During World War II many super-heroes were drafted into the military. In order to boost support in the United States entry into the war, the military hired Timely Comics to create comic books based on these heroes as propaganda to gain support in the war. Many of the stories were works of fiction that were based on true events. The Black Widow was one of these many heroes. While the full truth of many of her exploits are unknown all the appearances of the Black Widow are listed below. False exploits are identified as they can be determined.
In 1940, Claire Voyant, a small-time medium, was contacted during a seance by a demon calling himself "Satan" to help him harvest corrupted souls before they could repent. Satan prompted her to place a curse upon her current clients, Mrs. Wagler and her adult children Patricia and James, then manipulated the hapless victims into a car crash that was intended to kill all three of them. James survived, however, and killed Voyant in revenge. After her death, Satan brought her body to his realm and revived her as his supernaturally-powered operative, the Black Widow. She was to perform as his personal assassin, killing evil mortals so that he could draw strength from their souls. As an incentive, she was allowed to kill James Wagler as her first target.
Not much is known about the past of Claire Voyant. In 1928, her sister Debbie invited her to come up to live in Los Angeles. Taking her up on the offer, Claire met Debbie's boyfriend, a connected man named Lester Maddox. She first met Maddox at a speakeasy and instantly took a disliking of the man due to his drinking and offering Claire to participate in a threesome with him and Debbie. That night, Claire tried to warn Debbie about getting further involved with Maddox, but Debbie was too engrossed in the life of money and privilege gave her, no matter how shady. One night, Maddox shot Debbie dead for some unknown indiscretion. Claire attempted to have the authorities bring Maddox to justice, however Lester was so well connected in organized crime that nobody dared touch him. After Debbie was buried, Claire spent time at her sister's grave and vowed to avenge her. It was here that she was approached by a demonic entity. The demon told her that it had those who cheated his deals with them, and due to the limits of his power, could not avenge them. He offered Claire the power to get revenge against Debbie's killer and in exchange she would vow to be his servant to eliminate those who had cheated him. Claire agreed and she was given demonic powers and was transformed into the Black Widow. Her first act as the Black Widow was tracking down Lester Maddox and killing him for murdering Debbie.
World War II
Black Widow had few qualms about her new job, killing hijacker Garvey Lang at a masquerade party, and later slaying corrupt munitions vendors Lewis and Sykes. She also killed a gangster, Karl Koodamore, the boss of Murder Unlimited, as well as several of his henchmen. In 1942, Black Widow was among a number of costumed heroes who aided the Invaders when they stormed into Nazi territory during the war. Her purpose in doing so, and what orders she might have been under by her master remain during this operation are unknown. Her last recorded solo mission in 1943 was to collect the soul of Ogor a con-man who posed as a mystic who gave phony advice for large sums of money. After his bad advice caused a young boy to require a leg amputation, the Black Widow used her powers to restore the child's lost leg before taking Ogor's soul to hell, her only recorded act of kindness during this period. Soon after she aided the Angel, the Falcon and the Challenger in defeating a crime wave.
By 1945, the Black Widow joined a number of costumed heroes to join the Allied Forces on the European front of World War II. She slaughtered many Nazi soldiers, apparently because their souls were forfeit to her master, suggesting that perhaps Hitler made a deal with him. On April 25, 1945, during the Battle of Berlin, the Black Widow joined an army of super-heroes in the Allied invasion of Berlin. She was captured by Nazi forces along with the Blue Blade, Witness, Fiery Mask, Laughing Mask, Mister E, Rockman, Mastermind Excello, Captain Wonder, Dynamic Man and the Electro and placed in suspended animation for use later. However, the Nazis lost the war, and the heroes were all but forgotten.
The Black Widow and the other heroes, later dubbed the Twelve, were found and revived in the modern age, and began adjusting to their new lives in the 21st century. At first, Claire and the rest of the Twelve were kept in isolation until they learned the truth and were offered to work with the government. Claire and the others agreed to the offer and were placed in a government owned mansion and given a year to acclimatize themselves to the new world that had awoken in. After over 60 years in suspended animation, Claire found herself still shackled to the deal she had made with the devil many decades earlier and was initially withdrawn from the rest of the group. However, Dick Jones the Phantom Reporter, developing an infatuation with the Black Widow, began showing kindness to her and she began opening up to him, appreciating his kindness toward her. She would confide in him that she never slept. However, her first night in the mansion her master called out to her and she knew with certainty that she still had to honour his deal.
The following morning she was invited to breakfast by Dick, Claire spent the day wandering around the mansion. That night, just after midnight she was summoned by her master who told her that there was work to be done. She left the mansion, unaware that Dick had seen her, and went to the home of the wealthy Simon Dexter, come to claim his soul for her master and ripped him limb from limb. She returned later in the evening and slept. When Dick came to check on her in the morning he was made suspicious by this. The police soon came to the mansion and questioned Dick about the murder of Dexter, causing him to become more suspicious of Claire. Later that night, there was a going away party for Earl Everett (aka Mastermind Excello) who was leaving for a more private domicile to escape the background noise of the 21st century. It was at this party where Dick made a drunken attempt to get to know her better and she flatly turned him down telling him that he would do best not to know her. That evening she found a local gothic bar where she felt more at home. She began frequenting the bar each night, befriending a local named Laura. However, when Laura confessed that she idolized the Black Widow and wished that she could live her life, the Widow informed her that it was not something to be wished for and abruptly departed.
Following a massacre of homosexual clients at the Rail and Balls bar, the police called in the Phantom Reporter to continue the investigation. Seeing the scorch marks out back of the bar, Dick then confronted the Black Widow as she slept that night. Dick trained a gun at her, knowing that she could kill him with a touch. Impressed by his bravery, she told him her true origins. She then informed him that what he knew about her powers were true and that should she had chosen too she could have killed him. She then reached out and caressed his face, telling him that she need not kill with a touch if she did not desire it and then suggested that he leave. The following morning Black Widow came to Dick while he was writing to bring him coffee, surprising him. However before they could discuss anything further, Mastermind Excello returned from his self imposed exile telling them that great changes where coming. Eventually, Dick had discovered that one of the Twelve were responsible for a number of murders and called them all together, including the Black Widow, to reveal who the killer was. When the Phantom Reporter revealed that the Dynamic Man was using Electro to murder those that did not stand up to his creators ideals of purity, a fight broken out. Ultimately, the other members of the Twelve fought off Dynamic Man, who fled, but not before causing the mansion to collapse. The team was rescued thanks to Rockman who held up the house until they could get to safety. Dick then asked Black Widow to stay behind while he, Mastermind Excello, Fiery Mask and Captain Wonder went after and eventually destroyed Dynamic Man. However Fiery Mask died in the battle, passing his powers to Dick and Captain Wonder was horribly scarred. Black Widow and the others eventually searched the ruins of the mansion of Rockman, finding a tunnel in the basement that went a mile below the surface before it collapsed on itself. Black Widow later attended the funeral for Fiery Mask where she confided in her friends that he did not suffer in Hell.
Following the final battle with Dynamic Man, Black Widow and the others were relocated to a nearby military base. There Claire was placed in the women's barracks where she frightened away all the female soldiers. Out on a walk she ran into Dick and the two came to terms with the fact that they were in love with each other. She asked Dick to join him, but he turned her down, unable to bring himself to leave the remaining members of their group. After a kiss she then departed to carry on her master's work. However they were reunited when Mastermind Excello used his vast fortune to purchase the biggest private investigation company and set them up in a home together. The two agreed to work for Exc Enterprises and now work as operatives.
Powers and Abilities
Demonic Physique: As the Black Widow, Claire Voyant is a raised demon, a soul granted a diabolical body in order to do her master's sinister work. Her demonic form is immune to the effects of most ordinary weapons, can fly and possess class 10 or higher superhuman strength as well as the ability to alter her shape.
- Fire Generation: The Black Widow can spontaneously generate fire from her body.
- Essential Vampirism: As a demonic life form, The Black Widow can feed upon the essence of living beings to maintain her existence. She could kill with a touch, leaving the mark of a Black Widow spider on her victims.
- Dimensional Aperture: The Black Widow has demonstrated the ability to travel to and from the earthly plane from Hell, under her own power.
- Philosophical Awareness: The Black Widow can sense whether or not a person has a good, evil, ordered, chaotic, or balanced mindset, just by looking at them.
- Healing Power: In at least once instance, the Black Widow showed the ability to heal others when she used her powers to restore the recently amputated leg of a young boy.
Occult Lore: As a former mystic and diabolical being, The Black Widow likely has greater knowledge of occult matters than most mere mortals.
Superhuman strength (Class 10 or higher)
- Although her change into a demoness wasn't intentional, it would seem that the Black Widow enjoys her status, and goes out of her way to make people's lives miserable.
- Voyant is very likely bisexual, heavily implied to have had a relationship with a woman working for Exc Enterprises as well as Phantom Reporter.
- The character Nosferata seen in Avataars: Covenant of the Shield #2 may be the Eurth counterpart to the Earth-616 Black Widow (Claire Voyant).
- In the second half of the Avengers/Invaders limited series, Ms. Marvel went undercover as the Black Widow on a time travel mission to the year 1943.
- 26 appearance(s) of Claire Voyant (Earth-616)
- 2 minor appearance(s) of Claire Voyant (Earth-616)
- 2 mention(s) of Claire Voyant (Earth-616)
- 11 image(s) of Claire Voyant (Earth-616)