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Benazir Kaur (Hellfire Club White Queen) (X-Men enemy) (Marvel Comics)

Benazir Kaur the White Queen


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

The White Queen (Benazir Kaur) is an obscure enemy of the X-Men, with a disease stimulation power.

She appeared but once, in a 1994 annual.


Background

  • Real Name: Benazir Kaur
  • Other Aliases: White Queen of the Hellfire Club Inner Circle ; was also erroneously referred to as the Black Queen
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed
  • Known Relatives: None
  • Group Affiliation: Hellfire Club
  • Base Of Operations: Unrevealed
  • Height: Unrevealed Weight: Unrevealed
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Black


Powers & Abilities

If a person has any pre-existing medical condition, illness, or similar problem, no matter how small (for instance, a bit of lung damage from smoking), Benazir can psychically augment it to deadly levels in mere seconds.

However, this effect reversed itself with Gambit when she was knocked out, and he returned to normal health immediately, so it either lasts only as long as her consciousness or her concentration.


History

Members of the Inner Circle have usually been recruited from mutants who are already Hellfire Club  members, and membership in the Hellfire Club is either inherited or granted due to having sufficient power/wealth. Though there have been exceptions to this, it is the most likely background for Benazir.

The issue begins with her and Shinobi playing a morning game of chess in his apartment, he clad in a bathrobe, she in the first red dress described in her Description section. She plays white, he plays black, perhaps a joke/reference regarding their respective statuses in the Inner Circle as Black King and White Queen.

Benazir has just put him in check, and comments playfully to him that “you must be losing your touch” at this game. Shinobi compliments her on her optimism, but then says that it is “completely unfounded” and proceeds to talk at length about the technique of losing “a prize piece in the short term to achieve a greater long term goal”.

Benazir asks him to “Spare me the lecture, Shinobi, it’s too early” and to “just get it over with”. He does so, putting her in checkmate and winning the game. He gets up to examine the roses he has growing nearby, and she asks if the “other game” is faring as well as their chess match.

He responds that “it’s coming along fine” and that it should be “blossoming “ soon, a pun on the flowers and the fact that they’re being used to expose Storm, who has been sent a bundle of them, to drugs that will make her easy for the Inner Circle to manipulate.

Benazir Kaur (Hellfire Club White Queen) (X-Men enemy) (Marvel Comics) playing chess in a red dress

Benazir is not seen for several pages, during which Storm and Shinobi meet and he lies to her about the new, positive direction he wants to take the Hellfire Club in and how he wants her help with that. Due to the influence of the drugs on her mind and inhibitions, Storm promises to consider the offer.

When she leaves, Candra appears, and it is revealed that she is in cahoots with Shinobi in order to make Storm hers for reasons unknown (though probably having something to do with the gem that as a child Storm had stolen from Candra, which contained the sum total of the latter’s power). It is not shown whether Benazir (or any of Shinobi’s Inner Circle) is aware of Candra’s involvement.

Benazir reappears, this time in her second dress, when Storm returns to Shinobi’s penthouse during the night. Benedict Kine and Reeva Payge, respectively the White King and Black Queen of this Inner Circle, are there as well. Shinobi makes swift introductions, then foolishly reveals to Storm exactly what was done to her.

When Storm reacts with understandable outrage and refuses to join him as he desired, Benedict, on Shinobi’s command, uses his powers to put Storm into such pain that she is completely debilitated, and, thanks to after-effects of the drugs, without her powers. Reeva and Benazir did nothing during this, nor did they say anything.

Storm continued to fight back, knocking out Benedict, but the two queens only joined the fray when Bishop and Gambit arrived to rescue Storm.

Benazir went first, using her powers on Gambit to au gment whatever effects he already suffered from his smoking habit into a full-blown cancer so potent that it actually caused horrible gray boils and sores to appear on his chest in mere seconds from how much his lungs had decayed inside.

This effect only seemed to last as long as Benazir was conscious, however, since Gambit’s condition completely reversed when Bishop knocked Benazir unconscious with a single blow.

After that, Reeva tried to take on Gambit and Bishop with her vocal powers, but was knocked out by a charged coin that Gambit tossed to her. Storm then finished things by putting Shinobi in a position where he could only kill her if he was willing to kill himself as well, and challenged him to do so. When he could not, she and the other X-Men left, with no more protest from Shinobi.

While Benedict was seen in one other issue later, this was the last time that Reeva Payge and Benazir Kaur were ever seen or heard about, so it is unknown what became of them.

The next time we saw a woman wielding the title of White Queen, it was Adrienne Frost, older sister of Emma Frost, but it is unsure if she was truly a member of the Hellfire Club or just using the name to annoy Emma.

The next *confirmed* Hellfire Club White Queen was Sat-Yr-9 (posing as Courtney Ross) in a 2005 issue of Uncanny X-Men. So whatever happened to Benazir, we know she did lose her “throne” at some point.


Additional Notes

NES appearance ?

A Wolverine video game released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System contained a woman with the codename Fugue as an enemy. Her appearance could not be seen under the hood of her costume, but her real name was listed in the game as Benazir Kaur. However, her powers were instead like those of Reeva Payge.

It is possible that this was a mix-up, or that Fugue is deliberately meant to be a composite character made of elements of both these women and unique to the video game universe (rather like how one of the characters in the Ultimate comics was a combination of Legion and Proteus).

Players considering using Fugue as a codename for Benazir should be advised that it doesn’t fit with her correct powers at all, as it refers to a type of compositional technique in music for two or more voices, making it more suited to Reeva.

It’s good to be the Queen

She is never stated to be the White Queen in this issue, but according to Marvunapp  this was revealed in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #5.

Mutant nature

She is never stated to specifically be a mutant either, but while technically there are other ways for a person to have super-powers in the Marvel universe, it can generally be assumed in X-Men comics is that they’re mutants unless otherwise noted.


Description

Benazir is an adult woman, though does not appear to be anywhere near middle age yet; I’d personally put her in her 30s. Her name and features both suggest a South Asian heritage, probably of the more northern areas given her light skin and blue eyes, as those are more common in the upper parts of India and its surrounding countries.

Her straight black hair reaches her shoulders, has a slight inward wave at the end, and is parted to the side. It is hard to determine her height, since she’s always shown either sitting or standing in such a way that she’s not level enough with other characters to make a comparison.

She has an attractive average-to-slim figure, so her weight would reflect that in relation to whatever her height is, but since her height isn’t known, her exact weight can’t really be nailed down well either. She shows no outward signs of her mutation that can be seen in this issue.

Dressin’ up

Over the course of the issue, she’s shown wearing two red dresses, both long-sleeved and off-the shoulder with wide V-necklines. One seems to be modeled on a dress coat, with the neckline design suggesting jacket lapels and the bodice double-breasted with buttons. It is cinched at the waist with a matching red belt, has 3/4-length sleeves, and goes at least to her ankles.

Her other dress is similar, but the sleeves are tighter and go all the way to her wrists, while dramatic crisscrossed ruching at the bodice takes the place of the faux-lapels that the first dress had. It also sports neither belt nor buttons. Its length is hard to guess at, since she’s never shown much below pelvis-level while wearing it.

She sports no jewelry, not even earrings, though she could perhaps be wearing anklets, since her feet are never shown and thus it’s impossible to say what kind of shoes she has on. Given the rest of her look, however, they’re probably quite stylish.


Personality

Since Benazir only appears in a single issue, a definite and well-rounded personality is not possible for this write-up the same way it would be for a character with more appearances.

Therefore, this write-up will try to draw out multiple possible indications about her based on her actions and statements, rather than just going with the most obvious and leaving it at that. Since so little is concretely established about her, freedom of interpretation for players is encouraged.

Our introduction to her is through her morning chess game with Shinobi. Their dialogue indicates that they play often and that he usually, perhaps always, is the winner. This could mean that he is very good, that she is very bad, or that she just always lets him win for whatever reason.

The fact that they are together in his penthouse in the early morning, that he is comfortable enough around her to wear nothing but a bathrobe, and that she in turn shows no signs of being embarrassed by this, could all be indications that they are in a sexual relationship.

Whether or not there’s any romantic involvement alongside the physical isn’t suggested either way, but if the player has a hankering for some soap opera style plots in the game, it should also be noted that Candra refers to Shinobi as her own “sweet lover” and it’s not shown if Benazir is aware of this or not.

Beyond this, we see no interactions between Benazir and the rest of the Inner Circle, and thus there’s no indication of what she thinks of them or what kind of relationships she might have had wi th them.

Benedict Kine is shown in a later issue to be in conflict with Shinobi and consider him a poor leader, desiring his station for himself, so depending what kind of opinion the player sees Benazir as having about Shinobi could influence her opinion on Benedict, and/or vice versa.

She showed no signs of hesitancy or mercy when she attacked Gambit, indicating she either has none in combat (at least against strangers—-who is to say it wouldn’t have been different if he was someone she knew?) or she hides it very well.

She stayed out of the fight prior to this, and while this is probably due to a lack of combat skills combined with needing to get close to a victim for her abilities to work, players are welcome to come up with any alternative answer to this that they like so long as it could conceivably fit with her actions (or lack thereof)

Examples would be cowardice, or that her powers cause her pain or some other type of drawback to use, that she in fact dislikes hurting others and so had to take time to amp herself up to do so, or that she wanted to see which way the fight was going before she joined in and would have turned against Shinobi if she had realized that the X-men were going to come out the winners.

She calls Gambit’s smoking habit “nasty” and says it’s a “little time bomb ticking away” inside him, yet earlier, when Storm arrived and was introduced to the Inner Circle, Reeva Payge was smoking right next to Benazir, who made no remark upon it.

The Occam’s Razor answer to this is simply that Benazir was just taunting Gambit while he was down and actually takes no issue with smoking at all, but for the reasons mentioned at the beginning of this section, other possibilities could be entertained as well.

Maybe she and Reeva actually fight about it all the time and were just maintaining a sense of decorum in front of Storm. Maybe Reeva is trying to quit but is having one because she’s nervous about this plan with Storm, and Benazir is looking away in disgust.

Or maybe Benazir has been helping her try to quit and is looking away either in disappointment or a tacit acknowledgement to Reeva that she’ll overlook this since she understands her anxiety.

Maybe she and Reeva are friends and she doesn’t want to damage that relationship by harping at her about her health. Maybe she hates Reeva, or wants her out of the way for some reason, and so she’s happy to let Reeva keep building up her own “nasty little time bomb” so that she can one day do to her what she tried to do to Gambit.

This might seem like a very small, silly detail to put so much thought into, but whatever option the player selects (or makes up themselves) will indicate something different about Benazir’s overall personality as well as her relationship with at least one of her cohorts, both of which would be important components to playing her.


DC Universe History

Since mutants aren’t a regularly occurring thing in the DC universe to my knowledge, Benazir’s disease powers could be the result of the classic ’lab accident gives you superpowers’ or ’genetic tinkering‘ scenario types.

Benazir might be an innocent scientist that made a mistake, a bio-terrorist deliberately trying to make herself into a walking pathogen, a willing or unwilling test subject for a disease study, or anything else you can think up that would fit.

Gods and monsters from multiple pantheons are shown to exist in the Wonder Woman comics, and Benazir could be such a being from South Asian lore. For instance, she could be an incarnation of Shitala , a Hindu goddess of disease worshipped widely in North India, West Bengal, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Another fitting option from Indian mythology would be the pishacha , a blood-drinking marrow-eating demon whose powers include the ability to “destroy the vitals and viscera” of humans, just as Benazir’s mutant abilities can do in the MCU.

Her stats would probably need to be adjusted in this case, however, since a divine and/or supernatural being will typically be a lot tougher all-around than any mere mortal, which MCU Benazir is aside from her mutant power.


World of Darkness History

If you’re playing in White Wolf’s World of Darkness setting , I think she would (with stat adjustments) make a great Ratkin , especially a Plague Lord, given that they’re supposed to be dedicated to spreading disease among humankind.


Quotes

“That’s a nasty smoking habit you’ve got there. A nasty little time bomb ticking away—what if I give it some encouragement ?”

“I’d be more concerned about my own health if I were you.”

“I’ve finally found a chink in that resolute armor of yours.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Benazir Kaur

Dex: 02 Str: 02 Bod: 02 Motivation: Unrevealed
Int: 03 Wil: 03 Min: 02 Occupation: Unrevealed
Inf: 03 Aur: 03 Spi: 02 Resources {or Wealth}: 007
Init: 008 HP: 005

Powers:
Mind blast: 08

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Mind blast’s Range is limited to targets who can clearly hear Kaur, and can understand what she’s saying.
  • It is possible that Mind Blast can only be employed if Benazir knows or can deduce likely present or future health problems in the target.
  • Power Loss: the OV/RV against Mind Blast is raised by one or two CSes if it is very unlikely that the subject would develop health troubles, or they otherwise do not fear such troubles. It is lowered by one CS is the subject is particularly worried about present or future health troubles and Kaur announces that she’s heightening those.

Skills:
None demonstrated, but she has a good sense of fashion. So there’s that.

Advantages
None demonstrated.

Connections:
Shinobi Shaw (Low).

Drawbacks:
None demonstrated.

By M. Mauney and S. Andrivet.

Source of Character: X-Men Annual (2nd series) #3.

Helper(s): Wendigo, Darci.

Writeup completed on the 2nd of September, 2014.

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