Months later, a vengeful Johnson—now going by Deadly Nightshade—used her mesmerizing powers to take over the male agents at the S.H.I.E.L.D. base where the Falcon had been taken to be deprogrammed after the Red Skull had brainwashed him. When Captain America visited his friend, Nightshade tried to control him too, and when he proved resistant, she turned the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents on him. However, female agent Valentina de Fontaine realized Nightshade’s hypnosis could be dispelled by sunlight, and told Captain America and Falcon to lure their pursuers into the base’s solarium. Deprived of her lackeys, Deadly Nightshade was easily captured.
After escaping, Nightshade schemed to take over the mob using robotic “Cybernauts.” Starting her plan in Harlem, she used the robotic businessman R.U. Rossum as her front, pretending to be his girlfriend before unleashing her Cybernauts on the neighborhood. They soon took over the protection rackets, driving out the local gangs and the Maggia. Unable to stop them, the police enlisted the aid of Power Man, Iron Fist, and Misty Knight in identifying the robot’s controller. After Knight and Cage discovered her first base, Nightshade evacuated to the South Bronx, putting her plans for a New York takeover on hold while she developed a more powerful generation of Cybernauts, but the heroes tracked her down again. Correctly deducing Rossum’s true nature, they destroyed him and captured Nightshade.
After escaping again, Nightshade learned that a new experimental computer circuit (which could override other systems) was being transported across the country. Aware it would be heavily guarded, she used her “helpless girl” act to trick the Hulk into stealing it for her. However, Power Man and Iron Fist—who had been hired to guard the circuit—and Machine Man tracked down the Hulk and then Nightshade. Outnumbered, the villain abandoned the circuit and ran, but the Hulk, convinced by his Defenders teammate and friend Power Man that he had been duped, soon caught up with her. He destroyed her car before leaving her for the arriving police.
After lowering her criminal aims, Nightshade plotted to rob Manhattan’s Society Debutante Cotillion with the willing aid of Man-Mountain Marko, the Eel, and the mesmerized help of Stiletto and Discus. Unfortunately for the criminals, Power Man and Iron Fist were escorting Millie Hogarth to the ball as a favor to her father, and soon defeated the villains while Nightshade, humiliatingly, was knocked out by a single blow from Millie.
When Nightshade falsely claimed that she had obtained a doctorate while in prison, she fell into the service of the militant feminist Superia, who was impressed by her scientific achievements. Superia intended to initiate the Earth-715 future timeline of Thundra, where women ruled a world of male slaves. Nightshade became her second-in-command, and gathered an army of female Super Villains on a cruise ship to Superia’s island, Femizonia. There, she secretly indoctrinated the villains into supporting Superia’s cause.
Captain America and Paladin located the ship while hunting for Diamondback (Rachel Leighton), but were captured and delivered to Superia. Believing Captain America to be a paramount threat to their plans, Nightshade felt he should be killed, but Superia overruled her, preferring to test her new feminization process on the captive. When Captain America tried to escape, Johnson was about to shoot him when Diamondback’s ally Asp—uncomfortable with Superia’s plans—knocked her out, allowing Cap to flee.