Becoming Payback

Mavis Trent was an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. who had a secret double life as the leader of the True Believers, under the codename Payback, a team she formed after coming to believe that Oscorp had lied about her father to get him fired shortly before he turned whistleblower and was murdered.[4]

After her father's funeral Mavis was repeatedly contacted by a mysterious person who called her 'pumpkin', a nickname that only her father had ever referred to her by. Six months after the funeral this person revealed themselves to be Payback, a symbiotic entity formerly bonded to Mavis' father, a being similar to the Klyntar, though supposedly a more evolved 'cousin' species known as 'Variants' who fed upon bliss from its host without harming them. The explosion which killed Mavis' father also transformed his symbiote into electromagnetic energy existing on the broadband spectrum and permanently imprinted with many of Max's personality traits and memories, which then bonded itself to her.[5]

Mavis then took a month off from work to learn how to use her powers, once she was confident that she knew how to use them she attempted to manufacture a fight with Luke Cage, to see just what she could do. Cage noticed her surveillance of him and was able to take her down with ease whilst still going easy on her, despite this the fight taught her many important lessons.[1] Mavis began to put a team of whistleblowers together to expose her father's murderer and located two men, Ozzie Tanaka and Theo Bomba with 'strong motivation to defy the establishment'[6] as well as Tayln Roark, her father's last girlfriend.[1]

True Believers

Mavis used her position in S.H.I.E.L.D. to pick targets for her True Believers team and to ensure the investigation did not learn who they were by disseminating disinformation about the group.[7]

As their leader, Mavis ensured they took down an illegal 'bikini fight club' that had been kidnapping and drugging sex workers and helped to arrest a man obsessed with the Fantastic Four, after initially falling for a frame job designed to ruin Reed Richards reputation. During this time she also started seeing Dr. Cornelius Worth, a therapist who had treated the Sentry, for issues surrounding her father's death.[4]

While investigating her fathers computer a bomb went off in his lab, throwing Mavis across the street and knocked into a coma, leading to her then being captured by former Hydra agents, though she was quickly rescued by the other True Believers. Tayln was able to use her empathic powers to learn that former Hydra agents had been hired by another party to steal information on a bioweapon from Mavis' father as well as rigging his car and lab with bombs. The bioweapon was a neurotoxin called Anathema and it was capable of reversing a person's behaviour, turning Armadillo from an enraged combatant to a frightened coward for example. The former Hydra agents were planning on selling this weapon to Madame Hydra, which Mavis heard while still in her coma. Shortly before Mavis woke up, the former Hydra agents were attacked by Madame Hydra for their defection.[6]

Mavis had learned that S.H.I.E.L.D. were responsible for the Anathema project that her father became a whistleblower to stop and which then led to his death.[6] To learn more about the situation, the True Believers kidnapped and used Tayln's powers to question Maria Hill, the current Deputy Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., about Anathema which they learned had been developed during the first Superhuman Civil War and was intended solely for use on Captain America (Steve Rogers) to get him to stand down and end the fighting, once Rogers stood down by himself the project was shut down and to the best of Maria Hill's knowledge also destroyed. After leaving Hill they were found by Tony Stark, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Director and Iron Man at the time, leading to a fight which injured Mavis and knocked Iron Man unconscious. The fight caused a break in Mavis' connection to her symbiote, preventing her from accessing its powers.[8]

Mavis and the True Believers decided to take a break from their activities, leading Mavis to go and see her supervisor Chet Fleming for a date. Chet used an experimental cologne to paralyse Mavis and reveal that he had been the one to restart the Anathema project and that when the former Hydra Agents stole her father's work and he wanted to blow the whistle on the project, Chet planted a bomb in his car to kill him and also planted one in his lab to try and kill Mavis. Chet revealed he was going to blow up his home to kill Mavis and pin the murder on Hydra but Mavis was able to recharge her symbiote by jamming a screwdriver into an electrical socket and kill him instead. Iron Man arrived and made no attempt to arrest Mavis, simply asking her not to publish Maria Hill's name when the True Believers published the truth about Chet Fleming on their blog in exchange for setting up the Trent Foundation to offer financial and legal aid to anyone who was harassed or victimised for coming forward to tell the truth. Mavis then continued working with the True Believers.[8]

Powers

The Payback symbiote.

Due to being bonded with an alien symbiote which had become pure electromagnetic energy on the broadband spectrum, Agent Trent was able to transform into a silver-skinned energy form.

Unlike the Venom symbiote, this one was was a 'Variant' symbiote, sustained when its host was in a state of bliss, it also existed in an energy form rather than as an organic entity.[1] She has demonstrated the following abilities:

  • Superhuman Strength[3]
  • Superhuman Agility[3]
  • Superhuman Speed[3]
  • Superhuman Durability[3]
  • Invulnerability[8]
  • Rapid Healing Factor[1]
  • Flight[2]
  • Telepathic Link: Mavis has a telepathic link to her symbiote.[8]
    • Electromagnetic Manipulation[3]
      • Electricity Generation[3]
      • Microwave Generation[3]
      • Electromagnetic Pulse Generation[2]

Abilities

Proficient in six combat disciplines.[2]

Weaknesses

Exposure to water while using her symbiote caused Mavis to discharge electricity against her will.[1]

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