science pros || dr. theresa june covington, a.k.a. the toxic doxie

|| background ||

↳ SO ASIDE FROM a throwaway line about running over her father with a tractor at age 12 (god this princess) really all we know of the fabulously psychotic Dr. Covington starts with her time doing post-doctorate research in genetic medicine.

A chance meeting at a faculty party with Edward Wynne, a brilliant biologist with a birth defect, provides her Eureka moment. “If biology is malleable,” she explains, “then it is perfectable.” It’s then that she goes the rest of the way in developing her genetic plug-in technology, which, as mentioned before, allows her to make changes to the genetic structure itself.

She experiments some on herself and lots on other people, mostly urban poor. Most of whom die horribly because Too Much Genetic Tinkering, the rest of whom die less horribly but still very much dead because June Doesn’t Share Modifications. She presents her research to Wynne, who’s properly horrified and has her immediately fired and escorted from campus. June then takes her work underground, ultimately resulting in anywhere from hundreds to thousands of deaths, and exacts the chilling sort of revenge you’d expect on Wynne. She’s later so very arrested for pulling exactly this kind of bullshit; by this time, however, she’s had a chance to modify her own genetic structure to the point of extreme physical resilience and BONUS TOXIC BLOOD.

When Goblin Cult members break fellow prisoner Norman Osborn out, he frees the rest of Special Containment Center High-Priority Prisoner Room Class of ‘11, June included. She and Norman meet up for post-jailbreak drinks and weird villain flirting (over LIVE SHRIMP) just before he turns himself in to the authorities. June infiltrates the Raft, where he’s being held, posing as a prison physician. 

We never really find out why. It’s a cool setup for an interesting plot and exploration of political intricacies that unfortunately winds up being dropped in favor of a second pass at the Dark Avengers plot. Osborn’s broken out of prison (again) and starts a Dark Avengers team (again); June joins the team as (sigh) his Scarlet Witch. This Dark Avengers team later has more adventures that, I’m gonna level with you, don’t make a lot of sense in another dimension. Characterization is… hit or miss.

June’s currently appearing in the fantastic Avengers Assemble, where so far she’s co-opted Inhuman genes for her own personal use, sexually harassed Anya Corazon’s unconscious Inhuman teacher (poor Mr. Schlickeisen) in the process, and terrorized the living heckie out of a local AIM cell. That’s our girl.

|| suggested reading: ||

↳ Osborn: Evil Incarcerated, a 5-issue miniseries by Kelly Sue Deconnick and Emma Rios (featuring a bonus introductory short on June by Warren Ellis and Jamie McKelvie). It’s Covington’s first appearance in comics and she repeatedly steals the show.

↳ Avengers Assemble (021-024; arc concludes with 025, not yet out). Again, Deconnick and Ellis knock it out of the park with a fantastically creepy June. Matteo Buffagni’s art on the healing suit that made most of us sit up and notice June in the first place is so gorgeous I could spit.

↳ IF YOU MUST (i’ve been there): June’s involvement in the Dark Avengers 2.0 nutroll is as follows: 

  • New Avengers vol. 2, 018-023, by Brian Michael Bendis.
  • Dark Avengers 175, 177-190, Jeff Parker.
  • It’s just a cameo in one panel, but in Red She-Hulk 058 it’s noted that the superhuman military project Betty clashes with was sped along by the confiscation  & application of some of Covington’s research.