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.
In June of 2012, Maryann graduated with the USAES Class of 2012 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 identical powers to Tom Sloane (Kryptonian-level/form abilities, but she can only use one ability at a time). Her powers differ 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' in various 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 'power bleedover', 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). Her energy blast is roughly as powerful as David Allen'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 beam 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 weaken when her access to solar energy is blocked. (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 drain her of her powers, but cause her extreme neurological pain. In such cases, it takes thirty seconds of solar exposure to restore her powers.
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 does not have advanced martial arts or hand-to-hand combat skills, but has been instead extensively trained in the art of knife-fighting (particularly with daggers and combat or trench knives). Maryann will ALWAYS have a knife of some sort on her person.
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 and dance squads.
Maryann is 5'8 in height and very physically fit (she is an avid long-distance runner), with grey eyes, wheat-colored hair that is naturally wavy, and which she prefers cut short. (Because of her level of fitness, she is the moat 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 menner, 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. Maryann is also a member of the USAES Quidditch team (as one of the Chasers), and plays on a LeMond Switch Tree Mark 50 racing broom. 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 spent the remainder of her year 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 for the funeral of Professor Richard Hiram Blumenberg, she was allowed to wear her active-duty U.S. Army dress uniform and beret as a sign of respect (as the other members of The Alliance were also allowed to wear active-duty attire; Julia Carlyle wore civilian clothing and her provisional F.B.I. Special Agent badge with a black band around it).
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. 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 that year, Maryann was also allowed to travel aboard the USS George Hammond (a Dadelus-class starship) during a familiarization cruise for Project Starseed personnel.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; as a gift upon Maryann's acceptance into the Elite Academy, Sherrie Klein crafted two Marine Corps-style knives from Secondary Adamantium and presented them to her. In combat, Maryann will always carry one of the blades with her.