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Man-Killer (Marvel Comics) classic costume


Katrina Luisa Van Horn

Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game
  • These are older technical notes, not a full profile.


  • Real Name: Katrina Luisa Van Horn
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: None
  • Group Affiliation: Former member of Masters of Evil; former Assassination section chief of HYDRA (Silvermane fragment); former leader of a militant feminist group; former agent of AIM
  • Base Of Operations: Unknown
  • Height: 6’ Weight: 210lbs
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Red

Powers and Abilities

Originally, Man-Killer wore a mechanical exoskeleton that granted her superhuman strength. In addition, the exoskeleton was plated with armor of unknown composition capable of withstanding the impact of high caliber bullets without injuring the wearer.

She also employed weighted discs, some of which were explosive or had sharp, bladed edges. When hurled with the Man-Killer’s superhuman strength, these discs were highly destructive weapons.

Man Killer's special hovercraft

Currently, Man-Killer appears to possess actual superhuman strength equal to the level granted by her first exoskeleton. Moreover, her natural stamina and resistance to injury has similarly been boosted to superhuman levels.


Katrina Luisa Van Horn grew up to be a champion skier for an unnamed Eastern European country. When competing in the Winter Olympics for the first time, Van Horn overheard a male rival, Karl Lubbings, denigrate women athletes. Van Horn challenged Lubbings to a race that night, but in the course of the competition Lubbings abruptly cut Van Horn off as they skied down the mountain. In the resultant fall, Lubbings was killed and Van Horn was crippled.

Van Horn was driven nearly insane by bitterness and anger. Agents of Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM) discovered her plight and financed a militant feminist group that recruited Van Horn. The organization also secretly funded her lengthy rehabilitation process. AIM supplied Van Horn (now calling herself “Man-Killer”) with a powerful exoskeleton that granted her superhuman strength.

As the Man-Killer, Van Horn embarked on a campaign of terrorism that began with the assassination of a strongly anti-feminist Chicago mayoral candidate. In the course of this attack, Van Horn encountered Greer Nelson in her original costumed identity as the Cat, but swiftly subdued her and escaped.

Journeying to New York City, the Man-Killer carried out a plan to steal fissionable radioactive material from a Harlem power plant, only to be opposed by both Spider-Man and the Cat, who had followed her to New York. The Man-Killer ultimately surrendered after the Cat confronted her with the fact that her AIM benefactors had been men.

A splinter group of the terrorist organization, Hydra, freed Van Horn and recruited her. The Maggia crime lord Silvermane had gained control of the section of Hydra and filled the section chief positions with costumed criminals. Hydra appointed Van Horn the head of HYDRA’s assassination division. However, Silvermane was ultimately out of his depth running HYDRA.

Daredevil, the Black Widow, and agents of SHIELD eventually raided his headquarters while Man-Killer was captured after the Black Widow’s ally Ivan Petrovich affixed a device to her exoskeleton that deactivated it.

Van Horn next escaped thanks to Justin Hammer, who financed the reconstruction of the Man-Killer’s armor in exchange for a percentage of any profits she might make, as well as her loyalty. Van Horn was part of a small army of supervillains in Hammer’s employ who were pitted against Iron Man aboard Hammer’s floating villa near Monaco. Iron Man quickly defeated all of the villains, though Man-Killer managed to escape European authorities soon afterwards.

Van Horn recruited a new gang of militant feminists, and sought to increase her group’s credibility by freeing Hildy Dawes, a former underground terrorist leader who had surrendered to the authorities after years as a fugitive. Despite the opposition of Spider-Man and the She-Hulk, the Man-Killer managed to escape with Dawes. However, Dawes had no desire to escape, and, hoping to atone for her own terrorist actions, used an exposed power cable to apparently electrocute both herself and the Man-Killer.

Though believed dead for many months, the Man-Killer was alive and in hiding during this time. At some point, she was contacted by the second Crimson Cowl and invited to join the sixth incarnation of the Masters of Evil. It is unclear whether or not the Cowl was responsible for the Man-Killer’s development of actual superhuman strength without apparent artificial aids. The Man-Killer was one of the core members of the sixth Masters, and acted with other members of the core group in taking mercenary work to raise funds for the Cowl’s worldwide blackmail scheme.

Acting as security for the so-called Arms Merchant, the Masters battled the Thunderbolts, who were themselves members of the fourth Masters of Evil in heroic guises, and the Black Widow. Though they failed in their assignment, the Masters escaped. Much later, after the Thunderbolts’ deception had been revealed, the Masters attempted to recruit the remaining Thunderbolts who had decided to retain their heroic roles, threatening to turn them over to their other criminal adversaries if they refused. Ultimately, resenting the threats, the Thunderbolts unsuccessfully battled the core group of Masters.

Shortly thereafter, the Avenger Hawkeye became the Thunderbolts’ leader, and the team decided to capture the Masters of Evil in hopes of establishing for the public their noble intentions. Despite being confronted by the entire 25-member lineup of the sixth Masters, the Thunderbolts succeeded in defeating them all and thwarting their scheme to extort 1 trillion dollars from the governments of the world. Though most of the Masters were captured, the Man-Killer was one of the three criminals who escaped the scene of the battle.

Van Horn adopted a cover identity as a bartender in Colorado, but was soon discovered by the alter ego of the Thunderbolt Atlas. Atlas remained unsure whether to expose her, but at some point Man-Killer had also deduced Atlas’ identity. Atlas ultimately confronted her when he was attacked by Wonder Man as part of plan formulated by Count Luchino Nefaria. Van Horn rejected his overtures of friendship and escaped, her cover blown.


Man-Killer is Amazonian in build, with red hair.


As a rather stereotypical example of the 1970s concept of “militant feminism” in her earlier appearances (contrasted by such feminist heroines as the Cat and the She-Hulk), the Man-Killer was initially quite unstable, harboring an insane hatred of men, and she might well have been identified as a lesbian if the comic books of the time had permitted such identification (which would have made her even MORE of a stereotype).

She appears to have mellowed somewhat over the years to the extent that she seems capable of forging friendships with men ; however, when the Thunderbolt Atlas became attracted to her and attempted to persuade her to reform with the Thunderbolts, she disdainfully rejects both ideas, noting that “I call myself Man-Killer—-how do you think I really feel about you ?”. This exchange is inconclusive, but it is at least suggestive.


(To Atlas) “I call myself Man-Killer — how do you think I really feel about you ?”

DC Universe History

Man-Killer is actually pretty typical of a low level Wonder Woman villain, although she’d be grossly outmatched ? Perhaps Black Canary would be a better foe. Change her origin (completely) and she’s only a touch underpowered as a Female Fury. She’s roughly par with Lashina during her stint on the Suicide Squad as Duchess.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats


Dex: 05 Str: 09 Bod: 07 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 04 Wil: 05 Min: 04 Occupation: criminal, former skier
Inf: 04 Aur: 04 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 006
Init: 019 HP: 025

Powers: Skin Armor: 02

Skills: Acrobatics: 05, Martial Artist: 06, Weaponry: 05

Advantages: Lightning Reflexes, Sharp Eye

Connections: Masters of Evil VI (High)

Former Stats

Prior to her recent appearances in Thunderbolts, Man-Killer the following stats:

Dex: 05 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Psychopath
Int: 04 Wil: 05 Min: 04 Occupation: assassin, criminal, former skier
Inf: 04 Aur: 04 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 006
Init: 019 HP: 030

Skills: Acrobatics: 05, Martial Artist: 06, Weaponry: 05

Advantages: Lightning Reflexes, Sharp Eye

Drawbacks: MIH (men – early career only)

Connections: Hydra – Silvermane Branch (Low), AIM (Low), AIM sponsored militant feminist group (High)


  • EXOSKELETON [/STR/ 09, /BODY/ 06/ Skin Armor: 01]
  • Explosive Throwing Disks (x4) [BODY: 06, Bomb: 08]
  • Bladed Throwing Disks (x4) [BODY: 08, EV: 04 (10 w/STR)]

By Andrew Lee

Source of Character: Marvel Comics (Spider-Man, Marvel Team-Up, Thunderbolts)

Helper(s): Jackson, The Unofficial Handbook of the Marvel Universe ; Personality from the Gay League ; History by Omar Karindu of the Thunderbolts Message Board.

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