Quote1.png I am... Xi'an Coy Manh. I am Vietnamese. To be Vietnamese is to have lived your entire life with war. It is to suffer, grieve, hunger, fear. To walk hand in hand with death. I do not complain by saying this, merely state reality. Quote2.png
-- Karma

Appearing in "And Introducing -- Karma! She Possesses People!"

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Synopsis for "And Introducing -- Karma! She Possesses People!"

As Spider-Man web-swings home from Empire State University one evening, his mind is suddenly attacked by something that causes him to lose his grip and plummet many stories toward the ground. Desperately fighting off the mind-controller, by reflex alone he caroms from building to building, grabs a cornice, and comes to a stop. His unseen antagonist, a young woman standing in shadow on a nearby ledge, did not expect resistance and wonders whether she should continue to try to dominate him. She decides that there is too much at stake and renews her effort. Just then the cornice crumbles, and Spider-Man once more starts to fall. His fingers dig furrows into the wall as he strives to save himself. As the woman concentrates, she realizes that he is much more difficult to control than anyone she has attempted to possess before, but at last she succeeds. Spider-Man stops falling just three stories above the sidewalk. Mentally manipulating Spider-Man's body as if it were her own, the woman finds out that Spider-Man's fingers can adhere to the wall, and she climbs up to the roof. Reveling in her new-found agility, she soon learns how to use Spider-Man's web-shooters, and she tests them by pulling over a chimney with webbing. Then she discovers Spider-Man's superhuman strength, as she effortlessly crushes the chimney into powder. Web-swinging away, she can feel Spider-Man's mind fighting her own, and she realizes that if she remains in his body too long, she might be unable to leave it.

Already, she muses, she has begun taking on some of Spider-Man's surface mannerisms. At the Freedom Tower in New York's financial district, Reed and Sue Richards are attending a charity party hosted by Nguyen Ngoc Coy, a former general in the South Vietnamese Army who moved to the United States and in a short time became a multi-millionaire. The general has purchased many of Alicia Masters' sculptures, which are on display. Alicia herself, accompanied by Ben Grimm, is there, too. The general introduces Reed and Sue to his nephew, Tran, and Tran's younger brother and sister. The latter two recently escaped from Vietnam and can speak no English. Then the general snaps his fingers, and two of his servants, Lawson and Deruge escort the two children away. As they walk by Ben, he notices suspicious bulges under the servants' Jackets, and Alicia softly confesses that she does not particularly like her patron. Ben promises her that they will soon leave. As the children are led upstairs, they are watched by the mysterious woman through Spider-Man's eyes. She instantly recognizes them as her two younger siblings Leong and Nga, and she leaps down to free them, quickly knocking both guards unconscious—although not before one of them fires his pistol. Trying to hurry before more guards arrive, she explains to the children in Vietnamese that Spider-Man has been "sent" by their sister. Suddenly she feels the unfamiliar tingle of her spider-sense. Not knowing that it means danger, she does not leap to safety when the door bursts open and Mr. Fantastic and the Thing rush in.

Reed wraps Spider-Man up in his arms, but she discovers that she can stick to things with her feet as well as with her fingers, and she gains enough leverage to snap backward into Reed's face with both feet. Ben starts swinging at her, wondering why Spider-Man has suddenly turned criminal. Realizing from what Ben says that Spider-Man is not an evil-doer, the woman comprehends that it was wrong of her to take over his mind. Meanwhile, Reed notices that Spider-Man's movements are not as fluid as usual and that he seems to be acting as though he had never met the Fantastic Four before. He warns Ben to be careful, but just then Spider-Man hurls Ben at him, and the two teammates become tangled up. Then Sue, the general, Tran, and more guards enter. The woman possessing Spider-Man is surprised to recognize the general as her uncle Nguyen, and as she stands undecided about what to do next. Tran whispers to his uncle for permission to deal with the crime-fighter. The general says that Tran's "unique talent" should be conserved for equally unique situations, so they let Sue attack Spider-Man with invisible-force spheres. But because Spider-Man helped to save her son not long ago, she holds back—and he knocks her out with a slap. Enraged, Reed attacks, but he receives a face full of webbing, as does Ben. Tran comments to General Coy that Spider-Man is making fools of the Fantastic Four, so the general decides that the time has come after all for Tran to deal with the problem.

Exactly like the mysterious woman, Tran reaches out with his mind to take over Spider-Man's. But he does not know that Spider-Man is already under the control of someone else. The woman recognizes Tran at once—he is her twin brother—and tries to force him out of Spider-Man's mind. Tran, however, does not know that his sister is involved, and ascribes the unexpected resistance to Spider-Man himself. Although Tran's power equals his sister's, she is not in peak condition, and, acutely aware that she has failed Nga and Leong, she lets Spider-Man go. Spider-Man falls to the floor, but as his mind returns to normal, the Thing knocks him unconscious. In the aftermath of the battle, the general does not summon the police, and Reed easily persuades him to release Spider-Man in the Fantastic Four's custody. Spider-Man acted quite out of character that evening, and Reed wants to learn whether Spider-Man was an innocent victim of some unknown criminal. Shortly afterward, at the Baxter Building, Spider-Man recovers. As he drinks a cup of Sue's hot chocolate, he says that the last thing he remembers is web-swinging home on Manhattan's West Side. After Reed tells him of the evening's events, Spider-Man agrees to be probed by Reed's encephaloscanner to find out what happened to him. A few minutes under the machine discloses that Spider-Man's brain had been turned off—almost literally—for about an hour.

Reed thinks to himself that whoever took over Spider-Man's mind could have left him mentally crippled forever or even dead, and then he detects a familiar residual energy pattern with the scanner. Stretching his arm out of the lab past Johnny and Sue, Reed dials the telephone and gets in touch with Charles Xavier in Westchester. Professor X is busy supervising a Danger Room workout with Storm, Wolverine, and Colossus, but he informs Reed that Cerebro, the X-Men's computer, had registered an unusual amount of mutant activity in lower Manhattan. Two distinct entities, possessing similar abilities, were detected, and he was planning to investigate later. Whoever the mutants are, he continues, their power is considerable. As Xavier hangs up, he asks that Reed keep him posted on his investigation. Soon the Fantasticar is flying toward Manhattan's Lower East Side. Spider-Man is in the Torch's seat, and the Torch is flying alongside. Reed says that he modified one of his basic sensor modules into a rough facsimile of the Cerebro computer. Using telemetry data supplied by Xavier, the five companions trace the person who took over Spider-Man's mind to a church. As the Fantasticar passes over the building, Spider-Man suddenly leaps out, intending to punish his foe. Reed quickly tells Johnny to stop Spider-Man, because they have no idea what they might be up against, but before Johnny can catch him, Spider-Man crashes through the church window. There are only two people inside—a priest and a slender young Oriental woman. Spider-Man attacks the priest, but he realizes his mistake when the woman takes over the Torch's mind and attacks him with firebolts. Speaking through the Torch, the woman, Xi'an, declares that she will not let Spider-Man take her.

Spider-Man knows that the reactions of a possessed person are slightly slower than normal, and he uses this against the Torch, but it soon becomes apparent that he will have to knock the woman out in order to win. Speaking through Johnny, she says that she made the wrong choice when she possessed Spider-Man, and now she is about to lose everything that she holds dear. But the Torch's attack is stopped by an invisible barrier, and his three teammates enter. Sue encloses Spider-Man and the Torch in force-spheres, and Xi'an relinquishes her hold on Johnny.

Then the priest, Father Bowen, angrily demands that the fighting cease. They are in a house of God, he declares, not on a battlefield. Xi'an contritely begs Bowen's forgiveness, saying tearfully that she has betrayed everyone who loved and trusted her. Sensing the pain in her voice, Reed asks Bowen for a quiet place where they can talk. A few minutes later, in the rectory, the priest introduces himself as a former infantryman who served in Vietnam before joining the priesthood. The woman says she is Xi'an Coy Manh, a Vietnamese who has lived her entire young life under the shadow of war and suffering. Then she tells her story. Xi'an's father was a colonel in the South Vietnamese Army who was always given dangerous assignments because of his steadfast honesty in the face of rampant corruption. His family—Xi'an's mother and three siblings—were always at his side. One day, the Viet Cong attacked their village, and Xi'an saw a soldier about to kill her brother Tran. Without thinking, she reached into the soldier's mind and forced him to stop. She was surprised by what she had done, and her brother quickly learned that he too had the same ability. Then he took over the soldier's mind, but instead of simply stopping him, he made him kill himself.

Xi'an became frightened of her brother then, because he clearly enjoyed what he had done. Later Tran demonstrated his ability to his uncle Nguyen, whom Xi'an's father held in contempt. Tran also revealed that Xi'an had a similar power but feared to use it, and Nguyen was pleased that Tran confided in him. When South Vietnam fell, Nguyen arranged for the family's evacuation, but in the confusion, only Tran was successfully rescued. (Tran mentally forced the American soldiers to keep his family from being taken to safety.) Xi'an, her younger brother Leong, her younger sister Nga, and her parents fell into the hands of the Communists. After many difficult months, during which Xi'an used her power several times to keep the family from being killed, they managed to escape in a small, nearly un-seaworthy boat. After days of starvation, they were attacked by Thai pirates, who slew all the men aboard—including Xi'an's father—and dealt "even worse" with the women. Xi'an was too weak from hunger to use her power against the raiders. Xi'an's mother died the day they were rescued, and Xi'an and the children were sent to the United States, where they were reunited with General Coy and Tran. The general had prospered greatly since leaving Vietnam, and Tran, who worked for him, had turned cold and cruel. Her uncle suggested that Xi'an work for him as well, but she refused, and after the ensuing argument, she and her younger siblings went to Father Bowen's church. The Navy had given her his name, saying that he had established a self-help relief agency for Vietnamese boat people. She had known him from Vietnam, and with his aid, she rented an apartment for herself and the children. But earlier today she came home to find her place ransacked and the children gone. The telephone rang, and her uncle told her that if she wanted to see the children again she would have to work for him. She had until midnight to decide. When she saw an issue of the Daily Bugle on the Spider-Man menace, she decided to use Spider-Man to defeat her uncle. As Xi'an finishes her tale, the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man immediately agree to help.

At midnight, on Pier 32 of the Brooklyn side of the East River, General Coy and his henchmen bring Leong and Nga to a ship that will take them away to be tested for paranormal abilities. He ensures their cooperation by saying that Xi'an will soon join them. If, he says to one of his henchmen, they turn out to lack any talents, then his organization will put them to other "profitable uses." Suddenly a pair of web-nets snatches the children from the ship's gangplank, and Spider-Man quickly defeats Coy's henchmen. The Fantastic Four and Xi'an descend in the Fantasticar to assist, but it seems as if the situation is well in hand. Then Xi'an overhears her uncle tell Tran in Vietnamese to use his power. She just manages to warn her companions before Tran slams her with a bolt of mind-force and renders her unconscious. Then Tran takes over the minds of all of the Fantastic Four at once. As Spider-Man tries desperately to awaken Xi'an, the four teammates advance toward him and attack. He uses his agility to the utmost to keep out of reach, tricking them into turning their powers against one another whenever he can. General Coy, awed by Tran's display, slinks away, but Tran says that he will speak with him later about the new role he intends to play in his organization. Spider-Man's battle against the mentally controlled Fantastic Four continues unabated. He manages to knock Ben off the pier, but when the Human Torch sets fire to the ship, he realizes that the children are in danger. Then Tran, speaking through the Torch, informs him that Leong and Nga will not come to harm. He will seize control of his uncle's criminal empire, he continues, but first, he will send Spider-Man to an early grave.

A fire blast from the Torch forces Spider-Man to dive into the river, from where he hurls a piling at the Torch. Tran gloats—speaking through the Torch—that his mutant power will allow him to tap into the Fantastic Four's memories and experiences. He will make the four bodies act as one, a nearly unbeatable fighting force. He ducks the piling, but this leads him into Spider-Man's punch, which knocks him into a nearby freighter loaded with munitions. Meanwhile, Xi'an regains consciousness and pleads with her brother to stop "this madness," but Tran refuses. Then the freighter explodes, and out of the flames climbs the Thing. He stuns Spider-Man with a powerful punch and then picks up a huge piling with which to crush him. But before he can do so, Xi'an strikes Tran with a bolt of mind-force. Ben drops the piling as Tran loses control, and Spider-Man urges him to fight free. Enraged, Xi'an relentlessly pummels her brother with psychic energy, and much to his surprise his defenses crumble —even though his sister is supposedly less experienced than he. He pleads with her to spare him, but she refuses, and suddenly his body vanishes utterly, leaving only his clothing to fall onto the dock. Xi'an gathers her brother's life-force and makes his soul a part of herself forever. Xi'an explains to Spider-Man and the Thing that although her brother's body was stronger than hers, her strength flowed from her innermost being, and he could not stand against it. Then a force bubble containing Sue, Reed, Johnny, Leong, and Nga rises from the river, and Xi'an is joyfully reunited with her siblings. With tears of gratitude flowing from her eyes, she thanks Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four. If they ever need her help, she says, they have but to ask for Karma. Then, with the five crimefighters watching her thoughtfully, she takes Leong and Nga by the hand and walks away.

Appearing in "Cry... Vengeance!"

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Synopsis for "Cry... Vengeance!"

While walking the streets of New York City, Ororo Munroe -- the mutant known as Storm -- is clipped by a bullet fired by a rooftop sniper. Changing into her costume, Storm summons a lightning storm and incapacitates her attacker. She recognizes the man's accent as being South African, but when she demands answers, the shooter refuses to tell her who hired him to kill her and why. The mutant then unleashes the full fury of the elements on the man and he eventually cracks, telling her that the man who hired him is Andreas de Ruyter.

This name is familiar to Storm, and it reminds her of her trek across Africa when she was only twelve years old. She recalls how when she reached Ethiopia, she happened upon some white men swarming a black youth. Using her powers, Ororo came to the young man's aid. That's when Andreas made his presence known. He explains that the boy is T'Challa, the prince of Wakanda and that he intends to capture the boy and bring him back to South Africa. T'Challa struck Andreas, but when the white man pulled a gun, Storm blasts it with a bolt of lightning. Storm then grabbed T'Challa and flew away.

With her recollection now over, Storm pays a visit to the Embassy of Wakanda where she seeks an audience with T'Challa, now the king of Wakanda as well as the costumed hero known as the Black Panther. After exchanging pleasantries, Storm tells him about Andreas de Ruyter and the pair decide to investigate things further. Checking his computer files, the Black Panther learns that de Ruyter changed his violent ways and lived a normal career in politics until he was forced to retire and dropped out of sight. Using his resources as an Avenger, the Black Panther manages to track down where Andreas is working now. The pair then breaks into his mansion, incapacitating the guards to get in. Once the enter Andrea's bedroom they are attacked by a robot that is being controlled by de Ruyter.

The pair easily dispatches the robot and find Andreas dead in his room. Upon further examination, they learn that he was mentally linked with the robot, and when it was deactivated he was killed instantly. Soon the authorities are called and the scene locked down, the Panther and Storm bid each other farewell. When T'Challa tries to tell her his feelings for Storm, she also admits she has some as well, but tells him that the opportunity has long since past, and leaves.


Continuity Notes

And Introducing -- Karma! She Possesses People!

  • The Invisible Girl recounts how Spider-Man recently helped her rescue her son Franklin from kidnappers. That happened in Marvel Team-Up #88.

Cry Vengeance

Chronology Notes

A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:

And Introducing -- Karma! She Possesses People!

Cry Vengeance

See Also

Links and References


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks

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