X-Men Spotlight: Frenzy
Former fanatical villain Joanna Cargill aka Frenzy is one of the most complex figures in the X-Men catalog. Take a couple moments to read how she went from lunatic to hero.
Frenzy: From Villain to Hero
Joanna Cargill began life as many children in the modern world do- a military brat. Unfortunately, for Joanna, she was born a girl and not 100% carefree. She came into the world premature and was accompanied by a mass of medical bills. Her father looked upon her with disdain and he abused both her and her mother, whom by the time Joanna was born had already been conditioned to put up with the treatment. He did, however, care a great deal for Joanna’s older brother. Years later, after Joanna’s brother was killed in battle, her father went into one of his patented rages and was on the verge of beating Joanna within an inch of her life. The trauma of the incident seemingly was enough to activate her X-gene. Retaliating in kind, Joanna, using her super strength, punched a hole clean through her father. More than likely in a severe state of shock, she fled and never looked back.
She’d reemerge years later as an adult. Full of rage, and with a nearly impenetrable body, she turned to a life of violence by way of being a thug for hire. Her journeys, which included run-ins with other known mutants such as Gambit, prior to joining the X-Men, eventually brought her into contact with similarly minded individuals. Calling themselves the Alliance of Evil, they answered to Apocalypse and battled against the first incarnation of X-Factor. After being nothing more than “villain of the week” bad guys for a few more appearances, Joanna, now going by Frenzy, would not be long for the group. After a while, she went her own way again, but soon after joined another group of female villains named the Femizons.
When Magneto came back into power, he and his right-hand, Exodus, formed the Acolytes, or better said, they formed themselves around his teachings. Frenzy was among this cult of Magneto worshipers and they carried with them the message of mutant superiority. During the fall of Avalon as it was being attacked by Holocaust, Frenzy and present X-Man, Cyclops, helped each other survive its crash landing in Australia. Once on the ground, she and many other Acolytes were immediately arrested. Of course, they escaped, and under the direction of Exodus, took part in an attack on the High Evolutionary. She’d fall into obscurity until popping back up on the radar years later during the Magneto Wars.
With many of the X-Men either on mission or off-world, Jean Grey pieced together her own temporary squad of X-Men, including Frenzy. Obviously, this wasn’t by choice- Jean used her telepathic abilities to bend the Acolyte’s will in hopes of utilizing her intimate knowledge of Magneto to gain the upper-hand. Once Magneto was defeated, Frenzy was freed and understandably wanted no further interaction with the X-Men feeling violated and humiliated. With the onset of the new millennium and the events of House of M, Frenzy was among the few mutants that retained their powers. As usual, she fell back into a life of violence-for-hire and chose to work for Mister Sinister during the Messiah Complex.
Later, Frenzy is among the mutants on Utopia seen battling against the hordes of Nimrods at the climax of Second Coming and assisted in the fight against Osbourne’s Dark Avengers during the Dark Reign storyline. It’s assumed that from this point Frenzy is a full-time resident of the mutant island. It’s there she’s caught up in her most significant storyline to date. When the mutant son of Professor-X, Legion, trapped everyone on the island, implanted new personalities and warped the landscape into the Age of Xavier universe, Frenzy is also affected. Now a full-fledged mutant freedom fighter, she, alongside the rest of the personality swapped X-Men spent their days defending their home from a constant onslaught of never-ending human forces bent on their destruction.
In the dreamlike scenario she and the X-Men leader Cyclops, then going by Basilisk, crossed paths again, but as a romantic pair. When they weren’t locked in combat, the two spent their time together, comforting each other throughout the nightmare. When the X-Men freed themselves from the manipulation, several of them declined the opportunity to have the artificial personality and all its memories wiped away. Having experienced a life of goodwill and righteousness, Frenzy is one of these individuals. In the end, she even adopted her counterpart’s hairstyle and uniform. From this point on, after promising not to kill her foes, Frenzy is an X-Man. She even traveled back east with Wolverine and Rogue to become part of the new Jean Grey Institute’s staff. Also, to put some distance between her and Cyclops who spurned her offer to pick up where they left off in Legion’s scenario. During her employment, Frenzy went on missions alongside the X-Men and even defended the school when Avengers She-Hulk, Falcon, Moon Knight, and Iron Man paid a visit during the Avengers Vs. X-Men crossover event.
Off the Pages
Frenzy hasn’t been seen much outside of the X-Men comics but many peoples first glimpse of her came by way of the X-Men: The Animated Series. During the first and second parts of the episode “Sanctuary,” she can be spotted as part of Magneto’s Acolytes. She’s also visible during the war scene of “One Man’s Worth,” the episode that inspired the Age of Apocalypse X-Men crossover event.
- As a member of the Jean Grey School staff, Frenzy functioned as the campus security.
- It’s insinuated that she and X-Man Gambit have been intimate in the past. Its further expounded upon when the two share a passionate kiss in X-Men Legacy. Well, twice actually.
- Frenzy’s skin is nearly invulnerable to all damage. Her strength level is somewhere a little more, or a little less than Spider-Man!
- Following the creation of the Terrigen Mist clouds after Secret Wars, Frenzy worked with the Inhumans and pretended to be a mutant terrorist to help bolster their public image. In return for her help, they’d assist in finding a cure for the effects of the Mist on mutants.