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Madame Masque

Real Name: Countess Giulietta Nefaria (Her legal name in the United States is Whitney Frost.)
Occupation: Adventuress and sometimes criminal mastermind
Identity: Known to S.H.I.E.L.D. and other law enforcement agencies, but otherwise secret Legal Status: Citizen of Italy and the United States, now wanted by American law enforcement agencies for various criminal offenses
Former Aliases: Big M, the Director. Kristine "Krissy" Longfellow
Place of Birth: Rome, Italy
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: Count Luchino Nefaria (father, deceased), Countess Renata Nefaria (mother, deceased), Byron Frost (adoptive father, deceased), Loretta Frost (adoptive mother, deceased)
Group Affiliation: Leader of the Nefaria "family" of the Maggia, former employee of Midas
Base of Operations: Unknown
First Appearance: (as Big M) TALES OF SUSPENSE #97, (as Whitney Frost) TALES OF SUSPENSE #98, (as Madame Masque) IRON MAN #17

History: Count Luchino Nefaria, the Italian nobleman who was once the most powerful figure in the international criminal organization known as the Maggia, had long dreamed of having a son who would serve as his successor. However, Nefaria's wife Renata died while giving birth to their only child, Giulietta. Since Giulietta would now have no mother to raise her, and since Nefaria wanted to give his daughter the respectability that he himself lacked, the Count ordered the wealthy Wall Street financier Byron Frost to raise her in America as his own daughter. Frost was employed by Nefaria at that time to divert his illegal gains into legitimate investments. Giulietta grew up under the name Whitney Frost, believing Byron Frost and his wife to be her true parents. In her early 20s she got engaged to the wealthy and politically ambitious lawyer Roger Vane. Upon the death of Byron Frost, Count Nefaria revealed to Whitney that he was her real father, and that he intended to train her to be his successor as a Maggia leader. Shocked and distraught, Whitney refused to follow Nefaria's wishes, but the Count threatened to expose her true identity, claiming that she would be ostracized by everyone who knew her as a result. Indeed, when Whitney sought help from her fiancé and told him the whole story, Vane deserted her, fearful that association with her would ruin his political career. Realizing after months of despair that Vane would never return to her, Whitney accepted Nefaria's invitation.

Nefaria trained Whitney in criminal strategy, managing underworld operations, and combat skills, all of which she mastered brilliantly. After Nefaria was finally imprisoned for capturing Washington D.C. through his advanced weaponry and holding it for ransom, his Maggia "family" (organization), now based in New York City, chose Whitney as its new leader or "Big M" in underworld slang. Whitney proved to be a dedicated and capable leader, but did not involve her organization in such areas of Maggia activity as the narcotics trade. However, she had adopted her father's ambition to accumulate enough power to be able to challenge governments through force, and, to this end, led a raid on Stark Industries headquarters on Long Island to capture highly advanced technological weaponry. The raid proved a fiasco, thanks to the original Iron Man, and Whitney, her identity as Big M exposed, fled in a skycraft. The skycraft crashed, nearly killing Whitney, and causing chemicals on board to be released that scarred her face. She was found by agents of the power-hungry eccentric billionaire Mordecai Midas, who hired a surgeon to save her life. Midas employed Whitney as his principal criminal operative, and, out of his obsession with gold, had her conceal her damaged face behind a golden mask. She adopted the alias of Madame Masque. Although most of those who have seen her unmasked since the accident seem horrified by her face, the extent of the damage is not known.

Madame Masque despaired of ever being treated as a normal woman by a man until Midas's schemes once again brought her in contact with Anthony Stark, head of Stark Industries, who showed concern and affection for her even after seeing her unmasked. Madame Masque thereupon rebelled against Midas to save Stark, but, unwilling to burden Stark with a relationship with a wanted criminal, she disappeared after getting him to safety. Eventually, her growing love for Stark led her to masquerade as his personal secretary Krissy Longfellow. Stark, as Iron Man, learned that Longfellow was Madame Masque when both once again encountered Midas. By this time Madame Masque had realized that Stark was Iron Man, and she and Stark had begun a romantic relationship.

As a result of an attempt to give himself superhuman powers, Count Nefaria rapidly aged into a feeble, wizened old man who had to be kept alive with special life support systems. Nefaria was put in the custody of the superhuman adventurers called the Avengers, his most recent opponents, while they sought a cure for him. Madame Masque, believing that he was not receiving proper care at Avengers Mansion, had the four original Ani-Men break into the mansion and bring Nefaria to her. Nefaria demanded that the Ani-Men bring Anthony Stark to him so that he could be persuaded to find a cure for him. Madame Masque agreed very reluctantly, on the condition that Stark not be harmed. Nefaria accepted her terms, but had no intention of keeping his word. Stark, as Iron Man, ended up battling the Ani-Men in his own study. Madame Masque fled with Nefaria to one of Stark's laboratories where, heartbroken at having to choose between filial duty and her lover, she comprised by using a Jupiter Landing Vehicle to hold Iron Man at bay so that he could not recapture her father. Iron Man's battle against the vehicle caused it to fall so that not only did it sever part of Nefaria's life support system, but it also crushed Nefaria's body, killing him immediately. Iron Man had not intended Nefaria's death, but Madame Masque was traumatized by witnessing the accidental killing of her father through her lover's actions.

Still in love with Stark, but in anguish over her father's death, Whitney left Stark. It is believed that soon thereafter Whitney went insane, and remains so today. She again became leader (now under the title of "Director") of the technologically-oriented Nefaria Maggia family She has claimed that she rejoined the Maggia because she had decided never to put herself in a position of caring for anyone, and thus being hurt, again. She now seeks to kilt Iron Man for his role in her father's death, and has clashed with him since rejoining the Maggia.

Recently, Madame Masque allied herself with Obadiah Stane, another enemy of Stark's. Stane had the scientist Dr. Theron Atlanta transfer Madame Masque's mind into the body of Stark's former lover Bethany Cabe, and Cabe's mind into Madame Masque's body. In Cabe's body, Madame Masque nearly killed Stark, but was stopped by Cabe (in Masque's body). Stark used Atlanta's machine to reverse the mind exchange. However, Madame Masque, her mind restored to her true body, somehow escaped, and remains at large, still leading her Maggia family.

Height: 5 ft. 9 in.
Weight: 130 lbs.
Eyes: Gray
Hair: Black

Strength Level: Madame Masque possesses the normal human strength of a woman of her age, height, and build who engages in intensive regular exercise.

Known Superhuman Powers: None

Abilities: Madame Masque is an Olympic level gymnast and overall athlete, with special training in various methods of hand-to-hand combat. She is a superb markswoman and a master strategist and organizer. Weapons: Madame Masque has used guns which fire ordinary bullets or cartridges which released sleeping gas.

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