Written by Steffon Thomas | Illustration by The Archon Artist

This is not an effort to paint Bianca Defoe as a sympathetic character. She’s a supervillain through and through. She was born with the power to exert mind control over other people, and from the moment she was able to form a thought she did just that; beginning with her parents, while she was still just a baby. Her mom and dad thought they were the most incredible parents in the world, because, unlike other hapless couples, Mr. and Mrs. Defoe knew exactly what their child wanted before she wanted it. They had no idea little Bianca was manipulating their minds, but at that point what did it matter? They had a happy baby and a happy home.

As she grew older, she took greater control over their minds and thus got everything she ever wanted from them, regardless of how impractical the request was or how expensive the item. Toys; clothes; electronics… whatever she wanted little Bianca got it. And even when her parents couldn’t afford it, they found a way to get it for her. Like when she was 16 years old and she wanted a brand-new corvette. She used her powers to force them to break into a car dealership and steal the vehicle for her. They, of course, were arrested a few days later and subsequently sentenced to a couple of years in prison. And that’s when Bianca officially struck out on her own and began a career as a mind-manipulator for hire.

For the right price, she would mess with whomever her clients wanted her to mess with. If someone’s boss was giving them a hard time, she could spend the day making him think his office floor was lava. If some guy’s ex-girlfriend was a real jerk about breaking up with him, she could make her think her apartment was haunted. If that do-gooder superheroine was throwing a wrench in a villain’s dastardly plan, she could make her believe she was being chased by a flying dragon… for the rest of her life. It was safe to say Hysteria put a sizable number of people into psyche wards – an accomplishment she was particularly proud of.

She made good money. After all, it’s not particularly surprising how many people want to ruin someone else’s life. Nevertheless, Bianca wanted more. She wanted more money; she wanted more stuff; and she especially wanted more diamonds.

“I’ll take your most vibrant sparkly jewels,” she said one sunny Sunday afternoon to the clerk at The Platinum City Fine Jewelry Emporium in the Platinum City North Mall in the 116th district of Platinum City.

“Oh, hello, ma’am,” the clerk said, taking in the rather eccentrically presented 21-year-old woman, who was wearing thigh-high high-heel red boots over her leggings and a stylishly ripped halter top, and rocking purple hair. “Uh… to which jewels would you be referring,” she asked tentatively.

“All of them,” Bianca responded with a smirk. And before the clerk realized what was happening, the thief had pulled out a crowbar and smashed though the nearest case. Glass flew everywhere as the clerk ran for cover.

“Freeze!” a half dozen mall cops were on the scene before she could scoop the second handful of jewels. “Drop the merchandise and put your hands up!”

“Oh, hello officers,” she said with a delightfully devilish smile. “I would put my hands up, but they’re just so heavy from all these diamond rings.” She showed them her 10 fingers which were all already adorned with gaudy sparkling accessories. The shine distracted the officers for a brief moment, but that was all she needed as she suddenly leapt at the men and women and attacked! Kicks to backs; knees to guts; and of course, diamond-crusted fists to faces! Bianca wasn’t an expert fighter, but she was an efficient and brutal brawler and she could easily hold her own in a fight against a motley crew of barely trained mall cops.

And yes, she could have just mind controlled them all into shooting each other, but she hadn’t gotten her workout in for the day and was looking to break a bit of a sweat. And what better way to stay in shape than by busting a few noses, clawing some eyes, and breaking a  rib or two?

Scooping jewels one handful at a time, however, was taking a bit longer than she wanted, so she used her powers to force the employees of the Platinum City Fine Jewelry Emporium to do the work for her. With that process moving along like a well mind-controlled machine, she could continue raging out on the over-matched security guards. POW! BANG! OOF! OUCH!

Onlookers gathered outside the store, but no one dared to step in as the horrific screams of the security guards getting their bells rung was enough to let everyone know to stay out of the fray. A few minutes later, Bianca’s bags were full. “Ugh… these are going to be too heavy to carry myself.” She looked at the employees. “I guess I’m not done with you fine people just yet!”

She commanded them to pick up the bags and as they left the store, she also made them step on the mall cops who were all on the floor writhing in pain. “To the Bianca-mobile!” she proclaimed as they marched to a rusted and busted white van. To make sure none of the stunned civilians interfered, Bianca unleashed a hypno-bomb from her mind that took the form of a wave of energy, and effectively left everyone in a 100-foot radius in a catatonic state. “Easy as pie!” she said as the store employees piled the bags into the back of the vehicle. “Why thank you, my friends. Your services are no longer needed. Be gone!” she proclaimed with a snap of her fingers. And with that they were released from their hypnotic trances. But before they could realize what had happened, Bianca had already sped away with most of their inventory.

Over the next few years Bianca became notorious for relieving jewelry stores all across America of their entire inventories. And nobody could ever remember the details of the incidents because they were hypnotized at the time. There was of course plenty of footage of Bianca from surveillance cameras at the jewelry stores, but anytime anyone got close to catching her, her mind-control powers helped her remain elusive and virtually uncatchable. In an effort to garner help from the community in catching her, the authorities would release the footage to the public. But this tactic backfired and instead made Bianca into a viral sensation.

People began referring to her as “Hysteria” and her string of robberies as the “Hysterical Capers.” Bianca absolutely loved the moniker and adapted it for herself. She even leaned into the persona and began making videos and posting images of herself all over social media, including images of her own self-made mugshots. She was one of the most popular personalities on the internet. And of course, she was one of the most wanted supervillains in the country. After all, no amount of internet fame could stop her from stealing every single diamond she could get her hands on.

Then one day while in her underground lair in which she kept her piles and piles of diamonds, Hysteria was tooling around on the dark web looking for smugglers and black market dealers to steal from when she stumbled across a series of leaked emails that spoke about the existence of “Psytanium Diamonds.”

Hysteria’s eyes lit up with unbridled delight. She’d heard of the existence of Psytanium but, like pretty much everyone else in the universe, she’d never actually seen it. It was a very powerful element that was rumored to have psionic properties.

What exactly that meant was unclear, but the popular belief was that anyone who got their hands on the substance could unlock unimaginable power. Hysteria’s abilities were already at a pretty high level – at that point she could simultaneously mind control a few hundred people at distance of twenty-five square miles. However, she, like every villain worth their salt, was in the business of world domination. And what better way to go about it than with psytanium diamonds?!

Hysteria took a few weeks to do some recon, and finally discovered who she would need to speak to in order to extract the information she needed to find out how to get her hands on the jewels – a man who was simple known by the codename: Rubbish.

She headed out to the 7th district of Platinum City, way down in the southern part of the megalopolis, and she found Rubbish’s secret offices, which were only accessible through a series of passage ways in a complicated office building complex. But when she arrived, something wasn’t right. All of the guards she was expecting to encounter and beat up had already been beat up and knocked out. She made her way through the corridors and when she finally found Rubbish, another villain was already there. It was…

“…Harley Quinn?”