This page is for the current Red Bee, Jenna Raleigh
For the original Red Bee, see the Richard Raleigh page
Jenna Raleigh was the great-niece of the original Red Bee, Richard Raleigh
. She grew up and became a scientist studying robotics. One day, she received a package delivered by a mysterious benefactor. Inside the package, she discovered her great-uncle’s lengthy notes on communicating and controlling insects. Jenna made use of the research, and created an exoskeleton and robotic bees that can be controlled by the armor, becoming the next Red Bee.
While recruiting for his new Freedom Fighters
, Uncle Sam
recruited Ken Thurston
, the great-grandson of the Invisible Hood Kent Thurston
. He revealed to Ken the location of Kent’s invisible cloak. He warned Ken that soon he would be needed, and put him in contact with Jenna Raleigh. The two would serve as “secret” members of the Freedom Fighters, prepared to enter the fray if something happened to Uncle Sam and his new Freedom Fighters.
In 1957, DC Comics
bought the rights to Quality Comics
’ superhero characters. They launched them into the DC Universe, with many of them forming a superhero team called the Freedom Fighters. In 2005, DC Comics’ writers Jimmy Palmiotti
and Justin Gray
sought to relaunch the Freedom Fighters after many of their deaths during the Infinite Crisis
crossover. In the pages of Infinite Crisis Aftermath: The Battle for Bludhaven
, Palmiotti and Gray introduced new versions of Doll Man
, Human Bomb
, Phantom Lady
, and the Ray
. In their follow-up maxiseries Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters
, the writers also brought back Uncle Sam, and a new version of Black Condor
However, Palmiotti and Gray also wished to revisit other Quality Comics characters bought by DC Comics. In that same series, they introduced new members of the Freedom Fighters based on their Quality counterparts: Invisible Hood and the Red Bee. Instead of a man, the Red Bee was envisioned as a woman (the niece of the original), and instead of trained bees, she was given a red exoskeleton. This new Red Bee’s look was designed by artist Daniel Acuna
. Red Bee would star in Palmiotti & Gray’s second Uncle Sam series
Key Story Arcs
Joining the Freedom Fighters
Just as Uncle Sam had foreseen, he and his Freedom Fighters were kidnapped by Father Time
and his agents at S.H.A.D.E.
Luckily, Uncle Sam’s backup plan went into effect. Ken Thurston, now the new Invisible Hood, contacted Jenna Raleigh. She became the new Red Bee, and the two staged a breakout of Uncle Sam and his Freedom Fighters from S.H.A.D.E.’s base, with the timely help of Miss America
. The heroes retreated to the Heartland
, Uncle Sam’s secret extraplanar base of operations.
Unfortunately, Uncle Sam had a mole in his new Freedom Fighters. The new Ray, Stan Silver, proved to be an agent of Father Time. The Ray killed the new Invisible Hood, and led Father Time to the Heartland. The Red Bee joined the rest of the Freedom Fighters in defending the Heartland, and stopping Father Time’s plan. With Father Time out-of-the-picture, Director Robbins
was put in charge of S.H.A.D.E., and the Red Bee and the Freedom Fighters stayed a part of that agency.
The Alien Hive
Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters discovered an alien insect hive heading towards Earth. The Freedom Fighters investigated, and found an entire colony. The Red Bee was taken, and woven into a cocoon. The other Freedom Fighters managed to rescue the Red Bee, but she had already been transformed by the insects. The Freedom Fighters destroyed the hive, and returned to Earth. The Red Bee, now in possession of red skin, wings, and antennae, was deemed fine to continue to operate for S.H.A.D.E.
However, during this time, Uncle Sam and S.H.A.D.E. Director Robbins disagreed on the direction of the team. Uncle Sam and some of the Freedom Fighters left, but the Red Bee remained. While she enjoyed a higher level of popularity, she soon withdrew from society as she entered other stages of mutation. With her new abilities, the Red Bee discovered that Director Robbins was not human. The director tried to take down the Red Bee, but she used her pheromone powers to take control of his agents. She destroyed the director, but the fight triggered the last stage of her development.
The Red Bee was now under the full control of the alien hive mind. She made drones of the Freedom Fighters. The Black Condor, however, broke free of her control. As the Black Condor and Human Bomb freed the other Freedom Fighters, the Red Bee called upon her alien insect drones. With Uncle Sam still under her control, the Red Bee had the upper hand until the original Ray
showed up with the powers of Neon the Unknown
. The Ray destroyed the alien insects infesting the Red Bee’s body, reversing her mutation.
With the Red Bee back to normal, Jenna Raleigh decided to retire the Red Bee identity and return to research.
Powers and Abilities
After being infested by an alien insect colony, the Red Bee developed red skin, blackened pupils, a set of antennae, and gossamer wings that allowed her to fly. She displayed superhuman strength and reflexes. After a second mutation, she also started to manifest a segmented thorax. In this mutated state, the Red Bee had an enhanced sense of smell, and could release pheromones that allowed her to control others. These senses and pheromones could cover the range of hundreds of miles. Her control over pheromone-controlled subjects was not absolute, however.
While mutating, the Red Bee would spin herself a cocoon. She would enter the human-sized cocoon, and emerge once the next stage of her mutation was done. All of the insects infecting the Red Bee were destroyed by the Ray.
Weapons and Equipment
The second Red Bee wears a red exoskeleton which covers her entire body. Protruding from the back of the exoskeleton is a mounted rocket pack, which allows her to fly. The helmet portion of her exoskeleton provides the Red Bee with a communications system and with enhanced vision. The exoskeleton is resistant to small arms fire, and enhances her strength. In addition, the exoskeleton can fire energy blasts from the palms of each hand. These blasts are capable of either stunning opponents or, when set to a higher power, blast away concrete.
The second Red Bee has under her command robotic red bees. These red bees range in size, up to approximately 2 feet in length, and could fly. They could also fire energy blasts from their rear stingers. She has the technology to build more, and has been seen with up to dozens of these robotic bees.