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Maria Russoff was the mother of Gregory Russoff and the grandmother of Jack Russell (aka Werewolf by Night). She was at one point a very kind and loving woman. When Gregory, in Transylvania, translated the Darkhold and ignited the curse of lycanthropy in his bloodline, Maria had been away. When she returned, the villagers accused her of spawning a demon, saying she had consorted with Satan himself to become the mother of a werewolf. They stoned her and drove her from the village, never even giving her a chance to return to her home.
Wandering through the woods, she came across a band of traveling gypsies, who were incredibly kind to her, fed her and took her in as one of their own, even teaching her some forms of sorcery and mind-powers. She lived with them for fifteen peaceful years, until one day, when she was gone to collect firewood, villagers attacked the gypsies, slaughtering all of them because their bigotry led them to believe they were nothing but thieves.
Maria's mind snapped and she vowed bloody vengeance. Topaz, who had been a confidante of Jack Russell for a time, and who had begun to lose her powers, returned to India to regain them. After her mission was successful, she went to Transylvania and the ancestral home of Jack, seeing if she could find anything there to help him with his curse of becoming a werewolf each month during the nights of the full moon. It was here that Maria captured Topaz and enslaved her to her deranged hatred.
Using Topaz as a funnel (a unique power that Topaz possess and one that had been exploited by Taboo earlier in her life), Maria was able to revive the gypsies, effectively creating a band of zombie gypsies. She then had Topaz direct them to the village of their murderers to murder them in return. Night after night this transpired until Topaz was able to mentally reach out to Jack across the ocean and send him enough clues that he came to Transylvania to find and rescue Topaz.
As Jack (in his werewolf form), his sister Lissa and their friend Buck Cowan rescued Topaz, she was able to reach into Maria's mind and relieve her of her hatred just in time for her to jump in front of a silver blade that one of the zombie gypsies had thrown at Jack. The blade pierced her heart, and she died in Jack's arm, regretful that her grief and hatred had blinded her from her grandson.
First Appearance: Giant-Size Werewolf (1974) #3
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Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme (1988)
#27 Giant-Size Werewolf (1974)
- 'Possession is 9/10 of the Logarithm'
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