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Quote1 No, Ellen Baker. She is so much more. And she belongs to everyone. She is the all-mother. She is the giver of life. She is our salvation. Quote2
-- Socks src

Maxine Baker was the young daughter of Animal Man, and was born to be the Avatar of The Red.

The Hunt

When she was just four years old, Maxine had wanted her family to get a pet very badly, but her father had refused, given his own sensitivity to animals. While her father was preoccupied with other things, though, she used her budding ability to control flesh to animate the corpses of several former neighbourhood pets.[1] She explained that she had heard the animals calling to her from a place called The Red. Buddy had himself been called to go to the Red via a strange tattoo-like manifestation on his chest, which Maxine assured him would go away when he did enter the Red. Worried that his daughter's power seemed to exceed his own, Buddy followed her into the Red.[2]

There, the pair encountered the Totems of the Parliament of Limbs, whom Maxine had met in her dreams a great many times before. The Totems explained that it was Maxine who was meant to be Avatar of the Red from the beginning, and Buddy was merely meant to protect her and train her until she was ready to lead in the fight against the threat of The Rot. Not long after learning this, the Hunters Three infiltrated the Red and attacked Buddy.[3] The Totems urged Maxine to use her powers to save him, and though she did, he was gravely injured. Using her powers again, she was able to heal him. The Totems revealed that the Hunters Three were former avatars who were corrupted by the Rot. They hoped to corrupt Maxine as well, and use her to spread the Rot. As such, it was all the more important that Buddy protect her. To aid him in this, the Totems offered one of their own - Ignatius - to take on the form of a simple house cat named Socks, and protect Maxine as such. In Socks, Maxine finally had a pet.[4]

Maxine, Buddy and Socks returned to her grandmother Mary's farm in Sacramento to rendezvous with her mother, though Socks was wary that the Hunters Three might be setting a trap for Maxine there. When he learned that his wife and son were in danger, Buddy left Maxine with her grandmother, and went after them. Intent on helping her father, she sent an impulse through the ground to all living things in the area. All of the animals she summoned rushed to Buddy's rescue, but when they are one of the Hunters, they too became infected with the Rot. In doing so, the Rot found its way into the Red, and Maxine was responsible. Only the Swamp Thing would be able to help them then[5], so they travelled cross-country to find him.[6]

Animal vs. Man

En route to Louisiana, Buddy had a vision of a possible future in which he failed to protect Maxine as he was supposed to. In that future, he was long gone, and Maxine - though much older - was infected by the rot while attempting to stop it.[7] When he woke from his dream, he discovered that the family's trailer was surrounded by creatures of The Rot, and Maxine believed she could stop them. When she tried, though, they tore her to pieces. Fortunately, she had discovered the ability to shift from body to body, and escaped death. Her powers were exceeding even Socks' expectations. Feeling responsible, Buddy decided to take on the Rot by himself, for Maxine's sake. When he did, though, he himself was overtaken by the Rot, leaving Maxine with no protector.[8]

Extinction is Forever

Ellen and her family continued eastward to find the Swamp Thing without Buddy. When Maxine realized that her father was shunted out of his body and into the Red, she demanded to be allowed to go and get him, but her mother refused. The Hunters Three, meanwhile, had assumed control of Buddy's body, and hoped to lure Maxine into the Rot with it to corrupt her.[9] Soon, Maxine and her family encountered John Constantine, who revealed that his friend Madame Xanadu had seen a vision of the future in which all that remained of uncorrupted human life was Maxine and Ellen - all because Ellen refused to accept her daughter's destiny. In the Red, meanwhile, Buddy managed with some difficulty, to convince the Totems to give him another chance to protect his daughter - if only because there was no time to find a replacement.[10]

In their desperation to connect with the Swamp Thing, Ellen, Mary and Maxine drove off without realizing that they'd forgot Cliff at the hotel. Unfortunately, Socks could already sense that the Rot had got to him. Maxine was impotent to help, but it wasn't long before her father returned.[11] When he managed to collect Cliff, the boy was infected already, and fading fast, but finding the Swamp Thing took precedent, so the whole family rushed into the swamp to find him. When they did, he and Abby Arcane were standing over a portal into The Rot, which Buddy believed that he and Swamp Thing needed to enter to defeat the Rot once and for all. In doing so, though, they abandoned Maxine to face the Rot in the here and now without them.[12]

Rotworld

Having unexpectedly spent an entire year within The Rot, Buddy Baker emerged on Earth to learn that the Rot had overtaken the majority of the planet in his absence - except for a small pocket of The Red called the Red Kingdom and another called the Green Kingdom for The Green. He learned with horror that his decision to abandon his family to face the Rot left his daughter, the real Avatar of the Red unprotected. She was not yet strong enough to stop what was to come, and fell to Arcane's rotlings.

Not long after Buddy disappeared, Ellen begged Maxine to use her power to seek out her brother Cliff, even though she sensed that the Rot was with him. Upon discovering him, he soon passed the Rot's infection to Ellen, leaving only her aging mother Mary and Socks to protect Maxine.[13] Mary was soon infected as well, and Maxine and her cat were forced to flee. Without Buddy or the Swamp Thing to keep the Rot in check, Maxine was the world's only hope, and as a little girl, her best bet would be to find help from someone else - and certainly not her family. Making her way to a nearby town, Maxine encountered the boy William Arcane whom she befriended.[14]

Socks warned that Arcane was setting a trap for her, but Maxine insisted on believing his story that he had reformed since his encounter with the Swamp Thing. He told her that he could use his abilities to remove the Rot's corruption from people, claiming that he had, in fact, already done this for her family. When she followed him to their apparent location, however, she discovered that he had betrayed her, and the remaining two of the Hunters Three were waiting there for her.[15] The offered a deal, claiming that if she would give herself up to the Rot, they would let her family go. Socks warned her against taking the deal, earning himself an unwanted place in the Rot as well. When Maxine agreed, the hunters freed her family, and they begged her not to go through with the deal. She disregarded their warnings, caring only for their safety, and allowed one of the hunters to infect her, sealing the planet's fate.[16]

By the time Buddy had raised an army with the Swamp Thing and marched to face Anton Arcane, one year later, he began to sense Maxine's presence in Arcane's castle and hoped she was still alive. When she emerged, he learned that she had become one of the Hunters Three, and was now his enemy.[17] In his rage at how she had been manipulated, Buddy ripped her head from her body.[18]

After defeating Arcane, Buddy was sent back to the present with the help of the Parliament of Decay, arriving just in time to stop Maxine from giving herself to the Hunters. Ellen forbade Maxine from helping her father fight off the rotlings, requiring Socks to warn her that Maxine is key to the existence of all life on the planet, and the fate of that life rested on her being able to pursue that destiny. Having used the Red to return the dead tissue of the Rot to life in Socks, Maxine learned that she could do the same to the rotlings and the Hunters. Though she used that power to return the Hunters to human form, she could not prevent William Arcane from murdering her brother.[19]

Splinter Species

After the funeral, Maxine was made to accept that Cliff was really dead, and she couldn't simply bring him back. What was worse was that the loss took a toll on her parents' marriage, and they separated.[20] Moved to her grandmother's farm in Sacramento, Maxine and Socks determined to enter the Red after bed time and petition the Totems for permission to search for Cliff. Despite having expelled her father from the Red, the Totems agreed to let her search the Red for Cliff with the help of Socks and Shepherd.[21]

In the Red, Maxine learned that she could not simply make another Cliff using the raw materials for human bodies. Instead, she would have to find his soul before it passed on, otherwise, it would simply be a body resembling Cliff's, with nothing inside it.[22] Eventually, she and her friends encountered a cave where souls of the dead are remade into new life, hoping that they would reach Cliff's before he became something other than her brother. Unfortunately, their search was distracted then by the realization that Brother Blood had murdered the Totems in her absence.[23]

Evolve or Die

Soon, the rogue Totem who had manipulated Brother Blood to this point warned that while Maxine and Buddy remained alive, they would never have full control over the Red, and Maxine became a target.[24] They took refuge from him within a cave which led beyond the Red. Maxine worried that she could not leave the Red without giving up hope on finding Cliff. Sadly, Socks had to admit that hope of that was likely gone entirely - especially if she could not evade Brother Blood. Meanwhile, Shepherd and the rest of Maxine's friends from the Red did their best to defend her, only to see Shepherd skewered before Maxine's very eyes.[25]

Receiving a last-ditch message from Shepherd, Buddy located Maxine in the Red. Bolstered by Shepherd's sacrifice, Maxine used the powers of animals to knock Brother Blood aside long enough to heal Shepherd with her own abilities. Annoyed, Brother Blood reached out and pulled Ellen into the Red as a hostage, to force Maxine to give up her power to him. Buddy arrived in time to prevent her from doing so, and knocked Blood to the ground long enough for Shepherd and his companions to surround him and capture him. With her family saved, Maxine had to live with the fact that her brother was gone, with the hope that her father would remain with she and her mother.[26]

Buddy returned home to his wife and daughter on the condition that Socks and Shepherd - who would replace the murdered Totems - would allow Maxine to give up her role as Avatar of the Red to him. They agreed, and Maxine came to accept that her brother was in a better place, and that he did not need to be brought back from death.[27]

Powers

  • Avatar of The Red: Maxine is the avatar of the Red, the morphogenic field that permeates all animal life. Unlike her father, who uses it to take on the characteristics of various animals, her control takes the form of pure blasts of red energy and other abilities of manipulating raw Red power.
    • Animal Empathy: She has the ability to mentally sense, detect and communicate with animals.
    • Elemental Control: Maxine can control the raw power of the Red. Her control even extends to the elemental forces of nature.
      • Weather Manipulation: She can trigger various weather phenomena, such as storms, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc.
      • Eldritch Blast: Maxine has the ability to project energy blasts of mystical energy.
    • Life Force Manipulation: Maxine is even capable of controlling the life cycle such that she can purify Rot from living things.
      • Accelerated Healing: Maxine has the ability to rapidly heal herself and others from their physical injuries.
    • Force Field: Maxine has been shown to channel theses energies into powerful force-fields.
    • Teleportation
    • Dimensional Travel
    • Self-Propelled Flight: Maxine can levitate and fly at incredible speeds through sheer force of will.
    • Telekinesis: Maxine has demonstrated powerful telekinetic abilities, He has been shown to move, levitate and otherwise manipulate objects using the energy of her thoughts. She uses this energy to affect and control molecules and particles, allowing her to fully control matter and energy, as well as physical forces (such as kinetic energy, friction, pressure, etc).
    • Superhuman Strength: Maxine is able to lift on average about 10 tons.
    • Superhuman Speed: Maxine is capable of running at incredible speeds.
    • Superhuman Durability
    • Superhuman Reflexes
    • Superhuman Agility

Related

Footnotes


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