her membership, but she declines, departing to parts unknown to consider her future. Before leaving, she asked MACH-II to thank everyone for her, especially Iron Man.
Madame Masque is hired by the Hood to take advantage of the split in the superhero community caused by the Superhuman Registration Act. She becomes the Hood's second in command (and his lover) and helps them fight the New Avengers. She is taken down by Doctor Strange and taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. A group of Skrulls disguised as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents try to learn her true face so they can switch her out. The Hood frees her and kills all the Skrulls except one. In an unknown location attended by most of the Hood's army, they learn from the Skrull agent that the Skrulls plan on taking over Earth, believing it to be rightfully theirs. Madame Masque rejoins the Hood's crime syndicate and attacks an invading Skrull force. She is among the Hood's crime syndicate as they assist the heroes in their final battle against the Skrulls.
During the Dark Reign storyline, Norman Osborn puts a bounty on Tony Stark's head, and personally calls Madame Masque over to Stark Tower, offering the locations of Iron Man's multiple armories to help her find Stark. She tracks Stark to Russia, which Pepper Potts had also done. Masque captures and tortures Pepper before demanding that Stark tell her his true feelings to her real face. Stark admits that, though they have been fighting, always loved her, to which Masque reciprocates. However, when faced with a direct choice between Pepper or Masque, Pepper is chosen. As Stark escapes to Afghanistan, Masque and Pepper go hand-to-hand with each other. Masque is imprisoned in a discarded Crimson Dynamo suit while Pepper, disguised as Masque, reports to Osborn that Pepper was killed in combat, and returns to the United States with the Rescue armor, which is placed in storage with Iron Man's other armors that Osborn has acquired.
Madame Masque is part of a surprise attack on the New Avengers, a trap set up by Osborn. Later, when The Hood attacks Doctor Strange in order to become the Sorcerer Supreme, she tries to help him deal with his possession by Dormammu, taking off her mask and confessing her feelings for him. When Osborn calls off the hunt for Stark due to Stark being in a persistent vegetative state, Masque decides to take matters into her own hands, and hires the Ghost to eliminate Stark, a task at which Ghost fails.
Masque, along with the rest of the Hood's gang, joins in helping Iron Patriot with the Siege of Asgard. However, Loki retakes the Norn stones from the Hood to help the Avengers and Asgardians battle the Void. Masque helps the Hood slip away. The Hood is pessimistic, knowing that his gang would simply sell him out. Therefore, she seeks out her father Count Nefaria for help. The New Avengers track her and the Hood using John King. After a battle with Nefaria, the New Avengers capture all four and bring them to Maria Hill to place them under arrest.
She appears in Madripoor for the auction of a videotape showing Hawkeye assassinating an Asian dictator. However, the real Madame Masque is later revealed bound and gagged in her hotel room, with her costume and identity having been stolen by Kate Bishop. After the tape is destroyed, Masque vows vengeance on Hawkeye and Bishop. Masque later attempts to capture Bishop by luring the girl to her home in California, where she drugs her. The teen manages to escape and wrecks the house in the process, causing Masque to once again swear vengeance.
As part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel event, Madame Masque starts a quest to retrieve different magical objects in order to empower herself. During her journey, she is pursued by a mysterious group of ninjas. Iron Man catches onto her motives when she tries to steal a duplicate Wand of Watoomb from Castle Doom. Upon discovering the artifact she had stolen is fake, she kills her informant in a hotel in Montreal. Iron Man later confronts Madame Masque in the hotel room and tries to reason with her. Startled by his presence, Madame Masque unleashes a surprising display of enormous magic power at him. Upon traveling to Mary Jane Watson's nightclub Jackpot in Chicago, Madame Masque confronts her former business partner Belhilio and kills him. She then faces off against Iron Man and Doctor Doom  which results in damaging the nightclub. When Mary Jane Watson distracts Madame Masque by knocking off her mask with a microphone, Doctor Doom discovers that Madame Masque has been demonically possessed. Iron Man is able to hold her down while Doctor Doom successfully performs an exorcism. By the time Iron Man regains consciousness, Doctor Strange arrives and informs him that he will take Madame Masque away to metaphysically fix her and will later hand her over to the custody of S.H.I.E.L.D.
House of M: Masters of Evil
In the House of M universe, Madame Masque fulfills a similar role as her mainstream counterpart. In this, she is the second in command of the Hood's Criminal Syndicate, as well as being his mistress. She is with him during the uprising, and invades the foreign country with him. She is one of the few criminals who decides to stay with Robbins when the other criminals decide that the heat from Magneto is too much. She is killed in the final battle and it is remarked that Robbins and Masque had a very powerful love, that kept Parker fighting.
In the Marvel Noir Universe, a version of Madame Masque exists, first is one in Spider-Man Noir. Unlike the mainstream version, however, this version is Felicia Hardy. She is powerless, and does not become Madame Masque until the end of Spider-Man Noir: Eyes without a Face. Previously, she had been slashed by the Crime Master in the face and various parts of the body. Eventually, she recovers, but in the final panel, her face is shown, wearing a mask similar to mainstream Madame Masque.
In Iron Man Noir, another version of Madame Masque appears in as an explorer working with Tony Stark, not to mention a former flame as well. Dr. Gialetta Nefaria, along with Tony, Virgil Munsey, an editor for a magazine called Marvels, and Rhodey are on a trip in British Honduras. After acquiring a rare Jade mask in a temple, she is later seen betraying Stark and his friends to Baron Zemo, his commander Von Strucker. Though Rhodey and Tony escape, they set off a bomb and in the explosion, Gialetta is forever scarred. Gialetta is revealed to be alive, wearing the Jade mask, with the Nazi's having captured Pepper Potts, and Orichalcum, Atlantis' power source. When Tony attacks Von Strucker's airship, Gialetta tries to stop Tony, but is struck down by Pepper, who was tortured by her.
Powers and abilities
Madame Masque has no superhuman powers, but is an athletic woman and a skilled hand-to-hand combatant in various martial arts and an expert markswoman. She is a master strategist and organizer, although she suffers from mental instability and is believed to be criminally insane. She has access to advanced technology like her bio-duplicates.
Madame Masque wears body armor of an unknown composition with a gold metal faceplate, underneath which her face was chemically scarred. The faceplate is hard enough to deflect bullets without causing her any permanent injury. She carries a .475 Wildey Magnum revolver and other handguns, in addition to weapons that fire concussive blasts of energy or sleeping-gas cartridges.
In other media
- Madame Masque appeared in the 1990s Iron Man animated series, voiced by Lisa Zane. In the episode "Beauty Knows No Pain", Madame Masque uses her Maggia connections to look for the Golden Sepulcher of Isis. Although she obtains the object, she loses herself to the power and is defeated by Iron Man, further cementing her insanity.
- Madame Masque appears in Iron Man: Armored Adventures, voiced by Kristie Marsden. This version is Whitney Julietta Stane, the neglected daughter of Obadiah Stane and a love interest to Tony Stark. She uses a prototype disguise mask that lets her take the appearance of anyone, but also emits unchecked radiation that eventually drives her insane with a split personality. Madame Masque is also acrobatic, a skilled fighter, and is armed with stolen Stark weapons and equipment to use in battle. Whitney appears as a recurring character in the show and Madame Masque is present in the episodes "Masquerade", "Chasing Ghosts", "Don't Worry, Be Happy", "Best Served Cold" and "Iron Monger Lives".
- A 1940s version of Whitney Frost appears in Agent Carter, portrayed by Wynn Everett. Her character was inspired by Hedy Lamarr and Lauren Bacall. During her youth, she was Agnes Cully (portrayed by both Ivy George and Olivia Welch), a math and engineering prodigy whose mother insisted that a woman's only worth to the world was her beauty. She uses her engineering skills for Isodyne Energy while under the Whitney Frost stage name while in Hollywood. In season two, she manipulates her husband Calvin Chadwick into researching Zero Matter before running afoul of the substance herself which gives her the ability to absorb anything into her body, landing her in conflict with Peggy Carter and the S.S.R. despite her friendship with mob boss Joseph Manfredi. Ultimately, Whitney is deprived of her Zero Matter abilities and is committed to an asylum.
- Whitney Frost appears in the Avengers Assemble animated series, voiced again by Wynn Everett. This version is a Hydra scientist who was taken into custody by the Avengers while performing vampire-related experiments. This causes Dracula to target her, leading to Hawkeye having to protect her in a safe house. Afterward, she becomes stationed at an arctic SHIELD base wearing an ankle monitor, and explores an ancient Wakandan ship with Black Panther and the Avengers. When the ship starts sinking with them inside, Whitney finds and puts on its golden control mask to try and save themselves, despite Panther's protests. The advanced technology of the mask gives her the ability to connect with the ship's systems, any machines, and channel other abilities through it. By linking her mind to the ship's systems, she stabilizes the ship and stops it from sinking. However, the mask is too unstable and drives her mad with power. She turns against Black Panther and the Avengers, ejecting them and leaving with the ship. She then takes the name Madame Masque and joins Killmonger's Shadow Council, helping them in their efforts to take over Wakanda and learning more about their technology. After their defeat, Madame Masque starts working alone. She achieves even greater powers after learning more about her mask, and becomes convinced she can make a better world under her guidance with her enormous power. Madame Masque lures the Avengers to a Hydra base using Arnim Zola. She overwhelms both teams and captures Red Skull and Iron Man to siphon knowledge and technology from their minds. Since Stark and Hydra control most of the world's technology between the two of them, she intends to couple them with her own to become unstoppable. Hawkeye and Black Panther put aside their differences to destroy her ship, the source of her mask's power. Madame Masque tries to save it in vain, and falls to her death as it crashes to the ground.
- Madame Masque appears in the Iron Man video game, voiced by Courtenay Taylor. Her name is Whitney Nefaria and had a romantic history with Tony Stark. She is depicted as a Maggia member whose engages in battle with Iron Man using her forces at the Maggia compound. She is killed when a wall falls on her. In the Xbox 360/PS3 version, she threatens to launch missiles on populated areas during Iron Man's assault and appears to have been caught in an explosion when he destroys the base's power supply. However, she returns on the Maggia's flying fortress, appearing to have started wearing a mask to cover a scarred face, saying it reflects how she forgot what she used to be and compares it to Tony Stark's change of heart about making weapons. She is apparently killed when Iron Man cripples and destroys the air fortress.
- Madame Masque is featured as a boss in the Facebook game Marvel: Avengers Alliance.
- Tales of Suspense #98
- Iron Man #17
- Iron Man #116-117
- Avengers #397
- Avengers volume 3 #32
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- Avengers, volume 3 #34
- New Avengers #35
- New Avengers Annual #2
- New Avengers #46
- Secret Invasion #6
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- The Invincible Iron Man #12-14
- The Invincible Iron Man #15 (July 2009)
- The Invincible Iron Man #16 (August 2009)
- The Invincible Iron Man #18 (September 2009)
- The Invincible Iron Man #17 (September 2009)
- New Avengers #50
- New Avengers #52
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- Siege #3
- New Avengers #64
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- The Avengers #9 (February 2011)
- Hawkeye #4 (November 2012)
- Hawkeye #5 (December 2012)
- Hawkeye Annual #1
- Avengers Undercover #1
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- Invincible Iron Man Vol. 2 #2
- Invincible Iron Man Vol. 2 #4
- Invincible Iron Man Vol. 2 #5
- Civil War: House of M Issues #1-4
- JLA/Avengers #4
- Spider-Man Noir: Eyes Without a Face Issue #4
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