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Madame Waxahachie (DC Comics) (Deadman)

Madame Waxahachie


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

Context

This obscure Deadman character appeared in two storylines written by Mike Baron, in 1988 and 1992. Both were mostly illustrated by Kelley Jones.

She’s a minor, benign occultist  in New Orleans.


Background

  • Real Name: Mabel Molly Grace Waxahachie.
  • Note: A continuity error has her called “Molly” instead of Mabel, so we robertbrucebannerised  her. And then, as you can deduce, she was also called “Grace” in another story, because this whole thing with people having names is hard.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: Louise “Lou” Waxahachie (mother, deceased). She calls a worker at her daycare “Uncle Estes”, but I’m not convinced this man was *her* uncle.
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base of Operations: Her daycare centre in New Orleans.
  • Height: 5’7″ Weight: 360 lbs.
  • Eyes: Light brown Hair: Black


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Powers & Abilities

Ms. Waxahachie is an intelligent, experienced woman. She has a good grasp of human behaviour (including children’s), superior calm under pressure, and a certain authority.

Madame Waxahachie knows a fair bit about the occult, and in particular vodun traditions. Her knowledge seems to extend to both modern vodun syncretisms, and back to Fongbé  and Yoruba  mythologies.

This knowledge and experience mean that she remains calm when facing horrific menaces such as zombies and ghosts. As she pointed out, these are much easier to handle if one doesn’t panic.

She also receives visions and portents, both in dreams and whilst lucid. These will often alert her to threats. She can conduct various other rituals, and owns various gris-gris  serving as countermeasures against specific kinds of supernaturals.

Other assets

Madame Waxahachie is too overweight to be much of a physical threat. On the other hand, she knows how to put her mass behind an unexpected attack when that counts. And her killer instinct is good enough to stab people without hesitation.

She also has a good reputation as a medium. In the DCU a non-trivial number of medical experts know that the supernatural exist in some form. And Madame Waxahachie is the sort of expert they might call in in germane cases.


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Mabel Waxahachie uses numerology, folk mythology and astrology more frequently than more powerful mystics do. Perhaps these are easier but less efficient, and more easily defeated, forms of clairvoyance. Since magic is symbolism, I guess that symbols used by the poor and working class would be less powerful than those used by rich star surgeons.

At one gate of Hell, Mabel could turn her faith and resolve into a weapon – apparently an old, large revolver. But this was solely possible due to the place’s properties, and after watching the Phantom Stranger do the same.

Gris-gris

Madame Waxahachie uses a lot of *very* minor magical items for protection. One gets the impression that she builds and enchants them herself. In rough order of appearance :

  • Madame Waxahachie once dual-wielded a blessed crucifix, and a human skull on a stick. The first would traditionally be for deployment against vampires, but what the second was about is unrevealed.
  • She once was seen wielding a fetish made of human hands — perhaps a variant on the main de gloire concept  — and animal paws. It was efficient against voodoo-style zombies. It was a bit like wielding a transparent riot shield against them.
  • In the same vein, she used a large curved dagger with the pommel styled as a small human skull. It had a dweomer  to make stabbed zombies inert. One surmises that she then beheads the body, burns what’s left, and recovers her knife from the ashes. Since removing the blade would allow the zombie to reanimate.
  • Another mojo she produced was a tiny leather bag worn as a pendant, filled with horrible stuff. It apparently could prevent possession.
  • When asked what she was carrying she once said “mojo, Elvis hair, black cat bone, two-headed snake, a gold coin held by both Pizarro and Atahualpa.”
  • Said mojo is a hand-sized crucifix (including a Christ statuette) to which are tied a shrunken human head, a chicken’s claw, and another tiny leather bag filled with stuff. If she focused hard on her Christian faith, it *seems* that it could impede demons, but it’s impossible to say from the scene.

Soundtrack

Robert Johnson seems mandatory for this heah profile.

 

Collected Robert Johnson for download on Amazon .


History

Mabel Waxahachie was born in 1959. Her mother Lou (whose full name we assume was Louise) worked as a live-in servant at the Peckshaw property.

(“Waxahachie” likely is a thoroughly butchered word in an unspecified Native American language, *perhaps* Wichita. It became the name of a town in Texas. If it indeed comes from the Wichita, it may be a mispronunciation of words meaning “the fat wildcat”).

(As an African-American in New Orleans, it is highly likely that Madame Waxahachie has some level of Native ancestry. She might in fact be Native. For instance, many darker-skinned Choctaw  folks historically passed themselves for Black to better withstand prejudice.)

In 1971, the teenage Peckshaw twin daughters attempted a zombie takeover of New Orleans. This was foiled, and the Peckshaw family was slain in the commotion. The twins killed themselves using cyanide, but they intended to come back.

(Who opposed the zombie takeover is unspecified. The Phantom Stranger, perhaps ? Or Doctor Occult ?)

I’ve got my mojo workin’

Madame Waxahachie appears to have been derailing minor malevolent mystical menaces for years if not decades. She operates in New Orleans, but has contacts throughout the US and perhaps beyond.

Madame Waxahachie (DC Comics) (Deadman) in purple

It would appear that in the DC Universe, voodoo works well enough that even minor bokors  can create trouble. Which will probably involve zombies – albeit weak ones, well beneath what the likes of the Black Talon can animate.

Such blackguards are below super-hero fare, and Madame Waxahachie keeps them suppressed. So things in the Big Easy are significantly less macabre than they’d be without her.

Cross roads blues

Madame Waxahachie operates a daycare center not far from the Mississippi banks. It doesn’t seem huge – perhaps a score of children. It seems to only do pre-K , and perhaps K. The building looks sinister, but the interior is nice enough and the staff seems caring.

It’s unclear whether :

  • This is her main job and she moonlights as a mystical protector.
  • This is a cover related to her job, for instance to protect children orphaned or threatened by evil magic.

The first seems a smidgen more likely, since her day school doesn’t have extraordinary security.

Kindhearted woman blues

Madame Waxahachie mentioned a different background in 1992. The continuity between the 1988 story and the 1992 story seemed… weak. She said she had told fortunes and sold love potions all her life.

Our No-Prize Hypothesis  to reconcile these statements :

  • Lou Waxahachie died during the 1971 zombie war, when Mabel Waxahachie was but 12.
  • The girl had a small gift of clairvoyance, which she turned into a living. Local vodunistas helped her refine her gift. She started crafting and selling minor artefacts as well.
  • She eventually had enough money. Having been a little orphan she chose to invest it in a day care centre rather than, say, a voodoo shop.
  • But she also kept a few clients for fortune telling and small mojo as they depended on her for spiritual support.

Again, this is just a No-Prize Hypothesis . And remember, you can click on the   symbol for jargon definitions.

The ghost came riding within the zombie cop

In 1988, a minor bokor named Wellman Legros launched a plot to take over New Orleans with a zombie army. He reviled Madame Waxahachie, who clearly had stopped previous schemes of his.

Madame Waxahachie (DC Comics) (Deadman) turns a zombie

As part of his plot, Legros sent zombies to kidnap two little girls from Waxahachie’s school. These were perfect twins, and thus could make certain dark voodoo rituals much easier. However, one of the zombies had been hijacked by Deadman (Boston Brand). Brand and Waxahachie allied to recover the twins and defeat Legros.

Howbeit, the twins had already been possessed by the ghosts of the Peckshaw twins. While the teenage ghost witches weren’t competent, being true twins gave them a natural authority over weaker zombies. On the other hand, their youth and inexperience allowed Madame Waxahachie to play mind games with them.

As the ghost sisters were thus ineffectually flailing about, Deadman forced them to end their possession. The ghosts briefly possessed Mabel and her ally Luke instead, but Deadman outmanoeuvred them again. Now very low on power, the Peckshaw sisters had to possess rodents not to fade away.

Love after death

In 1989, Deadman had a major nervous breakdown. For three years he hatefully wrecked the lives of random people, hung around a cursed church in Vermont wilderness, and went completely off the rails.

In 1992 Dr. Joanne Resnick, a Boston psychotherapist, requested Madame Waxahachie’s help. One of her therapy patients had been repeatedly possessed by Deadman. The New Orleans occultist determined what had happened, and found Deadman in Vermont. Though the ghost was paranoid and hostile, Madame Waxahachie was determined to restore his sanity.

During these events, Dr. Resnick’s patient was killed. Furthermore, Mabel and Joanne were captured by three hateful ghosts. These had possessed a trio of punks who were chilling out in the nearby forest.

The exorcism

However one of the ghosts, Roman centurion Lucian Coriolanus, disliked violence against women. He also considered Madame Waxahachie to be a soothsayer, and thus a holy woman. This led to a violent clash where he killed the body ridden by the second ghost, a rabidly misogynistic priest.

Madame Waxahachie (DC Comics) (Deadman) playing mind games

The Phantom Stranger then came in, helping everyone organise. The Stranger, Madame Waxahachie and the centurion went into the land of the dead. Their goal was to prevent the other two ghosts from doing major damage.

Meanwhile, Dr. Resnick started a crash psychotherapy with Deadman. Her goal was to have him face the horrors he had done, and why.

Madame Waxahachie, Centurion Coriolanus and the Stranger managed to hold ghosts and demons at bay for a while. Meanwhile Deadman was more or less brought to his senses. He closed the dimensional breach, which had been made possible by the four years of hatred and self-hatred he had soaked the place in.

Lorica umbrabilis

Some time later Madame Waxahachie was seen in “Okeechobie”, which I’d assume is Lake Okeechobee . Though she might have moved to an isolated lakeside spot in Florida, it felt more like one of the story’s continuity errors. Or heh, perhaps she took over the abandoned Flammarion swamp cabin.

Centurion Coriolanus had been turned into an agent of Rama Kushna, just like Deadman. However, he first needed guidance about both the modern world and occultism. The officer chose to turn to Madame Waxahachie for such training, which she readily agreed to provide.


Description

A voluminous Afro-American lady in her late 30s. She’s usually dressed in provincial and conservative business clothing when working at her day care centre. Incongruously, her business suit sports a large, yellow smiley face button. This likely refers to the school’s logo, a happy clown face in bright yellow.

When not working she’ll dress more casually, and in more tropical clothing. Say, a large floral boubou dress .

Her straightened hair is styled in the shape of an angry vampire bush rising to fight its sworn enemy, the spitting space cobra.

Madame Waxahachie (DC Comics) (Deadman) and Deadman, looking determined

Her height is fairly variable from panel to panel, so I went for a murky average. Perhaps it’s a side effect of her haircut significantly increasing her height.

Madame Waxahachie has a New Orleans accent. But the speech bubbles don’t go out of their way to represent that, so it’s not a heavy one. Still, she’ll employ a few Southern and more local turns of phrase and pronunciations. Such as calling people “honeychile”, though that’s uncommon.

She smokes a few cigarettes (or occasionally cigars) a day. In stressful situations, she’ll smoke much more often. Unless she runs out because she was only carrying a half-pack.


Soundtrack

Since I’m name-dropping Charley Patton in the next section…

 

Collected Charley Patton for download on Amazon .


Personality

Miz Mabel is smart, collected, authoritative and quite professional. She takes her responsibility to protect people seriously, and will never hesitate to take risks to do just that. She seems almost blasé when it comes to weaker, more common supernatural monsters.

She has a good rapport with children, but in a firm and no-nonsense way. She’s also good at psychology and seems to be a keen observer of human experience. Thus, she could manipulate the Peckshaw ghosts by playing on their racism, their dysfunctional family secrets and their sororal love for each other.

Ms. Waxahachie is clearly used to being in charge and giving orders. She’s also difficult to intimidate. While not immune to fear, she can walk into dangerous confrontations with no apparent nervousness.

However, she knows when she’s in above her head. She can handle horror movie stuff, not super-hero stuff with demons and the like.

Madame Waxahachie is a Christian (likely a Catholic since she’s from New Orleans). She is well-versed in delta blues music, such as Robert Johnson  and (presumably) Charley Patton . And she has extensive experience with staying unflappable in the face of racist insults.


Quotes

(Calmly preventing a zombie from strangling her) “Panic’s what kills most… *gasp* zombie victims… The trick… is to break the fingers one by one.”

“You kids get away from that zombie ! It’s nothing for you to mess with !”

“You can put ’em at rest with decapitation and burning… But if you don’t and whatever force summoned them goes away, they just lay dormant…”

“17 is a base integer… if they had taken it as their secret number they would come back now. They were 17 when they died. 17 alive, 17 dead. It enhances the power they already possess as twins.”

“Hellacious images… an ancient portal is about to open. I have suffered nightmares… let me just say it isn’t exactly unexpected. Take me to your patient.”

“I expect a major confluence in two days. Venus will align with Mars. On Wall Street, it’s triple witching hour . Judy Garland will appear on three networks simultaneously. And my old Ford pick-up is about to turn 300,000 miles.”

“Joanne, listen, don’t talk. These people are not what they seem. Be calm. Show no fear.”

(As they enter an horribly organic dimension )
Phantom Stranger: “This entrance to Hell is like the gut of a dog…”
Madame Waxahachie (quietly amused): “What does that makes us ?”



Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Madame Waxahachie

Dex: 02 Str: 02 Bod: 03 Motivation: Responsibility
Int: 04 Wil: 04 Min: 05 Occupation: Day care director, occultist
Inf: 04 Aur: 04 Spi: 05 Wealth: 004
Init: 010 HP: 020

Powers:
Awareness: 04, Density increase: 01, Detect (Possession): 02, Mind probe: 04, Speak with spirits: 01

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Density Increase is Always On and Already Factored In.
  • However, Density Increase *can* still increase her RV by 1 against attacks where her fat would specifically be a defense. For instance it played in her favour against a strangulation attempt.
  • Detect is visual – Madame Waxahachie needs to see the person to determine if they’re currently possessed.
  • Mind probe is a Skilled Power. It is regression hypnosis, and can only be used on a willing subject to unearth suppressed memories (such as what happened during a possession).
  • One AP of Speak with Spirits allows Madame Waxahachie to speak to, and hear, spirits that are almost but not quite perceptible for the living. In many cases, you can consider it lowers the Dimensional Distance by its APs for communication purposes.

Skills:
Charisma (Persuasion): 05, Martial Artist (EV): 03, Occultist: 05, Vehicles (Land): 02, Weaponry: 03

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (NOLA), Familiarity (Daycare management, Numerology, Astrology, Delta blues music, Christian practical theology, Line fishing, DC’s mystic community, Kindergarten teaching), Iron Nerves. She may speak some Créole(s) and/or Cajun French (as is traditional for comic book New Orleans characters) but this is not demonstrated.

Connections:
Possibly a Low Connection with Deadman.

Drawbacks:
MPR (Waxahachie is obese and a smoker – which affects her speed, endurance, etc.).

Equipment:
This is described above. Here’s the stuff for which we can hazard stats :

  • Zombie fetish [BODY 01, Force shield: 03, Limitations: Force shield only vs. zombies, Bonus: Waxahachie can use the force shield as if it were a physical shield, for instance to push back zombies. She can even bash them with it, though it brings no EV bonus and is considered an unarmed attack on her part.]
  • Skull dagger [BODY 04, Paralysis: 07, Enhance (EV): 01 (cap is 05), Descriptor: Piercing, Bonus: Paralysis is continuous has long as at least one RAP has been scored *and* the knife remains stuck into the target, Limitation: Paralysis only against voodoo-animated zombies].

In 1988 she was driving a restored 1930s car. She later mentioned owning an old Ford pick-up.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: DC Comics.

Helper(s): Darci.

Writeup completed on the 2nd of December, 2017.

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