Saturday, December 26, 2015
The Vile Menagerie: BETTE NOIR
Alter Ego: Bette Noir
Occupation: Psychic parasite
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: None
Group Affiliation: D. N. Aliens
Base of Operations: Cadmus
First Appearance: Martian Manhunter #1,000,000 (November, 1998)
An unidentified party was known to have created D. N. Aliens outside the aegis of Project Cadmus, the genetic engineering outfit most associated with these types of scientifically manufactured beings. As these rogue, mostly inhuman looking D. N. Aliens would appear in public, often discovered during some form of "rampage," they would be captured and placed in Cadmus' high tech holding facility dubbed "Monster Alley." A subset of these beings were in a vegetative state, and held is a segment reserved for "the sleeping monsters." One of these beings was a large mass of Caucasian flesh covered with various protrusions, some identifiably human extremities and others more foreign, such as tentacles. This being was not truly in a coma, but was instead active on the psychic plane, and in fact contributed to the unconscious states of other "monsters" by sapping their psychic energy to further empower the subject's non-corporeal form.
Self-identifying as "Bette Noir" and composing the form of a seductive pale-skinned woman from pure psionic energy, the "vampire" went undiscovered until she victimized one of Cadmus' most prominent figures, the telepathic D. N. Alien Dubbilex. At this time, the clone Superboy had been working closely with Cadmus, but was unavailable to help due to his commitment to the teen metahumans Young Justice. Further, the crime seemed to require investigation involving a different set of skills and powers, so Superman recommended the Martian Manhunter to assist.
J'Onn J'Onzz attempted a mind meld with Dubbilex, and was nearly sucked into a "psionic black hole within him" where all of his considerable mental power had been drained by an unknown nearby source. J'Onzz oversaw the construction of a cage around Dubbilex's physical form that would disrupt his draining, while the Martian set down a telepathic net to detect the assailant when they investigated the disruption. Even still, Bette Noir arrived without setting off this web of psionic energy, then offered a demonstration of her powers that temporarily bested the Manhunter, the cloned Guardian, and other members of Project Cadmus. However, the Martian Manhunter recovered quickly, traced Bette back to her physical body, and telepathically crafted psionic restraints that trapped Bette within her own mind. J'Onzz expressed regret at this harsh but necessary sentence, and vowed to work toward improving the living conditions on Monster Alley.
Some time later, the serial killer of metahumans Dr. Trap learned of the existence of the highly developed D. N. Alien telepath, and used connections cultivated over the years to make contact. Trap offered to free Bette Noir from her body while allowing her a place within his own mind, but failed to elaborate that he would have her physical body killed while subjecting Bette to conditioning that allowed him to subjugate her. Bette was then used to mentally manipulate J'Onn J'Onzz into confronting the captive Dr. Trap, who unleashed the full force of Noir's power to cause J'Onzz to relive his every painful memory at the same time on a continuous loop. J'Onzz was only very briefly incapacitated, and his powers were temporarily muted, but he ultimately reached a mutually beneficial agreement with Bette Noir to reside within and torment Dr. Trap instead.
When last seen, Bette Noir was revisited by J'Onn J'Onzz as a suspect in crimes actually being committed by the disembodied spirit of Harley Quinn. However, he did find that Bette's continuous punishment of Dr. Trap had become sadistic, so the Martian Manhunter collaborated with Trap to press Bette Noir into becoming a more conscionable warden over his psyche.
Powers & Weapons:
Although the D. N. Alien's physical form was static, her psychometric manifestation as Bette Noir was largely unhindered by corporeal restrictions. She could fly and pass through solid objects. Her powers are telepathic, telekinetic, and pyrokinetic, which allowed her to interact with J'Onn J'Onzz's body even when he would otherwise have been intangible, lighting his molecules on fire and threatening to similarly burn out his mind. Bette Noir can enter a person's mind and alter their perceptions, at one point taking the form of J'Onzz's deceased wife M'yri'ah in a bid to seduce him, and monstrous forms to inspire fear. Since losing her physical body, Bette Noir has needed to be hosted in the minds of others.
Quote: "My physical body-- is just misshapen flesh. This is the only life-- the only freedom-- I'll ever know. And there's so much I could do for you, J'Onny. I sneaked a peek in your mind. I know what you need."
Created by John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake