At a time when the publics distrust of mutants was heightened, the controversial and flamboyant entrepreneur John Sublime shocked the world by publicly admitting that he longed to become a mutant. He had used his personal fortune to create the organisation known as the U-Men, an army of humans who wished to gain mutant abilities by surgically grafting mutants body parts onto their own. However, the U-Men didn't wait for mutants to die of natural causes and donate their bodies to science, instead, they kidnapped young mutants whose powers were just emerging.
When the U-Men captured Martha Johansson, they removed the most powerful part of her mutant body and preserved it, her brain. Her brain was placed inside a glass dome, enclosed with a mechanical seal. She was kept docile and obedient with several injections of Sublime's drugs, which he monitored. Martha's glass body substitute was placed inside a desk drawer to hide her from public view.
Martha had a difficult origin. She first appeared as a brain in a jar in New X-Men #118 (2001) However, the mutant first named No-Girl was actually not Martha, but another mutant. Originally No-Girl was an actual non-existing and non-visible mutant whom first 'appeared' in New X-Men 135. There it is seen the students discuss No-Girl and don't know whether she is around or not for their class' field-trip. It was later ret-conned that Martha and No-Girl where the same person. The previous No-Girl received a bio in Marvel Encyclopedia vol.2.
Major Story Arcs
With Martha's body hidden, Cyclops and Emma Frost were unaware of Martha's cerebral powers affecting them when they went to confront Sublime. When Sublime's guards punched Frost in the nose, the pain from her broken nose forced her into her diamond form where she wouldn't experience physical pain. However, by transforming her body, Emma Frost no longer had access to her own telepathy, bringing her under Martha's influence. Both Cyclops and Frost were held frozen by Martha's powers while Sublime gloated over them.
He revealed that Martha was a telepathic mutant who he described as a 'broadcaster of psycho-chaff, which blinds mutant minds'. Therefore, when the U-Men transported Cyclops and Frost off the premises to be harvested, Martha Johansson was kept alongside them at all times. However, Martha was telepathically broadcasting the message 'You gotta get blood on your spacesuit' repeatedly, spurring on Emma Frost. So while the U-Men were focussed on Cyclops' surgery, Emma switched back out of her diamond form. With her telepathy back, she nullified Martha's psycho-chaff and disabled the U-Men by sending them the sensation of a broken nose and amplifying it a thousand times.
Having disabled the U-Men, Cyclops and Emma Frost returned to Sublime's office. Furious, Frost attacked Sublime and held him out of the window. He begged for mercy, while Cyclops stood holding Martha's glass body. He reminded Frost that killing Sublime would only make things worse.
However, Sublime suddenly changed his tone. Instead of begging for Frost to spare his life, he began to mumble about how it was the right thing to do. His grab on Frost's wrist loosened, and he confessed that Martha told him that he should let go. By letting go of Frost's arm, Sublime grew too heavy for her to hold on to. Sublime fell to his death from high above the city's streets. Martha Johansson had her revenge on the man responsible for putting her into a giant jar, by telepathically convincing him to commit suicide.
Having been liberated from Sublime and the U-Men, Martha Johansson was taken to the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. There, Quentin Quire was still a social outcast with desires to become a popular leader among his peers. He had sympathised with her condition, understanding that she only had memories of her body. Therefore he had taken upon himself to create the technology necessary to allow Martha's glass brain-jar to float a few feet off the ground. Thanks to Quentin's natural genius, Martha was given the ability to move and a certain degree of autonomy. With a chained dog-leash leading from the base of her floating jar, other students could help guide her around as she floated.
With her unusual body, Martha wasn't a popular girl among the Institute's student body. She was placed into the school's 'Special Class' along with Angel Salvadore, Basilisk, Beak, Ernst and Dummy. Martha had been given the nickname No-Girl, due to her lack of body. However, their tutor Xorn refused to acknowledge the name, insisting on calling her Martha instead.
On the school's Open Day, Xorn led his Special Class on a camping trip past the woods behind the Institute. Ernst held No-Girl's leash, helping to lead her on their journey. When they had set up camp, Xorn still refused to see No-Girl, when Basilisk accused him of sneaking a peak at No-Girl's 'sexy fat butt'. Ernst claimed that she was speaking for No-Girl, but would say things like how No-Girl needed to go into the bushes. The insinuation that a girl with no body needed to go to the toilet implied that No-Girl's memories of her own body were making her desire bodily functions, or that Ernst was using No-Girl as an excuse to speak for herself.
While the Special Class were camping in the woods, the U-Men had surrounded the school. Angel and Beak first discovered the U-Men, and alerted the others. Having already suffered at the hands of the U-Men, No-Girl was scared. They all fled, and Xorn left the students in a clearing while he went to confront their pursuing U-Men. No-Girl confirmed that the strange smell that surrounded them was the sentient gas eaking from Dummy's containment suit. With that information, Beak was able to temporarily fix Dummy's suit with a condom. However, when a U-Man found them, Basilisk refused to use his power to save the others until No-Girl (once again through Ernst) agreed to go on a date with him. However, No-Girl was still scared of the unconscious U-Man, so Ernst kindly moved her brain-jar away so she wouldn't see him lying there.
After saving them, Basilisk was touched when No-Girl (through Ernst) told him that he had a nice smile. He was so moved that he later referred to her as his fiancé, which was when Xorn first accepted her as No-Girl claiming that he couldn't see her previously because he had been searching on the wrong frequencies.
New X-Men: Special Class and Xorn/Magneto
Unfortunately, the camping trip had a tragic end to it. While they had been in the woods, Quentin Quire led a riot back at the Institute's Open Day. Xorn led his Special Class back to the Institute in the middle of the riot. No-Girl and the others were witnesses when Dummy was caught by the flying shrapnel from an explosion, ripping through his containment suit and essentially killing him when his sentient gasses dissipated.
The Special Class stayed together for the Institute's Prize-giving, where No-Girl's glass body remained placed on a table in front of Basilisk and Ernst.
However, life in the Special Class was changing. Xorn began strange teaching methods, by turning the map of the world upside down and putting up propaganda posters that announced 'Magneto Was Right'. When Dust was introduced into the Special Class, she mysteriously seemed to turn against Professor Xavier and destroyed Cerebro with her sandstorm form. Still in her sandstorm form, Dust flew back into the Special Class' classroom, where No-Girl instructed Ernst to contain Dust within a large jar. However Ernst could sense that something had changed within No-Girl, whom she described as sounding 'snotty'. Xorn used his powers to force Dust into the jar, but even as a jar full of sand Dust's scared emotions were still audible to Professor X's telepathy. He confronted Xorn, but Xorn attacked the professor and revealed his true identity. Xorn was really Magneto, the Master of Magnetism.
Magneto transformed the Special Class into his new Brotherhood. They were joined by Esme Cuckoo and Toad, but didn't seem to share their lust for chaos and power. No-Girl remained close to Ernst, who was having trouble coming to terms with the fact that Xorn had never really existed and wanted her old teacher back. They watched as Magneto used Kick to fuel his power and pulled New York City apart. Unfortunately the drug caused Magneto's powers to become too powerful for him to control. So Magneto accidentally killed Basilisk when he joked about flatulence. While the others were distracted by Beak being dragged away, Ernst and No-Girl stood (and floated) horrified over Basilisk's body.
With his plans beginning to unravel, Magneto was confronted by Ernst and No-Girl. Ernst announced No-Girl's thoughts and predictions: "Nobody likes what you're doing, Magneto. It's boring and old-fashioned. Martha says it's all coming to an end and there's nothing anyone can do to stop it." The X-Men began to rally their forces at the same time that the Brotherhood turned against Magneto. Through Ernst, No-Girl warned Magneto that he had waited too long, and that he should have remained disguised as Xorn since he would die as Magneto. Aggravated, Magneto stepped forward to attack Ernst when Angel Salvadore flew in the way. With Beak's return and Esme's temperamental defection, Magneto was distracted long enough for the X-Men to attack. Desperate for the world to acknowledge him, Magneto was defeated by a combination of the X-Men's powers and his own destroyed appearance. Magneto managed to kill Esme and later Phoenix, too. However, he was ultimately defeated.
After the Decimation of the mutant population on M-Day, No-Girl remained with the X-Men. As she was just a brain in a glass dome, it was fortunate that she retained her mutant powers. No-Girl lived at the Institute, until it was destroyed in a Sentinel attack. She was lost in the rubble until Beast found her. He had returned to destroy any implication evidence and information on the X-Men. When he left, he took No-Girl with him back to San Francisco. Therefore, No-Girl moved to Graymalkin Industries. She subsequently moved again, when the X-Men relocated to their newer off-shore headquarters known as Utopia.
Martha is later featured in a one-shot story entitled "Martha Johansson vs. Quentin Quire: 7 1/2." Now relocated to the mutant safe haven of Utopia, Martha finds herself the appointed "arch-nemesis" for a newly revived Quentin Quire. Finding life on a higher plane to be "boring," Quentin revives himself and decides to become a villain and secretly destroy Utopia, claiming
that the X-Men stole his idea to create a mutant nation. Making a game of his master plan, he gives Martha seven and a half minutes to attempt to stop him. Martha attempts to alert the X-Men and locate Quentin, but he manages to intercept and taunt her at each attempt, ultimately smashing her container and leaving her to die. Martha realizes that Quentin has infiltrated Cerebra to destroy the island and attempted to take revenge on the Cuckoos by putting them in a mental loop. Martha outsmarts Quentin's plans by using her powers to tip off Celeste to an error in Quentin's mental loop. The Cuckoos are able to break free and quickly defeat him. They send help for Martha and thank her for saving them. Martha reflects on the experience, finding that she enjoyed it and contemplating the possibility of taking up superheroism.
After Martha is introduced to Zero on Utopia, she joins him and the rest of the Lights in their trip to Pakistan to save a "new light". They arrive to find a man strapped to a bomb a detonates himself. Zero shields the team from the blast but Martha's case is destroyed. Kenji takes her brain in his hands and creates a body for her, though she is tethered to him. She attempts to read the mind of the suicide bomber, who somehow survived the blast, but is unsuccessful due to psychic defenses. He claims to be being used by a radical group. Martha reads the mind of one of their captors to learn where they are keeping Pixie.
They return to Utopia where Cyclops exclaims that the man is Sebastian Shaw. Kenji asks Martha if she wishes to seek medical attention so they can separate and she declines. Martha desires to taste, touch and feel after being in a jar for so long and has all intentions on doing so with Zero. Before they are able to commence, the Lights are attacked by some of Utopia's jealous mutants such as Bliss, Litterbug, Dragoness, Erg and Random. Bliss bites Martha on the shoulder which causes Kenji to lose control. Cyclops and Hope, who were unaware of the skirmish at first, rush to break it up. Hope uses her powers and restores Kenji to normal and calms everyone down.
Martha soon discovers that Kenji had been using her, and built her a body in order to access Martha's powers of telepathy and mental control. In retaliation, she disconnected her brain from Zero with a mental shockwave. But the result disrupted his ability to control his own form, and Kenji's body exploded apart.
Here Comes Tomorrow
Many years in the future, the Institute was closed down. Alone in his research, the Beast became addicted to Kick. Over time, his fur turned white and he turned against his friends in the X-Men. He collected a dormant Phoenix Egg from the surface of the moon, and used an army of cloned Crawlers to attack the remnants of the X-Men. He intended to use the Phoenix to destroy his enemies. Desperate for allies, the X-Men teamed up with Cassandra Nova who was accompanied by No-Girl.
No-Girl had stayed with Ernst for most of her life. Without a body to grow old, her brain had managed to live longer than most other mutants. Unfortunately, her mind suffered in her heightened old age. No-Girl had developed Alzheimer's, and in her deluded state she would refer to Cassandra Nova as Ernst. Nova enjoyed being telepathically connected to No-Girl as she had a bright and cartoony world-view. Cassandra Nova was killed in an explosion as she flew them in her Shiar ship to battle the Phoenix. No-Girl's glass body fell to the floor and bounced lifeless along the floor..
No-Girl's natural mutant powers are telepathic based. She creates a "psycho-chaff" that interferes with other mutant's brains. Therefore she can psychically control their minds.
No-Girl gained her codename from the other students at the Institute because of her lack of a physical body. When the U-Men removed her body, they kept her consciousness and personality alive, but trapped within her brain. Her brain was kept alive within an upturned and mechanically sealed glass bowl. Therefore, she has no need for bodily functions such as the need to eat or go to the toilet. However, without a physical voice, she is solely reliant on her telepathy to communicate with others.
By controlling other mutants' minds No-Girl can control both the fine motor control over her victims' bodies and restrain their access to their mutant powers. She doesn't actually remove their mutant powers, but blocks their access to them, therefore the powers are still active, but the mutant can not use them. Although her telepathy is strong, she has yet to defeat more experienced telepaths such as Emma Frost. However, she is strong enough to control Frost while in her diamond form.
Unlike Leech, No-Girl doesn't actually remove other mutant's powers. For instance, Leech nullifies a mutant's powers, and would have been able to force Emma Frost out of her diamond form and negate her telepathy. No-Girl's power, however, couldn't remove Frost's ability to shift into a diamond state or negate her telepathy. Instead, she had to rely on Frost's lack of telepathy to keep her restrained in her diamond form, and when Frost reverted back her telepathy was still active to combat No-Girl's psycho-chaff.
X-men: Battle of the Atom
No-Girl is featured in the mobile card game "X-Men: Battle of the Atom" based on the comic book story with the same name. Her cards are: