One of the most iconic—and now, sadly, controversial—of Fission Girl’s companions, “Faithful Maid Marie” was named after one of the other great female physicists of history, Madame Curie. Unlike other members of the cast such as Flash Nebraska and the Grey Admiral, Marie accompanied Fission Girl on all of her adventures right from the very first episode, 1A: “The Northern Lights of Doom.” Indeed, Fission Rangers are actually called to aid Marie, not the Half-Life Heroine herself, slightly more times throughout the series—on 207 vs.193 occasions, to be precise. For this reason, although never featured on any Fission Girl merchandise, Faithful Maid Marie has always been a fan favorite.
In particular, Faithful Maid Marie was often the focus of amateur stories written about the series, known colloquially as “follower-fables”. This particular form of fiction is shared through fanzines and distributed at Fission Ranger Meet-Ups, and has proven especially popular with adult women followers of the series. (Fission Girls cannot claim credit for inventing this mode of entertainment, however, as the first “follower-fables” were written by devoted watchers of the hit TV series Star Roads.) One of the most popular “crossings” involves pairing Faithful Maid Marie with the dashing space sheriff, Flash Nebraska; more scandalously, Marie is sometimes depicted as being the secret lover of Fission Girl herself.
With such an elaborate, if unofficial, canon previously established, it was to mixed reviews that Faithful Maid Marie was finally confirmed to be a robot maid—and not, as many had previously assumed, a human companion. Fission Girl writers claim that Marie was intended to be a robot from the beginning of the series, and there are indeed certain incidents that only make sense in that light, such as when Marie successfully rescues Fission Girl from the acid-dripping jaws of a Mutant Mantis without suffering any burns herself, or when Fission Girl uses a tube of hydro-cement, not bactine, to treat a wound on Marie’s arm.
Yet a number of followers claim that the writers retroactively made Marie a robot for political, rather than fictional, purposes. It is true that Marie’s robotic status wasn’t emphasized until quite late in the series, just as the Robot Personhood movement was becoming national news. In fact, there were so many complaints about the increasingly blatantly pro-robot storylines that Gamma Rad Studios intervened with the show’s production. It is unclear if Kirby Neil, creator and head writer of the series since its inception, was forced to step down or chose to resign, as he refuses to speak to the media. Neil was replaced by the CEO of Gamma Rad Studios, Will Fallar.
Since Neil was replaced, Faithful Maid Marie has not appeared in any subsequent episodes and, indeed, seems to have been excised from many of the previous episodes as well, save where her presence is absolutely necessary for plot purposes. Fan outrage has been the result, and sales of Fission Girl merchandise—Gamma Rad Studios’ bread and butter—have fallen steeply. Many fans have called for boycotting Gamma Rad Studio shows altogether, threatening not only the continued existence of Fission Girl but other popular broadcasts such as “Beyond Reason,” “Devil Detective,” “Stories from the Black Swamp,” and “Flash Nebraska.”
It appears that Fission Girl and her friends may not be able to survive without Faithful Maid Marie. But can the Fission Rangers successfully campaign to have Marie reinstated? Stay tuned to discover the Half-Life Heroine’s fate…