Kaine saved Aracely from human traffickers at Houston Port, and left her at a hospital. When a super-villain called The Salamander broke in searching for her, Kaine felt responsible and saved her again, now as the Scarlet Spider. Compelled by Doctor Donald Meland and police officer Wally Layton, who reasoned that Aracely would be better in his hands, Kaine brought Aracely to his room at the Four Seasons Hotel (as otherwise she would had been deported and be at the mercy of whoever sent the killer).
As Aracely recovered and gained strength, she started to form bonds of friendship with Kaine, Donald, Wally, and Annabelle Adams, a bartender of the hotel. However, at the same time, she started to manifest strange abilities and a preternatural knowledge of Kaine's location, feelings, and thoughts at all times. However, she was unable to recall anything from her past as she suffered some kind of memory loss when she was trafficked.
Kaine later discovered that the Roxxon Corporation had been paying the services of a human trafficking cartel to acquire deliveries of people they could feed as human sacrifices to an energy beast the company had accidentally liberated while digging the sea bedrock for oil; a horrifying act done as means to contain the energy anomaly (and to keep the incident under wraps and outside the attention of the media and the public).
Shortly after that, she began to have recurrent and strange dreams filled with mythological imagery. During the first of these dreams, Aracely saw herself in Aztlan, the semi-mythical paradisiacal place where the Aztecs (or Mexica) first stopped after abandoning the legendary Seven Caves in their pilgrimage to the region of Mexico where they would end up founding Tenochtitlan, today beneath Mexico City, almost a thousand years ago. There she meet a coyote who told her that the Fifth Era of the world was ending and a new Sixth Creation was coming. She enigmatically responded that Mictlan (the Aztec Underworld) was rising while the background started to devolve into a terrifying death-filled landscape. The coyote metamorphosed back and forth between itself, an old man clad in a black suit with a cane and an oddly-shaped masculine figure who resembled an unidentified Aztec deity. Aracely was told by this being that the Left-Handed Hummingbird would be consumed - and that she was the aforementioned Hummingbird.
Seeking to run, she tripped over two people who she recognized as her parents. Being devoured by a snake, her father warned her that she could not continue alone - that a "champion" was required. Her mother, laying in the ground and pierced by arrows, told her that she was in Mictlan and that Aracely would soon join her. The cryptic scene ended with the Salamander appearing and taking her by the throat. As his flames engulfed everything, Aracely woke up with Annabelle crying at her side (an unintended effect of her psychic powers acting while she was asleep).
That same night, while she and Kaine were taking a stroll through the park to discuss the dream, its significance, and what to do about it, they were met by Carlos Lobo and his sister Esmeralda - drug cartel leaders, human traffickers behind the abduction of Aracely, and werewolves sent with the intent of killing her. During the fight that ensued, the werewolves killed Kaine, who sacrificed himself to give Aracely time to escape.
The Lobo siblings pursued savagely after Aracely, who used her mind powers and trickery to evade them for a while. When the Lobo managed to catch her, they revealed that Aracely was rumored to be the reincarnation of the Aztec god of war, Huitzilopochtli, and "the most dangerous of them all". Esmeralda considered the possibility of using Aracely to their favor, but Carlos refused the idea of going against the wishes of "the trickster" because he had "returned them their powers" and could revive their missing brother Eduardo. They are interrupted by a vicious gang of thugs called "the Sharks", whose territory Aracely has cleverly lead them to. The thugs proceed to brawl with the werewolves while Aracely manipulates emotions to exacerbate the fight. The plan worked for while until the Lobo finally gained the upper hand.
Opting to hide inside a trash container, Aracely, struck with fear, finally remembered a scene from her past. Months ago, the Cartel was filling another truck with people that they intended to deliver to Roxxon. However, at the behest of a mysterious old man called Mr. Moctezuma (sharply dressed and always in the company of a coyote animal), the Cartel let a girl be placed at the last minute: Aracely. Before being uploaded, she confronted Mr. Moctezuma - the same man that would later appear in her dream - and questioned him about her parents' whereabouts. He answered that her parents had asked him to do this, that she would go to a "better place" and that they would be joining her there. Then, at his command, Aracely was put inside with the other people and then the truck was purposefully left under the desert sun so its occupants would be cooked alive inside the metallic container before departing for Houston. During this ordeal, she heard a voice that stated that she would survive and that then she "would make the world bleed".
Meanwhile, the werewolves siblings tracked Aracely through her scent. They found her hiding spot and captured her, concluding this time that she was too much trouble and they should just proceed to kill her. However, they were again interrupted, this time by Kaine, who had accepted The Other to help Aracely by reincarnating as a spider monster. The spider-creature Kaine fought and maimed one of the two werewolves, forcing them to flee. He then attacked Aracely until she was able to use her mental powers and appeal to his humanity to bring him back. Kaine broke out of the husk of the spider-creature completely healed of all scars but still carrying the Other inside him. Kaine is then emotionally distressed at what he was just about to do. However, Aracely tells him that she cannot be afraid of him and that she knows what he really is. It is then that Aracely proclaims him as her "champion", a title that is not merely effective but also has a deeper meaning as hinted by her father's words and the strange portents with cryptic Aztec mythic symbolism in her dreams.
As their lives returned to normality, Aracely continued to have other dreams and manifested another power during one of them: self-levitation.
She created a costume and adopted the codename "Hummingbird" when helping Kaine in his mission to kill Wolverine, in order to pay a coerced debt to the Assassins Guild. Using her powers to enter the Jean Grey School, she got mind-scanned by Rachel Grey, which triggered a strange reaction: a voice came from Hummingbird stating "I am Huitzilopochtli. I bring Fire to destroy the Dark. And I require blood!". As she said those words, all the telepaths in the school were temporarily brought down in pain - Rachel Grey being the most affected, declaring that Hummingbird's mind was "on fire". Unable to stop this effect herself, it only ended when Iceman slowed down Hummingbird's brain activity with his freezing powers.
After Kaine momentarily killed Wolverine and the fight with the X-Men ended, Aracely submitted herself to a series of analysis by Dr. Beast and Dr. Cecilia Reyes while Wolverine and Kaine went out to deal with the Assassins Guild. These tests discarded the possibility of Aracely being a mutant, but established the possibility that she was "not the only person" inhabiting her brain.
When Kaine decided to abandon both Houston and his Scarlet Spider identity, he and Aracely moved to Mexico in order to discover more about Aracely's origin and find her parents. There, on a stop in the city of Monterrey, she helped him bring down drug dealers in order to steal the criminals' money and finance their search.
Later, in Mazatlan, Mexico, she and Kaine saved some tourists from muggers after she insisted repeatedly they do so. After that, while relaxing at the beach and discussing issues of life, powers and the responsibility they entail, the pair found a Dantesque view as blood colored the water and the corpses of Atlanteans and Deviants began to emerge to the surface along an armed blue-skinned girl. She told them she was Faira Sar Namora of Atlantis and that she was seeking heroes.
Telepathy and Empathy: Hummingbird is an telepath and empath. She is capable of telepathically detecting other people's feelings, thoughts and locate them wherever they are. However, she is also able to manipulate emotions and cause severe feats of fear and panic in her opponents - even specific kinds of fear (like arachnophobia). As a result of her powerful abilities, Rachel Summers and Jean Grey are wary of her. It appears that her empathic and telepathic powers also allow her to learn languages from other people.
Sacred Fire Generation: She possesses the ability to manipulate and generate divine fire, allowing her to project balls of fire capable of destroying a demon.
Multilingual: Thanks to her telepathy, Aracely can easily learn a language from another person. Through this method she has learned French, Japanese, English and Romanian.
- Aracely's birthday (or the date listed as such in her fake passport) is on August 8.
- Her age is around 15-16 years old ("She reads young, but she is just REALLY excitable").
- Although she is generally cheerful, positive-minded and friendly, several characters find her bouts of excitability and other social oddities annoying (Storm), tiresome or just too much to handle (Beast). Chief among them: Kaine himself.
- Her loss of memory is pretty extensive: she doesn't remember anything of her life previous to being kidnapped and trafficked by the Lobo's henchmen at the behest of Mr. Moctezuma. She didn't even recall her own names and last names (the Salamander and Esmeralda Lobo revealed them to her when they were seeking to kill her - first her main name by the former and the rest by the latter.)
- Her main personal name is Aracely. María (Mary) and Josefina (feminine of Joseph) are additional names given to girls of traditional, religious or old-fashioned families in Spanish-speaking countries. In the old times, practically all girls would have María as one of their personal names.
- Going by the most common conventions of the Spanish naming system, she would have two last names: "Penalba" from her father and "De las Heras" from her mother. This convention and the accepted order of last names has been relaxed in later years.
- Her superhero name is probably derived from the meaning of Huitzilopotchli's name and the association of the deity with this kind of bird.
- Aracely is a variant of Araceli, itself coming from Latin "ara coeli" meaning "altar of the sky". The "ara" was the stone in the center of the altar where offerings were deposited and prayed. "Coeli" comes from Caelum (sky or heaven), where it was thought the gods dwell, and thus ara coeli is the stone that allowed people to communicate with the supernatural. As a name, Araceli came from the Virgin of Araceli - a 16th Century Marian advocation or devotion of Lucena, a municipality of the Province of Córdoba in Andalusia, Spain.
- Aztecs considered the hummingbird a symbol of resurrection and bravery and believed warriors who had died in battle would come back as hummingbirds after first spending 4 years in the paradisaical "House of the Sun".
- Aracely is a member of the Forums social media network and answered a call to assist the Champions during the War of the Realms.
- 36 appearance(s) of María Aracely Penalba (Earth-616)
- 5 minor appearance(s) of María Aracely Penalba (Earth-616)
- 3 mention(s) of María Aracely Penalba (Earth-616)
- 1 mention(s) in handbook(s) of María Aracely Penalba (Earth-616)
- 27 image(s) of María Aracely Penalba (Earth-616)
- 2 quotation(s) by or about María Aracely Penalba (Earth-616)
Links and References
- Hummingbird (comics) at Wikipedia.org
- Christopher Yost on Hummingbird's fire ability
- Christopher Yost on Hummingbird's age
- Christopher Yost on Hummingbird's green face