Madeline Joyce was a wealthy teen heiress and the ward of her uncle, who was a powerful radio mogul. She met a scientist associate of her uncle who claimed to have invented a device that gave him superpowers when struck by lightning. Madeline played around with the device right as a thunderstorm rolled in and the device knocked her out.
The scientist saw her unconscious body and assumed that the device had killed her so he destroyed the device and committed suicide. She was not dead, though, and when she came to she had superpowers. She donned a patriotic costume and dubbed herself Miss America. She was active during World War II as a member of the All-Winners Squad, Liberty Legion, and the Invaders. She fought alongside other heroes such as Captain America for many years, and even found love in the team when she met teammate Robert Frank, better known as the Whizzer, and fell in love.
Miss America was created by Otto Binder and Al Gabriele and first appeared in Marvel Mystery Comics #49 (1943).
Major Story Arcs
After the war
When the All-Winners Squad disbanded in 1949, Madeline and Whizzer stayed together, and eventually got married. The two of them lived happily, only from time to time using their secret identities as government operatives, but mostly adjusting to normal live without the superheroics. Later that year, Miss America and the Whizzer where assigned as security at a nuclear project. Unfortunately, and old enemy of the two from the war staged a nuclear accident witch caused the two of them to be exposed to massive radiation. Madeline was pregnant at the time, and months later had a mutant child. Madeline was told the baby was stillborn, but in fact it was taken into custody. (years later, the child would become Nuklo, an Avengers enemy). In 1951, both Madeline and her husband helped their old teammate the Destroyer to reorganize the V-Battalion as a peacekeeping organization. The two lived happily for many years and, retiring early, used their government pension to tour the world.
Madeline and her husband had used their government pension to tour around the world. During this time, Madeline again became pregnant. In the nation of Transia when the pregnancy came to term, they sought medical assistance at Wundagore Mountain, sanctuary if the High Evolutionary. One of the artificially evolved "persons" of the High Evolutionary, Bova, was a midwife and helped Madeline with the birth of her child. Tragically, the child was mutated by the radiation Madeline was exposed to years ago, and was stillborn. Weakened by the whole ordeal and the news of another dead child, Madeline died only hours after the birth. Bova tried to ease (her husband) Robert's pain by presenting two other twin children, who had been left behind by another recent visitor whom had died, and told him it where his children. Whizzer was filed with grief and fled the Mountain never to see "his" children again. These children however were in fact Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, whom would later be known as the mutant heroes Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. For many years it was thought that Madeline was the mother of both Pietro and Wanda, until it was later revealed that they where actually the children of Magneto and his wife Magda. Bova buried Madeline in an unmarked grave on the mountain-side, for her final resting place.
Years later, Miss America was seen in the X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl mini-series. It turned out that Miss America had come to Hell after her death. She was depicted as a racist and often fought with the another deceased 'inmate in Hell" Tike Alicar, an Afro-American and formerly a member of X-Statix. It was revealed that her racism was the main reason for her to go to Hell. Some time later, Madeline joined forces with a group of supervillains including Tike Alicar, Kraven the Hunter, and Mysterio led by the Pitiful One and returned from the dead for twenty-four hours to raise hell in the present time. Ultimately she and Tike rebelled against the villains and ended up fighting the villains and falling in love with each other. For rebelling against the villains and renouncing her racism ways, it is implied that both of them are allowed to enter Heaven.
Note: The story in which Miss America is depicted as a racist is very far off from her initial appearances. Because this depiction was part of the "X-Statix" story, which is known for its strange and "out of character" storylines, this story should be taken as bit of a caricature.
Picking up the Legacy
More recently a young girl took the name of Ms. America and fought alongside the Avengers Initiative. Whether she has any connection to Madeline remains to be seen.
Powers and Abilities
Miss America had "the strength of a thousand men" and the power of flight.
She originally had x-ray vision as well, but this power faded over time and she ended up needing to wear glasses.
There have been a few versions of Miss America in mostly comics like "What if...?".
Earth 12591 (Nazi Zombies)
In this reality Nazi-Zombies have taken over and the resistance is down to the last four freedom fighter, Columbia, Miss America, Riveter, and Libertas. The four women call themselves the Suffragists. Miss America sacrifices herself while preventing Bucky from disarming an Atomic Missle that was launched to destroy the zombies.
Miss America made an appearance in Spider-Man: The Animated Series.