Masquerade (Character)

masquerade

First Appearance: Blood Syndicate #1, April 1993

Publisher: Milestone Comics

Created by: Dwayne McDuffie, Ivan Velez Jr. and Denys Cowan

Nationality: Jamaican

Weight: Variable    Height: Variable

Eyes: Variable           Hair: Variable

Known Relatives: Older Brother (Deceased), Unnamed Mother, Little sister

Notes: Masquerade was comics first transgendered superhero. Born biologically female the powers gained from the Big Bang allowed the change to a biological man.

Powers: Granted the power of shape shifting from the big bang. Masquerade can shift his molecular structure into virtually any form though he usually chooses that of a variety of animals. His powers were later amplified to an unspecified degree.

Biography

Born biologically a woman, most of his past is shrouded in mystery. From an early age he realized that his gender identity did not fit with his biological makeup, he was a man trapped in a woman’s body. He joined Holocaust‘s gang the Paris Bloods alongside his older brother who accepted his lifestyle. Only his brother knew he was a biological female dressed as a man in the gang. On Paris island during the Big Bang his brother was killed and he gained the power to shape shift and immediately used his powers to make his body reflect what’s always been in his mind, he changed his biology to match is gender identity, becoming a man (Revealed in Interview with Ivan Velez).

As Masquerade he joined the Blood Syndicate (Blood Syndicate #1, 1993). He was one of the more bloodthirsty members often reveling in the slaughter of their enemies (Blood Syndicate #2-3). Masquerade was also present when Tech-9 died suddenly and witnessed the emotional breakdown of Fade (Blood Syndicate #4). He kept the secret of his biological gender from his teammates for a long time becoming fast friends with Fade and often mocking the budding relationship of Brickhouse and Third Rail (Blood Syndicate #5-6). Despite his seemingly outward happiness he still visited his mother and little brother in animal forms (Blood Syndicate #6). While the team battled the Demon Fox he overheard Fade‘s secret that he was homosexual, Masquerade was also the last member of the team to fall (Blood Syndicate #8). Fade found out her birth gender and he freaked out despite Fade agreeing to keep his secret (Blood Syndicate #10). Not trusting that Fade would keep his biological gender a secret he blackmailed him saying “I’m not the only one with a secret. I heard what the demon said to you before he got to me. I heard every word. I know you’re a faggot!”, after this he added if the Syndicate found out his secret then he would be sure to disclose Fade’s (Blood Syndicate #11).

Mounting Paranoia

Growing increasingly insecure Masquerade considers leaving the team one night most members went clubbing (Blood Syndicate #14). Tensions with Third Rail started to mount when Third started referring to him as “BottiBoy” a Jamaican diss to homosexual men. Third Rail and Masquerade almost had a throw down one night while the team was eating as a result (Blood Syndicate #19). All of this increased anger was because he thought he would be found out and not accepted. He tried to accept an invitation to join the Shadow Cabinet but was turned down (Blood Syndicate #19). When the team collected money from a during ring Masquerade’s insecurity reached a  tipping point and he tried to steal the money and leave the team. Too late did he realize there was only five thousand dollars int he duffel bag and regret his actions (Blood Syndicate #21). He had to battle System on his own, despite fighting valiantly he was injured and captured (Blood Syndicate #22). Masquerade would later escape when their experiments went wrong, while here he was exposed to more quantum Juice which enhanced his powers to an unspecified degree. He managed to escape with the newly created Bang Babies but didn’t know where to go.

Leading the Syndicate

He decided to return to the Syndicate but thought they would not accept him so he assumed the shape and identity of Tech-9. Dogg realized the ruse so Masquerade wounded him and threw him off the side of the building (Blood Syndicate 24-25).

While in his Male form he was caught stealing from the Syndicate by Flashback and got chased down by his former teammates before escaping (Blood Syndicate #27). He took over leadership of the syndicate, flirted with Fade and caused the destruction of Utopia Park while battling Holocaust; now Pyre; and his team (Blood Syndicate #29-30). When Dogg returned to the team he outed Masquerade for posing as Tech-9. He quickly took on Flashback and Dogg to keep his secret safe. The demon fox then revealed that he was the one who had come to Masquerade and using magic by making Masquerade drink from Tech‘s skull he assumed his identity and even his powers. After the team defeated the fox Masquerade finally revealed his biological identity to the team. They were upset he pretended to be tech even though under his leadership the team had been more united and focused. He finally decides to leave the team and try to make it on his own since “They aint shit” (Blood Syndicate #34-35).

Masquerade has not been seen of heard from since February 1996.

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Caribbean born college lecturer, Multidisciplinary specialist/Androgogue/Philosophical Pedagogue; founder/CEO of World of Black Heroes, freelance writer and all around comic book geek. I enjoy a good book, video games, movies and most of all fatherhood. Written credits include work for Islandstage.net, Comicvine, Independent comics etc.

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