Melati Kusuma (Komodo) is a former graduate student of Dr. Curt Connors. She stole Connors' regenerative lizard serum, modified it to her own DNA and administered it to herself. It repaired her legs (which had been amputated) and transformed her into a super-strong, super-agile, lizard beast with the ability to regenerate lost limbs. Connors later registered her for the Fifty State Initiative.
Komodo was created by Dan Slott and Stefano Caselli and first appeared in Avengers: The Initiative #1
Major Story Arcs
During the first day of training, Secretary Gyrich and Instructor Gauntlet forced Trauma to use his powers against his will. When he turned into Armory's worst fear,a giant spider, Armory panicked and started firing the Tactigon wildly. Komodo lost an arm, but it regrew almost instantly due to her regenerative power. Fellow recruit MVP lost his life though. Armory was kicked out of the Initiative after having the Tactigon removed.
War Machine was impressed with her abilities and skill, and, after being assured she was reliable by Doctor Connors, recruited her for a mission with the Scarlet Spiders to capture Spider-Man. Komodo attacked Spider-Man while he was fighting half of the Sinister Syndicate ( Hydro-Man, Shocker, and Boomerang). Spider-Man was enraged that they were spending more resources stopping him while he was doing heroics than catching villains. The Scarlet Spiders, however, tracked down and arrested the criminal trio. While Komodo and Spider-Man were fighting War Machine arrived with SPIN tech that depowered supers. He was trying to get a good shot at Spider-Man, and Komodo was to to hold the webslinger down. Spider-Man told her that she was being used and the Initiative would eventually use her up and depower her. Komodo became unnerved, and Spider-Man used this chance to escape. When War Machine approached her, she was hysterically crying, begging that they let her keep her powers.
When the Initiative were sent to fight HYDRA agents attacking the president, Komodo went with them, and fought bravely and effectively. Later, while in a plane with fellow recruit Hardball, she fell asleep and reverted back to her human form. It then became visible that she had no legs.
Komodo freaked out, but Hardball was the only one who saw her like that, and he didn't tell anyone.
During World War Hulk, the new recruits were running off to join the battle (against the field leader, recruit Triathlon's, orders). Komodo, probably remembering her encounter with Spider-Man, was the only one who obeyed Triathlon's orders and stayed behind. The rest of the recruits ran into the battle and were swiftly defeated and captured by Hulk and his forces. After their rescue, they were all punished, but Komodo wasn't.
When recruit Slapstick attacked instructor Gauntlet for making anti- New Warrior comments, the camp was put on lock-down. Komodo was one only four students not put on lock-down (along with Cloud 9, Hardball, and Triathlon).
Dragon Man was captured by Initiative members, but while being sent to 42, a Negative Zone prison, he became attracted to Komodo and had a fit, destroying a lot of property (Dragon Man had very low intelligence).
As time went by, Komodo began to start a romantic relationship with Hardball. She confided in him she felt helpless and ashamed in her crippled, human form, but Hardball assured her it was okay.
After training at Camp Hammond, Komodo was assigned to the Desert Stars - the Initiative team for the state of Arizona. She continued dating Hardball, who was assigned to Nevada (only one state over). They fought together in the Secret Invasion, instrumental in taking out a rather powerful Super- Skrull.
Her happiness would not last, however. Hardball defected to HYDRA, and Komodo was infuriated. She agreed to help give information on Hardball as long as she was in the Shadow Initiative when they went (illegally) into Madripoor to recapture him. However, after a battle with HYDRA agents including Bloodscream, Scorpion III, and Roughouse, as well as Hardball, Komodo was captured. SPIN tech was put into her system, but it had since been discovered such weapons effects could be reversed. Hardball promised to release her after getting her DNA.
Komodo informed him that HYDRA had not cured Hardball's brother as they had promised, and told him he made her sick. Hardball left the room, only to discover that the Shadow Initiative was attacking. Scorpion, with whom he had begun dating, confided in him that she was only in HYDRA for her own good. She also confessed that she liked him and that he should follow her lead.
She then escaped, taking the SPIN tech with her. Ant-Man and a few HAMMER agents then arrived, and turned the tide of battle to the fact that Hardball was surrounded. He ran back to where Komodo was, and SI member Constrictor followed. Outside her door he told Constrictor he was surrendering, but he just wanted Komodo to be safe. Constrictor asked why he didn't admit he still had feelings for her. Hardball then revealed he knew Constrictor had a daughter to whom Constrictor's existence was a secret. Constrictor realized they both kept their loved ones from knowing about their supervillain exploits to make things easier for the loved ones. Constrictor did not reveal anything about Hardball when the HAMMER agents arrived and captured him. He was sent to 42, the Negative Zone prison. When Komodo arrived back in the US, she was repowered and learned Norman Osborn had taken Tony Stark's old job, and Taskmaster was head of The Initiative.
42 was overrun by Blastaar's army of aliens, and Hardball was recruited. Komodo was one of the Shadow Initiative members to be sent in to retake the prison. She did it for revenge (though the Shadow Initiative was secretly being misled by Taskmaster and Hood who knew that many people would die and didn't want the loyal and powerful recruits to get hurt). Komodo's regeneration protected her from this, but the Shadow Initiative was being slaughtered.
Komodo then came up with a plan where Butterball (who was completely invulnerable but very out of shape) would distract the alien's fire so the rest of the Shadow Initiative would attack from behind. The plan worked, but they were still outnumbered and were being defeated. Hardball secretly wanted the Shadow Initiative (and Komodo) to win, so he released Dragon Man. Dragon Man was obsessed with Komodo, so switched sides. Being extremely powerful, he turned the tide of battle. The aliens turned on Hardball, but he beheaded and smashed them to death until the rest of the Initiative arrived.
Taskmaster was impressed and recruited him (the Initiative had lots of villains in it who were secretly thieves now that Norman and Taskmaster were in charge). Norman's PR people tricked the public into believing Hardball had been a double agent in HYDRA and the prison; working for the Initiative the entire time.She is next seen at the Avengers Academy Prom, hitting on the adult Reptil. When Reptil reveals he's really 16, she freaks out and says that he consented to hitting on her. Hardball then attacks Reptil for hitting on his girl, to which Komodo states that she's not his. She is then seen with Hardball arguing but then the two of them start making out, showing a possible reconciliation between the two of them.
Komodo later appears as one of several former Initiative members who have sided with Jeremy Briggs in an attempt to shut down the Avengers Academy. While trying to convince the students to leave the school, Komodo mentions that Briggs' scientists have been working with her to find a way to regrow limbs for amputees.
Komodo was furious at Hardball's release, and told Taskmaster she refused to work with him and that Hardball had to be sent back to jail. Taskmaster told her if she didn't cooperate with his orders she would be depowered. Komodo started to argue, but only got as far as "I..." before being depowered and kicked out of The Initiative. She was last seen leaving in a wheelchair, looking miserable, Spider-Man' prophecy having come true. It is hopeful that in time the effects of the SPIN Tech and Komodo will be repowered once more.
Powers and Abilities
Komodo has accelerated healing that she received from the same serum created by Dr. Connors to turn himself into the Lizard. She also has sharp claws, superhuman strength, reflexes and agility. Komodo has demonstrated a great understanding of chemistry and genetics which she used to perfect the serum. This allows her to keep control of herself when she is in lizard form.