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Real Name: Araoha Tepania

Identity/Class: Unrevealed (possibly mutate or mutant)

Occupation: Mercenary

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Mandarin

Enemies: Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff), Iron Man (Tony Stark), S.H.I.E.L.D.

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "Commander"

Base of Operations: Unrevealed
                                  formerly a prison camp, Australian outback

First Appearance: Iron Man III#6 (July, 1998)

Powers/Abilities: Araoha Tepania can morph from a human female with scale-like markings on her face into a huge, humanoid lizard with a thick hide and a 9' tail. In this form, Tuatara possesses superhuman strength (at least Class 85). Her thick, scaly hide affords her great resistance to injury. She withstood multiple blasts from Iron Man's repulsor rays with virtually no ill effects, and easily held her own in hand-to-hand combat with him. Iron Man felt she could hold her own against the Hulk. However, she proved to be especially vulnerable to tight beam sonic attacks. Tepania also displayed excellent unarmed combat skills as Tuatara, and boasted of her organizational skills

Height: human form: 6'6" (by approximation): monstrous form: 19'8" (by approximation)
Weight: human form: 300 lbs. (by approximation): monstrous form: 2000 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Black


(Iron Man III#6 (fb) - BTS) - Tuatara is the name of the lizard Araoha bonded with since birth.

(Iron Man III#6 (fb) - BTS) - Tuatara was hired by the Mandarin and was responsible for kidnapping several prominent scientists to build technical devices for the Mandarin.

(Iron Man III#6) - S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Black Widow recruited Tony Stark as "bait" to investigate the recent kidnappings. However, Stark was kidnapped while the Widow was distracted by a battle with Iron Hand Hauptmann, who had been sent by Count Nefaria to attack Stark.

Stark awoke in a well hidden prison camp, where he first met Tepania in her human form. Tepania told Stark that he and the other scientists would build technical devices for her employer, or die. She also informed him that they knew of the Black Widow's involvement and had removed his tracking implant.

Stark, undeterred, used the components of the device he was building to send a new signal to the Black Widow and S.H.I.E.L.D. Stark and the Widow were making quick work of the guards until Tepania arrived and transformed into Tuatara. Stark donned the Iron Man armor brought by the Widow and engaged Tuatara. The battle seemed to be a stalemate, with Iron Man unable to seriously injure Tuatara and lacking confidence against her due to his time as her prisoner. The stalemate was broken when Iron Man blasted her with tight beam sonics. Tuatara screamed in pain, and Iron Man's confidence returned. Seeing that the battle was lost, Tuatara burrowed away into the ground after ordering the destruction of all the records of her employer's involvement.

Comments: Created by Kurt Busiek & Richard Howell (writers), Patrick Zircher (pencils), Jon Holdredge (inks).

Tuatara's employer was revealed to be the Mandarin in Iron Man III#9. Tuatara is still alive, and Tony Stark has said that he wants a chance to finish his batttle with her. Sounds like a rematch should be in the works!

A Tuatara is the only surviving rhynchocephalian (a family of snout-nosed reptiles, the only remaining members of a family separate from snakes, lizards, crocodiles/alligators, and the other divisions of reptiles) They are native to islands off the coast of New Zealand. I thought I remembered reading from my "Safari Cards" when I was a kid, that they were the oldest surviving type of reptile, period ---Snood.

Profile by Chuck D

Tuatara has no known connections to

images: (without ads)
Iron Man III#6, p15&16 (main image)
Iron Man III#6, p10, pan3,4 (introducing herself to Tony)

Iron Man III#6 (July, 1998) - Kurt Busiek & Richard Howell (writers), Patrick Zircher (pencils), Jon Holdredge (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)

Last updated: 11/06/15

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