The Silhouette (real name Ursula Zandt) was a member of the the Minutemen. Active with the team throughout the war, she was expulsed when her homosexuality was discovered and murdered shortly after.
Early life and career
Originally from Linz, Austria, Ursula Zandt lost most of her family when her homeland was taken over by the Nazis. Only she and her younger sister Blanche survived and were captured by the Nazis and were forced into sexual slavery. Ursula and Blanche were kept in an orphanage where a masked Nazi henchman tortured and murdered young Jewish residents. The man eventually killed Blanche but Ursula and her lover Gretchen, the orphanage's pharmacist, escaped though not before shooting the murderer in rage and leaving him for dead.
Fleeing to the US, Zandt began calling herself the Silhouette, and waged a one-woman war on child trafficking. Gretchen would treat the physical injuries that she suffered in her work, and tried to heal her emotional trauma through hypnotherapy.
In 1939, Silhouette joined the Minutemen, a group of New York City-based costumed crime-fighters organized by retired Marine Lieutenant Nelson Gardner, who called himself Captain Metropolis. Though she disagreed with the team's focus on "headline-grabbing" actions rather than street-level crime-fighting, and disliked the Polish-born Silk Spectre, she became very close to Nite-Owl, who became a frequent companion on her sojourns and once saved her after one of her attacks on a child-trafficking ring backfired and nearly led to her death.
Expulsion and death
Silhouette's career came to an abrupt and rather insulting end in 1946, when her teammates learned that she was a lesbian and voted to expel her, in part to distract the public from the fact that Captain Metropolis and Hooded Justice were also gay. However Silhouette still continued to work with Nite-Owl providing information on a case involving murdered children for him to investigate.
Six weeks later, Ursula and Gretchen were both killed by a minor costumed criminal called the Liquidator, who was seeking revenge on Silhouette. The Liquidator wrote the words "Lesbian whores" on their bedroom wall in their blood. Silhouette's death had a profound impact on Silk Spectre who held herself and the Minutemen responsible for abandoning her and avenged her by killing the Liquidator personally.
After Silhouette's death, the Comedian continued her investigation of the child murders. He eventually found that the killer was probably a German circus strongman called Rolf Müller. A former Nazi henchman, Müller may also have been the murderer of Ursula's sister. The Comedian killed Müller, and then decided to frame Hooded Justice for the murders, as a revenge for his own expulsion from the Minutemen.
- 12 Appearances of Ursula Zandt (Watchmen)
- 9 Images featuring Ursula Zandt (Watchmen)
- Quotations by or about Ursula Zandt (Watchmen)
- Character Gallery: Ursula Zandt (Watchmen)