Hey, buy remember Poison?
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No, visit this not the hair metal absurdity which served as a precursor to Bret Michaels’s oh-so-dignified career as a “reality” television star…
…nor the hermaphroditic member of Metro City’s Mad Gear gang who was excised from the SNES and GBA ports of Capcom’s Final Fight games.
I’m talking about Cecilia Cardinale…
…a Havanese college student who made the mistake of shacking up with a Soviet military officer. In order to save his career, the treacherous apparatchik denounced the pregnant Cecillia as a streetwalker, leading to the poor woman’s arrest and eventual exile to a Miami refugee camp.
After suffering near fatal complications during childbirth, Cecilia cut a deal with an extra-dimensional entity, agreeing to share mental real estate in exchange for her life and the life of her newborn son.
By day, the gestalt entity cleaned motel rooms for minimum wage. (That’s not me making a racially insensitive joke, folks. That’s actually in the damn comic.) By night, it donned a set of Dinah Lance’s castoffs and assumed the identity of Poison, using its vaguely generic set of superpowers — flight, strength, durability, and some other undefined forms of “body magic” — to wreak vengeance upon those South Floridians would betray others in the name of love.
Poison made her debut in Web of Spider-Man Annual #4 (1988), an “Evolutionary War” tie-in that tossed the High Evolutionary, Man-Thing, the War on Drugs, and the sebaceous Slug (like the Kingpin, only his fat was actually, well, fat) into an incoherent Gerberian mess.
Steve Gerber and Poison co-creator Cynthia Martin later brought Cecilia back (sporting some of the biggest hair outside of the 1990 Woburn High yearbook) in the pages of the Marvel Comics Presents anthology book with an equally indecipherable eight-part epic involving a dude with a demonically possessed floor mop.
Poison’s only other appearance of note — besides a blink-or-you’ll-miss-it cameo in one of Marvel’s “This Is The Event That Never Ends” tie-ins — was in a 1996 issue of (just plain ol’) Spider-Man where she teamed up with the Ben Reilly incarnation of the webslinger to battle a druglord plucked straight out of a badly dubbed spaghetti western.
Poison’s convoluted origin, confusing powers, and utter lack of a fan following were more than enough to earn her this week’s spot as Nobody’s Favorite. Her participation in the much (and justly) reviled “Spider-Clone” saga? Well, that’s just gilding the corpse flower.