Due to massive radiation exposure at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Gemma Sinclair's unborn child is mutated. That child, Nekra, was born an African-American with chalk white skin. This made her a freak in her parent's eyes and they shunned her. Her childhood was miserable and she eventually ran away to New Mexican desert. Soon after, she met-up with Mandrill who was abandoned by his father and the two formed a kinship. Due to their appearance, they are eventually attacked by an angry mob and Nekra discovered her rage gave her immense strength and invulnerability.
Nekra was created by Steve Gerber and Ross Andru, first appearing in Shanna the She-Devil #5, August 1973.
Major Story Arcs
Evil is Born
Deciding they didn't want to be persecuted anymore, they left for Africa where Mandrill started up the Black Specter Cult, using his powers to manipulate women into serving them, with Nekra serving as his head priestess. They were eventually defeated by Shanna.
Nekra is involved in many unsuccessful schemes and along the way learned voodoo from Black Talon. Nekra fell in love with the Grim Reaper and used her powers to revive him as a zombie after he was killed. Grim Reaper has a requirement to kill one person every 24 hours and does not share Nekra's love, so he kills her. Mandrill flips out and attacks the Grim Reaper until he is attacked and seemingly killed. However, as Mandrill is seen as a member of the Hood's troops, he survived the attack.
Nekra is later revived by Daemon Hellstrom and sent after Dr. Druid who she eventually shoots in the head. Latest news shows Nekra has a daughter, Death Reaper, who's father may have been the Grim Reaper.
Powers and Abilities
Nekra possesses the mutant ability to increase her own strength, speed, durability, agility, reflexes, stamina and resistance to pain by harnessing violent emotions within her, especially hate. She is able to lift 10 tons at peak strength. Nekra is also an formidable hand-to-hand combatant and skilled in the ways of voodoo.
Weight: 140 lbs.
Nekra first appears in Shanna the She-Devil #5 (August 1973), standing before an alter of flames in front of a huge idol representing the villain known as Mandrill and whipping her female cultists into a frenzy. It is the Mandrill who is the actual leader of the "Cult of Hate" but Shanna has defeated him in the previous issue. Nekra seeks revenge on Shanna for her capture of the Mandrill only to be defeated by the She-Devil herself. Shanna #5 turns out to be the last issue of the series but Nekra creator Steve Gerber eventually transfers the storyline into Daredevil #109-112 (May-August 1974) and Marvel Two-In-One #3 (May 1974). Nekra appears in New York as an agent for the group called Black Spectre, whose mysterious masked Master turns out to be the Mandrill. Mandrill reveals that he and Nekra are the offspring of two people who were simultaneously exposed to radiation in an Atomic Research Facility in New Mexico in 1944; a white male scientist and a black cleaning woman. Each has a mutant child as a result. The scientist and his wife have a child who is covered in hair and develops the features of an ape. The cleaning woman has a child with "chalk-white skin and fearsome vampire-like fangs". Eventually these two children, ostracized from society, meet up and form a team. They also discover their mutant abilities: the Mandrill has power over women, making them do as he wishes and Nekra gains strength and invulnerability as her hate increases. They work together on a plan to take over the White House. It fails, of course, and Mandrill appears to end up dead. (He's not, however. He turns up again in the pages of Defenders only to be shot by his mother in Defenders #91 (January 1981) from which he appears to end up dead. He's not, however. He turns up again in the pages of Avengers West Coast #66 which I will get to at the end of this Lookback, in which he appears, this time, to end up very much dead.) On her own, Nekra murders Adrienne Hatros, the founder of a clinic on emotional research. She adopts the Hatros identity and takes over the clinics for her own ends. Somewhere along the way she falls in love with the evil Grim Reaper who also eventually ends up dead. But that doesn't stop her from initiating several different plans to bring him back to life. Which brings us back to the story at hand...