First seen in Legion of Lawndale Heroes 12.2 - The Wild and The Young, Maryann Isabella Lyter is a Cadet Second Class at the United States Academy of Extranormal Studies. Assigned as a member of Training Cadre 2996 in her first year, Maryann and the other members of that cadre now refer to themselves as 'The Alliance', and have actively (but on their own time) been working together to train as a group of 'superheroes' instead on simply military assets. As a member of the Alliance, Maryann goes by the code-name 'Tempest'.
Maryann comes from Lander, Wyoming. She is the youngest of four daughters; her parents run a wilderness training camp, and are both part of the local volunteer mountain rescue team. Her oldest sister also has limited kinetic-control and telekinetic powers, but chose not to attend USAES full-time (although she did do a number of special seminars to gain control of her powers). She works at the camp with her parents, and her powers are an open secret there. She was recruited for USAES through the efforts of her older sister, and begun classes in the USAES Advanced Infantry Technologies and Operations Program (although there have been efforts to get her to transfer over to the Mystical Enhancement Program).
Maryann graduated from USAES with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. Because of her achievements and academic record (she graduated third in her class, which she holds as a mark of pride, especially because of the surprise it was to almost all who knew her), Maryann was commissioned as a First Lieutenant in the United States Army.
Maryann possesses vast superhuman abilities that are identical to the Kryptonian-level/form abilities possessed by Tom Sloane (who is a 'Class Five physical augment, but can only use one ability at a time). Her powers differ from Tom's in that she takes a longer time to shift between abilities (she must take a full six seconds to do so). Her powers also differ in that there is a slight 'bleedover effect' in her powers (for example, while she is not invulnerable when using her super-speed or super-strength, she does possess the innate safeguards that other metahumans would posses in using those powers - increased durability (with super-strength), the ability to breathe, perceive her surroundings/resist friction (while using super-speed), etc.). Because of this 'bleedover effect', Maryann is still incredibly powerful and resistant to damage even when using abilities not entirely covered by those sets of powers (ex: because she is resistant to her own powers, she maintains extreme resistances to heat and light-based attacks when using her 'omni-vision' (see below), etc.).
Another difference in her powers is that, when using her invulnerability, the effect extends to psionic and mystical attacks. She can easily slough off even the strongest attacks from her Alliance teammate David Allen Farrington, whether physical or mental, or physical attacks from her teammate Kelly Springer; she is more resistant to damage than Kelly, or Lindy Lomard's forcefields. Her unique form of invulnerability makes her ideal for 'point man' when The Alliance in in the field.
A third difference in in her specialized visual ability, which she calls her 'omni-vision'. Having roughly the same features as Kryptonian visual abilities (telescopic, microscopic and 'heat vision'), Maryann's power has several differences. They are:
- She possesses an ability known as 'True Vision, which allows her to see persons in their 'true forms' (thus negating cloaking fields, 'Glamours', invisibility, shapeshifting and other forms of camouflage, even of alien or supernatural origin). Furthermore, her power protects her from insanity, death or other negative effects due to gazing upon beings or creatures with powers that can negatively affect others (ex. she could look into the eyes of a basilisk without being killed or calcification occurring, or view a being such as Cthulu without suffering the effects that other humans would.
- Her 'omni-vision's energy-projection mode is more powerful than even Tom's (when using her energy-vision, she projects a white beam from her eyes, while Tom's heat-vision is blue, and Kryptonians' heat-vision is red). At full power, Maryann's omni-vision is roughly as powerful as Farrington's 'Prime Bolts'. She has also developed a special tactic of being able to rapidly fire pulses of energy from her eyes instead of beams, or to fire pulses from one eye at a shielded target while also firing a single beam from the other; this has the effect of overloading the shields, allowing her beams to breach them.
- Unlike Tom (but like Kryptonians), Maryann can see normally when using her X-ray vision, but cannot see through lead.
Maryann also has a variation to one of the primary Kryptonian weaknesses, in that her powers greatly weaken when her access to solar energy is blocked (but unlike Kryptonians, are not totally negated). (The form of solar radiation - yellow, red, white, etc. - is not a factor for her, as it is for Kryptonians.) In addition, she has none of the other traditional Kryptonian weaknesses (high gravity, magic, or Kryptonite exposure). Maryann has found that people/devices with the means to drain solar energy can not only weaken her powers, but cause her extreme neurological pain. In such cases, it takes thirty seconds of solar exposure to restore her powers.
Like all members of The Alliance, Maryann has a 'team jacket' that possesses various attributes and pieces of equipment (see Alliance entry); hers is a 'bolero'-style jacket (in keeping with the slightly risque clothing styles she chooses to wear in action as a further distraction to her opposition. Upon her graduation from USAES and commissioning in the U.S. Army as a First Lieutenant, Maryann surrendered her Alliance jacket to the cadets that were selected by her and the members of her cadre to become the new members of The Alliance and received a new trenchcoat (with the same equipment/attributes) to replace it, as did all Alliance members.
Maryann also possesses a number of combat knives forged by Sherrie Klein, which were presented to her as a graduation gift (Klein also presented special gifts to each of the Alliance cadets, as well). The knives are all forged of a Salazarium/Secondary Adamantium alloy (making them virtually indestructible by almost any normal means, and capable of injuring/slaying mystical beings or creatures with superhuman durability), and come with self-sharpening sheathes.
As part of her 'Alliance' training, Maryann can use her powers in different ways than usually expected from Academy students with similar powers. Maryann is unusual among USAES cadets in that she has not chosen to learn advanced martial arts or hand-to-hand combat skills; she has forgone this route to undergo extensive trainingtraining in the art of knife-fighting (particularly with throwing, combat and trench knives). Maryann is one of the best close-combat fighters in the Academy, and due to her extraordinary skills, Maryann has acted as an assistant close-combat instructor during her time in the Elite Academy (and also instructed psi-active cadets in her year since they were Cadets Fourth Year). Maryann will ALWAYS have a number of blades of some sort on her person, or within easy reach.
Due to her upbringing, Maryann is very at home in the outdoors, and can thrive off the land easily. She is also skilled in hunting various sizes of game, knowledgeable of various kinds of wildlife, and is adept at rock climbing and skiing. She is also skilled at horseback riding, but doesn't really care for horses. She is also an excellent dancer (and has been in several Academy stage productions); during her time in the USAES First Academy, she was on the cheer squad and was active in competitions.
Maryann is 5'8 in height and is extraordinarily physically fit (she is an avid long-distance runner). She has grey eyes, wheat-colored hair that is naturally wavy, and which she prefers cut short. Because of her level of fitness, she is the most physically-capable member of The Alliance on occasions where their powers are negated (considering the level of fitness of the cadets, that speaks well of her.) She is pleasant but competitive and flirtatious, with a penchant for going after already-attached men (in a playful manner, unlike Sidney Simon - for example, she has never made any overtures towards David Allen). She is majoring in Civil Engineering (with a minor in Architecture), and is highly skilled in the art of 'lip reading' and American Sign Language. Like David Allen, Maryann began taking 'Project Starseed' training courses as a Cadet Second Year. Maryann has also been a Cadet Ambassador for the Academy (like Rafael Vargas since she was a Cadet First Year, and has traveled extensively around the world representing the Academy.
During her internship year, Maryann went to Fort Bragg, North Carolina and completed paratrooper training; she is now authorized to wear the maroon beret of the Airborne Infantry and her 'jump wings'. She also spent two months with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (but actually worked out of the New York headquarters of Damage Control as part of their contractual obligation to help train military personnel for special large-scale demolition and reconstruction projects involving 'extranormal circumstances and individuals'); during this time, she wore the rank of Second Lieutenant. When Maryann returned to USAES, she was promoted to the rank of Cadet Major, in recognition of her superior skills and performance in the Elite Academy.
As part of her special training protocols with The Alliance, Professor Blumenberg made special arrangements with elements within the Department of Defense for Maryann to be attached to Homeworld Command (formerly the Department of Homeworld Security) for short-term duty assignments throughout her time at USAES, and a six-month tour during her internship year. During the winter break of her year as a Cadet First Year (Senior year), Maryann was selected to accompany an SG-team on a First Contact mission to a previously unknown world. During her internship year, Maryann was also allowed to travel aboard the USS George Hammond (a Dadelus-class starship) during a familiarization cruise for Project Starseed personnel, and was certified in the use of the standard Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) used by NASA astronauts, and the armed EVA/tactical unit used by Marine Astronauts. Because of these events, Maryann was awarded the U.S. Army Astronaut Badge, and the USAES Pathfinder certification - two of the rarest awards that can be presented to a member of the United States Armed Forces.
Like all members of The Alliance, Maryann wears a 'team jacket' that is lined with Salazarium. This jacket provides her with the ability to fly, as well as having a special environmental-field emitter that allows her to survive in hostile environments (underwater, in space, etc.) while using other powers besides her invulnerability. The jacket also provides a micro-receiver that allows her to stay in contact with the other members of the group. In keeping with the trend of Alliance members choosing a specific style of jacket, Maryann has a bolero jacket. As mentioned in the LLH 'Mini' 'Bull Session', Maryann has a penchant (when in action with The Alliance) to favor outfits which highlight her fit, athletic figure - especially her midriff.
Maryann carries several blades on her during combat; Maryann also possesses a number of Marine Corps-style combat knives, which were forged by Sherrie Klein and presented to her as a graduation gift. (Klein also presented special gifts to each of the other Alliance cadets, as well). The knives are all forged of an alloy composed of Basic & Terrestrial Salazarium and Depleted Promethium (making them virtually indestructible by almost any normal means, and capable of injuring/slaying mystical beings or creatures with superhuman durability), and come with self-sharpening sheathes. In combat, Maryann will always carry one of the blades with her.