Not every superhero starts off as a hero. Some characters need to find their own way, coming from a dark place before finding their way to the light. Songbird is a character that started off as a villain, but transitioned into a courageous team player, becoming leader of the Thunderbolts. Having come from a rough background, Songbird is an underrated, complex character that evolved into the best version of herself. But what are her origins and where did her change of heart come from?
Who is Songbird?
As a child, Melissa Gold had a turbulent upbringing. With an alcoholic father and mother who was in prison, Melissa ended up living on the streets to survive. This hardened her from a young age and she called herself ‘Mimi.’ After going to jail, Melissa met a female wrestler called Poundcakes, who invited her to join the Grapplers, alongside Letha and Titania. Adopting the name Screaming Mimi, she became a wrestler, but the company Melissa worked for denied her the chance to earn as much money as male wrestlers.
The Grapplers earned extra money by agreeing to experiments, courtesy of the Roxxon Oil Company. Melissa had her vocals altered so she could produce supersonic screams. The Grapplers became criminals, with one of Screaming Mimi’s earliest crimes involving an attack on The Thing and Captain America.
Eventually, Melissa joined Baron Zemo’s Masters of Evil, where she entered into a relationship with her teammate Angar the Screamer. The Masters of Evil battled against The Avengers on several occasions. During a robbery attempt, Angar was fatally shot, dying in Melissa’s arms. In a fit of grief, Melissa screamed and burned out her powers. Zemo had her nursed back to health and positioned her in his new team, the Thunderbolts. With a new set of powers, Melissa took on the name of Songbird.
The Thunderbolts were presented as superheroes to win public trust, though Zemo planned on using them to conquer the world. However, the Thunderbolts came to genuinely enjoy being heroes, especially Songbird. The Thunderbolts turned against Zemo, while Songbird began a new romance with teammate Abner Jenkins.
Later, Songbird acted aggressively towards Jenkins, pushing him away. Songbird admitted that she had a fear of abandonment because she felt she’d lost everything good in her life. To cope, she put up a wall and tried not to care about anyone so she wouldn’t get hurt again.
The fear of abandonment is a common phobia among many people and it’s so relatable. It typically stems from loss, which Songbird experienced through her childhood and early days. If someone doesn’t want to be abandoned, they can develop defense mechanisms in order to protect themselves. Letting another person in again can be hard, but Songbird was able to conquer her fear thanks to Jenkins’ patience and understanding for her condition.
Bolstered by a new approach to life, Songbird rededicated herself to fighting crime as part of the Thunderbolts. She worked with Hawkeye to restore public trust in the team and helped to rehabilitate other villains by giving them a new purpose.
Songbird eventually went on to lead the Thunderbolts, which demonstrated her fortitude. A lot of her new teammates like Moonstone preferred to fight for personal gain rather than to be rehabilitated. Captain America recognised Songbird’s heroic qualities and she became a member of the New Avengers in 2015.
Singing a different tune
Songbird has a unique power set that’s developed over time. As Screaming Mimi, she could generate a supersonic scream for a variety of effects. Melissa had perfect pitch and knowledge of musical notes. By regulating her voice, she could manipulate the notes. For example, a D caused high level anxiety, while a high C caused a listener to hallucinate. Melissa burned her original powers out when Angar died. Her scream liquified the surrounding plant life and nearly destroyed her vocal chords.
She received new powers through technology created by Ulysses Klaw. As Songbird, Melissa was able to convert sound into physical constructs, such as wings. This has allowed her to fly and form other complex shapes for offensive purposes.
Melissa’s adoption of the Songbird name is a reflection of her change of heart. All of her qualities make her deserving of a solo series.
Why does Songbird deserve her own series?
There’s plenty of potential for a Songbird solo series because of her background. Her wrestling past could be explored and bridge a gap between two forms of entertainment that have increased in popularity. This offers the chance to create some unique stories and shine a light on a part of the Marvel Universe that’s rarely been explored.
Melissa is also established enough where she can have a changing cast of support characters. Her relationship with the Thunderbolts could be brought up. I’d enjoy seeing her bicker with Moonstone while they’re forced to work together. Baron Zemo could be positioned as a major enemy, with Songbird having to overcome his latest scheme. There could be a focus on Songbird’s powers as well, such as her discovering new abilities and developing her even more.
Songbird’s journey, coupled with her relatability, makes her an important superhero.