When Melissa was young, she did not experience the best childhood. Her mother had gone to prison for robbery and her father was a drunk. It did not help that many of her peers teased her until one day she simply couldn't take anymore of it and she ended up running away from home and living on the streets, creating a tough personality. She also took up her mother's name of Mimi and as she got older, she became involved with a criminal named Mike. He set her up by reporting her to the police while carrying stolen goods, causing her to be arrested and sent to jail, just like her mother.
Once there she met Marian Pouncy. Marian got Melissa involved in masked wrestling and she soon joined a team called the Grapplers, using a device that converted her voice into high frequency sonics and taking on the persona 'Screaming Mimi.' The Grapplers became renowned for their colorful personalities and ringside antics, but the wrestling federation denied them the opportunity to make the same amount of money their male counterparts made. When the group decided to turn to crime in order to make more money, they were tried and jailed after a defeat by the hero known as Quasar.
Melissa Gold first appeared in Marvel Two-in-One #54 in 1979 as Screaming Mimi and was created by Mark Gruenwald, Ralph Macchio and John Byrne. Her first appearance as Songbird was in Incredible Hulk #449.
Melissa began her career as a super-villain under the name Screaming Mimi with the Grapplers and Masters Of Evil. She has since then been trying to redeem herself by joining the Thunderbolts. even becoming the team's leader for a time. She is the only member to ever be involved in every single line up the team has had, even when Norman Osborn started putting psychotic criminals on the team.
Major Story Arcs
A Criminal Career
One of Melissa's more exciting times came after her imprisonment after her first crime against the hero known as Quasar. Here she teamed up in Ryker's Island Prison with Titania, Poundcakes and Letha to battle Dazzler. The four of them ganged up on the lovely girl and came very close to defeating her. Once the Grapplers were free, they found that without them, the world of female wrestling had slowed to a halt. So they continued to commit crime in order to generate income until two members, Titania and Letha, were killed.
Masters of Evil
After The Grapplers' dissolution, Melissa met Helmut Zemo who let her join the Masters of Evil. Here she met someone by the name of Angar the Screamer. The two became close since they had similar powers.
After the death of Angar, who was killed during a robbery and died in Melissa's arms, Mimi became so upset that she screamed for 43 minutes until she nearly destroyed her vocal cords. Zemo later got The Fixer to give her a technology that would recreate some of her powers, while allowing her to now make sound into constructs that had some properties of solid objects, including wings allowing her to fly. That's when the Masters of Evil became known as the Thunderbolts as part of an elaborate plan to acquire the Fantastic Four's technology, among other things. Mimi began going by the name Songbird from that time onwards. In that period she fell in love with Abe Jenkins, (the former Beetle) who was also her trainer. Songbird later rebelled against Zemo so she and the rest of the team could show that they had indeed reformed. But after that MACH-IV went to jail to prove his good intentions, the Thunderbolts disbanded, leaving Songbird to go to jail as well, until she joined the newer version of the Thunderbolts with MACH-IV.
During the superhuman Civil War, the Thunderbolts were assigned by the government to locate and arrest unregistered heroes. The Thunderbolts then became a way for former villains to redeem themselves if they agreed to participate in the program. Norman Osborn became the leader of this assignment and demoted Melissa, stating that she was too moralistic, thus giving her position away to Moonstone. Songbird was against this idea and disliked most of the team's villainous members, however, she remained on the team for fear of imprisonment. She also noted that, in the field, Moonstone is a less-than-capable leader and has at times taken the lead anyway, such as when the team attempted to capture the Steel Spider. Songbird was forced to take command when Moonstone was injured, and mislead Bullseye into believing that he is able to escape, causing him to become paralyzed. After the team returns to the Thunderbolts mountain, Songbird berates Moonstone and the team's performance, although Osborn has no desire to listen to her complaints.
When four psychic super villains invade the Thunderbolts mountain, they manipulated Osborn into returning to his Green Goblin persona and forced him to rampage through the base, killing a handful of the human soldiers that worked there. The psychics then convinced Melissa into defeating Osborn herself, hoping that the two of them will kill each other. Songbird manages to defeat Osborn without killing him, although she was extremely exhausted after the battle. After the team recovers, she demands that Osborn allow her to lead the Thunderbolts, or else she will release the security tapes that reveal him killing the humans as the Green Goblin. Once Osborn agrees, Songbird leaves the office with a smile on her face, until Norman tells her that Bullseye had been heard stating that a little bird (implying Melissa) told him he was free in order to have him injured during the Arizona mission.
After the Secret Invasion, Osborn is given control over HAMMER and the Avengers. He officially closes the Thunderbolts program but secretly keeps the team as his own personal hit squad. However, Songbird is still a liability, so under Osborn's orders, Moonstone and Bullseye plot to have her killed, but only after they manipulate her into sending her only ally, the Radioactive Man, back to China. Songbird is then hunted by Bullseye and Venom, although she manages to evade them both and even blows up a section of the mountain. She ultimately escapes with the aid of Swordsman who helps her fake her own death and goes into hiding. Free from Osborn's machinations, but well-aware of what his new status as Director of HAMMER means, Melissa plans to thwart Osborn's plans anyway she can.
Songbird reappears in the public eye when she stops HAMMER forces from performing a forced relocation of homeless people in Cleveland, Ohio. She punishes a HAMMER officer who harmed a homeless war veteran, and then proceeds to defeat the entire HAMMER unit. She then flies off with a plan in mind: to bring together the old band of Thunderbolts together and deal with the team of killers Norman had assembled as the new Thunderbolts.
Her first stop is to seek Abe (Mach IV) and Norbert (Fixer), who are working on the Mach V version of the flight armor. Abe pledges to help her, and gives her the location of Chen. Melissa kisses him in thanks before leaving. Some time later, she is intercepted and fired upon by the Thunderbolts on board their jet. She grabs a missile in midair, and sends it back into the Thunderstrike. The explosion sends the plane crashing, but stuns her enough to send her to the ground. Still stunned, she is taken by surprise by Norman's Black Widow ( Yelena Belova), who points a gun at her head. She is even more surprised when the Black Widow says that she's extracting Songbird to safety. Melissa remains skeptical, until the Black Widow reveals that she's not really Yelena, but rather Natasha Romanova. Barely surviving the crash the duo try and escape into the woods but have a run in with Mister X. After defeating him and eluding the rest of the Thunderbolts the two go to a meeting place where they are supposed to meet Nick Fury.
However, the two were apparently followed by Ant Man and captured by the Thunderbolts. When returned to the T-bolts base Fury was revealed to be a LMD and Natasha and Melissa are ordered by Norman to be integrated and exposed of. At this moment Headsman, Paladin, and Ghost help the two escape, where they are saved by Abe in Mach armor.
Currently, Songbird is a warden of the girl's side of the Raft, with a new haircut and outfit. Along with Mach V, Fixer and new leader Luke Cage, they recruit criminals to the Thunderbolts program for a chance of redemption. When Luke Cage enlisted Moonstone into the program, Songbird questioned him, which quickly lead to Luke Cage pointing out that she was just like Moonstone at one point.
So far, she and Cage are on good terms. She even helped out during the Troll mission, where they captured Gunna. Songbird off panel orientated her into the program. While a prison riot was occurring, and Songbird was about to get beaten by the female prisoners, Gunna ran out and saved her, much to the disappointment of Moonstone. Songbird seems to be the second in command of the Thunderbolts team, constantly aiding Luke Cage with her opinions. She is leading the Thunderbolts Beta team by a judgment call by Warden Walker.
After Luke Cage had to leave for the Avengers giving their call, Songbird lead both Thunderbolts team in a mission in Iraq. Once completed, they returned to the Raft, only to find it destroyed after the Juggernaut picked up the hammer of the worthy. Songbird took the reins on both teams, and plans to get the Raft and their teammate back under her control.
Powers and Abilities
Songbird could originally produce super sonic screams which could cause a variety of effects such as disorientation, hallucinations, and unconsciousness. After her vocal cords were nearly destroyed, Songbird had them technologically enhanced, which gave her the ability to create solid-sound energy constructs which she could manipulate at will. Her signature use of this ability is to create a set of solid wings which allow her to fly. She has also been able to create inaudible ultrasonic waves which she can use to influence the emotions of those around her. However, she does not seem to have access to the rest of her original power set and it remains unclear whether they will ever return. As of now, Songbird's current powers cannot function without the use of her high-tech harness but has shown the ability to make solid constructs of weapons and even hold them in her hands.
- Gender: Female
- Height: 5' 5"
- Weight: 145 lbs.
- Eyes: Green
- Hair: Red with white streaks
- Known Relatives: Mimi Gold (mother), Mr. Gold (father)
- Citizenship: U.S.A.(former criminal record, pardoned)
- Place of Birth: Shosoni, Wyoming
- Marital Status: Single
- Occupation: Adventurer; former criminal and wrestler
- Education: University Student
During the Destiny War, Songbird was one of the Avengers drawn from time to help Rick Jones.
Marvel Zombies - Earth-2149
In the Marvel Zombies reality, Songbird, like most others, has been turned into a zombie.
In an unknown future that Genis-Vell traveled to, he and Songbird were married and had two children, Ely and Mimi.
Appearances in Other Media
Super Hero Squad Show
Melissa first appeared as Screaming Mimi, making several appearances as a part of Dr. Doom's super-villain team. It was later revealed, that Screaming Mimi was an undercover S.H.E.I.L.D. agent named Songbird. She is voiced by Julie Morrison.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2
Songbird appears in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 as a playable character and sides with the Pro Registration team. She is also a boss in Anti Registration side of the story. She is said to be one of the most useful characters in the game due to her powerful and constant sonic scream. She is playable on all consoles and is voiced by Susan Spano.
Marvel: War of Heroes
Songbird appears in several cards in the mobile card game Marvel: War of Heroes. Her cards are:
- [Screaming Mimi] Songbird
- [Triple Thunderbolt] Songbird
- [Music Hath Charms] Songbird