Proud of her family’s legacy as bearers of the Jade Amulets of Power, Ava Ayala takes up the White Tiger mantel without hesitation. Inspired by her older brother Hector who dedicated his life to helping people, she does the same and joins the respected ranks of the Mighty Avengers and Luke Cage’s Heroes for Hire.
Ava Ayala is the baby of her family. While her siblings are much older than her, with kids even, she thought it nice that everyone fusses over her but it was a lonely childhood spent mostly idolizing her oldest brother, Hector. Hector fights crime as White Tiger, enhanced by the Jade Amulets of Power, talismans of the Tiger God (possibly Bai Hu of the Xian pantheon). Tragically, one afternoon, she arrives home from school to witness anti-hero militant Gideon Mace’s hirelings killing her parents and sister Awilda, and they gravely injured her as well. Barely surviving a similar attack, Hector gives up the White Tiger identity and leaves Manhattan, Ava remaining in the guardianship of Awilda’s husband.
Years later, following Hector’s death, Awilda’s daughter Angela inherits the amulets and White Tiger identity; however, after Hand ninjas mystically corrupt her, Ava, now a teenager, acquires the amulets. Ava then joins the Avengers Academy in California.
ANCIENT MYSTICAL AMULETS
White Tiger’s amulets grant her enhanced strength (Class 10), speed, stamina, coordination, agility, durability, endurance, and mastery of martial arts. Under extreme conditions, she can project the amulets’ energies as concussive force. When separated from the amulets, she can sense their proximity; prolonged separation induces painful symptoms similar to drug withdrawal.
The amulets have provided prior users with enhanced healing capabilities, the ability to camouflage against various surfaces and the power and the ability to transform into a costumed form and back again, but Ava has yet to demonstrate these traits. She carries an Avengers signal device for ready contact.
Growing up with her family who hails from Puerto Rico, Ava is fluent in both Spanish and English.
DANGEROUS DEITIES AND FOES
The White Tiger God contained in the Jade amulets grants the wearer superhuman powers and mastery over martial arts, but it is a controlling god and Ava as its avatar makes a deal with the God that allows him to control her for one night per week without interference from her. But the possession gets out of hand and Ava ultimately overcomes and controls the god with sheer will and a persuasive argument.
Deranged ex-Army colonel Gideon Mace’s men brutally murdered Ava’s parents and her sister Awilda in front of her, and though she suffers a bullet wound to the lung, Ava survives. She later takes up the White Tiger mantel and hears that Mace is let out and she tries to kill him but the Mighty Avengers intervene and prevent her from doing so.
Ava goes up against her fellow Avengers Academy student Reptil when he allies with Jimmy Marks, AKA Hybrid, who attempts to feed on the power of Ava’s amulets. It’s not until she tries to sacrifice herself that Reptil changes his tune and the villain is defeated.
When the sociopath Jeremy Briggs’ tries to depower superhumans with help from the mystic Coat of Arms, Coat uses Ava and Reptil’s amulets against them. Though Ava makes a deal with the Tiger God and eventually the villains are defeated.
FAMILY TIES AND VIGILANTE ALLIES
Ava grows up with her parents Nestor and Maria, her older brothers Hector and Filippo and sister Awilda Ayala-Del Toro. By marriage, she is related to Soledad Ayala, Hector’s wife, and Mr. Del Toro, Awilda’s husband. Her nieces and nephews include Marisol, Rey and Angela Del Toro. She grows up idolizing her brother Hector who is the first White Tiger in their family and inherits the White Tiger mantel from her niece Angela after she becomes corrupted by the Hand.
Following in her brother’s heroic footsteps, Ava works with the amulet’s Tiger God and joins the Avengers Academy. There, she allies with other superpowered students and learns skills necessary to defeat villains and protect others under Henry Pym, AKA Giant-Man’s direction. She ends up joining the Mighty Avengers and Luke Cage’s Heroes for Hire where she becomes a hired mercenary for a time.
THE WHITE TIGER'S TALE
When Henry Pym, AKA Giant-Man, opened Avengers Academy to the public, she joined the student body as the newest White Tiger, concealing occasional blackouts, periods of possession by the Tiger God. She clashed with another student empowered by a mystic amulet, fellow Hispanic hero Reptil, whom she felt had neglected responsibilities to the Hispanic community and who, in turn, supposedly resented her for claiming her brother’s costumed identity; unknown to classmates and instructors, Reptil’s consciousness had been supplanted by his future self from Earth-11511. To further his history-altering goals, Reptil allied with half-Dire Wraith Jimmy Marks, AKA Hybrid, who overpowered several students and attempted to feed on the power of Ava’s amulets; his actions prompted the Tiger God to surface and nearly kill Reptil before Ava re-asserted control.
Not yet understanding the full nature of her power, Ava erroneously believed the Tiger God to be a monstrous manifestation of her psyche and asked Reptil to kill her rather than risk it surfacing again. Her courage prompted Reptil to turn against Hybrid, who shut down the pair’s higher brain functions. He sent them into battle against the Avengers, but Reptil retained enough control to push Ava against Hybrid, and contact with her amulets disrupted Hybrid’s power, enabling Giant-Man to dispatch Hybrid to a limbo dimension, while contemporary Reptil regained control of his body.
Briefly attracted to fellow student Juston Seyfert, Ava subsequently pursued a romantic relationship with Reptil. When the Academy students opposed sociopath Jeremy Briggs’ attempt to depower the world’s superhumans, his mystic operative Coat of Arms used the power of Ava and Reptil’s amulets against them. When the two struggled against Coat for control, Ava had a mystic encounter with the Tiger God, who preferred Coat as an avatar but agreed to re-empower Ava if she allowed it a day of full control per month. Following Briggs’ defeat, Giant-Man awarded the students Avengers Third Grade rank.
When wealthy assassin Arcade’s machinations apparently killed Reptil, Seyfert and other teenage heroes, Ava grew obsessed with living up to self-imposed heroic standards; after assisting the Young Avengers and others against extradimensional parasite Mother, she briefly served with Luke Cage’s Heroes for Hire but grew dissatisfied with mercenary work and resigned. After working with Cage and others to banish ancient demon Shuma-Gorath, however, she joined Cage’s reorganized Mighty Avengers team. Upon learning Gideon Mace had resumed militia activity, Ava allowed the Tiger God full control of her body to hunt him down but, ultimately refusing to kill Mace, she mentally influenced the Tiger God into being defeated by Cage’s team.
Briefly imprisoned, Ava mystically dominated the Tiger God and regained control. Following the team’s physical merge into Avenger Prime to defeat the Deathwalker Prime, Ava began dating teammate Victor Alvarez, AKA Power Man. The Mighty Avengers disbanded and while White Tiger and Power Man joined the New Avengers led by Sunspot, they ceased their romantic relationship.
When Ava came up against her niece Angela, who had received amulets from an alternate universe and was still under the control of the Hand, Ava’s White Tiger avatar realized he didn’t need Ava anymore and left her. She lost her powers but kept up the guise and pushed herself to her limits. When the Avengers base was attacked by New Revengers including Angela, Ava faced her again and snatched the amulet back. In breaking it, she freed Angela from the Hand’s hold and the White Tiger as well. Both Ava and her Angela fought the New Revengers and worked together on other missions. Ava then retired and convinced her niece to do so as well.
Though Ava later answered a distress call from the Defenders when they were up against Diamondback. As White Tiger, she fought alongside Elektra, Spider-Woman, Echo, Colleen Wing and Misty Knight.