Vixen (Mari Jiwe McCabe) is a character, a comic book superheroine published by DC Comics universe. She debuted in Action Comics #521 (July 1981), and was created by Gerry Conway and Bob Oksner. She was nearly the first black female DC superhero to star in her own series, but the first issue of her series was canceled in the DC Implosion in 1978, never to be released. The story was subsequently printed in Cancelled Comic Cavalcade.
Since her debut in Action Comics, she has primarily appeared in team books, most notably various incarnations of the Justice League and Suicide Squad.
In October 2008, G. Willow Wilson began the new five-issue limited series, Vixen: Return of the Lion. In ancient Africa, there was a legend that the warrior Tantu asked Anansi the Spider to create a totem that would give the wearer all of the powers of the animal kingdom, if they would use the power to protect the innocent. As shown in the pages of Animal Man, it is possible that the "Anansi" who Tantu met, may have been a member of the alien race who gave Buddy Baker the ability to "tap the morphogenetic field" — or, as shown in the pages of Justice League, the aliens may have been Anansi in disguise. This field allows Buddy to imitate the abilities of nearby animals. According to the Animal Man series, Mari's Tantu totem may tap into that same field. Tantu used the totem to become Africa's first legendary hero. The totem was later passed down to Tantu's descendants until it reached the McCabes.
Growing up in a small African village in the fictional nation of Zambesi, M'Changa province, Mari Jiwe McCabe hears the legend of the "Tantu Totem" from her mother. Sometime later, Mari's mother is killed by poachers and she is raised by her father Reverend Richard Jiwe, the village priest. Reverend Jiwe himself is killed by his half-brother (Mari's uncle) General Maksai. Maksai wants the Tantu Totem, which Jiwe had possessed.
Vixen debuts in Action Comics #521.
Mari moves to America, where she establishes an identity as Mari McCabe and gets a job as a model in New York City. She uses her newfound wealth to travel the world. On a trip back to Africa, she comes across her uncle and takes back the Tantu Totem, using its power to become the costumed superhero Vixen.
After this, Vixen made only two appearances as a solo crime fighter: once fighting poachers in Indiaand then against the techno-psycho criminal, Admiral Cerebrus. In fact, she was a reluctant hero until the Justice League of America was reorganized by Aquaman. She applies for full-time League membership and is accepted. During her time with the JLA, the totem is taken from her by General Maksai, who still sought its power. The totem would only grant its full power to those who would use it to protect the innocent, and it causes Maksai to be transformed into a raging beast. Maksai dies in battle with Vixen. When the team faces the killer android Amazo, Vixen and several of her teammates are beaten into unconsciousness and then left bound and gagged in a walled off pit. Vixen saves the lives of herself and her fellow Leaguers by using her powers to shatter her bonds and dig to freedom. Vixen continues with that particular incarnation of the JLA until two members were killed, Steel and Vibe, and it was disbanded by the Martian Manhunter.
Around this time, Vixen teams up with Animal Man again. She travels to his suburban house with knowledge of a mysterious murderous force. Animal Man's own powers have become affected because of this force, as he finds himself unable to correctly access the right powers.