Medusalith Amaquelin was born to Quelin and Ambur, who were both members of the Inhumans. Quelin was the brother of Rynda, the wife of King Agon. Because of that family connection, Medusalith was considered a member of Attilan's Royal Family. Her parents had elected to expose her to the Terrigen Mists when she was young, which gave her a long, thick head of red hair which she could use like an appurtenance. She became widely known by her shortened name "Medusa," after the woman in Greek mythology who had actual snakes for hair.
Medusa first appeared in Fantastic Four #36 in 1964 and was created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby. Though she was the first Inhuman character to ever appear in comics, she made her debut as the sole female member of the Frightful Four, a team of supervillains that opposed the heroic Fantastic Four. She was given the unique power of prehensile hair and believed herself to be the most powerful member of the Frightful Four. Later it was revealed that Medusa was actually a member of the Inhumans’ royal family, and that she had been brainwashed into becoming a villain after she had lost her memory.
During her adolescent years, Medusa began to visit her cousin Black Bolt, who at a young age was quarantined by necessity since the power of his voice could cause catastrophic damage. Because of this, Black Bolt could never vocalize his thoughts. Medusa learned to communicate with him in a special sign language, and due to these regular visits, the two had fallen in love by the time Black Bolt had been released from his cell at the age of eighteen.
Major Story Arcs
The Kree Attack Attilan
When Kree refugees came to Attilan for refuge, their true purpose was to assassinate Medusa and the rest of the Inhuman Royal Family. Medusa was seen along with Gorgon, Black Bolt, Ahura and Karnak in a garden since the Inhuman Royal Family renounced their claim of power. Before they could shoot, Black Bolt sensed them and sent a bolt of energy their way. Medusa used her hair to protect both Ahura and herself and tells Ahura he will not help because he will be in the line of danger. Medusa saw her husband captured and attacked the soldiers, but she was hit from behind and knocked out. Medusa was then held at knife point by a Kree soldier while he told Black Bolt to give up. She awoke and took his arm off with her hair. She then announced that she and the Royal Family would become the protectors of Attilan once again. She, with the rest, were teleported outside of Attilan to see the Kree tents. She asked the Kree soldier what that was and that was when a group of Kree soldiers came. She attacked them until their boss came and told them the situation. She then went to the Genetics Council to hear the decision. Medusa was then teleported to the mists to attack the Kree. She was told by Karnak about which spots to hit on an energy based creature, but she and Karnak were easily knocked out.
The Frightful Four
When mutiny spread across the Alpha Primitive workers, Medusa battled their leaders, the Trikon. During the battle, Medusa's ship crashed to the ground and the impact caused her to lose her memory. The supervillain known as the Wizard then found her and took advantage of her amnesia. He was creating an evil version of the Fantastic Four called the Frightful Four and wanted a female on the team to counter the FF's Invisible Girl, and offered Medusa membership. She accepted, and the evil foursome was born. Medusa's team easily beat the FF in their first encounter in issue #36, minus the Torch who was away. However, Torch later saved Sue, Reed, Ben and Alicia Masters from being smothered to death in space when he kidnapped the Wizard and forced him to fly a plane to rescue them and this ruined the Frightful Four's chance to claim a real victory. Nevertheless, two issues later in FF #38, the evil FF really did deliver the Fantastic Four their first defeat! Medusa brilliantly laid a trap for Susan Storm and the lovely Invisible Girl walked blindly into it. With Medusa's successful capture of the blonde girl, the Frightful Four swiftly abducted Sue to an isolated Pacific atoll. Reed, Ben and Johnny soon followed and they found Sue, but too late to escape the Wizard's nuclear trap. A mighty explosion caused the FF to lose their powers. FF #41 had the Wizard turning Ben Grimm against his friends via his ID machine. With his additional strength, Medusa's team easily defeated the FF for a second straight time! By the end of the triple saga in FF #43, Reed managed to break Wizard's hold on Ben and this gave the FF enough of a chance to win the day. Medusa managed to escape while her partners were being caught and this allowed us to be introduced in the next few issues to her Inhuman family....... However, before we turn to them, it must be noted that Medusa brought much to her evil team, especially a superb intellect, as demonstrated by when she had Trapster create a chemically treated giant plastic bag in FF #41 to imprison the unconscious Invisible Girl. Since the plastic bag was able to stretch to any size, Sue's force field was totally ineffective against the trap which was crafted by Medusa's genius. Some have even said that the red-haired lady showed a bit of eerie sadistic glee when she was a Frightful Four villainess. While the Frightful Four went on for decades to battle the FF, they never had as much success in future battles as what they had with Medusa in FF #36, #38, and #41- #43. Stan Lee might have been better off if he had kept Medusa in the Frightful Four and even made her the leader of the evil quartet. However, then we would probably never met Medusa's family, the Inhumans, so let's move on to them ... Gorgon came along and tried to capture her along with the Human Torch. A fight between Medusa and the Human Torch awakened the imprisoned Dragon Man. He protected Medusa against Gorgon and the Fantastic Four as he was confused by her and originally thought she was the Invisible Girl, until the actual Invisible Girl came along to help stop Dragon Man and Gorgon. The four were distracted and Gorgon had enough time to capture Medusa and bring her back to Attlian.
Return to the Inhumans
With her memory finally jogged, Medusa stopped fighting against the Inhumans and joined them in a fight against the Fantastic Four, who came to save the Human Torch. The Human Torch had fallen in love with Medusa's sister, Crystal. But when Crystal announced that Triton had been captured by the Seeker, Medusa teleported her family to Attilan. They arrived, as Maximus and Medusa both knew Black Bolt could not use his voice. Maximus then tried to claim Medusa has his bride, but Black Bolt ran to steal back the Inhuman crown, reclaiming himself as the leader of the Inhumans, with Medusa by his side.
When the Fantastic Four arrived, the Human Torch was reunited with Crystal and Maximus fired his atmo-gun. When his machine didn't work, Medusa realized that the Inhumans and humans were all the same and it angered Maximus. He reversed his machine and it created a Negative Zone around Attilan that trapped them, while the Fantastic Four escaped just in time. Black Bolt realized he had no other choice but to use his voice, to destroy the Negative Zone around Attilan. Black Bolt had revealed his secret in the end: he could use his voice.
Medusa talked to Marista, about how she wished she can hear Black Bolt speak. Medusa went on to tell her how everyday Black Bolt went to meditate to make sure he wouldn't say a word which would kill all of them. Marista asked if Medusa was afraid if he would lose his grip. Medusa said no, but she was afraid of how Black Bolt could so easily close everything out including herself. The Council of Elders and Black Bolt, later sent Medusa and the royal family to study human society, where Medusa was led into conflict with Spider-Man. Medusa was then captured by Maximus, who stole the Inhuman crown once again and imprisoned Black Bolt. Black Bolt used his powerful voice once again and freed the people of Attilan. She then tried to restore Black Bolt's voice under the Enchantress' influence to join the Lady Liberators. When Susan Richards left the Fantastic Four, Medusa took her place. After several months of service, Medusa convinced Sue to join the Fantastic Four once again, allowing Medusa to return to Attilan.
Second Kree Attack on Attilan
Medusa asked Arvak if any humans plagued their borders. He told her they were safe for another night. She then, by Black Bolt, gives the order for the Inhumans to sleep. Not long after, a ship which attacked the Inhumans arrived. She and Black Bolt went to see who it was. They find out it was the Kree. Medusa wondered how they defeated their best warriors so quickly. Black Bolt sent an order to her and she knew what she had to do. A beetledroid dismantled the ship Medusa was on. She fell, but her hair cushioned her fall. The machines neutralized her powers and wrap their legs in her hair so it won't grow. She then faints, thanking the gods that Luna and Crystal were not in Attilan that night. Medusa, with Gorgon and Black Bolt, goes to Sparto's planet to assassinate Lilandra, but unknown to them, Karnak and Triton were part of the Imperial Guard.
The Royal Family had their troubles with Maximus, but Medusa remained the interpreter for Black Bolt. After Attilan was moved to the Blue Area of the Moon, she and Black Bolt were married and Medusa was made queen. When Medusa became pregnant, Attilan's Genetics Council argued that mating should be banned, due to the unsteadiness of Maximus and ordered the pregnancy terminated. Medusa fled to Earth and lived in the desert until the child was born. Medusa returned to Attilan and turned her son over the Genetics Council, who they smuggled to Earth for testing. Medusa found out and went after her child. When this exposed a grab for power, both the Genetics Council and the Royal Family gave up leadership, though the Royal Family resumed leadership. Medusa has led an effort to bring the Inhumans and humans together, beginning with the learning of each others' cultures.
War of Kings
After the Inhuman Royal Family moved Attilan to Hala to begin their rule over the Kree Empire, which was something they were made to do, war broke out between them and the Shi-ar Empire, led by the unstable Vulcan. When Black Bolt attempted to end the war with the Terigen Bomb, it created a massive fissure in space and time known as the Fault. It also took Black Bolt and Vulcan's lives. Having won the war, Medusa became queen of both the Kree and the Shi'ar.
Realm of Kings
With the grief of losing her husband, Medusa took the role of leader very seriously, acting how a queen should. She realized that there was still considerable tension between the Inhumans and the Kree, especially after the loss of Black Bolt. She proved on several occasions that the Kree needed the Inhumans by saving them from a rogue Destructoid called Devos the Devastator, and a revolt of the Alpha Primitives. The other Inhumans soon discovered that Maximus was behind those plots, but after they caught him, Medusa released him, claiming to have put Maximus up to it. Much to the disagreement of others, specifically Gorgon, Crystal and Ronan, Medusa has strived to force a positive relationship between the Inhumans and the Kree. Medusa plans to have nothing get in her way of ruling the Empire.
Avengers Infinity Quest
When The Hood embarked on a scheme to find the Infinity Gems the Illuminati had kept hidden from the world, Iron Man summoned a reunion of the clandestine organization. However, in place of Black Bolt, Medusa showed up with Lockjaw. After the Avengers succeed in defeating The Hood and sending him back to jail, Medusa rejoined with a new Illuminati (now with Steve Rogers in their ranks), and they vowed to do a better job of keeping the gems hidden.
- Height: 5' 11"
- Weight:130 lbs (59 kg)
- Eyes: Green
- Hair: Red
- Unusual Features: Extremely long and mobile hair
- Citizenship: Attilan
- Place of Birth: Attilan Island, Atlantic Ocean
- Marital Status: Widowed
- Occupations: Queen of the Inhumans, Kree, and Shi'ar; Royal Interpreter, Adventurer
- Known Relatives: Black Bolt (husband, cousin; deceased), Crystal (sister), Quelin (father), Ambur (mother), Ronan the Accuser (brother-in-law), Quicksilver (brother-in-law), Luna (niece), Karnak, Gorgon, Triton (second cousins), Maximus (brother-in-law, cousin), Ahura (son)
Powers and Abilities
Medusa's most notable feature is her unusually long and luxurious red hair (six feet in length when fully relaxed), the strands of which are no thicker than the average strand of human hair and just as soft when she wills it to be. However, each strand possesses greater tensile strength and durability than steel wire of the same thickness, and Medusa has the psychokinetic ability to wield all of them like countless extra appendages. With concentration, she can move her hair in almost any manner imaginable.
When sufficiently anchored, Medusa’s hair is strong enough to lift and hurl heavy objects up to 1.6 tons in weight, and each individual strand on its own can support approximately 6.4 pounds. For greater reach, Medusa can stretch the strands up to double their original length with minimal loss of tensile strength. She can snap her hair as if it were a whip, the tips of which move faster than the speed of sound, or rotate it at extremely high velocities like a powerful fan. She can also use it to form sharp spear-like points for puncturing and stabbing purposes. Her control over her hair is precise enough that she can easily perform actions that require great dexterity and complex coordination, such as typing on a keyboard, shuffling and dealing a deck of cards, or picking a lock.
Her hair is a devastating weapon in close combat, since most opponents find it impossible to block or evade all of her attacks at once and quickly find themselves overwhelmed by the countless strands. Even while she attacks with her hair from many directions, she can simultaneously use it to shield herself from attack, since it is extremely durable and difficult to damage. Though her hair has no nerves, she can feel sensations through it with her psionic field.
Because she is an Inhuman, Medusa also possesses greater strength, speed, agility, reflexes, and endurance than humans. Even without using her hair, she is strong enough to lift approximately one ton under normal conditions. She has also had extensive training in unarmed combat. Though most Inhumans have very weak immune systems compared to humans, Medusa has spent enough time in the outside world that her immune system has toughened considerably. Unlike her fellow Inhumans, she is not easily sickened by the bacteria, viruses, and pollutants of the outside world and can operate normally in it.
From a young age, Medusa developed a special form of silent communication with Black Bolt, which eventually led their romance and marriage. She can instinctively read her husband's body language, mannerisms, and intentions better than anyone, and has long served as his personal interpreter and translator. As the queen of the Inhumans, Medusa has shown exemplary leadership qualities and it is often thought that she is the true guiding force behind her people, even more so than Black Bolt.
Marvel 1602 (Earth-311)
Madame Medusa was a member of "The Four Who Are Frightful" (this universe's version of the Frightful Four) and was featured as the Wizard's lover. Just like her namesake from ancient Greek mythology, Medusa's hair was now composed of actual snakes, and she had to wear a veil to prevent her gaze from turning people into stone. Although her origin was not mentioned, she was described as an "inhuman." She possibly had a French background because of how she was addressed as "madame."
Earth X (Earth-9997)
Medusa of Earth X had the same prehensile hair as her main reality counterpart, though its length and volume was now drastically increased. She was still Queen of the Inhumans, but her husband, Black Bolt, was dead. She feared for the emotional loss of her son, Ahura. Many of her allies and friends were mutated by an accident that happened on Earth. As a way to unite the remaining factions of Earth, Captain Britain proposed to her.
Ultimate Universe (Earth-1610)
Medusa was still the queen of the Inhumans and the wife of their leader, Black Bolt. Like her Earth-1602 counterpart, this Medusa also had snakes for hair, though in this reality the snakes and her skin were green in color.
Unlike the Earth-616 Medusa, the Ultimate Medusa did not believe that Inhumans and humans could co-exist peacefully and was very patriotic towards her people's cause. However, she felt strong regret over her husband's inability to speak.
Marvel Zombies (Earth-2149)
In the issue of Ultimate Fantastic Four when Mr. Fantastic entered the Marvel Zombies Universe, Medusa was one of the featured zombies (along with the other super-powered zombies) who attacked him. Her hair was much like the Earth-616 version.
Age of Apocalypse (Earth-295)
In the Age of Apocalypse reality, Medusa and the Inhuman royal family were killed by Maximus (who had become the Death Horseman of Apocalypse), and later cloned to serve as his personal bodyguards. The cloned Medusa fought against the X-Men, entangling Nightcrawler in her hair before being attacked by the feral Sabretooth, who defeated her. It was unknown if she survived the struggle but she was most likely killed after Sunfire destroyed Apocalypse´s ship with the Inhuman clones on board. The cloned Medusa had greenish skin and long green hair instead of her classic red tone.
Marvel Mangaverse (Earth-2301)
Other than being drawn in a Manga style, the Marvel Mangaverse Medusa was much like her main reality counterpart. She and the other Inhumans helped the son of this reality's Captain Marvel to destroy Galactus before he could devour the Earth.
- Fantastic Four cartoon series (1978)
Medusa appeared along with the rest of the Inhumans in one episode, and later appeared as a member of the Frightful Four. In this series she was portrayed as a straight villain with no apparent redeeming qualities.
- Spider-Man cartoon series (1981)
Medusa appeared in the episode Under the Wizard's Spell. She acted as a villain and fought Spider-Man, until it was revealed that Medusa was being mind-controlled by the Wizard, who had placed a special collar on her that enslaved her to his will. After the collar was neutralized, the two teamed up to defeat the Wizard.
- Fantastic Four animated series (1994-1996)
Medusa appeared in four episodes of the series, mainly in the Inhumans Saga which ran three consecutive episodes. She was initially a member of the Frightful Four, and was later revealed to be a member of the Inhumans. The Inhumans were initially hostile to the Fantastic Four until the two sides joined forces against Black Bolt's renegade brother, Maximus the Mad. The show's producer, Tom Tataranowicz, revealed that he wanted to have Medusa join the Fantastic Four during the third season, but unfortunately the series was canceled after two seasons. Actress Iona Morris provided Medusa's voice in the series.
- Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (2006)
Medusa appeared as an NPC in the game, and was voiced by actress Nancy Linari. She was shown as being imprisoned in Attilan after being brainwashed into serving Doctor Doom.