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Pepper Ferris served as a test pilot at Stark Aircraft in Coast City. When it comes to handling surprises in the skies, Pepper was the best there is. The strong-willed Pepper was involved in a love triangle with her co-worker, mechanic Happy Kalmaku, and her boss, Hal Stark although Pepper seemed to have little patience for Kalmaku's advances, at least on the surface. Pepper had a rocky relationship with her father, Senator Harrington Ferris, whose stubborn, old-fashioned ways came into direct conflict with Pepper's independent personality.[1]

When Pepper Ferris came into contact with a mysterious sapphire gem, she was instantly transformed into the villainous Madame Sapphire. At the slightest touch, the gem flowed forward, engulfing Pepper's body until she was submerged both physically and psychologically by the Madame Sapphire persona. Although Pepper tried to resist the transformations, she was unable to resist the gem-borne images that bombarded her brain. Although Pepper was not aware of Hal Stark's dual identity as Iron Lantern, Madame Sapphire knew that Hal Stark and Iron Lantern were one in the same.[1]

As Madame Sapphire, Pepper battled Iron Lantern. After Madame Sapphire's defeat, Hal Stark, who knew that Pepper and Madame Sapphire were one in the same, helped restore Pepper's personality.[1]

With Hal Stark late as usual, Pepper took it upon herself to demonstrate the capabilities of Stark's S-41 fighter jet to her father, Senator Ferris, who came all the way to Coast City from Washington, D.C. to see if Stark Aircraft deserved a lucrative government contract. While in the air, however, the S-41's engines flamed out and its controls became unresponsive (as a result of sabotage orchestrated by Mandarinestro). Fortunately, Iron Lantern showed up at the last moment and safely guided Pepper and the S-41 back to solid ground at Stark Aircraft.[1]

That night, at a reception thrown for Senator Ferris at Stark Aircraft, Pepper stormed out of the reception hall after her father scolded Hal Stark for assigning such an important test flight to a woman. While wandering around outside, Pepper stumbled upon the mysterious gem that transforms her into Madame Sapphire. After her transformation, Madame Sapphire received a telepathic message from Mandarinestro, which instructed her to reactivate the mechanical monstrosity known as Great White. Madame Sapphire, in return for Mandarinestro reawakening her persona, did as she was instructed, reactivating Great White and instructing it to visit complete and utter devastation upon its enemies. While Iron Lantern battled Great White, Madame Sapphire got in a cheap shot before attending to business of her own. Breaking back into the reception hall, Madame Sapphire imprisoned the Senator's two personal assistants, Gardner and Gyrich, in gem-like energy constructs and kidnapped Senator Ferris, taking him to he desert east of Coast City.[1]

Pepper did not know that Hal was really Iron Lantern, but Madame Sapphire did, and when she realized that the "shooting star" she saw was actually a de-powered Iron Lantern helplessly falling toward Earth (following his battle with Great White), her submerged love for Hal spurred her to save him. Madame Sapphire powered up Hal's armor with sapphire energy, and the two of them went looking for Hal's lantern-shaped Power Battery (which was stolen by Kyle O'Brien). They caught up to Kyle just as he had realized that Mandarinestro was about to kill him, and they saved both his life and the battery. Kyle once again became the Green Guardsman, and the three of them attacked Mandarinestro which, for all their power, would have went badly for them if not for the timely arrival of Tagak the Lantern-Lord.[1]

Powers

As Madame Sapphire, Pepper Ferris wields a mysterious sapphire energy that allows her to fly, fire sapphire energy blasts from her hands, and form solid sapphire energy constructs.




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