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Alias: Frances Kane

Titans Ally/Adversary
Related Links: Flash (Wally West)

Magenta Quick Bio: When Frances Kane’s mutant magnetic powers manifested, the insecure teen believed she was possessed by demons. Her childhood sweetheart, Wally West, pulled her back from the brink of insanity. Frances later adopted a meta-human persona as Magenta, but found her powers fractured her mind – violently shifting her personality from positive to negative.

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A Mysterious Force

Frances grew up in Blue Valley and has known Wally West since he was seven. They both attended the local college when Wally left the first version of the Titans to pursue his schooling. A teenage Frances was the only survivor of a car crash that killed her brother and father. This crash also brought about the first manifestation of her magnetic powers, when she inexplicably floated to safety.

Frances Kane’s powers manifest in NEW TEEN TITANS #17 [1982].

Frances began going into trances which triggered her uncontrolled powers. Her mother claimed that Frances was possessed by the devil. In reality, Frances was being controlled by Dr. Polaris, a criminal exiled to another dimension by the Green Lantern. Polaris was using Frances’ powers in an attempt to get back to Earth. Wally and the Titans came to Frances’ aid, and a device was rigged up by S.T.A.R. Labs and Cyborg to end her powers’ threat.

Frances Kane returns in NEW TEEN TITANS #29 [1983].

Growing Attractions

In the meantime, Frances deduced that Wally was Kid Flash and began to fall in love with him again. When her powers returned, Frances went to Wally for help and ended up helping the Teen Titans on a couple of cases. Now reunited with Wally, Frances often insisted that he give up being a superhero. She also learned how to control her powers with the help of S.T.A.R. Labs.

Frances learned how to master her magnetic powers with the help of S.T.A.R. Labs. While staying at their San Francisco branch, Frances – with the help of Thunder and Lightning – helped expose a mind-control plot engineered by S.T.A.R. Labs’ own Dr. Alysia Demalis. It was at this time that Frances adopted the codename of Magenta.

When Wally gave up being a hero due to a baffling disease related to his super-speed, Frances was happy and encouraged him to stick to his decision. Nonetheless, she rallied to aid them in their final stand against Brother Blood, even gathering together a team of heroes to mount a rescue mission.

After Wally was cured and became the Flash, he and Frances briefly lived together. Frances, however, did not feel ready for such a move and eventually changed her mind and moved home.

Magenta the reluctant heroine in NEW TEEN TITANS (second series) #30 [1987].

A Negative Charge

Frances became unstable following these events, unaware the increased use of her powers was also fracturing her mind. She reentered Wally’s life sometime later in a jealous rage, attacking him at the Central City Stadium during a baseball game. Wally surmised that Fran’s magnetic powers have affected her psyche, bouncing her personality at random from positive to negative. Wally was able to reach her good side and even enlisted her help to stop a bomb from destroying Keystone City. Her mood swings eventually stabilized and she accepted that Wally had moved on with his life with his new love, Linda Park.

ABOVE: Frances – or is it Frankie? – Kane goes bonkers in FLASH #80 [1993].
BELOW: Fran returns to sanity in FLASH #83 [1993].

Later, Frances came into conflict with Raven, who had been reborn as an evil avatar of Trigon. Raven  – seeking to continue her father’s fiendish legacy – implanted the souls of Trigon’s unborn children in Frances. Gathered with Raven’s other infected allies, the corrupted Frances Kane clashed with the New Titans. It was through the mystical guidance of Phantasm that the Titans were able to repel Raven and free the heroes from her demonic thrall.

Due to her mental instability, Frances had a harder time purging herself from demonic influence. She escaped S.T.A.R. Labs and insanely attacked Wally West and Linda Park. Ultimately, Linda forced Kane take responsibility for her own life choices.

Magenta later aided the Titans in preventing the extraterrestrial threat catalogued as “The Technis Imperative.” It began when ex-Titan Cyborg – now controlled by the alien collective known as the Technis and calling himself Cyberion – journeyed to Earth to turn its moon into a new Technis world populated with his Titans allies. When the Justice League intervened, a struggle for Cyborg’s safety erupted in a battle between heroes and mentors. Ultimately, the founding Titans reunited and traveled to the heart of the Technis collective to free their friend from its dark influence.

Frances Kane returns – more dangerous than ever – in FLASH #171 [2001].

Negative and Postive

Although thought to be cured of her mental instability, Kane returned as Magenta with a vengeance, joining with the Cult of Cicada. When the Flash defeated Cicada and his cult, Magenta alone escaped. Now delusional with greater control over her abilities, Magenta had become more dangerous than ever!

Next, she joined the new Rogues Gallery and helped plot a takeover of Central City. But when the metal malcontent known as Girder was about to kill Wally, Magenta reverted to her normal persona and saved him. Once again, she vowed to get help for her mental instability.

Since then Frances has undergone extensive therapy, and has successfully controlled her negative outbursts. She even aided the Tricker’s reformed Rogues against the Flash’s evil adversaries during the so-called “Rogue War.”

Frances Kane returns to her senses in FLASH #188 [2002].


Powers & Abilities

Magenta generates and controls magnetic attraction and repulsion. It appears Magenta’s personality is somehow attuned to her magnetic powers; She constantly shifts between positive and negative.

Wally has surmised that Fran’s magnetic powers have affected her psyche, bouncing her personality at random from positive to negative.

Essential Reading

New Teen Titans #17 [1982]: After an automobile accident that killed her father and brother but which she survived, Frances Kane, a long-time friend of Wally (Kid Flash) West, seemingly becomes a focus of destructive supernatural energies, and her mother becomes involved in witchcraft and seances. Wally brings Raven to investigate, and eventually the entire Titans team becomes embroiled in the affair. Despite their efforts, the energies emanating from the girl almost destroy Titans’ Tower and New York. Cyborg deduces that the energies are magnetic, not magical, in nature, and uses a STAR-created anti-magnetic device to cure Frances. Unknown to the Titans, Frances’s “possession” is actually caused by Green Lantern’s enemy, Dr. Polaris, in an attempt to free himself from an extra-dimensional exile. First appearance of Frances Kane.
New Teen Titans #29-30 [1983]: Frances Kane returns because her powers are resurfacing, and witnesses a battle between the New Brotherhood of Evil and the Titans, in which Raven thinks that Kid Flash is Trigon (due to Phobia’s manipulation) and nearly kills him; Raven leaves the Titans because she cannot handle Kid Flash’s hatred.
New Teen Titans #39 [1984]: Terra and the Terminator plot the fall of the Titans. Wally West decides to quit being Kid Flash, leaves his ring and costume with the Titans, and returns to Blue Valley.
New Teen Titans (second series) #28-31 [1987]: Azrael is the opening act for Brother Blood’s resurrection; Frances Kane arrives at Titans’ Tower just before the Titans head for the Church of Blood in Washington D.C., where Nightwing and Raven are being held; Robotman and Jason Todd join the Titans for this case. Brother Blood, his acolytes and a brainwashed Raven battle, defeat and capture the Titans; Meanwhile, Frances Kane recruits several heroes to aid her in a rescue attempt. Brother Blood is channeling the emotions of his followers through Raven; A jealous Mother Mayhem wants Brother Blood dead; Raven returns to normal and attacks Brother Blood with all her might; Azrael saves Brother Blood from certain death and flies him to a monastery in Virginia.
Flash (second series) #1-2 [1987]: Wally wins the lottery after just having adopted the Flash mantle. Wally and Frances Kane end their relationship.
Teen Titans Spotlight On: Magenta #17 [1987]: continued from previous issue. Frances Kane is now ‘activated’ as an assassin called Magenta by STAR lab Dr. Alysia Demalis. She is programmed to kill Thunder & Lightning, who pose a threat to Dr. Demalis’ plans. As Magenta battles the super-powered brothers, STAR security officer Tony Rocco exposes Demalis’ plan. Magenta eventually confronts Demalis, still not in control of herself. She almost uses her powers to kill Demalis, but Rocco prevents her from doing so. Dr. Demalis is taken into custody. Frances talks to Rocco about her fear of her emerging powers, as they receive news that not only has Demalis escaped custody, but they have attempted to activate another assassin with the ‘trigger word’, Snow White. Rocco and Frances ponder the identity of ‘Snow White’. [note: the identities of ‘Snow White’ or Dr. Demalis’ boss are never revealed]. First appearance of Frances Kane using the codename Magenta.
Flash (second series) #80-83 [1993]: Frances [referred now as ‘Frankie’] reenters Wally’s life, attacking him for ‘ruining her life.’ She eventually stabilizes and forgives Wally. Guest starring Nightwing and Starfire.
New Titans #118-121 [1995]: Raven, now reborn as an avatar of Trigon, is intent on planting the seeds of Trigon’s unborn children into new vessels. She plants ‘Trigon seeds’ in Supergirl, Changeling, Magenta, Deathwing, and Thunder and Lightning. Eventually, Raven and her demon allies come into conflict with the Titans. With the help of Phantasm (who reforms himself, sensing he is needed), the Titans finally destroyed this evil incarnation of Raven (or so they think). Mirage seemingly has a miscarriage in issue #121.
Flash (second series) #106 [1995]: Recovering from her corruption by Raven, Magenta savagely attacks Wally. She escapes, but there is hope she will return to sanity.
Flash (second series) #170-173 [2001]: Flash encounters a cult that’s been murdering all the people of Keystone that the Scarlet Speedster has ever rescued. Now, alone, he faces Cicada, the creepy, charismatic leader of the cult, and the magnificently menacing Magenta! Frances Kane loses her hold on sanity and becomes Wally’s adversary.
Flash (second series) #184-188 [2002]: “Crossfire” The Thinker attempts to take over Keystone City. The Rogues – including Magenta – attack Flash; But Magenta has a last-minute change of heart and saves Wally.
Flash (second series) #1/2, 218-225 [2005]: The brewing contest between the original rogues gallery and the newest rogues ignites into a conflagration that may result in the destruction of Keystone City and the death of the Scarlet Speedster! Magenta aids the ‘good’ Rogues acting on behalf of the U.S. government

What’s In A Name?

From the letter column of Teen Titans Spotlight On: Magenta #17: “For a while it looked like the cover to this issue would read “TEEN TITANS SPOTLIGHT ON FRANCES KANE.” Marv, Tony [Isabella] and I put our heads together via telephone wire to try to come up with a hero name for Frances for this two-part story. We threw names back and forth until our arms hurt and I started describing things about Frances which might lead to names: her hair color. costume colors: magenta and – “Magenta’. I said, sounding particularly pleased. “It’s her color and it’s an almost-anagram of magnet; making it perfect.” “Great name” said Marv, sounding happy (AND RELIEVED). Tony dashed for the typewriter before we could change our minds, and here you have it: the Spotlight on MAGENTA.”

– Barbara Randall

A Magenta commission by Flash artist Scott Kolins
from San Diego ComiCon in 2005

Polar Opposite Personalities

Positively Charged

Frances Kane first appeared in New Teen Titans #17 [1982], seeking help from her childhood sweetheart, Wally West. It was at this time that Frances revealed she had deduced that Wally was secretly Kid Flash. Fearing she was possessed by demons, Fran sought Wally for help. Complicating matters, her own mother believed Frances was evil – having survived a car crash that claimed the life of her brother and father. Cyborg deduced that the energies were magnetic, not magical, in nature. Unknown to the Titans, Frances’s “possession” is actually caused by Green Lantern’s enemy, Dr. Polaris, in an attempt to free himself from an extra-dimensional exile.

Frances Kane returned to Titans Tower in New Teen Titans #29-30 [1983], again seeking Wally. She was fearful since her magnetic powers returned. Wally had developed a growing attraction for Raven, but the empath was beginning to fall under the influence of her demonic father, Trigon. Wally invited Fran to join the Titans, but she did not want to play the part of a super-hero. Kid Flash eventually left the team and returned to Blue Valley in New Teen Titans #39 [1984] – where Frances welcomed him with open arms.

Wally and Fran remained a stable couple despite some challenges. Together, they defeated Dr. Light [Tales of the Teen Titans #49] and attended Donna Troy’s wedding [#50]. Their relationship was tested when Wally had to come to the aid of Raven in New Teen Titans (second series) #2 [1984]. Frances lacked self-assurance – but Wally became her rock.

Magenta was featured in Teen Titans Spotlight On: Magenta #17 [1987], where she was learning to control her powers at S.T.A.R. Labs. A mysterious voice activated Frances Kane as an assassin known as Magenta. Fran fought the programming with the help of Thunder & Lightning.

When the Titans engaged Brother Blood in final battle in New Teen Titans (second series) #28-31 [1987], they needed a team of reserves. Frances was at first frozen by fear into inaction. But her love for Wally led her to don a costume as Magenta, mistress of magnetism. She gathered together a makeshift team of heroes and joined the battle herself. The adventure only proved that she wanted nothing more than a simple life in Blue Valley.

She and Wally remained a couple until he won the state lottery. Shortly after that, Fran ended their relationship in Flash (second series) #1-2 [1987].

Negatively Charged

Fran’s next appearance became a defining one. In Flash (second series) #80-83 [1993], Fran reenters Wally’s life – violently attacking him. Fran had never shown any signs of mental instability, merely insecurity. But writer Mark Waid had a different take on Magenta; Taking a cue from magnetic attraction, Fran’s personality zigzagged between positive and negative. Also, inexplicably, Wally referred to Frances as “Frankie” Kane. Some long-time Titans readers were a bit irked at Frances’ portrayal. But – for better or worse – the changes stuck. Frances Kane was now an emotionally charged powder keg.

Fran showed up again in the pages of New Titans #118-121 [1995], where she was corrupted by Raven, who was now an evil avatar of Trigon. Raven implanted a “Trigon seed” within Fran, transforming her into an evil leather-clad minion of evil. After Raven’s defeat, the effects of the possession began to fade. Recovering from her corruption by Raven, Magenta savagely attacked Wally again in the pages of Flash (second series) #106 [1995]. She escaped, but there was hope she would return to sanity.

Now it had been established that Frances Kane had a tenuous hold on sanity. Would she be a force of good or an instrument of evil? It all seemed to depend on the writer’s view. Although she aided the Titans in JLA/TITANS #2-3 [1999], she also had X’ed out photos of Wally hanging on her wall.

Frances Kane lost her hold on sanity and became Wally’s adversary again in Flash #170-173 [2001]. Joining the Cult of Cicada, Fran menaced Keystone City. Magenta became a member of Flash Rogues Gallery. When the Thinker attempted to take over Keystone City in Flash #184-188 [2002], the Rogues – including Magenta – attacked Flash; But Magenta has a last-minute change of heart and saved Wally.

Will Magenta be positively or negatively charged? You never can tell!

Sources for this entry: DC Who’s Who Series, The Official Teen Titans Index [published by ICG in 1985], The New Titans Sourcebook [Mayfair Games, 1990], DC Universe Role-Playing Games: Sourcebooks and Manuals [ West End Games], DC Secret Files, supplemented by

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  1. Annotations: The Trial of The Flash, #343 - "Revenge and Revelations!" « Speed Force - […] that was causing Kid Flash great pain and a loss of his super-speed. Wally and his girlfriend Frances Kane…