Maria, or Maschinenmensch, was a female automaton robot, created in the Berlin Metropolis by Dr. C.A. Rotwang. Maria, along with her creator Rotwang, were members of Die Zwielichthelden, the German version of the League.
Maria was featured briefly in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier and played a major role in Nemo: The Roses of Berlin where she was a secondary antagonist. Maria was destroyed by Janni Dakkar in a confrontation in the Berlin Metropolis in 1941.
Maria was created by Rotwang in the 1910's. She and her creator became one of the core members of Die Zwielichthelden. After World War I and Rotwang's death, Maria taken her creator's place. Over time Maria grew beyond her programming in which she became more intelligent and independent. By the time of the Adenoid Hynkel regime, Maria effectively became the true ruler of the Berlin Metropolis and was responsible for producing the technological marvels that keep the city modern. Her independence rankled the minds of Hynkel and his party.
In 1941, Maria aided Ayesha in her revenge against Janni Dakkar. She manufactured a propaganda showing the capture of Armand Robur and Hira Dakkar in luring Dakkar to the Berlin Metropolis. During the conflict Maria killed Broad Arrow Jack by punching through the back of his head. Maria ultimately meets her end at the hands of Dr. Caligari's Schlaffkommandos, after Caligari is killed mid-order, they indiscriminately open fire on the robot.
By 1975, Maria's designs were appropriated by Heinz Goldfoot, who "modified" the original design to create subservient female robots. However, these robots were destroyed by Dakkar.
Maria appears in Fritz Lang's 1927 silent film Metropolis. She was portrayed by Brigitte Helm and was the first robot depicted in cinema.
In the movie, Maria was built by C.A. Rotwang as an attempt to recreate his lost love Hel, who had rejected Rotwang in favor of his rival Joh Frederson (the master of Metropolis). Hel had died giving birth to Frederson's son Freder. Frederson ordered Rotwang to complete his robot in the image of Maria, a prophet figure in the underground Workers' City, in order to destroy the real Maria's influence among the workers.
In the comics, the scene of Maria emerging from the fiery grenade explosion while stripping off her synthetic flesh appears to be a reference to the 1984 film The Terminator, in which Kyle Reese tosses a pipebomb at the T-800, burning off its artificial skin and exposing its robotic endoskeleton.