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Shrew (X-Factor character)


Marilyn Maycroft

Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game
  • The Hell’s Belles are very convenient – obscure group, reasonable power level, little backstory, mercenary nature, etc. They’re great if you need opponents for low-powered, beginning PCs.
  • Since they haven’t appeared much, stats inevitably are somewhat speculative.


  • Real Name: Marilyn Maycroft. May now have a new name after going through the witness protection program.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed
  • Known Relatives: None
  • Group Affiliation: Formerly Hell’s Belles
  • Base Of Operations: Unrevealed
  • Height: 5’5” Weight: 120 lbs.
  • Eyes: Solid yellow (Brown as a human) Hair: Brown

Powers and Abilities

Very little is seen of Shrew’s abilities (except her leaping, and even that is unclear). The Powers and Skills in the game stats are simply based on the characteristics on ordinary rats :

  • ultraviolet vision (and excellent night vision) though quite near-sighted
  • ability to fit through small holes (though the skeleton doesn’t actually have any special properties, despite traditions to that effect)
  • powerful jumping, climbing and sprinting ability
  • pointy teeth
  • superior healing ability and hardiness
  • acrobatic talent
  • a very developed sense of smell (though it’s chiefly used for chemming, which is probably a useless application for Shrew)

Shrew’s abilities might be a bit more powerful, but the Belles in general had a modest power level and Shrew seemed to assume she couldn’t beat Briquette or Tremolo.

One would assume that she chiefly spends her HPs when she’s cornered and instincts kick in.


Practically nothing is known about the group of female mutant criminals known as the Hell’s Belles. During the 1980s and possibly before, they worked as enforcers for undisclosed criminal cartels, chiefly dealing in the gargantuan US market for narcotics. Circa 1991, they were placed under the authority of the dreaded mercenary Cyber, who considered himself to be their mentor given his experience.

One of their number, Shrew, eventually decided she had had enough and in 1992 she negotiated with the authorities to act as a witness ; her treason may have been motivated by Cyber’s influence making the Hell’s Belles even more crazed and on the edge than they already were. Part of the negotiation was of course protection, since it was obvious the cartel would send her former colleagues to kill her. The government had the then-current X-Factor team (commanded by Alex Summers) run that protection.

Though the Hell’s Belles lacked the raw power or skill to pose a real threat to X-Factor, Cyber accompanied them on that mission. Nevertheless, the first attack was repulsed, though Cyber and the Belles blew out the hotel in which Shrew and X-Factor had been residing, out of spite. During the fray, Cyber poisoned X-Factor operative Strong Guy, and later called to offer the only known antidote in exchange for Shrew.

X-Factor and the government turned the exchange, which took place at Judiciary Square, into a trap, and the Belles were defeated and arrested ; Cyber managed to flee after Shrew found the courage to knock him in front of an incoming train. Strong Guy had previously been given an antidote the government labs had cooked up after analysing the toxin.

The Hell’s Belles were not seen after that, but in 2006 the S.H.I.E.L.D. analyses detected the powers of Tremolo, Vague and Flambé within Michael Pointer, which would mean they were depowered during M-Day. The status of Briquette and Shrew is unknown – they were not on the available lists.

Note that the depowered Belles’s powers can fairly easily be simulated by technology (micro-flamethrower, stealth suit, jetpack and vibroshock units), so like some ex-mutants they might soldier on with technological aids. As for Shrew, she may have been forced back into a life of crime by the cartels, or may have become an Initiative “recruit” if she did keep her abilities.


See illustrations with the cool Stroman art.
Shrew is a woman in her later 20s who looks… well, like a shrew. She can transform into a sort of humanoid rat, complete with gray fur and a rat-like face. She wears black leather boots and a matching one-piece.


Apparently, the Belles were a dysfunctional, edgy, aggressive, cruel, out-of-control bunch – presumably in part thanks to Cyber. It is also possible that they were kept on a leash via narcotics addiction, and Shrew generally considered that being on the group was insane and that the Belles were mad dogs.

Shrew acted in a bitchy, unpleasant, sarcastic way, but it is impossible to tell whether that is telling about her personality, since she was being stalked and feared for her life.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats


Dex: 06 Str: 04 Bod: 06 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 04 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Enforcer
Inf: 03 Aur: 03 Spi: 03 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 013 HP: 020

Analytical smell/Tracking scent: 04, Claws (Bite): 05, Cold immunity: 01, Fluid Form: 01, Jumping: 02, Regeneration: 03, Recall: 05, Running: 05, Sealed systems: 02, Super HEaring: 04, Swimming: 01, Systemic antidote: 01, Ultra vision: 02

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Analytical smell/Tracking scent is Discerning when it comes to rodents’s chemical communication
  • Super hearing only extends upward (ultrasonic range)
  • Jumping is not diminished for vertical distances
  • Fluid Form is Only To Squeeze Through
  • Recall only for olfactory data
  • Sealed Systems only to extend the time during which she can hold her breath

Acrobatics*: 06

Alter-Ego (human form)

Previously Hell’s Belles (Low), Underworld (Low)

Distinct Appearance, MPR (Quite nearsighted)

Design notes

Shrew is the Belle who least demonstrates her super-powers, so I’ve went with a “generic rat powers” approach. Yes, I know shrews are not rats, but that seemed to be the intention (and the House of Ideas never was very good at zoology). I’ve gone for a fairly detailed list of abilities since a/ that was the occasion to complete and unify our rat stats and b/ a lot of role-players seem to like rats.

By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: Marvel Universe (X-Factor books in the Summer of 1992)

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