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Medusa (comics)

Medusa, Queen of the Inhumans.
Art by Jae Lee.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Fantastic Four #36 (March 1965)
Created by Stan Lee
Jack Kirby
In-story information
Full name Medusalith Amaquelin Boltagon
Species Inhuman
Place of origin Attilan
Team affiliations Inhuman Royal Family
Fantastic Four
Frightful Four
Lady Liberators
Future Foundation
Notable aliases Madame Medusa
Abilities Accomplished thief
Prehensile hair
Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability, agility, and reflexes (common among the Inhumans)

Medusa is a fictional character, a superhero that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics.

Publication history

Medusa first appeared in Fantastic Four #36 (1965), and was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Medusa appears in the new series FF by Matt Fraction and Mike Allred, which debuted in November 2012.[1]

Beginning in May 2015, Medusa will appear as one of the main characters in A-Force, an all-female Avengers spin-off being launched by G. Willow Wilson, Marguerite Bennett, and Jorge Molina during Marvel's Secret Wars crossover.[2]

Fictional character biography

Medusa belongs to the race of Inhumans, a species of prehistoric earthlings mutated by the Terrigen Mists produced deep under the Inhuman city-state of Attilan, presently located in the oxygen-rich Blue Area of the Moon. Crystal (who later became the wife of the Avenger Quicksilver) is Medusa's younger sister. Considered a member of Attilan's Royal Family, Medusa's parents chose to expose her to the Terrigen Mists when she was a child.

During her adolescent years Medusa would often visit her distant cousin Black Bolt during his confinement, and she learned to communicate with him through body language. During the course of these visits, the two fell in love and became engaged. She attended Black Bolt's release from his isolation cell at the age of eighteen, and witnessed the first confrontation between Black Bolt and his insane brother Maximus the Mad.[3] Maximus also claims to be in love with Medusa, and has made frequent attempts to usurp both the throne of Attilan as well as his brother's bride-to-be. It was in Maximus' first successful attempt to take the throne that Medusa was knocked off a sky-sled by the Trikon and afflicted with amnesia. She left Attilan, and wandered Europe as a thief.[4]

Medusa made her first appearance in Fantastic Four #36 as Madam Medusa. At that time, she suffered from amnesia as a result from a plane crash. While wandering through Europe, she comes to the attention of The Wizard, who is seeking a worthy female to become the fourth member of his new quartet, the Frightful Four, Silver Age nemeses of the Fantastic Four. Wizard's partners, Sandman and Paste-Pot Pete, ask him how he could come up with a suitable female. Wizard says that he knows of a female and that she'd be perfect. A few weeks later Wizard meets again with his comrades. Pete asks him if he found someone with a "power great enough to match that of Susan Storm". Wizard announces that "the female that he has been considering may be even more powerful". When they see Medusa, they are most impressed. The red-haired villainess performs superbly in the Frightful Four's first battle with the Fantastic Four. Madam Medusa seizes Sue Storm with her scarlet tresses, so tightly that the girl can't move. The Wizard then wishes the helpless Miss Storm pleasant dreams, as he knocks Sue out with a can of sleep spray. The Frightful Four then attach the Wizard's anti-gravity discs to Sue, Reed, Ben and Ben's girlfriend, Alicia Masters, and send the quartet floating helplessly into the sky. If not for the lucky intervention of The Torch, who is away when the Frightful Four invade the Baxter Building, but later receives a signal for help from Alicia when she finds the fallen Sue Storm lying unconscious, Medusa and her comrades would have certainly succeeded in finishing off the Invisible Girl, Mr. Fantastic, the Thing and his girl.

The next battle of the quartets takes place in Fantastic Four #38, "Defeated by the Frightful Four". Paste-Pot Pete now calls himself The Trapster. For a second straight time, Madam Medusa succeeds in her task of beating the Invisible Girl. She lays a trap for Sue Storm, who walks blindly into it. She lures Sue to a fashion show and pretends to be a designer who will show her wedding outfits. Madam Medusa then captures Sue with her invincible hair, while the Trapster snares the girl with his sticky paste. Medusa, along with her evil comrades, Wizard and Trapster, then abduct their helpless captive into the sky. They take her to an isolated Pacific atoll. They go underground and Wizard tells Trapster to place the girl on the floor near the detonation mechanism of his atomic Q-bomb. The Frightful Four then lure the rest of the Fantastic Four to the island, using Sue as the bait. A battle soon erupts, but as the Q-bomb is about to explode, the Frightful Four escape in their ship, leaving Susan Storm still underground near the deadly Q-bomb. Ben hears Sue's cries and Reed, Johnny and him rush to the semi-conscious blonde girl. The Fantastic Four's lives are just barely saved, thanks to Reed's idea of having Sue use her force field. However, all four of them have lost their powers. This is the first time that the Fantastic Four have been defeated in battle and Medusa's capture of Sue Storm made it all possible.

Medusa and her comrades again battle the Fantastic Four in issues #41-43. Wizard brainwashes the Thing in issue #41 and he joins the Frightful Four. The Frightful Four then easily defeat Sue, Johnny and Reed. Medusa grabs Sue with her hair and tells the Invisible Girl that it was foolish of her not to flee for her life, because now it is too late. Fortunately for her, Sue breaks free with her force field and hides inside of it. The Thing, however, threatens to knock Sue into the middle of next week and she faints before he smashes her force field. Medusa then brilliantly has Trapster place Sue in a chemically treated plastic bag, which is impervious to Sue's invisibility power, making the Invisible Girl helpless. In Fantastic Four #42, we begin by seeing Sue still helplessly imprisoned in the giant plastic bag Medusa had Trapster create. When Torch frees Sue, Medusa again initially traps Sue with her hair, but then Sue turns the tables and captures Medusa in a force field. In Fantastic Four #43, she attacks Medusa with a series of force spheres, but then Medusa counters and wraps her up in her mighty hair. She even captures the Torch in Fantastic Four #43 by soaking her hair with water and then drenching his flame. All in all, Medusa fared quite well while a member of the Frightful Four. Her team almost beat the Fantastic Four in #36. They did beat them in #38 and again in #41. The scarlet villainess defeated her blonde opponent, Sue Storm, in Fantastic Four #36 and in #38. Their fight was a tie in #41, but Medusa still bested Sue by directing Trapster to imprison her. Sue won their fight in #42, but Medusa came back and was winning in #43 when Reed stopped the fight.

She was then pursued by Gorgon on behalf of Maximus.[5] It was some time before the disastrous effects of worldly pollution on the Inhumans was known, but eventually Medusa regained her senses and joined forces with the Fantastic Four. She was reunited with Black Bolt, who had been searching for her, and returned to Attilan. However, she became trapped in Atillan by the "negative zone" barrier created by Maximus.[6] She was eventually freed from the barrier by Black Bolt, and left the Great Refuge to visit the outside world as an adventurer.[7] The Fantastic Four became friends and allies and aided the Inhumans on several occasions, such as during the frequent power struggles between Black Bolt and the deranged Maximus.

Medusa has been known to join the Fantastic Four as a team member for brief periods of time. She became a temporary replacement for Susan Richards,[8] known as the Invisible Girl at that time, when she was on leave caring for her comatose son Franklin Richards. Through her relations with the Fantastic Four, Medusa and Black Bolt have sought to achieve an understanding and peace between the races of Earth and Attilan. Nevertheless, the Inhumans have been forced to relocate their home of Attilan several times due to unwarranted human hostility.

Black Bolt would eventually become the king of the Inhumans upon the death of his parents. Medusa oversaw the moving of Attilan to the Blue Area of the Moon.[9] Alongside the Inhuman Royal Family, she battled the Avengers under Maximus's mind control.[10] Medusa and Black Bolt were then married and Medusa was made queen, becoming both royal consort and royal interpreter.[11] When Medusa became pregnant, Attilan's Genetics Council argued that the pregnancy should be terminated due to the possibility of the child inheriting Maximus' insanity coupled with Black Bolt's immense and destructive power. Medusa defied the Council and fled to Earth to avoid the compulsory abortion and live anonymously in the desert until the child was born, a son named Ahura.[12] Black Bolt reconciled with Medusa and the pair returned to Attilan and turned their infant son over to the Genetics Council. Following these events Ahura was not mentioned or seen in the Marvel Universe for several years.

Later, alongside the Inhumans and the original X-Factor, she battled Apocalypse.[13] Alongside the Inhumans and Avengers, she also battled the Brethren.[14]


Medusa's primary role among the Inhumans is as interpreter for her liege and husband, the silent but commanding Black Bolt. As such she is an experienced state figure within the quasi-feudal system of the Inhumans' government, and is used to speaking with awareness of regal issues of protocol and comportment. This imperial attitude is usually tempered by her strong sense of morality and fairness.[12][15] For the protection of all Inhumans (her first priority) and to aid her allies (such as the Fantastic Four), she is a fierce warrior.

File:Beyond medusa.JPG
Medusa and Venom, by Scott Kolins.

Medusa is featured in the six issue series Beyond!. She is kidnapped along with other famous and infamous superhumans to the artificial planet known as Battleworld. After witnessing Venom apparently murder Spider-Man - although it is later revealed to be the Space Phantom - Spider-Man apparently mistaking her for Mary Jane as he compliments her hair in his 'last moments', she passes royal judgement that he must undergo fifty lashes. She supersedes the authority of the Avenger's representative, Janet Van Dyne, and uses the control over her hair to create a whipping motion so fast that it produces miniature sonic booms, which Venom is especially vulnerable to. While Henry Pym tries to dissuade Medusa from continuing the punishment, Venom is able to stab Medusa through the thigh. Later on in the issue, Medusa saves the team during the sudden crash landing of their space vessel by absorbing the majority of the impact with her hair. As stated by Wasp, Medusa is the team's primary short-range offense. Eventually the team triumphs over the Beyonder and returns to Earth. At the end of the series, Medusa can be seen alongside Black Bolt attending the funeral of her Beyond! teammate Gravity. She gives Gravity's parents a precious statue, the highest honor amongst the Inhumans, in commemoration of Gravity's sacrifice.[volume & issue needed]

In I Heart Marvel, Medusa stars and narrates in a one-shot vignette appearing in issue #3 of the Marvel Ai edition. Titled Silence of the Heart, the story explores the relationship between Medusa and Black Bolt. Medusa explains that her husband's silence is a burden that she also bears. Black Bolt makes an appearance at this point and the two are shown to make love as Medusa contemplates her longing to hear a moan, whisper, or laugh from him.[volume & issue needed]

The title Son of M focuses on Pietro Maximoff following the events of House of M. After attempting to commit suicide, a dying Pietro is brought to Attilan by Crystal. While Gorgon protests, Medusa grants Pietro asylum in Attilan until he is fully recovered. Once healed, a depowered Pietro tries to convince Black Bolt and Medusa to allow him access to the Terrigen Mists, but Medusa firmly states that Terrigenesis is a process forbidden to outsiders and that such a process upon a human could result in drastic mutations. Pietro manages to expose himself to the Mists regardless, and receives new powers before collecting both the Terrigen Crystals and his daughter, Luna, and returning to Earth. The crystals eventually end up in the possession of a black-ops sector of the United States government. The sector's subsequent refusal to return the crystals sparks a declaration of war between the Inhumans and the United States.[volume & issue needed]

During this title it is made reference that Black Bolt and Medusa are childless. Upon discovery that Luna has been taken to Earth by Pietro, Medusa advises Crystal that perhaps it is right that Pietro should spend time with his daughter. Crystal remarks that if Medusa had children of her own she might be able to understand how she felt over the matter. It is not apparent whether this is an example of Ahura's existence being retconned from the Marvel Universe, or if this is meant to be a sarcastic comment in reference to Ahura's supposed confinement.[volume & issue needed]

Medusa and Maximus, by Frazer Irving.

The events of Silent War immediately follow the events of Son of M. The Silent War series reveals a growing rift between Medusa and Black Bolt as the two disagree on his decision to declare war against the United States for failing to relinquish the Terrigen Crystals. Medusa finds herself no longer able to interpret her husband's wishes as she used to. While Medusa is issuing Black Bolt's war declarations to the Inhumans council he becomes frustrated and snaps his fingers to silence her, indicating that she wasn't relating what he intended. Medusa later confides to Black Bolt that he had never treated her that way before, as if she were a dog, and Black Bolt responds apologetically.[volume & issue needed]

Their son, Ahura, also reappears in this series as a mentally unstable adolescent. Medusa argues that Black Bolt seems not to care that their son is being kept in isolation, and advises him that despite his orders she has gone to visit Ahura in his cell on more than one occasion. Black Bolt is angered by this and becomes physically aggressive with Medusa, grabbing her face and mouth to silence her. In her growing confusion with her husband's actions, Medusa finds herself drawn to Maximus against her will and would visit him often in his prison cell. It is revealed by Luna, Crystal's daughter, that Maximus had somehow implanted a "darkness" into Medusa's mind that was affecting her actions. Later on, Medusa and Maximus share a kiss as a distraught Black Bolt watches from the shadows. Medusa's thoughts at the time, however, reveal that she is not in control of her actions and that she only loves Black Bolt. The end of Silent War is left a cliffhanger with Black Bolt confined in prison, Ahura released, and Medusa now at Maximus' side as he assumes the throne of the Inhumans.[volume & issue needed]

Due to inconsistencies with other Marvel titles featuring Black Bolt during this time, it is unclear when, and if, Silent War takes place in relation to The Illuminati, World War Hulk, and Secret Invasion storylines.

Medusa appears alongside Black Bolt in issue #1 of the World War Hulk series. Medusa is seen with Black Bolt when Hulk attacks Attilan. She warns Hulk not to pursue a fight with her husband, as Black Bolt has defeated Hulk in past battles. The fight begins and Medusa is not shown to interfere or assist. Black Bolt is subsequently defeated by Hulk, though the battle is not shown beyond Black Bolt's opening attack and it is made unclear as to how Hulk managed to win the fight.[volume & issue needed]

It was revealed in New Avengers: Illuminati that Black Bolt had been replaced by a Skrull impostor for an unknown amount of time.[16] The impostor revealed himself to the Illuminati and was killed. Both the sudden rift between Medusa and Black Bolt apparent in Silent War and Black Bolt's later defeat at the hands of Hulk in World War Hulk could be attributed to this development, for it is uncertain just when Black Bolt might have been replaced by his Skrull duplicate.[volume & issue needed]

When the Secret Invasion begins, the Inhumans part of the story, by Heroes writer Joe Pokaski, digs into how the Inhuman Royal Family deals with the news that the Black Bolt they knew was a Skrull impostor. Medusa is shown fighting a Skrull that not only possesses her powers, but also possesses the powers of Mister Fantastic.[17] Medusa heads into Kree space to get Ronan the Accuser to help look for the Skrull ship containing Black Bolt and her son.[18] She succeeds in rescuing her family and returning to Attilan.[19]

During the War of Kings storyline, Medusa was with the Inhumans when they went into space and forged an alliance with the Kree. When Havok, Lilandra Neramani, and the rest of Havok's Starjammers gained aslyum from Vulcan and his forces. When Maximus speaks out, Medusa pushes him aside. When Ronan is wounded in battle with Vulcan's forces, Medusa states to the Shi'ar that they had made a big mistake and vows that they will pay for this.[20] Medusa does a broadcast on Black Bolt's behalf and tells the citizens of the Kree Empire that they have suffered an unprovoked assault by the force of the Shi'ar. The shield that once protected their star system has fallen. During a discussion with the other members of the Inhuman Royal Family, Medusa states that Shi'ar blood will spill in the next fight while trying to keep the Kree in line.[21] Medusa and Black Bolt approve of Maximus' idea to create a mechanism to help them in their fight against the Shi'ar.[22] Medusa ends up devastated when the T-Bomb goes off with Black Bolt and Vulcan still where the T-Bomb was. While weeping in Crystal's arms, Medusa declared that they have won.[23]

During the Dark Reign storyline, Medusa was seen when Quicksilver appears in Attilan and present them with the Xerogen Crystals following the defeat of the Unspoken. Medusa then absolves him of his crimes and restores his citizenship.[24]

During the Realm of Kings storyline, Medusa ends up taking control of the Inhumans following Black Bolt's death. Devos the Devastator arrives and ends up inciting a riot in the Alpha Primitives.[25] The Mighty Avengers arrive and help to quell the riots incited by Devos the Devastator. Henry Pym learns from Medusa about what happened to Black Bolt and expresses his sorrow for her loss as he too had lost Wasp.[26] Medusa and the rest of the Inhumans deal with Dr. Vere and Zarek when they plot to overthrow the Inhuman Royal Family.[27]

She takes her husband's place in the Illuminati when Iron Man reassembles the team in response to the Hood's attempts to acquire the Infinity Gems,[28] although in the end Steve Rogers takes 'custody' of Black Bolt's gem at the conclusion of the crisis.[volume & issue needed]

As part of the Marvel NOW! event, Medusa becomes a member of the Future Foundation when the Fantastic Four take a time-traveling trip.[29]

Powers and abilities

Medusa possesses a long, thick head of red hair; thanks to her exposure to the mutagenic Terrigen Mist, every strand of her hair has greater tensile strength, modulus of elasticity, and shear resistance than an iron wire of the same thickness (average hair diameter: .045 inches). She possesses the psychokinetic ability to animate her hair for a number of feats, including elongating it to almost twice its normal length (Medusa's hair is approximately Script error: No such module "convert". in length when relaxed), and using her hair to lift and move heavy weights (up to 1.6 tons); a portion of her hair must be used to anchor the rest at these greater weights, so that more than her scalp/skull is used as a brace.[30]

Medusa and her hair, by Jae Lee.

Medusa can control the movement of her hair as if it were countless thin appendages growing from her head. A psionic field permeates her mutagenically altered hair-cells, causing mutual attraction across the gaps between strands. These relatively small forces operate in conjunction to develop larger forces. Through concentration, she can psionically move her hair in any manner imaginable. She can snap the length of it through the air like a whip (the tip of which moves faster than the speed of sound), or rotate it in a fan-like manner. She can bind persons or objects with it as if it were rope, or use it to lift objects which weigh more than she could lift with her arms. Her scalp, skull, and neck do not support the weight of an object that she lifts: It is held aloft by the psionic force coursing through the hair. Medusa can also perform delicate manipulations with her hair such as lock picking or threading a needle, and such complex acts of coordination as typing or shuffling a deck of cards. Although she has no nerve endings in her hair, she can "feel" sensations on all parts of her hair by a form of mental feedback from her psionic field.[30]

Medusa is also able to retain some degree of control over her hair after it has been cut or otherwise severed from her scalp.[12] She presumably has the typical enhanced physical abilities granted by the genetically superior Inhuman physiology. She is also highly skilled at interpreting the gestures and body language of Black Bolt, and has a fluency in a special sign language used to communicate with Black Bolt.

Like all Inhumans, Medusa's immune system is weaker than that of an average human. However, due to her frequent ventures into the outside world, Medusa's immune system has been strengthened so much that it is no longer as weak as that of her fellow Inhumans. As such she has attained a resistance to the pollutants of the outside world, which enabled her to join the Fantastic Four (as well as be a former member of the Frightful Four) in the first place.

Medusa is an accomplished thief, using her hair.

Other versions

Earth X

In the alternate future of Earth X, Medusa's hair volume has drastically increased. She has lost Black Bolt and fears the emotional loss of her son, Ahura. She is the acting ruler and Queen of the Inhumans. Many of her remaining friends and allies have mutated due to the incidents on Earth. As a way to tie together some of the powerful factions remaining on Earth, Captain Britain proposes to her.[volume & issue needed] Their story continues into the mini-series Paradise X, where convienence has turned into love. However, the status of their relationship and their political positions is thrown into turmoil when Captain Britain's presumed lost wife Meggan is brought back to life.[31]

Heroes Reborn

Main article: Heroes Reborn

In Heroes Reborn, Medusa's home city of Attilan plays host to the Fantastic Four. As in other realities, she speaks for her husband, Black Bolt. The Four are asked to help the Inhumans stop the plans of Maximus the Mad, who seeks out and plans to control the Terrigen Mists. The group at first does not understand the request, which leads to a battle. Medusa proves herself a capable fighter, helping to keep the battle at a stalemate.[volume & issue needed]

In this universe Galactus is worshipped, and the Royal Council pay reverence to him and his team of heralds in the form of finely crafted statues throughout Attilan.[volume & issue needed]

Marvel 1602

Main article: Marvel 1602

Medusa appears in the Marvel 1602 miniseries: 1602: Fantastick Four as a member of the "Four Who Are Frightful", and the Wizard's lover. Like her Ultimate counterpart, she has snakes for hair. She must also wear a veil, to prevent her gaze turning men to stone. While her introduction describes her as "inhuman" her origins are not mentioned. She appears to be a native French speaker (hence, "Madame" Medusa).[32]

Mutant X

Main article: Mutant X (comics)

In Mutant X, after the Beyonder/Goblin Queen and the vampire Dracula lay waste to the Earth's heroes in an attempt to conquer the Multiverse, a team of Inhumans, Medusa included, and Eternals attack from above. They battle in the heart of Washington D.C. Dracula easily slays the entire group.[volume & issue needed]

Marvel Zombies 3

In Marvel Zombies 3 #2 she along with the Inhuman Royal Family are shown to be zombies have visited a zombie Kingpin to ask for food which they get.[33] In the next issue Machine Man blows up and obliterates her rotting head.[34]

Ultimate Marvel

File:Ultimate couple.PNG
Ultimate Medusa and Black Bolt, by Jae Lee.
Main article: Ultimate Marvel

A version of Medusa appears in the Ultimate Marvel series, first appearing in the Ultimate Fantastic Four issue Annual 1: Inhuman. She is still the queen of the Inhumans and wife to their leader, Black Bolt. As with her namesake, in this universe her skin is green in color and she has actual snakes for hair. It is not stated whether her newly serpentine hair restricts or enhances her abilities in any way. Along with Crystal, the Inhuman Gorgon is female and also Medusa's sister. Black Bolt's brother, Maximus, does not display any romantic feelings for Medusa in this universe.[volume & issue needed]

Unlike other versions, Ultimate Medusa is against all associations with the Fantastic Four and believes that the two races of Inhumans and humans can never co-mingle in peace. She also exhibits an extreme degree of loyalty towards her people, stating that there can be no greater honor than to put aside one's individual happiness for the welfare of Attilan. Despite these sentiments, she expresses regret over her husband's inability to vocalize his feelings. When Black Bolt does feel the need to safely speak, he vocalizes regret over Crystal's actions.[35]

In other media


  • Medusa appears alongside the rest of the Inhumans and later the Frightful Four in an episode of the 1978 Fantastic Four animated series. In this version, she is the leader of the Inhumans, and is genuinely evil, as opposed to being forced into villainy as in the comics.

Video game


  1. ^ Beard, Jim (9 August 2012). "Marvel NOW! Q&A: Fantastic Four". Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  2. ^ Dickey, Josh (2015-02-06). "Marvel assembles first all-female Avengers team, the 'A-Force'". Mashable. Retrieved 2015-02-05. 
  3. ^ Thor #149
  4. ^ Inhumans Special #1
  5. ^ Fantastic Four #44
  6. ^ Fantastic Four #45-48
  7. ^ Fantastic Four #59
  8. ^ Fantastic Four #130
  9. ^ Fantastic Four #240
  10. ^ Avengers Annual #12
  11. ^ Fantastic Four Annual #18
  12. ^ a b c Marvel Graphic Novel: The Inhumans
  13. ^ X-Factor #67-68
  14. ^ Avengers #334-335
  15. ^ Inhumans #6
  16. ^ New Avengers: Illuminati #5
  17. ^ Secret Invasion: Inhumans #2
  18. ^ Secret Invasion: Inhumans #3
  19. ^ Secret Invasion: Inhumans #4
  20. ^ War of Kings #1
  21. ^ War of Kings #2
  22. ^ War of Kings #3
  23. ^ War of Kings #6
  24. ^ Mighty Avengers #31
  25. ^ Realm of Kings: Inhumans #1
  26. ^ Realm of Kings: Inhumans #2
  27. ^ Realm of Kings: Inhumans #3
  28. ^ Avengers vol. 4, #8
  29. ^ FF Vol. 2 #1
  30. ^ a b Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #7
  31. ^ Paradise X #4
  32. ^ Marvel 1602: Fantastick Four #1-5
  33. ^ Marvel Zombies 3 #2
  34. ^ Marvel Zombies 3 #3
  35. ^ Ultimate Fantastic Four Annual #1 (2005)
  36. ^ "Inhuman Nature". Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. Season 1. Episode 22. June 15, 2014. Disney XD. 

External links