Decimation: House of
M – The Day After #1
Sapien League, Purifiers
Little is known about the early life of the woman that would be transformed into the Leper Queen. At some point, she became pregnant but five months into the pregnancy she had a chance encounter with a mutant. At that particular moment, the baby inside her moved and according to the Leper Queen, she felt a fire in her belly. She gave birth to a girl named Lucia but five months after the birth, Lucia began to create small sparks. Soon her powers had grown enough that she could create small fires. When Lucia was two years old, she created a fire that burned down their house. Her mother ran into the fire to save her and suffered serious burns all over her body as well as smoke damage to her lungs. Lucia ultimately perished in the fire and this tragic event left her mother scarred, both physically and mentally for the rest of her life. [X-Men (2nd series) #181]
Due to the extensive scarring on her face and body, she chose to cover herself with a mask and a wig. She adopted the name Leper Queen and dedicated her life to seeking revenge on mutants, whom she blamed for what happened to her daughter. She joined the anti-mutant group The Sapien League, which used highly illegal and violent methods to deal with the mutant problem. She soon became a leader within this group due to her obsessive hatred for mutants. Because of the trauma and her physical condition, the Leper Queen did not like to get too close to people and kept an air of sinister mystery around her. Apparently, she even killed one of her own League members who had seen her without her mask on.
The League traveled around the globe, hunting down mutants and killing them. However, with millions of mutants in existence, taking out a few here and there was a futile effort. That was until M-day came and the mutant population was reduced to less than 200 individuals. Suddenly, the goal of killing all mutants was a very real one, so the Leper Queen and her Sapien League stepped up their efforts. The X-Men had created a safe haven for the remaining mutants on the lawn of their school. The Leper Queen decided to travel to the school to destroy it, as she saw it as mutantkind's spiritual home and taking it out would make a statement to the world's remaining mutants. As she and a few members of the League headed to the school, they ran across Mammomax, Peepers and Erg, who were also headed there. The Leper Queen engaged them in battle and the three mutants were soon overpowered. She strapped Erg to a cross and was about to burn him alive but was stopped at the last minute by Wolverine and Colossus, who saw the smoke from the battle and came to investigate
Not deterred by defeat,the Leper Queen and her League continued towards the school and hid out in the nearby woods to plan their next move. Her plans were complicated, however, by the arrival of Val Cooper and a squad of O.N.E. Sentinels, who had decided that the X-Men needed more firepower to help defend the mutant refugees. The X-Men themselves were in disarray after a number of their members had been depowered. Iceman, who incorrectly believed himself depowered, had run off into the woods looking for Polaris. Instead, he was captured by the Sapien League and found himself about to be executed by the Leper Queen. She might have succeeded if it had not been for Emma Frost mentally helping to repower Iceman, who in turn froze the Leper Queen’s hand, causing her to drop her gun.
Nevertheless, The Leper Queen fled into the woods before she could be captured. During her escape, she ran into Peepers and Outlaw and decided to take her anger out on them, knocking them unconscious. With too much activity in the area, the Leper Queen left the scene to continue her mutant hunt elsewhere. [House of M: The Day After, X-Men (2nd series) #177-179]
She didn’t have to wait too long for a hunt. Members of her Sapien League had tracked Havok and Polaris to Costa Rica, where the two had gone to help Polaris convalesce after her recent de-powerment. After a quick stop off at her daughter’s grave, she traveled there to deal with them personally.
While tracking the two through the jungle, she told her story to one of her group members, explaining that she needed to tell it sometimes. After she showed the man her scarred face, she killed him to keep her life and trail uncluttered.
She eventually caught up with Havok and Polaris. The two had just witnessed the alien Daap crash land on Earth and were in the process of investigating the creature. When the alien blasted Havok away, the Leper Queen took the opportunity to attack Polaris. As the two struggled, Havok used his powers and blasted Daap, causing the small green alien to explode. The Leper Queen and Polaris were covered in green goo that wrapped around them. Before they could react, the goo carried the two women up into the air. In the struggle, the Leper Queen dropped her wig, mask and a locket containing a photo of her daughter. [X-Men (2nd series) #180-181]
The women were taken to the newly awoken Apocalypse’s base. He was in the process of recruiting a new set of Horsemen and decided to interview the Leper Queen for the position of Pestilence. Ultimately, Apocalypse decided not to use her,claiming that, although a certain amount of volition was advantageous, she wanted it too much. Instead, he turned Polaris into Pestilence and chained up the Leper Queen until he had use for her. [X-Men (2nd series) #185]
However, after Apocalypse was defeated by the X-Men, the Leper Queen somehow gained her freedom. She decided to continue her mutant hunt, but this time off the X-Men’s radar. She eventually turned up in Guatemala, where she murdered two girls. This time, she was captured by the local authorities and was sentenced to death by electric chair. Just as she was about to be electrocuted, the Purifiers, a religious anti-mutant group, killed everyone present and set the Leper Queen free, saying that she had been summoned.
It was in fact the X-Men’s nemesis, Bastion, who had done the summoning. His plan involved the acquisition of a number of influential leaders of anti-mutant groups into his own cause. The Leper Queen fit the bill perfectly, as Bastion’s data revealed by that point she was responsible for the deaths of 221 mutants and was head of the Sapien League. He acquired a sample of the techno-organic virus and had re-written its programming so that he could control it. He then injected the virus into the Leper Queen and the other leaders; in some cases the virus resurrecting them from the dead. The virus itself now gave Bastion control over the host, allowing him to use the subject and their influence to his own ends. [X-Force (3rd series) #3]
The Leper Queen soon came to regret her new role, as she felt she had now become less than human and had no control over her actions. She began to question herself and even her sanity and decided that she wasn’t going to do what Bastion said. However, due to Bastion’s control over the techno-organic virus in her body, she had no choice but to comply.
Bastion made the Leper Queen re-form her Sapien League which had fallen apart in her absence. With a new group around her, she moved on to the next stage in the plan. Thanks to Bastion and Cameron Hodge, she now came into possession of a new strain of the legacy virus, a deadly virus that targeted mutants. To test the virus, she kidnapped the Morlock called Beautiful Dreamer and injected her with the new strain. The League then took her to an anti-mutant rally in Ames, Iowa and set her loose amongst the crowd. The virus caused Beautiful Dreamer’s memory wiping powers to flare up uncontrollably until she released one final burst before she died. Over 1,100 people died when their minds were wiped to such a degree their brains forgot to tell their hearts to beat.
This was all part of Bastian's master plan to incite even greater anti-mutant sentiment. The Leper Queen knew that this was wrong. She wanted to kill mutants, not humans, but she was powerless to do anything about it. She was forced to repeat the plan but this time used Fever Pitch and his fire powers to kill hundreds more anti-mutant protesters.
Cyclops’ covert group X-Force were now hot on her trail but that didn’t stop the Leper Queen hitting them where it hurt. She kidnapped three of their own, Hellion, Boom Boom and Surge, and planned to repeat her plan of using them as bombs. She injected Hellion and Surge with the virus and sent them to the United Nations building. She decided to keep Boom Boom with her, though, as part of a different plan for herself.
Sure enough, X-Force found the Leper Queen and confronted her in her base. A standoff ensued with the Leper Queen holding a needle containing the legacy virus to Boom Boom’s neck. She started to goad X-Force into killing her and was rewarded when Vanisher disarmed her and Wolverine overpowered her. At the last possible moment though, X-Force disappeared before her eyes before they were able to end her life. Disappointed that they hadn’t killed her, the Leper Queen finally snapped as her plan to free herself from Bastion’s control had failed. Out of spite, she shot Boom Boom point blank on the head, declaring that X-Force had failed them both. [X-Force (3rd series) #12-13]
What she didn’t know was that X-Force hadn’t merely teleported to a different location; they had been traveled into the future on a mission for Cyclops. The team was wearing devices that would bring them back to the present after a certain time had elapsed. With their mission in the future complete, X-23 raced back to her original entry point in the future so that she had a chance to save Boom Boom. She made it just in time as the device activated and she was returned to the present a mere 1.3 seconds after she had left. As she appeared from the portal, the Leper Queen was about to execute Boom Boom but X-23 fired her gun shooting the Leper Queen three times. With her dying breath, she thanked X-23 for finally setting her free. [X-Force (3rd series) #17]