While the comic world is home to many heroes and villains that see things as strictly black or white, there are those that operate primarily in the gray area. Although these antiheroes usually mean well, they almost always make things more difficult for both the heroes and the villains. One such antiheroine from the DC Universe was introduced in Action Comics #775 in 2001, do you know who this is?
Created by Joe Kelly and Doug Mahnke, Menagerie made her comic debut alongside fellow antihero Manchester Black. The name is actually shared by two Puerto Rican sisters, Pam and Sonja, who are linked with a symbiotic alien weapon crèche called symbeasts. During Action Comics #775, Manchester Black explains that rogue men once kidnapped the dregs of society, turned them into weapons and sold them off to the highest bidder. This is the explanation given for how Pam gained her ability to control symbiotic alien parasites.
These symbeasts can be assembled to form various shapes and weapons such as claws, spikes, wings, or whips. The host can also instruct them to take other forms, or detach from the body to operate independently. One creature has a bite that can force its victims to tell the truth, while another can create bioelectric bursts. Menagerie has acidic blood as well and this is often used as a combat tactic.
Eventually, Pam is recruited to join Manchester Black’s group of antiheroes known as The Elite. This group, whose mission statement is to “free the Earth of scum,” frequently find themselves in conflict with Superman. On their first team outing, the Elite face the Man of Steel on Jupiter’s moon before being defeated and taken into custody. After being released by President Lex Luthor, members of the Elite attempt to assassinate Luthor. When Pam reveals to Superman that the Elite are acting against their will, Black induces a stroke in her.
With Pam in a permanent vegetative state, Sonja takes up the mantle of Menagerie in JLA #100 in 2004. During this time, Black’s sister Vera Lynn Black reassembles the Elite as a force for good. While Sonja is initially recruited by Vera to join the new Elite, her hatred of Manchester Black becomes a hatred of the Elite. Acting as a double agent, Sonja joins the team but uses every instance to undermine Vera’s authority and destroy the team.
While the comic Pam is still out of commission, the character is preparing to make her live-action debut on The CW’s Supergirl. Major Crimes star Jessica Meraz has been tapped to portray Menagerie for the fourth season of the DCTV series.