Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #210
Marauders, Project: Wideawake
Bodiless psychoplasmic entity able to
inhabit and control other beings, using
their negative emotional energies as a
conduit, and manifesting a choker collar
on their neck as a symbol of her presence
Dazzler, Polaris, Beatrice Connors,
There are many questions surrounding the early life of the Marauder simply known as Malice that remain unanswered. How did she end up as a disembodied consciousness? Did she even have a body to begin with? And, why does a disturbing looking choker appear around a host’s neck when she possesses them? Regardless of the answers it was Mister Sinister who noticed her vindictive side and drafted her into his strike team known as the Marauders. Whilst most of the team were there to simply use their muscles to aid their leader, it became obvious that Malice’s role amongst them was somewhat different.
When Mister Sinister wanted to eradicate the sewer dwelling mutants known as the Morlocks, he sent his newly formed team to do his dirty work. Whilst they cut a bloody path through the innocent mutants, Malice had a slightly different task. In San Francisco, the singer Dazzler was laying low after revealing to the world that she was a mutant. When Dazzler went to the bathroom to freshen up, she looked in the mirror to see a different face smirking back at her. Malice launched an attack but was seemingly beaten by a blast of light from Dazzler.
However, Malice’s attack had paid off and she was now lodged in Dazzler’s psyche, slowly twisting it to her whim. The only clue that something was amiss was a choker around Dazzler’s neck that had a creepy-looking face embedded in it. Soon enough though Malice’s presence became known and she began to taunt Dazzler, making her believe that she wasn’t living up to her potential. Dazzler remained as backing vocals for Lila Cheney but, thanks to Malice’s influence, she upstaged her during a concert and took over the stage. This was enough for Lila to realize something was wrong and she called the X-Men. They arrived in Dallas to find a barely recognizable Dazzler using her light powers to whip up a crowd into a near-psychotic frenzy.
Malice had gotten what she was after all along and she immediately attacked the X-Men. When Storm grabbed Dazzler, Malice jumped into Wolverine, who she could feel was already full of malicious thoughts. Wolverine went into a berserker rage and attacked his own team but was soon taken out by a scared Dazzler. Before anyone could realize what was happening, Malice jumped again, this time into Rogue. As Rogue wrecked havoc in front of TV cameras, the telepathic Psylocke informed the X-Men who they were really dealing with. The X-Men attacked Rogue and Malice naturally abandoned the body and set her sights on Storm. Fortunately, the X-Men’s leader had come to terms with the dark aspects of her mind years before and Malice was forcibly ejected out of her body. The X-Men went away believing they had destroyed Malice, little realizing that she had jumped into a bystander’s body to hide. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #210, 213-214]
Mister Sinister’s attack on the Morlocks had also diminished the X-Men’s numbers and he decided to continue the onslaught against them. Once again, Malice was given a special task and she sought out one of their former members, Polaris. She and Havok had retired from superhero life and were living in the desert. But when Havok left to check on the X-Men, Malice quickly struck and took control of Polaris. Not realizing that Malice was now in Polaris, the rest of the Marauders also tracked down the magnetic mutant and attacked her in her home. Fortunately, Malice was well aware of the plan and she quickly showed her team the full extent of Polaris’ powers. After soundly beating them, she revealed her true self and informed them that it was a test to see how well she could control her new body. Malice found that she was quite compatible with Polaris and informed her team that she was now their new field leader. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #219]
Not long after, the Marauders failed in their attempt to kill the X-Men’s ally, Madelyne Pryor. Sinister was furious and so Malice led the team to the hospital where Madelyne was recuperating. The X-Men were naturally guarding their friend and were shocked to see Polaris seemingly leading the team of killers. Malice attacked Rogue and Dazzler but was knocked unconscious by a blast from Havok. Rogue saved her from drowning and dragged her on to the beach. When Malice came round, she quickly attacked the X-Men again but was subdued by Psylocke. For a brief moment, Polaris was able to take control of her body but Malice quickly regained her hold. As the other Marauders faced the X-Men, Malice was confronted by Havok. Feeling Polaris’ attraction to him, Malice couldn’t bring herself to kill him so instead she taunted him with the knowledge that he couldn’t save his lover. Havok made a half-hearted attempt to blast Malice out of the sky but she shrugged off his attack and flew off. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #221-222]
Malice felt extremely comfortable in Polaris’ skin and for a long time she didn’t feel the need to abandon it. However, when the urge to jump out eventually arose, Malice found she was unable to leave. She angrily confronted Sinister with the revelation and he calmly told her that he knew all along she wouldn’t be able to separate herself from Polaris. He had theorized that she and Polaris’s energy matrixes were compatible and that once they bonded they would be forever joined. Malice went to attack him but he easily contained her and explained that he only did it because he cared for her and wanted to make her stronger. Taken in by his lies, Malice went away believing she was truly unique and special, little realizing that Sinister had just told her what she wanted to hear. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #239]
Malice and the Marauders soon found themselves in another battle with the X-Men. But as they fought, both teams noticed that New York was beginning to twist into a demonic version of itself. The Limbo dimension was taking over the city and it became obvious that Sinister was somehow involved. After dealing with the main threat of Madelyne Pryor, the X-Men turned their attentions to Sinister. Malice, one of the few remaining Marauders still standing, took on both the X-Men and X-Factor and proved to be a formidable foe. Nevertheless, she was soon taken down and was captured by the X-Men.
Malice put up her usual front of insults and taunts but soon changed her tune when she realized that the X-Men planned on ripping her out of Polaris’s mind. She informed them that both she and Polaris had merged minds and, if they tried to split them up, Polaris would die. Before anyone could make a decision, the building they were in was blown up by Sinister. Malice was the only one not to be knocked unconscious and so Sinister ordered her to kill everyone else. She didn’t get the chance, however, as some of the remaining team interfered and distracted her. When she fought Havok, she couldn’t help but feel all the love Polaris had for him. However, that didn’t stop her wrapping him up in metal and she slowly began to squeeze him to death. Malice was eventually taken out of the fight by Archangel, though, giving the rest of the X-Men to chance to confront Sinister without her getting in the way. [Inferno crossover]
When Sinister was apparently killed in the final confrontation with the X-Men, Malice found her hold over Polaris start to weaken. Over the weeks that followed, Polaris began to regain control more and more until Malice was just a nagging voice in the back of her mind. Events took a surprising turn when Polaris’s supposed sister, Zaladane, kidnapped her and took her to the Savage Land. Once there, Zaladane drained Polaris’ magnetic powers, seemingly destroying Malice in the process. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #249-250]
However, Malice somehow survived and sought out revenge on Mister Sinister for the way he had manipulated her. She took over the body of a woman named Beatrice Conners and used her to get close to X-Factor, Polaris’ new team. Mister Sinister, who had apparently survived his earlier death, was interested in using Polaris as a host for Malice again. Malice was adamant she didn’t want to be permanently joined to anyone, so she decided to eliminate Polaris to remove the threat once and for all. For a while, she tried using government sanctions to have Polaris accidentally killed so that she wouldn’t attract Sinister’s suspicions. But when that didn’t work she changed her tactics and decided a direct approach was in order. When she found out that Polaris was travelling to Honolulu to meet up with Havok, she decided to crash the party. As the two lovers relaxed on their beach holiday, Malice murdered some holiday makers in the room next door so she had a place close by to watch them from. Malice bided her time until the perfect opportunity for vengeance arose. Finding Havok alone, Malice struck and worked her way into his psyche. When Polaris came back, she found Havok sporting a very familiar choker around his neck but, before she could act, he attacked her.
Malice relished in the chaos she could cause with Havok’s power, all the while knowing Polaris wouldn’t dare harm her boyfriend. Polaris temporarily trapped Malice but she broke free and grabbed the dazed Beatrice and held her hostage. Malice managed to beat Polaris to a bloody pulp and would have killed her had it not been for the timely intervention of Mister Sinister himself. Malice was incensed that he had found her and refused to co-operate with him, wishing to live her own life instead. As Sinister’s new team, the Nasty Boys, fought Malice, X-Factor arrived to help out their teammates. Malice managed to trick the others into helping her out until Polaris regained consciousness and set things straight. Polaris attacked Havok and beat his body enough that Malice was left with no other option but to vacate it and reluctantly enter Polaris, knowing that she would be bound forever. Still, Havok would not let her go, as he now knew the torture Polaris had previously been through and he wouldn’t subject her to it again. Malice was caught between the two lovers who were both trying to absorb her and she began to dissipate. Unable to fully commit to one person, it was Mister Sinister who finished her off destroying her corporeal form and taking the choker. [X-Factor (1st series) #102-105]
It seemed that Malice had finally met her end but her salvation came in an unlikely form. In the time she was away, the mutant race had suffered a number of catastrophes that reduced their numbers to a mere handful. Mister Sinister was aware that a baby was to be born that would change the tide of things to come and he wanted control of it for his own purposes. Thanks to his knowledge of the future, he was able to plant seeds to aid him in the coming battle with the X-Men and Malice was to play a part. Somehow transferring her consciousness to a digital form, he was able use and control Malice like never before. Malice’s target was one of the X-Men’s newest additions, Karima Shapandar aka the Omega Sentinel. Attaching her program to an email, she was uploaded into Karima’s cybernetic systems like a virus, where she quickly took hold and overrode her programming. None of the other X-Men noticed the change and when the time was right she attacked, along with the Marauders. The plan worked and the X-Men were caught off guard, allowing Sinister to kidnap Rogue for his new ally, Mystique. [X-Men (2nd series) #200-201]
Sinister’s plan was to eliminate any reference to the future so that the X-Men would be left in the dark as to what was coming next. Malice and the Marauders tracked down some of Destiny’s prophetic diaries to ensure they were destroyed. [X-Men (2nd series) #203]
The endgame finally came when the first mutant baby after M-day was born. The X-Men, Purifiers and Sinister’s forces all scrambled to find the baby. The Purifiers and Marauders were the first to make it to the town in Alaska where the baby had been born. Malice, along with her teammates, laid waste to the religious zealots but they were too late and someone had already taken the baby. After a few battles and losses on all sides, the baby was eventually found in the care of Cable. A twist came though when the X-Man Bishop betrayed his team and shot Cable, taking the baby for himself. In the future from which Bishop hailed, the baby would grow up to be the cause of a great catastrophe that would doom mutants for many generations to come. Bishop was preparing himself to kill the baby and prevent his dystopian future but the arrival of Malice and her Marauders put a stop to his plans. Holding the baby, Malice seemed amazed by its resilience and personally took care of it. After taking the baby back to Sinister’s base on Muir Island, the Marauders prepared for the inevitable attack from the X-Men. Sure enough, they came in force and Malice squared off against one of the X-Men’s students, Pixie. She underestimated the pint-sized girl though and was caught off guard by her soul dagger. The magical nature of the dagger managed to purge Karima’s systems of the malicious virus and Malice was seemingly destroyed. [Messiah Complex crossover]
Entities like Malice are notoriously hard to kill and once again she survived her supposed destruction and even managed to break free of the digital plane. Wrecking havoc in New York, she soon drew the attention of Cyclops, so she possessed an old lady and escaped into the subway system. Cyclops wasn’t to be fooled and caught up with her, although he was soon joined by Spider-Man. Malice tried to possess the wall-crawler but what neither she nor Cyclops knew was that Doctor Octopus’ mind now resided in Spider-Man’s body. Malice was forcibly rejected by the stronger psyche and so she retreated into a nearby passenger. Malice forced the passenger to jump in front of a train, knowing that Cyclops would have no option but to save the man. In doing so, Malice worked her way into Cyclops’ mind whilst his guard was down. Her intention was to attack Spider-Man but she found that the X-Man’s optic blasts were not working properly. Spider-Man took the opportunity to knock Cyclops out and take him back to his lair. There he used his scientific skills to remove Malice from Cyclops’ mind and trap her in a containment unit. [A+X #11]
Currently Malice is in the custody of Cyclops but for how long remains to be seen.
In the future that depicted The End of the X-Men, the Malice choker was in possession of the renegade Sage. Obsessed with learning all things possible, she used Malice to datamine as many people as possible and then acquire the knowledge Malice gathered. Some of the X-Men were sent after Sage, but the hyper-intelligent mutant was ready for them and laid a trap. She managed to clip the choker around X-23’s neck and Malice briefly possessed her, acquiring all the knowledge of the girl. Sage was caught soon after though and Malice was taken off her, putting a stop to her plans.
In the reality depicted in X-Men Forever, Malice was used to take control over the alien Hepzibah. The Marauders were sent after the young Nate Grey and Hepzibah was used as a vessel to get close to the child. Unfortunately, Lockheed figured out she was possessed and attacked her, alerting Polaris, who recognized Malice’s trademark choker. Polaris ripped the choker off Hepzibah and left it lying on the ground, where it was picked up by Mystique.