- The closer I get to Helmut Zemo, the easier it will be to kill him.
- -- Songbird src
Melissa Gold was a troubled runaway from an alcoholic father and incarcerated mother. In order to survive on the streets, Melissa developed a hard edge to her personality, referring to herself as "Mimi." She eventually found work as a costumed professional wrestler, taking the stage name Screaming Mimi, and joined the wrestling team known as the Grapplers.
The Grapplers became renowned for their colorful personalities and ringside antics, but the wrestling federation denied them the opportunity to make the same amount of money their male counterparts made. Thundra was pitted against the Grapplers including Screaming Mimi, all of whom, except Titania, she managed to defeat easily. The group agreed to earn supplementary income by performing a covert operation for the Roxxon Oil Company and were given special paraphernalia to assist them in their mission. The mission failed due to the hero Quasar, and the Grapplers were tried and jailed for their misdeeds.
Sent to Ryker's Island prison, the Grapplers encountered and fought Dazzler, but were defeated when Screaming Mimi let loose her voice, increasing Dazzler's powers. When the Grapplers were finally paroled, they discovered that the woman's wrestling movement had lost its momentum without them, so they continued to perform crimes to support themselves. When Ben Grimm was in the hospital the Grapplers were one of his many visitors.
Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation
Later, the Grapplers set their sights on a woman's division of the super-powered Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation. Their manager, Auntie Freeze, arranged for the women to augment their artificial powers with natural ones created by the agency Power Broker, Inc. The all-new Grapplers made a legitimate professional comeback that proved short-lived. The team dissolved when two of their members, Titania and Letha, were killed by the vigilante Scourge.
Masters of Evil
Melissa was later contacted by the criminal Baron Zemo to join his version of the Masters of Evil. Her first assignment was to help free the female Yellowjacket out of prison, but Melissa was captured in the subsequent battle with the heroes Wasp and Paladin.
Angar the Screamer
Mimi joined the Femizons and their goal to conquer Earth and create a utopia where women ruled over men. Led by Superia, the group was composed of several established female criminals and super-villainesses. However the group's plans were stopped by Captain America.
Angar and Mimi continued to commit robberies together for a time. However, after escaping from a robbery attempt that went sour, Angar died in Melissa's arms. Mad with grief, Melissa screamed like never before, burning out her power. Immediately afterwards, Melissa was contacted by Baron Zemo once more, and she accepted his offer to join a formative Masters of Evil. Zemo allowed Melissa to be nursed back to health, and his accomplice, the Fixer, gave her new powers via a voice-augmenting harness and high-tech implants in her neck.
With her newly-altered powers, Melissa adopted the identity of "Songbird" as a member of the Thunderbolts, a new Masters of Evil group posing as super-heroes to win the world's trust while secretly plotting world conquest under Zemo's direction. However, Melissa and most of the other Thunderbolts grew to like their heroic roles. In particular, Melissa began to truly grow into her own and even began a romance with her teammate Abner Jenkins, alias MACH-1, formerly the Beetle. Ultimately, the Thunderbolts turned against Zemo, foiling his attempt at world domination and rescuing the Avengers in the process. Melissa continued to serve with the team, who operated as a team of outlaw super-heroes.
When veteran Avengers member Hawkeye joined the Thunderbolts as their new leader to help them regain the public's trust, Hawkeye insisted that MACH-1, as the team's only convicted murderer, would have to serve his prison sentence for the good of the group's image. Jenkins reluctantly agreed, separating him from Melissa, who gradually began slipping back into her hard-edged Mimi-type persona. When MACH-1 returned months later through a bargain struck with the Commission on Superhuman Activities (CSA), adopting a new identity as MACH-2, he also underwent appearance-altering surgery to conceal his true identity. He was unexpectedly given African-American features, and Melissa was initially distressed by the change. However, she became accustomed to it, and their relationship survived.
When the Thunderbolts uncovered and thwarted a CSA-connected conspiracy to exterminate all superhumans, Hawkeye blackmailed the CSA into giving the Thunderbolts full pardons in exchange for the group's silence; however, CSA agent Gyrich insisted that he would not go along with the deal unless Hawkeye went to prison for his technically illegal vigilante activities as a member of the Thunderbolts. Hawkeye agreed, despite the protests of his teammates, and surrendered to federal custody. Most of the rest of the Thunderbolts, including MACH-2 and Melissa, were pardoned and released. However, as part of the terms of their deal, they were forbidden from public use of superhuman powers or costumed identities. Melissa and Abe turned their equipment over to the authorities and started new civilian lives in the town of Burton Canyon, Idaho as Abe Jenkins and Melissa Gold.
Unfortunately, their quiet lives were shattered when the super-criminal Graviton launched his latest attempt at world conquest in Burton Canyon, imprisoning the world's superheroes and literally reshaping the planet in his own image. Despite their reluctance to risk their new-found freedom, MACH-2 and Melissa agreed to join Citizen V (secretly Baron Helmut Zemo controlling Citizen V's body) in attacking Graviton as part of a new team of Thunderbolts. Melissa was given a new power-harness provided by the Citizen V's financiers, the V-Battalion. Graviton was defeated and the world was saved, but MACH-3 and the other Thunderbolts disappeared in an implosion created by the dying Graviton's powers, with the exception of Songbird, who appeared to be the sole survivor. (In reality, MACH-3 and the other vanished Thunderbolts survived but were stranded on an alternate Earth).
Melissa had little time to mourn, as immediately afterward, she was attacked by Scream, a rogue creation of the CSA who turned out to be Angar resurrected as an entity of pure sound. She helped the intelligence agency S.H.I.E.L.D. destroy Scream, and she also destroyed her sound-shaping harness, apparently intending to retire her Songbird identity again.
However, she was outfitted with new sound technology by S.H.I.E.L.D., who recruited her to help track down Hawkeye, who was officially an escaped fugitive but was unofficially pursuing a secret mission on behalf of S.H.I.E.L.D. commander Dum-Dum Dugan. After doing some undercover detective work in her old criminal persona as Mimi, Songbird was reunited with Hawkeye, joining forces with him and a captive Plant-Man to seek out the mysterious legacy of Justin Hammer on behalf of S.H.I.E.L.D.
They discovered that Hammer's legacy was a biological toxin that had been ingested by every single villain who had ever worked for him and that one of the villains, Plant-Man, was the catalyst. Hawkeye, Songbird, and Plant-Man began a new search for the trigger that would release Plant-Man's toxin. The search ended with Hammer's daughter, Justine, who turned out to be the Crimson Cowl, leader of the Masters of Evil. Hawkeye convinced several members of the Masters of Evil to side with him and Songbird against Crimson Cowl and their former allies. As a new team of Thunderbolts, the group ultimately defeated the Crimson Cowl and her Masters of Evil, and Plant-Man (now Blackheath) managed to release an antidote for the toxin into the atmosphere.
Songbird was often acting second-in-command to Hawkeye in keeping his Thunderbolts under control. They next helped the true Citizen V and the V Battalion, whose ship was powered by an engine of alien technology that began distorting and threatened to suck the Earth into the null space of a white hole. The Thunderbolts were asked to move a great quantity of mass to plug the hole. In so doing, the Thunderbolts encountered Zemo's Thunderbolts, who emerged from the void after severing the alien ship's presence from Counter-Earth. The two teams combined forces to plug the void and shunt the alien ship from Earth, similar to the manner in which Zemo's team stopped the threat on Counter-Earth.
Songbird's reunion with Jenkins was short-lived. After much discussion, MACH-3 once more remanded himself to police custody to serve the remainder of his sentence. Most of the other costumed heroes and villains chose to part company as well, and Songbird agreed to stay with the Thunderbolts under Zemo's leadership, despite his claim that their mission was to attempt to rule the world in order to save it.
Songbird and the Thunderbolts engaged in many acts of questionable heroism under Zemo’s leadership, where the ends justified the means. Zemo’s ultimate plan involved the creation of “the Liberator", a device that would drain abnormal uses of energy throughout the world and hopefully reduce global threats, eliminate superhuman terrorism, and stabilize the world’s status quo. The Thunderbolts succeeded in launching the Liberator, only to be confronted by the Avengers. Feeling betrayed, Moonstone absorbed the powers that the Liberator had harnessed, combining them with her already-increased powers of the Moonstone. The Thunderbolts and the Avengers teamed up to defeat Moonstone, ultimately removing the alien gems that gave her powers. The members of the Thunderbolts then agreed to go their separate ways.
Songbird returned to school at Empire State University. Later, when the Avengers formally disbanded, MACH-3 (now, MACH-4) decided to re-form the Thunderbolts. He recruited Songbird as a founding member of the new team, but she agreed more so out of a sense of duty than to rekindle her relationship with MACH-4.
After Melissa discovered that Abe received backing for the new Thunderbolts from Hydra and Baron Strucker, she refused to remain with the group. Shortly after, when Abe was injured, she took control of the team away from him in order to forge the Thunderbolts into a more honest organization.
During the first superhuman Civil War, the Thunderbolts were approached by the government to catch super-villains and rehabilitate them. These ex-villains were then assigned to hunt down and incarcerate unregistered heroes under government supervision. Norman Osborn became the director of the Thunderbolts and demoted Melissa because she was too moral, giving her leadership position to the recently recovered Moonstone. Melissa was clearly uncomfortable with the situation, and only remained on the team for fear of imprisonment. However, when the team failed multiple times in capturing the Steel Spider and Moonstone was wounded, Melissa and Radioactive Man decided she should temporarily act as leader. Melissa was shown to dislike most of her teammates, as instead of villains seeking redemption, the Norman's team of Thunderbolts were largely fighting for personal gain. She even misled Bullseye, resulting in him suffering a grave injury.
During the Skrull invasion, Songbird was attacked by a Skrull who not only had her powers, but also had the powers of Atlas and the rest of the original Thunderbolts. The Thunderbolts saved her by causing this Skrull to merge into a nearby building, killing him.
When Norman Osborn was given control of S.H.I.E.L.D., rebranded is as H.A.M.M.E.R., and decided to make the Thunderbolts into his personal hit squad, Melissa became a liability. Under Osborn's orders Bullseye cornered Songbird with a blade to her back, telling her to ask him to kill her. She managed to repel him, and escaped as the remaining Thunderbolts team attempted to kill her. Swordsman saved her from Bullseye after he cornered her once again, and after Swordsman faked her death, she departed. Now free from Osborn's machinations, but well-aware of what his new status as Director of H.A.M.M.E.R. means, Melissa planned to thwart Osborn's plans any way she could.
She reappeared in the public eye when she stopped H.A.M.M.E.R. forces from performing a forced relocation of homeless people in Cleveland, Ohio. She punished an officer who harmed a homeless war veteran, and proceeded to defeat the entire H.A.M.M.E.R. unit and fly off. Osborn found out and sent his newest Thunderbolt, Scourge, after her. After this she decided to bring together the old band of Thunderbolts and deal with the team of killers Norman had assembled as the new Thunderbolts.
Her first stop is to seek Abe (Mach IV) and Norbert (Fixer), who were working on the Mach V version of the flight armor. Abe pledged to help her, and gave her the location of Chen. Melissa kissed him in thanks before leaving. Some time later, she was intercepted and fired upon by the Osborn's New Thunderbolts on board their jet. She grabbed a missile in mid-air, and sent it back into the Thunderstrike. The explosion sent the plane crashing, but stuned her enough to send her to the ground as well. Still stunned, she was taken by surprise by Norman's Black Widow (Yelena Belova), who pointed a gun at her head. She was even more surprised when the Black Widow says that she's extracting Songbird to safety. Melissa remained sceptical, until the Black Widow revealed that she's not really Yelena, but rather Natasha Romanova. Barely surviving the crash, the duo escaped into the woods only to run into Mister X. After defeating him and eluding the rest of the Thunderbolts, the two arrived where they were supposed to meet Nick Fury. The group discovered that they had been followed by Ant-Man, and were captured by the Thunderbolts. After being returned to the base, Nick Fury was revealed to be a LMD. Natasha and Melissa were ordered by Norman Osborn to be interrogated and disposed of. At this moment Headsman, Paladin, and Ghost help freed the two prisoners where they are saved by Abe in Mach-V armor.
Songbird became a warden of the women's side of the Raft, with a new haircut and outfit. Along with Mach V, Fixer, and the new leader Luke Cage, they recruited criminals to the Thunderbolts program for a chance of redemption. When Luke Cage enlisted Moonstone into the program, Songbird questioned him, which quickly lead to Luke Cage pointing out that she was just like Moonstone at one point.
Songbird and Cage were on good terms. She helped during the one mission where they captured Gunna, a supernatural being whose mother was an Asgardian and father was a Troll. Songbird orientated her into the program. When Songbird was about to get beaten by the female inmates during a prison riot, Gunna saved her, much to the disappointment of Moonstone. Songbird acted as second-in-command of the Thunderbolts team, consistently aiding Luke Cage with her input. She was later appointed to train the Thunderbolts Beta team by Warden Walker.
Songbird was later captured by Lemuel Dorcas (who had developed an obsession with her) and repaired her vocal cords in hopes of making Songbird his slave. However, Songbird escaped from Dorcas' clutches. With the surgery restoring her persuasive powers as well, Songbird used it to turn Lemuel Dorcas' henchmen against him.
Avengers Idea Mechanics
Some time later, Melissa returned to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s fold and infiltrated Bobby da Costa's Avengers Idea Mechanics as a double agent under John Garrett's supervision. Her status was kept a secret even from Hawkeye, who had also joined Avengers Idea Mechanics on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s behalf, albeit openly.
During a conflict with S.H.I.E.L.D. triggered by rescuing hacktivist Rick Jones from captivity, Songbird blew her cover and even fought Hawkeye. She atoned for her betrayal by becoming a triple agent, with allegiance towards da Costa. Songbird was captured by Garrett when he discovered her status, stripped her of her enhancements, and forced her to reveal the location of A.I.M.'s new hideout after attaching her to a lie detector. She bypassed the audio-based lie detector with the help of her training from controlling her previous powers, and instead gave Garrett the coordinates for the headquarters of A.I.M.'s enemy organization, W.H.I.S.P.E.R.
After being rescued by fellow A.I.M. members, Songbird joined the fight against W.H.I.S.P.E.R.'s New Revengers, who had taken advantage of the conflict triggered by Songbird's capture to attack A.I.M.'s Avenger Base Two. Garrett and an army of LMDs followed Songbird and her allies to the base, but they were neutralized.
Returning to the Thunderbolts
After this, Songbird decided to retire and took a vacation to Belmar Beach, New Jersey, however the new incarnation of the Thunderbolts, led by the Winter Soldier, asked for her help rescuing their leader. After successfully doing so, she rejoined the Thunderbolts, but not for long as they were ambushed by a reformed Masters of Evil led by Baron Zemo, which resulted in the apparent death of Abe.
|Power Grid |
Melissa possesses various superhuman attributes as a result of undergoing the Power Broker augmentation treatment, enhancement of her vocal cords by Roxxon technicians, and voice augmenting implants and harness by the Fixer.
- Acoustikinesis: After burning out her original vocal sound-based abilities, Melissa was given a set of vocal cord implants and an external harness that allowed her to produce a number of effects. She can generate powerful sonic blasts, sonic force-fields, and can even create solid objects created from sound including battering rams, pincers and platforms. Melissa can also generate high pitched sonic vibrations that are subtle enough to avoid her being consciously detected by others and, thereby, allowing her to influence the actions of others.
- Flight: By creating wings out of pure sound energy, Gold can propel herself through the air at great speeds; most likely supersonic at the speeds of sound.
- Superhuman Strength: After undergoing the treatment, Melissa's musculature, skeletal structure, and connective tissues were drastically strengthened and augmented. As a result, she was granted superhuman strength. At her highest peak of strength and power, Melissa possesses sufficient strength to lift about 2 tons.
- Superhuman Speed: The superior energy output and force of her muscles enables Melissa to run and move at speeds that are beyond the natural physical limits of the finest human athlete.
- Superhuman Stamina: Melissa's muscles are more efficient than those of an ordinary human. As a result, they produce less fatigue toxins during physical activity than those of normal humans. At her peak, she can exert herself for several hours before the build up of fatigue toxins in her bloodstream begins to impair her.
- Superhuman Durability: Melissa's bodily tissues are tougher and more resistant to some forms of physical injury than those of a normal human. Melissa's body is able to withstand great impact and blunt force trauma. She can withstand impacts, such as falling from several stories or being repeatedly struck with superhuman force, that would severely injure or kill a normal human with little or no injury to herself.
- Superhuman Agility: Melissa's agility, balance and bodily coordination are enhanced to levels that are beyond the natural physical limits of the finest human athlete.
- Superhuman Reflexes: Melissa's reflexes are similarly enhanced and are superior to those of the finest human athlete.
Skilled Combatant: Melissa has extensive training in hand to hand combat, particularly wrestling. Although she burned out her original vocal cord powers, Gold still has her superhuman physical attributes, which makes her a much more effective hand to hand combatant.
- Melissa is a natural redhead.
- Melissa is Jewish.
- Melissa has admitted to having some racist leanings that she's tried to overcome.
- 297 Appearances of Melissa Gold (Earth-616)
- 13 Minor Appearances of Melissa Gold (Earth-616)
- Media Melissa Gold (Earth-616) was Mentioned in
- 186 Images featuring Melissa Gold (Earth-616)
- 14 Quotations by or about Melissa Gold (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: Melissa Gold (Earth-616)
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- ↑ Thunderbolts #15
- ↑ (the handbook entry in the 80's incorrectly lists this as Boise, Idaho)
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Thunderbolts Annual #1997
- ↑ Thunderbolts #21
- ↑ Marvel Two-In-One #54
- ↑ Marvel Two-In-One #56-57
- ↑ Marvel Two-In-One #64
- ↑ Dazzler #13
- ↑ Amazing Spider-Man #235
- ↑ Marvel Two-In-One #96
- ↑ Thing #33
- ↑ Avengers #271
- ↑ Avengers Spotlight #28-29
- ↑ Captain America #389-391
- ↑ Incredible Hulk #449
- ↑ Tales of the Marvel Universe #1
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 Thunderbolts #10-12
- ↑ Thunderbolts #23
- ↑ Thunderbolts #37-38
- ↑ Thunderbolts #50
- ↑ Thunderbolts #57-58
- ↑ Thunderbolts #59
- ↑ Thunderbolts #63
- ↑ Thunderbolts #65-71
- ↑ Thunderbolts #73-74
- ↑ Thunderbolts #75
- ↑ Avengers/Thunderbolts #1-6
- ↑ New Thunderbolts #1
- ↑ New Thunderbolts #7
- ↑ New Thunderbolts #12
- ↑ Thunderbolts #115
- ↑ Thunderbolts #124-125
- ↑ Thunderbolts #127
- ↑ Thunderbolts #134
- ↑ Thunderbolts #135-136
- ↑ Thunderbolts #144
- ↑ Thunderbolts #156
- ↑ Thunderbolts #171
- ↑ 39.0 39.1 New Avengers Vol 4 #10
- ↑ New Avengers Vol 4 #9
- ↑ New Avengers Vol 4 #11
- ↑ New Avengers Vol 4 #13
- ↑ New Avengers Vol 4 #15
- ↑ New Avengers Vol 4 #14
- ↑ New Avengers Vol 4 #16
- ↑ New Avengers Vol 4 #17
- ↑ New Avengers Vol 4 #18
- ↑ Thunderbolts Vol 3 #7
- ↑ Thunderbolts #-1
- ↑ Marvel Holiday Special #2011
- ↑ Thunderbolts #40
- ↑ Marvel Avengers: The Ultimate Character Guide #2
- ↑ Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z hardcover Vol. 10
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