Maria de Guadalupe Santiago was born near the village of the Kamekeri in the Central American nation of Costa Verde. The Kamekeri were a simple people whose ancestors worshiped the ancient gods until the arrival of the Spaniards. The Spanish missionaries colonized her people and this included the conversion of the Kamekeri and led to an abandonment of the ancient beliefs and gods. Legends say that the Kamekeri's gods left for the heavens, except for one. Peliali, the Volcano goddess vowed to stay among her chosen people and to provide them with her protection.
Silverclaw's father, Jaime Santiago was a Kamekeri villager who studied the ancient beliefs and pantheon. He traveled into the mountains where Peliali was said to dwell and returned with stories of encountering the volcano goddess. Santiago was ridiculed and denounced by the church for his reports of Peliali but despite the mocking of the Kamekeri he continued to visit her mountain. Months passed and Santiago returned with an infant who he claimed was his daughter and the daughter of Peliali. The child was given a Christian name and baptized. During the baptism, little Lupe's ability to transform into were-forms manifested. Due to her bizarre and often uncontrolled transformations, she was the target of constant teasing and whispered fear from the Kamekeri.
As she grew up, Lupe's father taught her of her heritage and told her stories of her mother. But each time he would take her to visit Peliali's mountain home, there was no sign of the volcano goddess. When Lupe was still a child, her father died and she was taken in by the local church orphanage which was funded by ChildCare, an American charity for international orphans. The sisters who ran the orphanage were nervous about Lupe's strange powers and considered them ungodly. When Edwin Jarvis, the butler to Anthony Stark and the world-famous Avengers, saw a commercial for the charitable organization ChildCare he decided to use part of his salary to sponsor a needy child.
Jarvis wrote to ChildCare and was assigned to the orphanage in the Kamekeri village. The sisters at the orphanage had heard of Jarvis' employers the Stark and knew of their connections to Iron Man. Knowing this, they assigned Jarvis to be the sponsor of Lupe Santiago. They hoped that if any problems relating to Lupe's strange powers arose, Jarvis and his connections to the Avengers might help.
Over the years, Lupe wrote to Edwin Jarvis frequently and marveled at his tales of the Avengers. Lupe rejected her past and had a deep desire to be modern and worldly. She was always the first to try new things, like piercing her nose and buying CDs from America. She dreamed of visiting the US and attending University there. Despite all this, she never forgot her father's teachings and kept the ceremonial garb he designed for her as a reminder of her heritage and destiny.
Years later, Lupe journeyed to America to attend Empire State University and finally meet her "Tio Edwin". En route, the plane Lupe was traveling on was hijacked by terrorists in the employ of Moses Magnum. Lupe used her powers to try to stop the terrorists, but when they took hostages Silverclaw was forced into helping them. At the airport, Jarvis arrived to meet his long-time sponsored child. When the airport was attacked, he summoned the Avengers.
The Avengers arrived and battled Magnum's men who were being led by Silverclaw. After a brief tussle with Captain America and Triathlon, Silverclaw was defeated. However, the battle was merely a distraction and Magnum and his men managed to make good on their plans to steal a seismic cannon. Silverclaw quickly reappeared and revealed herself to be Jarvis' ward. She explained what had happened aboard the plane and that she only agreed to help the terrorists on the condition that no one was killed during their attack. The Avengers thanked Silverclaw for that and she accompanied them all to Avengers Mansion.
Silverclaw joined the Avengers in tracking down and stopping Magnum's plans for the seismic cannon. She then began her studies at Empire State University. Her studies were interrupted by two subsequent adventures involving the Avengers. In the first, Silverclaw was manipulated by the Taskmaster into attacking the Triune Understanding alongside other allies of the Avengers. The Taskmaster was actually working for the Triunes who used the attack by prominent Avengers' allies to further their smear campaign against the team.
The second adventure was initiated by Silverclaw herself. Recently, Silverclaw received an urgent message from Costa Verde. Fearing the worst, she sought the Avengers' help. The team accompanied her to Costa Verde and discovered Silverclaw's village had been conquered and transformed by Kulan Gath, an ancient wizard of the Hyborian Age. Gath sought to increase his power by sacrificing a god...in this case, the goddess Peliali. Confronted with the reality of her mother's existence, Silverclaw and the Avengers ventured into the Kamekeri village which had been mystically transformed into a grand city from the Hyborian age. Kulan Gath's magic had transformed and ensorcelled the villagers and it was only through the sorcerous aid of the Scarlet Witch that the Avengers were able to infiltrate the city.
Having captured Peliali, Kulan Gath's plans were near fruition when the Avengers arrived. Kulan Gath's forces were easily able to overwhelm the assembled heroes who were captured and forced to watch as Kulan Gath performed the ceremony necessary to kill Peliali. With her death, Kulan Gath intended to open a gate to the nether realms where he would ascend to power with Peliali's life as the toll for his passage into power.
When the Avengers finally managed to bust free, Silverclaw attacked Kulan Gath. In the ensuing melee, Lupe realized that their only hope was Peliali herself. Seeing her mother for the first time, Silverclaw now believed in the legends and stories. Seeking to increase her mother's power to enable her to escape Kulan Gath, Lupe appealed to the Kamekeri in an attempt to restore their faith in the volcano goddess who had remained behind to protect them. Lupe's words struck a cord within the Kamekeri and the mystical connection that fated her to be their protector grew stronger. Hearing her impassioned pleas, the villagers broke free of Kulan Gath's spell and began chanting Peliali's name. This enabled their patron goddess to escape Kulan Gath's bonds just as the aged wizard plunged the ceremonial dagger into her breast. The mystic portal was thrown open, but Peliali had vanished. Gath's dark masters were angered to see the portal opened without the proper token of a god's life and enraged, claimed Kulan Gath in her stead! Defeated and consumed by his dark masters, Gath's spell was broken and the Kamekeri village and its inhabitants returned to its original state.
Peliali did not fare quite so well as her beloved village. Gath's blow was fatal, even for a goddess. As Lupe cradled her mother's form in her arms, Peliali explained that her time here was past. Kulan Gath had helped her to realize that the world had matured and the time of old gods had come and gone. She admitted that she was wrong to stay among mortals. She told the sobbing Lupe that she regretted her decision to hide herself from her daughter all these years and that she could join her fellow gods knowing that her daughter would protect the people and land that she loved. This said, Peliali finally joined the rest of the ancient gods. Silverclaw said "I love you" to her mother for the first and final time.
Once the Kamekeri village was safe, the Avengers returned home and Silverclaw returned to her studies at ESU. She has chosen to study topics that will enable her to be a better protector to her people: criminology, psychology and mythology. Upon their return, the Scarlet Witch offered Lupe another avenue for improving her skills as a hero by offering her the open slot as reserve member of the Avengers. Silverclaw accepted membership and joined the Avengers in responding to the Maximum Security crisis and the Kang War.
Silverclaw fought Ms. Marvel, who was attempting to get her to sign the Superhuman Registration Act. Silverclaw was vehemently against the SHRA as it was not the law in her country and she was not a US citizen. As a result, a pitched battle between the two occurred with Silverclaw able to evade arrest. After Captain America's assassination she voluntarily surrendered and was registered. Due to her citizenship and other factors she was not made a member of the Initiative.
Shortly after the Registration Act became law she was kidnapped, alongside other female superhumans, by the Puppet Master who kept her as a mind controlled slave. She was used to attack Ms. Marvel who would go on to free her and the others from the Puppet Masters control with help from her Lightning Storm team.
Powers and Abilities
- Shapeshifting - South American Fauna: Silverclaw possesses the superhuman ability to mimic the physical characteristics of various animals native to rain forests and jungles. Thus far, Lupe has demonstrated the following animal aspects: jaguar, anaconda, cockatoo, monkey, sloth, puma, cheetah, and crocodile. When assuming an animal form, Lupe does not transform need to fully into the animal. Instead, she assumes a form that combines elements of the animal with her normal human appearance. These were-forms are similar to the transitional forms assumed by other animal shape-shifters, such as the mutants Wolfsbane and Catseye. Each of these forms grant Silverclaw additional abilities. Silverclaw has demonstrated enhanced strength, speed and agility, claws, flight and enhanced senses while transformed. She has also shown the ability to alter her size to some degree, as when she transformed into a giant sloth.
In her powered form, Silverclaw's skin assumes a silvery quality. This silver skin also manifests whenever Silverclaw assumes an animal form. It has not been revealed if Lupe's silver skin is merely cosmetic or if it possesses superhuman qualities of its own. As a shapeshifter, Lupe has complete control of her form. Through force of will, she has overcome powerful transformative enchantments and reverted to her true form.
- 51st person to join the Avengers.
- The correct Spanish translation for Silverclaw is not "La Garra Argentado", but "La Garra Argentada" (as both the article el/la=the and the adjective argentado/argentada=silver must carry information on the gender of the noun, in this case garra=claw, which is female).
- 43 appearance(s) of Maria de Guadalupe Santiago (Earth-616)
- 2 minor appearance(s) of Maria de Guadalupe Santiago (Earth-616)
- 3 mention(s) of Maria de Guadalupe Santiago (Earth-616)
- 12 image(s) of Maria de Guadalupe Santiago (Earth-616)
- 1 quotation(s) by or about Maria de Guadalupe Santiago (Earth-616)