NAME + ALIASES:
Menagerie I: Pamela. Menagerie I: Sonja (last name revealed)
The Elite, Justice League of America
Pamela: Action #775 (March 2001). Sonja: JLA #100 (August 2004)
The first Menagerie was a Puerto Rican woman named Pam (last name unrevealed), who bonded herself with "an alien warrior crèche" (or symbeasts). The beasts could be controlled to be used as weapons or to assemble into other shapes. The tale of Pam's first contact with these beasts has never been told, nor has any light been shed on the days before she met the villainous Manchester Black.
Black recruited Pam to be a member of his group of extremely powerful metahumans called the Elite. This group took it upon themselves to "free the Earth of scum." They abided no laws and thus quickly came into conflict with Superman during their first mission in Tripoli, Libya. They quickly dispatched Superman then disappeared.
Superman called them to a showdown on Jupiter's moon, Io, where they seemingly killed the Man of Steel. But Superman returned triumphant. He managed to poison Menagerie and disabled the others as well. The Elite were delivered into custody, but soon released by President Lex Luthor. (Adv. of Superman #593-594)
Now a government operative, Black began shadowing the Man of Steel. He betrayed Luthor and reassembled the Elite one last time. During an assassination attempt on Luthor, Menagerie revealed to Superman that the Elite were acting against their wills. For her betrayal, Black induced a stroke in her, putting her in a permanent vegetative state. (Action #795)
Upon Black's apparent death, his sister, Vera Lynn Black, took it upon herself to clear the family name and reassembled the Elite as a force for good. As Sister Superior she convinced Pam's sister, Sonja to assume control of the alien creche as Menagerie II. Vera then approached the JLA with a proposition to form a sort of "black ops" JLA team: the Justice League Elite. With her deep cover experience, Vera envisioned a team that could use unconventional means to combat unconventional threats.
Vera did not realize was that Menagerie's intentions were not pure. Her hatred of Manchester Black became a hatred of the Elite. Sonja saw this as her opportunity to kill Vera's dream, so she played along and joined the team...
This Elite became a sort of "not-exactly-sanctioned don't-ask-don't-tell covert operations unit. Their mission was to hunt and eliminate extranormal threats to the Earth before they went public. (JLA Secret Files 2004) In their first mission, they infiltrated The Blood Brothers, an organization of assassins. The Blood Brothers led the Elite to a foreign terrorist dictator, Hi-Shan Bhat. The Elite took down both the Blood Brothers and Bhat's regime, but what happened after this would taint the Elite for good. With Bhat in custody, Manchester Black's disembodied mind began asserting some control over Vera, who blacked out while Bhat was being held. In this time, Menagerie secretly coaxed Coldcast into killing Bhat. Coldcast retained no memory of the act, and no other members were present. (JL Elite #1-3)
Menagerie laid low during all this, and put effort into her personal relationship with Coldcast. The two had become lovers and were drawn together by their shared affection for Pam. The Elite's next case was incited by Coldcast's brother, Christopher. Chris unwittingly led the Elite into the underground drug ring called the Aftermath. (#4) When the Elite entered Aftermath's interdimensional hideaway, Vera was finally fully overtaken by the disembodied Manchester Black. (#4-7)
Black made mental contact with an ancient female warrior named Eve, who was trapped in the Source Wall. The pair headed for Earth and left the Elite decimated. Under mysterious circumstance, Menagerie went missing, and Coldcast was arrested by the JLA for Bhat's murder. In their absence, al-Sheikh had found DNA evidence linking Coldcast to the deed. Coldcast confessed to the murder and was taken to the Slab.
In the Slab, Coldcast was visited by the spirit of the recently departed Manitou Raven. Raven's magic dislodged something in Coldcast's mind and he vomited up a heap of Menagerie's symbeasts. Free from their control, he began remembering that he had been coerced by Menagerie into killing Bhat. Menagerie herself was nowhere to be found, and Coldcast rejoined the others to try to free Vera from the influence of her brother. (#10-11)
It seemed Menagerie's sabotage was complete. But Manitou Raven's power was stronger than all the Elite's evils. He returned from the grave to lead the Elite to victory over Manchester Black. Coldcast was exonerated and the team tracked Sonja to Costa Rica. She was outnumbered and taken into JLA custody. On the Watchtower, she was deprived of the aliens and began a gradual separation they hoped would sever her connection to the beasts. It seems this will take some time, as she could only bear to be a short distance away from the creche. (#12)
It was said that the members of the original Elite all possessed Palmer Metahuman (PM) ratings which rivaled Superman.
Menagerie is bonded to "an alien warrior crèche" (or "symbeasts"). The symbeasts can collected to form various shapes which perform various functions. Most commonly, they form around the body and take the form of wings, enabling Menagerie to fly. She can also instruct them to take other forms, or detach from her body and attack an opponent independently.
The beasts have a sympathy for Pam's bloodline, as they readily bonded to her sister Sonja when Pam was incapacitated.
Justice League Elite, 12-issue limited series (2004-05)
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