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Songbird of the Thunderbolts (Marvel Comics) grinning defiantly

Songbird

(Melissa Gold profile #2)


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

Context

Songbird (Melissa Gold) of Marvel Comics’ Thunderbolts is a fan-favourite – a trailer park usual criminal and prostitute who reinvented herself as a super-heroine after a long and strange journey. She has extensive sonic powers.

This profile directly follows our profile for Screaming Mimi (Melissa Gold), which you absolutely should read first.


Background

  • Real Name: Melissa Joan “Mimi” Gold.
  • Former Aliases: Screaming Mimi, Mimi Schwartz, Margie Green, “Mockingbird”.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Mimi Gold (mother, deceased), Mr. Gold (father).
  • Group Affiliation: Thunderbolts; formerly Grapplers, UCWF, one-time member of the fourth Masters of Evil (Zemo’s).
  • Base Of Operations: The Raft; formerly Four Freedoms Plaza, Mount Charteris, Stormfront, Folding Castle, Thunderbolt Mountain.
  • Height: 5’5” Weight: 125 lbs.
  • Eyes: Green Hair: Red with white streaks.


Powers and Abilities

(Builds on her powers description from the Screaming Mimi profile.)

Despite having lost her enhanced strength, Songbird remains a competent fighter, and has become a talented aerial combatant.

Girl aloud

By the time she became Songbird, many of the bionic enhancements to her vocal cords were no longer working. Her once-powerful sonic scream was mostly gone. She has regained some use of these enhancements over the years, and her abilities derived from them have continued evolving.

She regained her unaided sonic scream after a strain that saw her lose her voice for a while. This has allegedly been lost since, but this may be misinformation.

Her scream can act as a physical force attack (in DC Heroes RPG terms, Sonic Beam), and/or disorient those around her by affecting their sense of balance (Flash as a sonic rather than visual attack). She can also use subsonic pitches to influences the actions of others, although this ability is still limited.

Mistress of sound

Her harness allows her to amplify what remains of her vocal enhancements. Built from technology developed by Klaw for his sonic converter, it allows her to create solid sound constructs, in much the same way as Klaw himself can.

Her most common use of them is to create wings which allow her to fly, and she usually remains airborne during combat, taking advantage of the greater manoeuvrability it affords her.

She also commonly uses it to create shields and simple weapon shapes, often many at a time. It also allows her to counter other sonic attacks, and allows her to project her voice over distances, either loudly so as to be heard by everyone, or for private messages delivered to an individual a mile away.

She can detect individuals with her sonar, use force constructs and focussed air pressure to move flames where she wants them, and can also, apparently, hijack radio frequencies.


History

(Her early history can be found in the Screaming Mimi entry, and a general history of her time with the Thunderbolts in the Thunderbolts entry.)

Justice, Like Lightning

Provided a sonic harness built by Techno (Fixer) to restore, and disguise, her waning powers, Melissa adopted the Songbird identity as she joined Zemo’s Thunderbolts.

She was among the Thunderbolts who began to enjoy their heroic disguise. This, and a growing romance with teammate Mach I (Abner Jenkins) made her begin to feel comfortable for the first time in years.

The peace didn’t last long, as Zemo outed them. This left her in a state of mild ongoing panic for a while. While not taking the lead with anything, she was happy to throw in with the others against Zemo.

On The Run

Worried that the team would split up, her newfound sense of fitting in being in danger, Melissa’s Mimi persona began asserting itself. She often snapped at Abe, pushing him away, her fears taking control.

Songbird (Melissa Gold) flying and using her powers

She panicked when Hawkeye insisted Abe had to go to jail, and, seeing no way to stop it, she tried to run away from them. She only stopped when Abe caught up to her and calmed her down, promising he’d be back for her. She returned to the team, but remained slightly hostile towards Hawkeye’s leadership.

Under New Management

Seeming calmer as the team became more permanent, her anxieties didn’t fade completely. She made a pass at Hawkeye at one point, seeking emotional support. She’d frequently lash out at some of his leadership decisions, such as not being quick enough to investigate Jolt’s murder, or where Abe had disappeared to.

Her reunion with Abe didn’t go as well as she’d hoped when it was revealed his new face had brought with it a new skin colour. It took her a while to work through her issues with this.

Moonstoned

Encountering Captain Marvel (Genis-Vell), she had a sense of his feelings towards her, and that there was more behind them. Her feelings towards Abe conflicted, she was confused about how she felt about his attention.

Redeemed

Melissa had trouble fitting into a normal life, reverting to her old ways and shoplifting rather than applying for the job the shop was advertising. She was afraid to talk to Abe about her problems, since he seemed to adapt so easily to this life. Genis helped her work through her problems, and she eventually began to fit into a normal life.

She didn’t get to see how long this would last, though, as they were soon drawn back to their old identities.

On The Road

Immediately following the Graviton incident, Melissa had to deal with the surviving Redeemer, the Scream. He had gone on a rampage after recorporating himself from Graviton’s attack. Recognizing him as what was left of Angar, she ended his pain.

With the rest of the Thunderbolts apparently dead, the Mimi persona came to the fore as she coped with the loss. Yet she didn’t seem as high-strung as on previous occasions, and it seemed more to deal with the job she’d taken for S.H.I.E.L.D., which kept her too busy to fall apart.

By this time she was a lot more competent as a hero, more of an equal for Hawkeye and less in need of being led, adopting a second-in-command to the villains they recruited into the Thunderbolts.

Choices

This time she was more comfortable with Abe going to jail, her abandonment anxieties apparently dealt with.

Project: Liberator

While the others had grown to trust Zemo to a degree while on Counter-Earth, Melissa remained dubious of him. She reported his doings to Abe, who passed them on to the Avengers. She stayed with the team though, believing in them, and in what the Thunderbolts stood for.

When offered a place in the Avengers following the Thunderbolts’ disbandment, she declined, deciding instead to attend college. She studied music and criminology, and tried to live some kind of a normal life.

The Thunderbolts Army

Suffering strain to her vocal cords while holding up the UN building, she then took further damage battling the Hydra attack on New York. This resulted in severe strain to her larynx. This took some time to heal, but when it did it also restored her sonic scream.

The Moongems shards embedded in her after she shattered them, Melissa found herself inside a mindscape within the stones. There she was attacked by former wielders of the stone, with only Karla (Moonstone) helping her. They had to work together to escape, which they eventually did, Karla’s mind being restored to her body, along with the Moongem.

While the pair had never really been friends before, the closeness they had experienced within the stone began a true enmity from Karla towards Melissa.

Osborn’s Bastards

Thrown off initially by the changes made to the team, she was overwhelmed, and felt slightly trapped, with only Chen Lu (Radioactive Man) she could trust. Soon deciding to work at regaining control of the group, she tricked Bullseye into getting crippled, and blackmailed her way back to field command.

Songbird (Melissa Gold) blocks a hail of bullets wither her powers

With her newfound fame making her easier to locate, she was reunited with her mother. While initially reluctant to accept her mother back into her life, her 2 year sobriety chip and earnestness began to give Melissa hope. She seemed to want to believe her mother had changed. Until her mother suggested profiting from her fame, at which Melissa insisted she leave.

Not long after, she had the news that her mother had died in a crash while driving home, her inebriation blamed as the cause. After breaking down for a while, she realised it was likely that either Moonstone or Osborn was responsible. She threatened Karla with retribution should anyone else close to her suffer an unfortunate accident.

Secret Invasion

Following the invasion, Melissa helped Andreas (Swordsman) bury his sister, who’d died (for the second time) in the war. He warned her to watch her back, telling her things were changing.

Before departing, Chen Lu admitted he had strong feelings for her. Melissa, sensing Bullseye nearby, and knowing he was coming for revenge, harshly told Chen to leave, so he wouldn’t be caught in the middle. She survived Bullseye’s attack, even when Moonstone and Venom joined in.

She tried escape in the Zeus, but it was brought down by Venom. Songbird only escaped when Andreas helped fake her death in the destruction of the Zeus.

Dark Reign

Keeping a low profile, living on the streets, Melissa managed to avoid detection for a while. Eventually H.A.M.M.E.R. troops tried moving the vagrants she was hiding among, opening fire at the slightest resistance. Songbird stopped them and took off, fully expecting Osborn to have her hunted down.

She ran to Abe and Fixer, working for the CSA, but quickly realised there was little they could do to aid her other than joining her in danger. Thus she left, intending to find Chen Lu. Osborn’s new Thunderbolts caught up to her before she got far, and she only escaped with help from the Black Widow.

When the pair eventually escaped the Thunderbolts days later, they still had H.A.M.M.E.R. forces after them. These drove them onto the edge of a bridge, where they balanced precariously for a moment as their attackers continued firing on them. Jumping clear, they were saved at the last moment by Mach V and Fixer, and they stayed out of sight until Osborn had been brought down.


Personality

Confident and serious, Melissa has done away with the duality of her earlier personality. Now the confidence of her Mimi persona a more permanent part of her makeup, but without the sharper edges which kept others at a safe distance.

She has become a capable leader, both in and out of combat. She directs her people in an efficient manner, and helps those who truly want to redeem themselves. However she has little time for those who are just trying to play it for their own interests.

Earlier in her time as Songbird she was far less confident, initially becoming emotionally dependant on Jenkins and enjoying the public adulation. When her situation became less stable, Melissa followed suit. Her fear of abandonment lead her to use the Mimi persona as a shield against the future abandonment she expected to suffer, and she would frequently have shrill outbursts.


Quotes

“Don’t tell me — ’it’s society’s fault ?‘ I tried that one a few times myself !”

Abe: “The glass is half-full, Ms. Gold.”
Melissa: “Which just leaves more to spill, Mr. Jenkins !”

“Listen, I know it sucks — but what did you expect, a medal ? We don’t do this for money or attention — we’re never going to get it anyway — so we do it because we have to.”

“That’s the right answer, Donny… But we’ve lived our lives rehearsing the right answers, haven’t we ?”

“Sometimes, Genis, we just punch them in the face really hard, okay ?”

Songbird: “Well… that was easy.”
Radioactive Man: “We should not find suspicion in the act of a reasonable woman, perhaps.”
Songbird: “Perhaps. But when did you ever meet a reasonable woman in a super hero costume ?” (beat) “… Don’t answer that.”


DC Universe History

A member of the Crime Syndicate of America, she was abandoned on the DC Earth after a clash with the JLA. She became a nuisance for her counterpart on this Earth, Black Canary. She was taken in by the Female Furies for a while, but never really fit in, and they abandoned her with Lashina, leading to her spending some time serving on the Suicide Squad.

Two possible sources for her Sonic Harness are that it’s either Apokoliptian technology, or that her powers actually come from a Star Sapphire.

In the former case, her powers burned out when the CSA abandoned her, so she was given the tech during her indoctrination into the Furies. In the latter case, she met Angar during her time on the Squad, and when he later died, it was her grief over his death (where she burned out her powers) which drew the attention of the Star Sapphire.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Songbird

Dex: 06 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Responsibility of Power
Int: 05 Wil: 05 Min: 04 Occupation: Warden ; former student, criminal
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 018 HP: 060

Powers:
Flash: 06, Hypnotism: 06, Sonic Beam: 08

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Flash and Hypnotism may have an Area Effect (+1).
  • Flash can be Combined with Sonic Beam (+1).
  • Flash affects hearing rather than sight, leaving hearing rather than sight impaired (though the in-game effects are the same) (+0).
  • Flash cannot create ’steady illumination’, but it can instead create steady loud noise (to drown voices and prevent communication, etc.) (-0).

Skills:
Accuracy (Sonic Harness Powers): 08, Acrobatics: 05, Artist (Singer): 04, Evasion (Aerial only): 07, Martial Artist: 05, Thief (Pickpocketing): 05, Vehicles (Air, Land): 05

Advantages:
Familiarity (Criminology, Music, Streetwise, Urban survival, Wilderness survival), Leadership. Secondary sources have stated that Mimi has perfect pitch (she can hear in her mind the correct frequency for every musical note in the scale).

Connections:
Thunderbolts (High), Mach V (High), Radioactive Man (High), Avengers (Low), Clint Barton (High), Underworld (Low).

Drawbacks:
None demonstrated.

Equipment:
SONIC HARNESS [BODY 06, Flash (hearing): 10, Flight: 06, Force Manipulation: 14, Radio Communications (Minor Marginal): 05, Sonar: 10, Sonic Beam: 10, Sound Nullify: 08, Super Ventriloquism: 10; Misc. Drawback (Harness calibrated to Songbird’s powers, can’t be used by anyone else), Bonuses & Limitations:

  • Flash may have an Area Effect, and is Contingent on Sonic Beam.
  • Flight is Winged, Contingent on Force Manipulation, but independent of her APs of Force Manipulation.
  • Force Manipulation is sonic based and constructs are affected by sonic Powers [And has a -1 Attack Vul. to Sonic attacks targeting constructs], it can create constructs within Force Fields which don’t block sound, and FM constructs exist after removal of the harness with a duration equal to the APs assigned to the construct.
  • Radio Communications is Minor Marginal, and Contingent on Sonic Beam.
  • Super Ventriloquism may be directed at an individual, with nobody else hearing the message (+1).].

Previous Stats

Early on in her career with the Thunderbolts, Songbird had an SIF of abandonment, and the Uncertainty Drawback. The latter disappeared, and the former had reduced to an MIF, shortly after Hawkeye joined, and the IF seemed to disappear during the time she was alone hunting down Hawkeye.

Her Acrobatics skill took time to develop, and she only really reached the current level by the time the group received their pardons.

Initially her Harness’ Force Manipulation was only 8 APs, and was vulnerable to control by Klaw, whose technology the harness was based on. He could use his Sound Animation Power to take control of the constructs from her. She managed to buy off this Drawback of the Harness around the time Hawkeye joined.

Her Hypnotism began developing during the time she tried living a normal life after being pardoned.

While she was still new to the Sonic Carapace, breaking her FM constructs resulted in a mild sonic explosion (an Area Effect (1 AP Range) Sonic Beam of APs/2), but this seemed to pass as she gained more experience (by the time their identities were revealed).


Design Notes

There appears some confusion over whether she still has her sonic scream without her harness. She supposedly recovered it after healing from the strain during the Hydra attack. The latest comment I can find says she no longer has it, but she could well have been lying to keep a secret weapon up her sleeve. I’m assuming she still has it.


By Gareth Lewis and Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: Marvel Comics

Helper(s): Capita_senyera, David Johnston, Perry Holley, Peter Piispanen, Frank Murdock, Eric Langendorff, Chris Cottingham. One illustration from the Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 video game.

Writeup completed on the 25th of October, 2010.

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