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The Vamp

Contributed by Ronald Byrd

Nothing is known about the Vamp’s life prior to her entry into the subversive criminal organization known as the Corporation; the lover of the Corporation’s east coast head, Senator Eugene Stivak, the Vamp was assigned to infiltrate the international law enforcement agency called SHIELD, and she, along with another double agent called Blue Streak, joined SHIELD’s Super-Agent program, in which capacity she wore the energizing absorbo-belt and served alongside genuine heroes the Texas Twister and Marvel Man (later known as Quasar). While serving as a SHIELD Super-Agent, the Vamp was also active as a Corporation agent in the form of the Animus, a psionic-powered, neanderthal-like, and apparently male superhuman; her ability to assume this new form was presumably given to her by the Corporation’s genetic engineers, who evidently worked under criteria different from that of most other subversive scientists (although, in all honesty, for all we know it is the Animus who is the original form and the Vamp who is the transformation, which would lend the Vamp’s romance with Senator Stivak a rather unusual subtext). Thus, the Vamp targeted the super-hero Captain America in the form of the Animus, even while she was posing as his ally in SHIELD.

Eventually the Vamp’s twin hidden natures as double agent and Animus were exposed when the Corporation clashed with various super-heroes, and she was rendered comatose in battle with the Hulk. After her recovery, she took up a criminal career in the Midwest, only to become one of the eighteen super-villains slain in Medina County, Ohio, by the vigilante called Scourge. However, the Vamp inexplicably turned up alive and well some time later, clashing with the mercenary Deadpool, whom she fought in both her female and male forms. The explanation for her return, like the deeper implications of her ability to change from a seductive woman to a brutish caveman (albeit one with an enormous “future-man” head), has yet to be provided.

Aside from her ability to become the Animus, while in her own form the Vamp possesses no physical superhuman powers but is an extremely skilled athlete and fighter, holding a black belt in judo; she also possesses limited telepathic ability. As the Animus, she/he possesses superhuman strength and a wide range of psychic abilities, including psionic bolts, levitation, and the animation of inanimate objects (including the statue at the Lincoln Memorial!). In her female form, the Vamp wears a device called an absorbo-belt, which enables her to duplicate the strength and athletic ability of people within a set radius of herself; as the Animus, the Vamp carries a crystalline club which served as a focus and storage unit for her/his psychic energy.

The Vamp first appeared in Captain America #217, volume 1 and outed, so to speak, in #230.

Created by Roger McKenzie and Sal Buscema. Art by Buscema, Don Perlin, and Bob Sharen from Captain America #231.

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September 26, 2021
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