After I sold my helicarrier for a rock bottom price there wasn’t much reason to hang around in Madripoor for much longer. There’s only so much beach lounging a woman can do before it’s time to move on to the next caper.
The first idea I was kicking around was to steal the Identity Disc like Vulture tried to do back in the day when he blackmailed together a real life Suicide Squad (sadly no one died). But since I had just tweaked SHEILD’s nips with the helicarrier heist it didn’t seem wise to go after them again. If you rip someone off once they can deal with it, if you go after them again you’re forcing them to take action or lose face. That was where Omar went wrong in the Wire.
Next I thought about stealing the Serpent Crown. It’s a little cliché for a female supervillain to go after the magic snake helmet of Set but succeeding where so many other women had failed would have been the angle I was going for. I could have made myself a snake-themed sky-sled and everything. That could have been interesting but I think Namor has the Serpent Crown last I heard and I’m not one for underwater stuff. I’m a land-based human.
In the end I decided that what I wanted was to take over a country. Punta Canamar, Kachin, Val Verde, Santo Marco, Sierra Gordo, or that one with the ugly guy who never takes off his armor and builds all the robots. Not Dr. Doom, I would never fuck with that guy because I know the difference between amusing diversion and suicide, but the other guy who’s a cheap imitation of Dr. Doom. His name will come to me. Dr. Destroyer maybe. Or the Usurper? I’ll get it. Point is that my target country wouldn’t be a real country, but one of the supervillain ones.
Benny and I would talk about how to overthrow a government sometimes but he wasn’t much help with brainstorming. For a man with Extremeis running through this veins or DNA or however the fuck that stuff works he’s not very extreme. Irony alert. It’s funny, we both want to just have some fun so we should be on the same page with living life but his idea of fun is so low rent that we couldn’t really agree on anything.
When I told him that I was probably going to try and depose whatever unfrozen Nazi or conquistador ghost or evil mutant was currently in charge of Tierra Verde and take over he was a real wet blanket about the whole thing. He didn’t think that was a good way to go at all.
No big deal right? I want to do one thing that’s actually good and he wants to rob armored cars and other small-time shit like that. Time to go our separate ways. We had some fun and I’ll see you around.
I wish it had been that easy. He wanted to talk and talk and talk about it when there was nothing to say. Eventually I had to ghost the poor bastard. I don’t feel great about it but it had to be done. He was just on me all the time you know?
The cracks in our relationship started to get really obvious when the annual Madripoor Bloodsport Tournament came around. I wasn’t at all happy about Helen wanting to go attend the event in the place. I like a good scrap as much as the next super-strong person with a healing factor, but that Mr. X shit is too much for me. A fight to the death? Just because? No, that’s not my scene.
So that was bad enough, but then she said that I should enter into the damn thing! She told me that I could probably win and how much money she could make betting on me and how sexy she would find it for me to be the king of the death tournament. I was crushed. And pissed. And disgusted. She wanted me to put my life on the line just for fun! I mean sure, that’s basically what being a supervillain is in some sense, accidents do happen but Spider-Man and his Spectacular friends aren’t trying to murder you.
This should go without saying, but the people that enter that Madripoor tournament aren’t kidding around. They’re stone-cold killers, stone-cold killers that are crazy enough to want to fight other stone-cold killers just to see who’s better at being a stone-cold killer! There’s not even any prize money or anything. Did you know that? The only reward for winning is that you get to fight some psycho that beat the shit out of Wolverine for Christ’s sake. Extremeis is pretty powerful stuff but I’m not Wolverine!
There’s always going to be surprises in the early stages of a relationship but usually it’s just that your partner wants you to do something strange sexually or they chew weird or they don’t think people should shower every day or something like that, the kind of thing were you can think to yourself “oh, that’s different from the way I am, but it’s not getting in the way so fine.” This, you know fighting other men to the death, this was a real smack in the face.
When I told her no way was I going to do that and she was disappointed but not that disappointed. Which made it even worse that she had asked because she didn’t even care that much about it. If it was something she desperately NEEDED me to do for some reason maybe I could have wrapped my head around it, but it was a passing fancy. I’m bored so risk your life for my entertainment. That broke my heart more than anything.
I’m sure anyone reading this thinks I’m a real idiot for not expecting that she wouldn’t treat me like this, you probably think that she made it clear that she didn’t care that much about me from the beginning and I just wasn’t picking up on the signals. But you weren’t there. You can’t say that. You don’t know.
She was raised from the time she was a little kid to be an assassin by the Red Room. You think that’s not going to leave marks? You think that’s not going to throw up some walls? Yeah, she’s a guarded person but I was making progress in helping to tear down those walls. I really was, I’m not being delusional.
I think if we could have left Madripoor together and gone somewhere normal I could have helped her. Maybe she wouldn’t have fallen in love with me back the way I was in love with her, but she felt something for me. It wasn’t how it looked from the outside.
We went to the tournament together but I left when Hellbent was beating Pexlor to death with his stolen Daredevil clubs. I couldn’t stomach it. I kept looking at Helen’s face for signs that she was as disgusted as I was but I didn’t see anything. That doesn’t mean anything though, she doesn’t give anything away.
I waited at the hotel for her but she never showed up. That was the last I saw her for a long while.