Time to take a stroll down memory lane, folks, and spotlight one of my favorite villainesses of all time: Maxima! My introduction to this fiery redhead came in Action Comics #651. I was a pre-teen at the time, and helpless against her AWESOME costume. On top of that, I really enjoyed seeing a strong female villain with an arsenal of superpowers that rivaled Superman. We're talking super strength, super speed, invulnerability, flight, teleportation, forcefield projection, optic force beams, telekinesis, telepathy, mind bolts, and mind control to state only a few!
The Empress of Almerac first appeared in Action Comics #645 as a simulacrum (a clone of sorts) escorted by her alien servant Sazu. Maxima came to Earth in search of a suitable mate and, being that she was in Metropolis, it was inevitable that Superman catch her eye. Things didn't end well, however, the simulacrum was destroyed and Sazu imprisoned. It wasn't until 6 issues later that the real Maxima appeared to free Sazu and confront Superman. After some playful aerial "catch me if you can" Maxima got serious and explained her motivations to Superman. They were genetically compatible and she sought a worthy addition to her royal house. Of course, Superman rejected Maxima and she did NOT take it well, with the Man of Steel resembling a human pinata and allowing Maxima to tear apart S.T.A.R. labs and display her awesome powers. Maxima was ultimately beaten by Superman and imprisoned, but it would not be the last we saw of her.
And what does the future hold for Queen Maxima? Sadly, Maxima was killed off during the Our Worlds at War crossover a few years back. I'm not really sure what the crossover was about, but I can say that her "heroic demise" was a WASTE of a powerful and fun character. The good news is that Maxima's demise wasn't drawn explicitly, so while her spaceship was clearly destroyed, it is possible that she made it out in time with her ability to teleport. Or a writer could explain away her death as another simulacrum standing in for real Maxima. Here's me crossing my fingers!