Full Name: Madelyne Pryor
Codename: Goblin Queen
Occupation: Former con-artist
Mutant Abilities: Advanced level telekinesis and low to moderate telepathy. Ability to form portals to unknown realm and summon hoards of demon-like creatures she refers to as goblins.
History: Madelyne Pryor’s early life is well-documented in the various police reports that surrounded her family. She comes from a rather extensive line of con-artists, underachievers, and deviants that seem to surround the Pryor/Grey bloodline. Her mother was no exception. She gave birth to Madelyne when she was 19-years-old and had no idea who her father was. At the time she was a struggling actress that often used her beauty to take advantage of others for money and resources. She eventually put her acting skills to other uses and began her life as an aspiring con-artist, a field that would come to dominate Madelyne’s upbringing.
Early on, Madelyne was a prop for her mother’s con. She used the sympathy gained from being a single mother to defraud local welfare and charities. This helped finance a less-than-frugal lifestyle. As Madelyne got older, she adopted her mother’s recklessness and took a more active role in the cons. At one point she posed as a child who had been brutalized by an abusive father to elicit donations from gullible citizens. This led to her first run-in with the police, who had been tipped off by her mother’s scam and forced them to go on the run.
While they were wanted fugitives, Madelyne’s mother managed to con a wealthy music producer to take them in at an upscale community in Orange County. It was here where Madelyne went to school and lived out most of her youth. During most of this time, Madelyne’s mother and the music producer coordinated various illegal activities that included extortion, blackmail, and frivolous lawsuits. Sometimes Madelyne played a role and sometimes she didn’t, but as she got older she sought to carry out her own cons.
She got her first taste while she was a freshman in high school. Using her inherited beauty and the acting skills she learned from her mother, she organized an elaborate con at her school that involved claiming that an administrators had sexually abused her. She went so far as to beat herself up to appear convincing. It became such a scandal that the police got involved. Since she and her mother were still fugitives, this ended up backfiring. When a counselor tried to convince her to go with an officer, she resisted. The excessive stress caused her latent mutant telekinetic powers to manifest. Using this power, she fought off the counselor and escaped. Even though her scam hadn’t worked, it revealed to her a tool that would later become vital tool in her life of deviance.
At first, her mother was intrigued by her daughter’s possibilities. Over the next year she tried to utilize Madelyne’s mutant powers to pull off more elaborate cons. In that time she refined her psychic skills and even manifested telepathy. However, most of these cons involved buying more time for her mother and the music producer that had sheltered them, who at this point was running low on money to fund his legal and illegal ventures. It eventually came crashing down when the FBI caught up with Madelyne’s mother and the producer. Before they could pull off another con, their home was raided and they were arrested. However, Madelyne and her mother managed to escape and go on the run once more.
They ended up heading to New Jersey. There, Madelyn’s mother sought help from her sister, Elaine, who had managed to escape her family’s deviant traditions at least for a while. She resisted helping them out of concern for her two daughters, Jean and Sara. This forced Madelyne and her mother to get more desperate while, sewing the seeds of resentment. It led to more run-ins with the law, which ended up dragging the Grey family into her problems. After the devastating accident that left Elaine paralyzed and her cousin Sara dead, their luck took a turn for the worse. A con that involved blackmailing a wealthy couple in New York City went horribly wrong when Madelyn’s mother made the mistake of using forged checks to increase their profits. This led to her arrest by the FBI, but Madelyne managed to avoid it. She made no effort to rescue her mother. At this point she had determined that her mother was only holding her back and using her for her powers. So she struck out on her own.
At this point, Madelyne’s life becomes more mysterious. Still on the run from the authorities and a minor, she slips completely under the radar to the point where it’s not clear if she’s dead or alive. Some reports indicate that she became a stripper or a sex worker. She started using her telepathy more aggressively, stealing and tricking anyone she deemed to be an asset. As the years went by, she grew more ambitious. During that time, she used the public’s growing fear of mutants to further her cons. By the time she was in her mid-twenties, she amassed a substantial fortune. However, it still wasn’t enough.
Her ambition eventually caught up with her when she returned to Los Angeles. There, she organized an elaborate ploy that involved brainwashing a group of Hollywood elites at a charity ball. She might have succeeded had it not been for the X-men, who had just begun their masked vigilante phase. In a battle that reunited Madelyne with her cousin, Jean Grey, Madelyne was defeated and arrested. It solidified her hatred of her cousin for years to come.
Madelyne’s story could have ended with her arrest. However, before she could be convicted, she escaped under mysterious circumstances. For a while, she disappeared completely. It is believed that this is when she met up with the mysterious Mr. Sinister, his Marauders, and a powerful mutant named Vulcan. It is also believed that this is the time she gained her mysterious ability to open portals to an unknown dimension and summon her goblin hoards. She quickly came to see Sinister as a father figure and Vulcan quickly became a lover. Together, they formed a shady mutant group known as the Marauders, who acted as Sinister’s henchmen. No longer content with conning people, Madelyne has embraced Sinister’s goal and works tirelessly to help him realize those goals.
Character Breakdown: Madelyne Pryor is a product of both her environment and her nature. She was born into a world of deviance with a family that had a well-established tradition of deviance. Much of her psychological make-up is built around such deviance, almost to the point of it being pathological. She demonstrated from an early age a strong aversion to traditional social norms. Her first inclination is rarely to follow the established rules. She often seeks a way around those rules or a means to flat out cheat. She demonstrates all the trademark properties of a con-artist. She sees people as tools to be used and targets to be conquered. As a result, Madelyne lacks empathy for all those who she determines aren’t necessary for her goals.
This general mentality of deviance permeated Madelyne’s character for much of her life. However, certain influences have added other traits that balance and complicate her personality. Her sense of entitlement and outright narcissism are less innate and more a product of how she perceives the world. She often sees herself as a victim that no one understands. In many ways, she has been a victim since she was born. Her mother made no effort to protect her from a life of deviance and much of her life was spent always being a target. Stealing and conning people never took on a moral dimension for her. They were acts of survival. She didn’t seek another way because she simply knew no other way. So when someone like her cousin, Jean Grey, comes along and forces her to pay the price for such deviance, she takes it as a personal affront while reinforcing this sense of victimhood.
While the combination of victimhood and deviance make for certain anti-social characteristics, Madelyne is still capable of forming strong partnerships. She is very selective about the ones she trusts. It began with her mother and then others such as Sinister and Vulcan filled that role. In each case, these partnerships are based on a strong appreciation for power. Madelyne does not place value on those who do not match her power, indicating that power or a lack thereof is her primary means of judging others.
Another result of such victimhood is a constant thirst for more power. She seems to believe that the only way she can rise above being a victim is to be more powerful than those who oppose her. This is a major factor in her ongoing rivalry with Jean Grey. She wasn’t strong enough to stop her when she was finally caught. This led her to seek out and place her faith in the nefarious Mr. Sinister, who had both the means and resources to help augment her power. The mutant status she inherited from her family along with her constant desire for power makes her a dangerous threat. She’s willing to cross many lines to defeat those she deems enemies and holds grudges to an equally dangerous degree.