"After the oceans swallowed Atlantis and before the rise of the Sons of Aryas is when my journey began. My mother was a mere child when she gave birth to me... When she presented me to her tribe. But she would be dead before I uttered my first words. She was the first to sacrifice her life to insure my survival, but she would not be the last. The tribal elders recognized me for what I was and instructed my mother's people to offer their lives to me until there were none left to give. I am all that remains of those people. But sustenance was not all that they provided. They also gave me a name... The name of a goddess."
--Selene explaining her origin to to her inner circle in X-Necrosha.
Selene was created by Chris Claremont and Sal Buscema and first appeared in The New Mutants Vol.1 issue 9 (1983).
Major Story Arcs
Prior to the events in Necrosha, Selene attempted to become a goddess several millennia ago. During the Roman Empire, Selene promised her lover Eliphas her love and eternal life in exchange for every soul in Rome. Eliphas, who at that moment was not an evil man, agreed to help Selene but he was captured and ruined Selene's plan. She cursed him, granting him immortality but life of eternal pain. Eliphas swore he would gain forgiveness from his goddess. He spent centuries searching for a way to recompense what he lost for Selene.
For years Selene's origin went unrevealed. She claimed to have lived for several millennia, and to have been a foe of the ancient sorcerer Kulan Gath. In her attempt to ascend into goddesshood, Selene explained that she was born in Central Europe seventeen thousand years ago.
In ages past, Selene was renowned as a sorceress whose power was feared and respected by practitioners of black and white magic alike. Selene then came to live in the ancient Roman Republic. Fearing that Rome's republican government would be replaced by an imperial monarchy, numerous Roman citizens, including Selene, fled Rome in the First Century BCE and sailed to the New World where they founded Nova Roma, or "New Rome", in a concealed valley in the Amazon rainforest, in what is now Brazil. At first Selene claimed that she found herself unable to leave Nova Roma, where she remained for roughly two thousand years and led the dreaded Cult of Fire as its Black Priestess.
It was later explained that the creation of Nova Roma was an elaborate rouse concocted by the Hellfire Club using kidnapped British and American tourists brainwashed to believe themselves descendants of Roman expatriates. In her initial appearance, Selene was the wife of Nova Roma senator Marcus Domitius Gallio plotting to abolish the republican government and insert Gallio as the Imperial Ruler. The intervention of the New Mutants both thwarted Senator Gallio's schemes and led to Selene's apparent destruction. However, Selene not only survived, she followed the New Mutants to the United States, and New York.
In New York City, she encountered Juggernaut at a nightclub. She planned to seduce and murder him, absorbing his life essence. She was prevented from doing so when Wolverine manipulated a bar-room brawl between Juggernaut and Colossus, which led to her discovery of the existence of Rachel Summers, whom Selene sought to enslave, only to be defeated by the X-Men. Prior to the X-Men rescuing her, Rachel had been invited to platonically spend the night at the home of Nicholas Damiano, a young club owner. Selene ambushed and ruthlessly murdered Damiano, causing Rachel to swear vengeance against her.
Selene approached the local High Priest of her world-wide Cult of Fire, Friedrich von Roehm, to assist her in securing accommodations where she could practice her dark arts safely and discreetly. A member of the Hellfire Club, von Roehm introduced Selene to Sebastian Shaw, the Black King, who was seeking powerful recruits for his Inner Circle.
When Shaw asked Selene for an audition she effortlessly used her immense power to capture both Shaw and his throne in pure concrete. Had Shaw not previously collected enough kinetic energy to barely break free he would have been suffocated and killed by Selene's attack. Selene then repaired Shaw's throne and sat on it herself. Shaw correctly interpreted this as Selene showing Shaw his place.
From Selene's attack Shaw concluded that Selene knew Shaw's weakness, and would not have hesitated to kill Shaw right then and there. Shaw, being no fool, immediately recognized Selene's unmatched power and of what she could do to him if he ever dared to cross her. He realized that he had no choice but to accept Selene as his new Black Queen.
Shaw personally conducted an official ceremony to welcome Selene. However, Selene was not impressed, as she mocked the ceremony to Shaw's face. Shaw once again recognized her clear attempt to challenge him and his right to rule, and realized that Selene was not only more powerful than him, but also more ambitious.
Selene did not stop there. After officially becoming the new Black Queen, she continuously found ways to slight Shaw's authority, such as openly listening to his private conversations, and using her magic to enter and exit his chambers as she pleased.
Shaw knew that it was only a matter of time before Selene made her move to end his reign, so he and Emma Frost conspired to kill Selene by training and manipulating the young mutant Firestar to assassinate her. Their plan failed when Firestar realized what they were plotting.
In the aftermath of the Days of Future Past story arc in Uncanny X-Men The Past of Future Days, Selene and the Hellfire Club's relationship with the X-Men came to a crescendo with Rachel Summers making an unauthorized assassination attempt against Selene. Wolverine felt honor-bound to prevent Rachel from becoming a murderer and saved Selene's life by critically injuring Summers. Selene was enraged. She used the incident to force the Lords Cardinal to hunt and kill Rachel. A pitched battle commenced between the X-Men and Lords Cardinal but was unexpectedly halted when it drew the attention of Nimrod the Super-Sentinel, who then killed Selene's pawn von Rhoem. Nimrod next targeted both the X-Men and the Lords Cardinal. Both teams hastily agreed to a truce and fought well enough to cause Nimrod to flee, though at the cost of the life of Harry Leland, the Black Rook.
After this battle, in the pages of New Mutants, much was made about Selene having secret plans involving Nova Roma and Magma. Due to her love for Empath, Magma left the New Mutants to join the Hellions, only to be called home by her father to enter into an arranged marriage with a resident there. Magma was escorted home to Nova Roma by Empath, who ultimately decided to remain in the city with her. The two became lovers and eventually Magma was freed from her betrothal so that she could be with him. Unknown to Magma, however, Selene was secretly manipulating events during the time that the New Mutants were being reorganized into X-Force.
Return to Nova Roma
Empath revealed in New Warriors #31 that the history of Nova Roma was an elaborate lie, concocted by Selene several decades prior. In a desperate bid to recreate happier times from her days in ancient Rome, Selene arranged for numerous people to be kidnapped and taken to the jungles of the Amazon, to a city constructed per her designs, where she could brainwash them into believing themselves antecedents of ancient Roman emigrants living in the Amazon. Magma was one of these kidnapped and brainwashed souls. The city was abandoned and the residents returned to their previous lives across the globe. Years later, due to Chris Claremont wishing to undo writer Fabian Nieciza's dismantling of the concept of Nova Roma, Claremont ignored said story and wrote Magma as he had originally imagined her.
He later had Magma offer cryptic references to having been manipulated into believing Nova Roma was a lie by parties unknown that sought to hurt Magma by taking away her childhood home. This was haphazardly followed up by later writers, who implied that Empath used his powers to either destroy the city by brainwashing the inhabitants into believing they were victims of Selene, or to brainwash the kidnapped victims and create the illusion of Nova Roma in the first place, as the pawn of Selene himself.
Gamesmaster and Upstarts
Selene's was the deciding vote to oust Sebastian Shaw from the Hellfire Club when tension between Shaw and the newly recruited White King Magneto came to blows. Unknown to Magneto or Emma Frost however, Selene had decided that she no longer had any need for the Club and began plotting its destruction. With help from the mutant omnipath called the Gamesmaster, she gathered a cadre of young mutants known as the Upstarts. Under Selene's authority, the Upstarts engaged in a competitive killing spree that led to many presumed deaths, including Magneto, Sebastian Shaw, Donald Pierce, and the Reavers; to mortal injuries to Emma Frost, and the outright deaths of the Hellions. Selene manipulated her young followers with the promise of a game where each murder committed would earn points that would ultimately lead to being granted a prize, which was described as "being the next best thing to immortality" by the Gamesmaster. However, with another writer change, Selene's involvement with the Upstarts was cut short as she herself was betrayed by Trevor Fitzroy. Selene was restrained in a torture device that continuously spooled her flesh from her body then restored her, only to begin the cycle anew. This garnered the attention of the Gamesmaster who took advantage of the situation to proclaim himself the new leader of the Upstarts. Selene would eventually be freed by Amanda Sefton, then of Excalibur, though the torture left her weak and scarred.
Externals and X-Force
Needing to replenish her power, Selene first attacked and killed the other surviving Externals. Though she was opposed by X-Force, she managed to complete the slaughter and defeat the mutants, until Cable's timely intervention. Selene's attempt to absorb Cable's life backfired when she touched his techno-organic arm and was forced to flee to maintain her power. Shortly afterwards, she attempted to access the power of a Celestial convergence using a Runestaff made from the roots of Yggdrasil, the World Tree of Norse cosmology. She arrived at the Exploding Colossal Man festival in New Mexico, but was again opposed by X-Force who managed to wrest the Runestaff from her and destroy the Colossal Man mannequin it animated. Selene missed her opportunity for power and vowed vengeance on X-Force.
She next appeared back in Brazil, where she had tracked Sunspot along with Deviants posing as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. She lured Sunspot to her defense, offering him a position of power in the Hellfire Club. He refused, regardless of the illusions with which she tempted him. However, Sunspot went along with Selene to stop the Deviants in the Damocles Foundation from activating a Celestial Gatherer. Selene was attacked by the S.W.O.R.D. strike team, but she managed to cast a spell that devolved them to lizards. With aid from X-Force, Selene was able to usurp control of the machinery that activated the Gatherer but Moonstar and Arcadia destroyed the Celestial artifact before Selene could access its power. Selene then returned to her post as the Black Queen of the Hellfire Club. After striking a deal with the demon Blackheart and exiling out the rest of the Inner Circle, she offered Sunspot the position of Black Rook, which he initially refused but accepted when Selene and Blackheart revealed that his doing so would allow them to resurrect the spirit of Juliana Sandoval, the girl who died saving Sunspot's life prior to his joining the New Mutants. Sunspot accepted Selene's invitation and became her protégé.
Return to the Hellfire Club
Selene was soon constrained to the catacombs beneath the Hellfire Club mansion by Margali Szardos and the Shadow Hunters. She gained limited mobility, however, from an alliance with Donald Pierce. When the X-Men, including Emma Frost and Rachel Summers, arrived during a membership change in the Hellfire Club, Selene plotted to use Rachel to completely free herself. She followed Rachel to Hong Kong via a transmat device and saved her from being corrupted by a telepathic agent of Courtney Ross, who was vying to become the next White Queen. This was only a prelude to Selene possessing Rachel's mind, but Marvel Girl proved too strong for Selene and expelled her, keeping Selene trapped for a time beneath the Hellfire Club headquarters
In the events following M-Day, Selene retained her powers. She befriended Wither in Mutant Town while in disguise as an old woman and informed him that his unrequited love, Wallflower, was dead. When Selene was attacked by the police, she killed two of the officers and prompted Wither to kill the third who was trying to escape. She then revealed herself as an immortal mutant and wished to be romantically linked with him.
Selene's ancient lover Eliphas returned, calling himself Eli Bard, a rogue member of the Purifiers. He had originally intended to sacrifice the Purifiers to Selene but changed his mind upon witnessing Bastion re-program the progeny of Magus. He came before Selene at her headquarters in New Orleans with the deceased Apache tribe of her enemy Warpath, that he had resurrected using the Technarch Transmode Virus. Selene proclaimed she had no need of them but Bard corrected her; they were not his offering. He then presented the infected Caliban, whose powers can track any mutant upon the planet. Bard explained that he would use Caliban's powers to locate and re-animate dead mutants across the world, and then he graciously offered her their souls. She ordered Bard to resurrect several mutants associated with the X-Men, friend and foe alike, to invade Utopia with Blink in the lead. One of the resurrected mutants was Destiny, of whom Selene asks what her future portends.
Selene then resurrects the Hellions and Shinobi Shaw to taunt Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw, respectively, as she felt that they betrayed her during her time with the Hellfire Club. She commanded her Inner Circle to slaughter the entire New York branch of the Hellfire Club. Afterward, she traveled to Genosha and commanded Bard to resurrect the millions of mutants who died in Cassandra Nova's genocide years before. She then dubbed the island "Necrosha". The resurrected mutants then began to rebuild the capital. Selene needed only her Athame, the ceremonial dagger carved from the bones of her mother, in order to complete the blood ritual she had planned with Eliphas in Rome. However, in a twist the dagger had been appropriated by Warpath. Blaming Bard for his ineptitude, Selene dispatched her Inner Circle to Utopia to retrieve it.
She is next seen with the resurrected Thunderbird and Frost's former pupil Negasonic Teenage Warhead discussing the fate of her disciples. As Selene concludes the conversation, her Inner Circle returns with both the Athame and Warpath in custody. Bard proceeded to implore Selene's forgiveness for his betrayal those many lifetimes ago while proclaiming his undying love. Selene regarded him endearingly, at first, then admitting that Eliphas had always been her true love and also her greatest disappointment. With that scathing reprimand still on her lips, she stabbed Eliphas through the heart with her ceremonial dagger, to the great delight of her current lover Wither.
Athame in hand, she consolidated her re-animated army to contend with X-Force, who was coming to finish the battle, and Selene. With X-Force occupied against the attacking dead, Selene summons her Inner Circle to commence the ritual that will at long last transform her into the dark goddess she had long desired to be.
The ritual succeeded as the resurrected mutants physically disintegrate, their silvery-blue essence coalescing, drawn towards the epicenter of Necrosha, and Selene herself. At the end of the issue, Warpath confirms that she has indeed become a goddess - but she is not invincible, as Warpath was told by his dead bother Thunderbird a way to destroy her. With the aid of his team, he impaled the dark goddess with her own Athame, ironically fulfilling her destiny to ascend her physical form as she exploded with her accumulated life energy.
Selene is considered both a mutant and a powerful sorceress. She possesses a wide range of superhuman abilities, but it has never been clearly defined which are a result of mutation and which are skills derived from magic or other sources.
Selene's primary power is to psionically drain others of their lifeforce energy, absorbing their essence into herself. Selene is a "psychic vampire" with the ability to sustain herself by psionically expropriating the life energy of other living beings through physical contact. Should she absorb the totality of her victim's life, that person decays and crumbles to dust in seconds. When Selene drains only a portion of the victim's life energy, she assumes a measure of psychic control over her victim's mind, thereby subverting them to her will. Through unknown means, Selene can transform another into a psychic vampire like herself, but be subordinate to Selene's own will.
Selene's continued vitality and youthful appearance are contingent upon her absorbing the life energy of one or more persons on a regular basis. This restores Selene to a youthful and healthy appearance whenever she has been injured, or has over-exerted her other powers, as well as to sustain her centuries-long life. As a side-effect of this process, Selene experiences the life and memories of whomever she consumes. Although she does so by physically touching her victim, the process is psionic.
Selene metabolizes the absorbed energy that sustains her to enhance her physical strength and durability, speed, agility, stamina, and reaction time to superhuman levels. The degree of energy she retains from her victims directly correlates to her physical strength and resistance to injury. She can momentarily move at superhuman speeds, though doing so requires a considerable energy expenditure and can cause her to age rapidly and require additional life energy immediately. It is not known how often Selene must absorb another's life essence in order to survive at baseline.
She appears to be immune to most forms of conventional injury, as she has survived impalement with both knife and crossbow bolt through the heart with no apparent pain or lasting effect. While not indestructible, she has survived and completely recovered from molecular dispersion, although it required considerable time and effort to resurrect herself.
Selene's most direct weapon is the psychokinetic power to manipulate inorganic matter by projecting part of her absorbed lifeforce into it. She can affect nearly anything on a molecular level that is within her line of sight, and can warp and alter the molecules of the inanimate object to her caprice, causing objects to wrap around and constrict others, creating lifelike humanoid constructs to combat her opponents, or simply reducing objects to dust. She can use this power in more standard ways, such as the creation of powerful psi-shields and levitation but cannot truly fly. She can also control and manipulate fire in a variety of ways, although she cannot conjure the fire herself. Whether this is a facet of her psychokinesis or a separate power is unclear.
Selene possesses formidable psychic powers with which she can to blend her own psychic signature into the background thoughts around her, making her difficult for other psionics to locate or track. She can also project substantial telepathic defenses, potent psi-bolts of psionic energy, telepathic commands, and can alter the minds of others to initiate a sort of paralysis of the mind. She often uses telepathy to induce a hypnotic trance in witnesses in order to manipulate them or to slip away at superhuman speed, leaving them with the impression that she simply vanished. She can survive unaided on the astral planes in astral form. Selene is not as telepathically powerful as some other high-order psi's such as Charles Xavier, Jean Grey, Emma Frost, or Elizabeth Braddock and she is vulnerable to psionic attack should she be located.
Selene possesses considerable sorcerous abilities and extensive knowledge of the arts arcane, enabling her to cast and counteract a variety spells and rituals. While the full extent of Selene's magical skills is unknown, her greatly extended lifespan has given her sufficient time and experience to be considered a threat to Kulan Gath.
In more recent appearances, Selene has been depicted as a being of semi-substantial living darkness with the ability to appear and disappear at will and, similar to Blackheart, imprison people in the dark energy which appears to comprise her physical form. Selene has been shown to manipulate darkness and transform into darkness, such as a dark mist or cloud, or manifesting tendrils of darkness while remaining partially intangible.
- Height: 5'10''
- Weight: 130lbs
- Hair: Black
- Eyes: Dark blue (apparently)
In an alternate reality, New York was changed into medieval-like era by Ghost Rider. Selene was released from a black marble to kill a shopkeeper who heard of Spider-Man, who hadn't been changed by the spell. This presented a problem, as people would start to see the truth. In this reality, Selene was well enough known to thoroughly scare the shopkeeper just by looking at her. She was also referred to as the Black Queen. When the Exiles were being attacked by some of the Ghost Rider's guards, Selene used her powers to phase them through the floor. She retrieved the talisman that Ghost Rider used in order to revert New York to its previous state.
New Mutants Forever
In Chris Claremont's re-imagining of the New Mutants, Selene was more of an antihero, the result of her time aiding in the teaching of the New Mutants. She teamed up with the New Mutants to save her granddaughter Amara from the Red Skull. Unfortunately, Amara had been brainwashed and freeing her from the Skull's influence would be more difficult than she had originally anticipated. During a fight against Amara and an altered Cypher, Selene was injected with a drug that would systematically transform her into one of the Skull's servants but before the transformation was complete, a man in Nova Roma who was still loyal to Selene offered his life to her. She accepted with the promise to rid Nova Roma of the Skull's tyranny and honor his memory. Their lips meet and he was reduced to a withered husk, his life-energy transferred to Selene. She returned to her normal imposing extravagance, vitality surging through her body. Satiated, Selene returns her focus and attention toward Nova Roma and her granddaughter.
Wolverine and the X-Men
Selene was a member of the Inner Circle, with aims to release the Phoenix from Jean Grey. She and the Stepford Cuckoos fulfill the role Mastermind played in the original Dark Phoenix Saga. She often argues with Emma Frost and is dubious about her loyalty to the club. She confessed to Scott that Emma and her Cuckoos were responsible for the mysterious explosion at the Institute that separated Jean from Scott and also stated that Emma betrayed the Club in her love for Scott. Selene was voiced by April Stewart.
Selene also made a few appearances in a few Marvel-based computer and video games. Her first appearance was in the 1992 game Spider-Man/X-Men Arcades Revenge, where she was mechanically duplicated in gigantic form and was the final boss of Gambit's level. A clip can be found here. The Black Queen's second game appearance was in Marvel's 1994 effort Wolverine: Adamantium Rage, where she must battle Wolverine; she is seen using her traditional powers of inorganic telekinesis and pyrokinesis. A a clip can be found here. Her most updated appearance was In 2005's X-Men Legends 2: Rise of Apocalypse where Selene (voiced by Jeannie Elias) appears as a NPC character that had been taken captive by Apocalypse, and is to be rescued by the X-Men. A clip is here.
Marvel: Avengers Alliance
Selene is a recurring villain in the game, making her debut in Season 2, Chapter 1: Excalibur.
Her bio says: Selene Gallio can psionically drain the life force of others, rejuvenating herself and controlling her victim's mind. She has used this power to live for thousands of years, all the while cultivating her mastery of dark sorcery.
X-Men: Battle of The Atom
Emma 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:
- [Apocalypse's Chosen] Selene
- [Black Queen] Selene
- [Death Goddess] Selene
- Selene's Inner Circle