Originally an agent of the Russian government, Iron Maiden always lived in the shadow of the legendary Black Widow, something that caused her to develop a great hatred of her. She eventually left Russia to become a freelance assassin and mercenary.
Iron Maiden was created by Ralph Macchio and George Perez in 1983 and first appeared in Marvel Fanfare #11.
Major Story Arcs
Iron Maiden was part of a group of assassins sent to assassinate Black Widow. While Iron Maiden outlasted the others and almost succeeded in killing the Widow, she was interrupted by Jimmy Woo and several SHIELD agents. Melina fled, but was pursued by the Black Widow and Woo. She managed to ambush her pursuers, but Woo used an energy blaster to hit the floor she was on, causing her to be sucked down a whirlpool.
The Iron Maiden was later recruited by Superia to be part of the Femizons. She was part of the army that defeated and captured Captain America and Paladin. Even after Superia's plot was foiled, Melina remained by Superia's side as one of her lieutenants. Alongside Superia, Blackbird and Snapdragon, Iron Maiden attended the A.I.M Weapons Expo at Boca Caliente with the intention to take over AIM. Modam, a former Femizon who decided to remain loyal to AIM, overpowered Superia and Blackbird. Snapdragon was killed by Diamondback, who had tracked her down to seek vengeance. As the last woman standing, Iron Maiden was unable to prevent MODAM from absconding with Superia.
Later on, during the Superhuman Registration Act fiasco, Iron Maiden was among those who attempted to obtain a fake ID to leave the United States and sneak into Canada. She was pursued by Fixer, Joystick, and Mach IV of the Thunderbolts. Joystick and Iron Maiden engaged in combat while the Fixer and Mach IV made wagers on the fight. Ultimately, Joystick defeated Iron Maiden, who was subsequently remanded into custody.
Recently Iron Maiden has led a group of Soviet revolutionaries called the Remont Six which consist of superhuman beings such as the Titanium Man, Unicorn, Volga and the Snow Leopards. They come into conflict with the Winter Guard when they raid an AIM facility outside the Forbidden Zone. They are eventually defeated and taken to prison.
Equipment and Abilities
The Iron Maiden wears flexible metal armor that protects her from the force of most impacts as well as insulating her against energy attacks. It increases her strength somewhat, bringing her to the level of an enhanced human, such as Captain America.
Aside from her armor, Melina is a master of unarmed combat, a highly skilled assassin and a trained espionage agent.
Iron Maiden was a considered name for Black Widow when she was given a black suit similar to Iron Man.
In Earth-X, the Iron Maiden was a woman who fell into a vat of vibranium and became encased in a metal armor that she couldnt escape but could completely control and manipulate. She is later shown to be able to control all of earth's vibranium. This character is NOT thought to be a counterpart of the 616's Iron Maiden.
- In Marvel's 2021 Black Widow film, Melina is introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is portrayed by Rachel Weisz. This version of Melina is noticeably different from her comics counterpart. Here, Melina acts as a mother figure to Natasha Romanoff and Yelena Belova and had a romantic relationship with Alexei Shostakov. She was put through the Red Room 5 times and was manipulated and used by them before she betrayed them and helped Natasha take them down. Her codename of "Iron Maiden" is also not used in the film.
- Melina Vostokoff was featured in Hasbro's Marvel Legends line as part of a two-pack with Red Guardian.