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Real Name: Carol [Redacted]
Height: 5’1”
Weight: 375 lbs.
Featured In: Skullgirls
Voiced By:
Danielle McRae

There is much in the ways of horror that are the result of mankind’s machinations. From the purposeful to the unintended, it has been shown time and time again that there are no greater monsters in the world than those crafted by human hands. Some were made to prove that nothing is beyond mankind’s capabilities. Some are created simply because of a domino effect that, once started, could not be stopped until the entire world crumbled. Then, there are those like Painwheel who are crafted purposefully for one sole thing.


War against something that no solitary human had yet been able to overcome, a creation beyond the ordinary world whose entire purpose is its complete and utter ruination. They call it the Skull Heart and as its name might imply, it appears as a seemingly ordinary skull crafted in the shape of a heart but it is so much more than that. An artifact made by the hands of beings akin to gods, the Skull Heart’s sole purpose is to find for itself a maiden and bestow upon her a wish. A wish that the Skull Heart twists into a nightmare by turning that fair maiden into a creature known simply as the Skullgirl, a pseudo-undead entity who can command entire legions of the dead and craft monstrosities of bone at the slightest whim.

Every Skullgirl is different with some having been noted to fight off the effects of the Skull Heart enough to focus their inhuman might to those who’ve earned it but in the end, it does not matter. Each and every Skullgirl eventually succumbs to the Skull Heart and begins a rampage the likes of which can take entire armies to stop.

At least, it used to…

For you see dear readers, there are some who are capable of fighting the Skullgirl due not solely to their own prowess, though a good number are exceptional fighters in their own regard, but thanks to that which they carry. Parasites are the simple name for them, creatures as old as time itself and each holding a great power with an equally great price to their hosts. These Parasites though are exceptionally rare in this modern era and even their hosts can barely control.

Thus the Anti Skullgirl Labs managed to find a solution; the creation of robotic systems that are, for all intents and purposes, artificial Parasites. Some labs, like Lab 8, found proper hosts in those who needed it, such as a young girl mutilated by a crime family simply for being in the wrong place and the wrong time or a police officer doing his civic duty and paying for it with life and limb. Yet… there is one lab that holds no such thing as humanity or decency.

Lab Zero.

Headed by the mysterious and malignant “Brain Drain,” Lab Zero purposefully kidnapped Carol from her home to use as the ultimate weapon against the Skullgirl. Carol, before her kidnapping, was a plain and rather ordinary girl. She liked gardening and had dreams of growing up to be a florist and sharing long walks on a sunset beach. Then she was taken by an employee of Lab Zero, the nurse-assassin codenamed: Valentine and turned into the abomination of science known simply as Painwheel.

The fact that Carol even survived the procedure is a miracle unto itself because she bears not one but two Synthetic Parasites in her body. That alone should have been enough to kill her but with her blood being replaced by those of previous Skullgirls… Frankly, I’m surprised that she hadn’t gone on a murderous rampage throughout Lab Zero the instant she awoke. Their hold, or rather Brain Drain’s, on her is tenuous at best and throughout her storyline her one and only goal is to find the Skull Heart and, initially, use its powers to give her back the life she had.

The two Synthetic Parasites that Painwheel possesses are the “Buer Drive” and the “Gae Bolga Matrix.” The Buer Drive, named after the demon whose combative mobility was unmatched, is a segment spine-like cord attached to the middle of her back and grafted into the center of her spine. The Buer Drive carries four large blades that Painwheel can spin at incredible speeds and can move about like a fifth limb.

The Gae Bolga Matrix, named after the Irish spear Gáe Bulg that translates as “Spear of Mortal Pain/Death Spear,” has no known form but its function is plain as the mask stitched onto Painwheel’s face. Upon activation, the Gae Bolg Matrix creates large organic needles that pierce out from Painwheel’s skin, most commonly through her fingers, hands, and feet. The only reason that Painwheel is able to endure the agony of this particular Synthetic Parasite is because of the Skullgirl blood running in her veins.

Depending on which character you play, Painwheel has multiple endings with only a select few truly being happy ones but I’ll not spoil any of them to those who’ve yet to play the game. I will say however that if you haven’t at least heard of the game Skullgirls then I recommend that you look it up posthaste. It is an intriguing and rather refreshing video game that dotes on the classic style of two-dimensional fighting games with an art and music style reminiscent of classic cartoons of yester year with stories that are all uniquely horrific to every character.

Or tragic as the case sometimes is…