Obscure DC Characters: Q

Queen Bee I

The Queen Bee was really Marcia Monroe, a playgirl who Batman had fallen in love with, and who double-crossed him to further the ends of an international crime organization called Cyclops. She worked with Eclipso, but eventually double-crossed the Demon of Darkness as well to save Batman and make good her escape.


  • The Brave And The Bold #64

The Gotham Blade, undated clippings:

ITEM! Gotham is buzzing with the news that our own Caped Crusader has a new passenger in the Batmobile these days. Last week, we told you how Batman had plucked bombed bombshell Marcia Monroe from the ledge of the Gotham Bridge and given her a long overdue spanking. It seems the rowdy redhead grooved on that display of brute force and has made it her goal in life to be his new partner-in-crimefighting. As more that a few of the highstrung heiress' old beaus can attest, Marcia's a crack shot with the pistol and she proved it when she blasted a billyclub out of the hand of a baddie who was about to bust Batman. Sure, we know what you're thinking. Ol' Bats doesn't have much use for firearms and — stop me if you've heard this — "crimefighting is too dangerous for a girl." Unfortunately for the square-jawed one, "no one tells Marcia Monroe what to do." Boy, we wonder what Robin thinks about this?

BRIEFLY NOTED: Just a few days ago, the Gotham Gangbuster was talking marriage but late word has it that his flame-haired beauty has gone back to her playgirl ways and dumped the Bat. Watch out Europe — Hurricane Marcia's on her way!

The Gotham Gazette, December 9, 1965:

Gotham City's law enforcement agencies are in a state of shock this morning as the result of the overnight arrest of the famed Batman. The Masked Manhunter is accused of stealing the Cat Emerald, an international treasure currently on display at the Gotham City Municipal Museum. In a brief statement, Police Commissioner James W. Gordon indicated that the GCPD is in possession of photographic evidence that documents Batman's elevation of the gem from a perch high above the Cat Emerald's display case. The Caped Crusader's claim that he was actually returning the treasure is refuted by a Museum spokesman, whoconfirms that the Cat Emerald is missing. Batman surrendered to authorities without incident and is currently in a holding cell at GCPD headquarters.

Marcia Monroe's Private Correspondence, December 9, 1965:

My dearest Batman,

I can only imagine what you must think of me now but please believe me, I have only your best interests at heart. My love for you has not dimmed in all these months, as our kiss last night must surely have told you.

When we parted, I'd hoped to spare you from becoming involved in the scandal that threatened to disgrace out family. My father had suffered some business reversals and, to my horror, had become involved with the international organization known as Cyclops. To keep his name clear and save him from death by their assassins, I agreed to cooperate with them — become Queen Bee of their "Hive" here in Gotham.

Fortunately, I've been granted a bit of leeway in how I deal with you and, rather than do the unthinkable and have you killed, I conceived a plan that would leave you safely out of our operations. The assassin whom you rescued me from last night was, in fact, an operative of my own and the story I told you of my murdered lover was, I'm afraid, pure fiction. The Cat Emerald was not stolen by a man determined to prove himself your equal but, instead, by our own forces. The gem that you returned to the Museum was actually a replica designed to dissolve after a short period.

Oh, darling — please try to understand ... I had no choice! Once caught in Cyclops' web, there's no escape. I only want to put you behind bars — out of the way of trouble."

Bruce Gordon's Journal, December 9, 1965:

As seems to happen with disturbing frequency, Eclipso has emerged from my body and evaded our attempt to banish him with a burst of light. Apparently, on one of his previous excursions, our foe has made an alliance with parties unknown. How else can we explain the appearance of a trio of flying men dressed as bees who plucked the lunar scourge from our laboratory here in the ruins of Solar City? As I write these words, Professor Bennett, Mona and I are en route to Gotham City, where rumors of a fiend armed with an energy-projecting black diamond are even now being reported.

The Gotham Gazette, December 10, 1965:

Gotham was terrorized last night by a veritable crime wave, a series of robberies apparently spearheaded by one of North America's most notorious fugitives, the lunar-themed Eclipso, and a new player known as the Queen Bee. Clad in an orange vest, black shirt and striped pants, the mysterious red-head's features are largely concealed by a golden skullcap (complete with antennae) and domino mask. The Queen Bee and her drones (whose faces are concealed by bee-like helmets) were equipped with flight-packs that enabled them to evade any of their robbery victims with ease. Authorities have yet to establish a connection with three earlier criminals who took the name of Queen Bee, women who fought Mister America in 1942, the Blackhawks in 1951 and the Justice League of America in 1963.

"Gorilla" Grimes' Statement to Police, excerpt, December 11, 1965:

Just before I was sprung from jail, I got word from Frankie Malone that Mister E was flyin' into town to have a confab with Queen Bee and the rest of us at the Hive. I guess Bat-Brain must've heard us talking and busted out 'cause he was in the Apis Building right after I got there. I gotta admit, I held my own against the Bat for a minute or two but it was all them fancy gadgets in the walls that really did the trick. While he was dodging spring-loaded office furniture, I was pumpin' the room full of gas.

Now, understand, Mister E, um, Eclipso, and the Queen Bee are both tough cookies but when it comes to dealin' with spies — especially big guns like ol' Bats — they just ain't up to snuff. After I went to all the trouble of catching the Bat-bum, Eclipso just chucked his body down a chute into the river and expected him to drown. Hey, I know Mister E's an out-of-towner but he shoulda known better than that. 'Course that's nothin' compared to Queenie. She practically started blubberin' when she thought Eclipso had killed Bats and told E that he was a freak and a murderer. You'd think they were closet good guys or somethin'!

Inside The Sinister Citadels, Galaxy Publishing, 1979:

The Hive was, as one Cyclops recruiter touted it, "the biggest, most deadly underworld set-up ever conceived." Constructed over the course of 1965 as the United States branch of Cyclops' operations, Apis Enterprises seemed no different than the other skyscrapers that had popped up on the Gotham skyline in recent years. Only its name, Latin for bee, offered a hint to its true exterior, with offices on each floor sandwiching weapons, transportation and even areas devoted to training. At first glance, though, perhaps the most striking object in the building may have been the enormous eyeball that peered down from the wall of the Hive's meeting chamber. The emerald orb powerfully conveyed the fact that this was an operation named after the mythological one-eyed men.

The big eye also served as a concealed gateway for Cyclops' European enforcers, something Batman used to his advantage when he raided the facility on December 10, 1965 in the guise of one of the gang's black-hooded executioners. Unfortunately, everything in the Apis building was a potential weapon, from the furniture to the mail slots to the floor, which suddenly began to accelerate in treadmill fashion and sent Batman hurtling towards Eclipso. Fortunately, there were also concealed chamber in the roof that enabled the mysterious Queen Bee to rescue the Dark Knight.

Script excerpt from "The Batman-Tarantula Hour", 1966.

BATMAN: Queen Bee — Marcia — you?!

QUEEN BEE: Yes, Batman ... I see you know who I really am. But believe me, I'm trying to save you now. Hurry, follow me — this way!

BATMAN: Yes, Marcia, I recognized your voice before. But why have you turned criminal? Why did you frame me? Why?

QUEEN BEE: I ... I had to, Batman. My father got involved with Cyclops. To keep his name clear and save him from death by their assassins, I agreed to cooperate with them — become 'Queen' of this crime hive. I only wanted to put you behind bars — out of the way of trouble. I never dreamed you'd turn up this way and tangle with Eclipso.

BATMAN: So suddenly you turn all goody-goody. Kind of late, baby, isn't it ?

QUEEN BEE: Oh darling — please try to understand ... I had no choice. Once caught in Cyclops' web, there's no escape. I hated doing it to you — the only man I've ever loved. This door — it leads to the weapons room ... please save yourself.

BATMAN: Come with me, Marcia. I'll see that you get a light sentence.

QUEEN BEE (kissing him): Like 20 years, darling. No, you'll have forgotten me by then. It's too late for me ... but Batman must live to fight on! Good luck, darling. I'll try to stall Eclipso. Here's a souvenir of my love.

BATMAN: The Cat Emerald! Thanks, baby ... so long, for now.

Commissioner Gordon's Memoirs, recalling the events of December 10, 1965:

Batman's life quite literally hung in the balance, suspended in mid-air between the forces of the GCPD on the ground and Eclipso, firing obsidian energy blasts from his black diamond. Fortunately, the Caped Crusader had an ally in the form of Doctor Bruce Gordon. I'd previously accepted the sandy-haired scientist's offer of help, joking that "we Gordons have to stick together," but I never imagined that he'd play such a crucial role. With no regard for his own safety, Gordon rode a fire engine's ladder to the height where Eclipso was trying to blast Batman from the side of the Apis Building. Without warning, a brilliant flash of white light momentarily blinded all of us on the ground and, when we'd recovered our collective sight, the moon-faced rogue was gone. Doctor Gordon claimed to have banished Eclipso with some sort of light grenade. Frankly, I was a bit dismayed at his evasiveness on the villain's fate but, under the circumstances, I chose not to press the issue.

To my great relief, we found ample evidence within Apis Enterprises to support Batman's claim that he'd been framed, not the least of which was the Masked Manhunter's own recovery of the real Cat Diamond. The warrant for Batman's arrest was voided immediately.

Script excerpt from "The Batman-Tarantula Hour", 1966.

BATMAN (picking up a garment near Apis Enterprises): Queen Bee's costume ... Marcia's gone. Some day, she'll have to pay for her crimes — and when that day comes, she'll need all my help. Until then — farewell, honey!"

Inside The Sinister Citadels, Galaxy Publishing, 1979:

According to declassified CIA documents filed by agent Urania Blackwell, Cyclops' central headquarters was finally laid bare in November of 1966. The base was a former Nazi stronghold hidden in Holland that had been converted into a a major crime syndicate facility. As with Apis Enterprises, the European stronghold was replete with war machines and deathtraps, including an ultimate failsafe. In the event of the lair's exposure, "one push of a button will blow up the entire dike system - bringing the sea crashing in on half their land." The combined efforts of Metamorpho and Blackwell, alias Element Woman, prevented the catastrophic fate and captured the apparent mastermind of Cyclops, Stingaree, a green-costumed villain with a deadly artificial tail.

In early 1967, several mid-level Cyclops administrators were part of a consolidation of European super-syndicates but, with no central leadership, the organization soon collapsed. No definitive connection has been established between the Hive overseen by the Queen Bee and the subsequent Hierarchy of International Vengeance and Extermination.

The Gotham Blade, April 19, 1966:

ITEM! Batman has an itch that he can't scratch and she goes by the name of Poison Ivy! Witnesses tell us that us that the Gotham Goliath couldn't keep his lips off the auburn-haired beauty during yesterday's battle in the suburbs. We hear that Ivy only made it into custody because Robin (that spoilsport!) interrupted the proceedings. The Batty One sure seems to have a thing for redheads. Say, has anyone seen Marcia Monroe lately?


The strange story of Batman's affair with Marcia Monroe was recounted in late 1965's THE BRAVE & THE BOLD #64 ("Batman Versus Eclipso"), a story subsequently reprinted in 1976's SUPER-TEAM FAMILY #5. Though entertaining in its own right, the whirlwind romance between Batman and Marcia, who goes so far as to usurp the unmentioned Robin's place as the Dark Knight's partner, along with Batman's hip dialogue makes for a rather bizarre reading experience.

The previous Queen Bees, incidentally, fought Mr. America in ACTION COMICS #42, 46-49, the Blackhawks in BLACKHAWK #38 and the JLA in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #23. And there was even a fourth prior Queen Bee, this one a mutated insect who faced the Sandman in his first exploit with Sandy (ADVENTURE COMICS #69), a story that transcends B&B #64 for pure freakiness.

The B&B story was, of course, scripted by Bob Haney (with art by Win Mortimer), whose dialogue I've quoted throughout the above article, not all of it obviously. Haney went on use Cyclops in METAMORPHO #10 and tossed them (and other mid-1960s criminal syndicates) into the background in BLACKHAWK #229 and 231. Marv Wolfman's own version of the H.I.V.E. was a regular threat during the early 1980s both in various Superman-related series and, of course, THE NEW TEEN TITANS.

And, finally, Poison Ivy (created by Bob Kanigher) showed up five months after the Queen Bee, already boasting of an extensive criminal career that had yet to be uncovered by law enforcement agencies. That brings to mind an intriguing thought. Could Marcia Monroe have been an alias of Pamela Lillian Isley, using her powers to seduce Batman as a final test before her debut as Poison Ivy? Bees and pollen naturally lead one to think of plant life and who is more familiar with plants than Ivy?

Original text copyright DC Comics unless otherwise noted. Used without permission.