Zarda, more commonly known as Power Princess, is a fictional comic book character appearing in books published by Marvel Comics. Two different versions of the character have appeared in two separate continuities.
|Marvel Comics Alternate Universes|
|Marvel stories take place primarily in a mainstream continuity called the Marvel Universe. Some stories are set in various parallel, or alternate, realities, called the Marvel Multiverse.
The Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe: Alternate Worlds 2005 designates the mainstream continuity as "Earth-616", and assigns other Earth numbers to each specific alternate reality.
In this article the following characters, or teams, and realities are referred to:
The more traditional one resides on Earth-712 (not the traditional Marvel Universe Earth-616 which is populated by classic Spider-Man, the original version of the Fantastic Four, etc.) and is a member of the superhero group, the Squadron Supreme. More recently, she has also joined the Exiles. Her character was originally developed as a thinly disguised analog of DC Comics' Wonder Woman.
Since the debut of Marvel's MAX title Supreme Power, the Squadron Supreme characters have been reintroduced in a new, previously unexplored continuity (an alternate universe later designated as Earth-31916). The Supreme Power continuity has a version of Power Princess as well.
Power Princess: Squadron Supreme
|First appearance||Defenders #112 (October, 1982)|
|Created by||J. M. DeMatteis (writer), Don Perlin (artist)|
|Alter ego||Zarda Shelton|
|Place of origin||Earth-712|
|Team affiliations||Squadron Supreme
|Notable aliases||Claire Debussy|
|Abilities||Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability, agility, reflexes
Experienced armed and unarmed combatant
Fictional character biography
Princess Zarda of Earth-712 lived on Utopia Isle, a small island in the southern sea, untouched by outside civilization. The Utopians believe themselves to be the result of genetic experimentation conducted upon Homo sapiens by the alien Kree; they are, indeed, the equivalent on the Squadron's Earth of the Inhumans. While the rest of Homo sapiens were making flint spearheads, the Utopians developed an advanced culture based on peace, fellowship and experience or learning. On their little island community, people knew no poverty, injustice, war, crime, or sexual discrimination. After the outside world made the first atom bomb, the Utopians believed their way of life was in jeopardy. Building a starship, they left Earth to find a new home. Princess Zarda chose to remain behind as their sole emissary to the earth, a role she had assumed some years earlier as Power Princess. During this time, she was a member of the World War II team known as the Golden Agency, along with fellow members American Eagle and Professor Imam, the Sorcerer Supreme of the Squadron's Earth.
Living in Capitol City, she became the common-law wife of Howard Shelton, a sailor whom she met during "the war". Howard was the sole survivor of a sinking ship and the first outsider Zarda met. Howard aged normally while Zarda appears to be the same age as she was when they met, 50–60 years earlier.
As a member of the Squadron Supreme, Zarda became brainwashed by the Overmind. She battled the Defenders, but was cured. She then battled the Overmind and Null, the Living Darkness alongside the Defenders.
To prevent such a thing from happening again, she resolved with the Squadron to assume control of the government of the United States of her world. With the Squadron, she battled the Institute of Evil. For a time, the Hyperion of Earth-616 masqueraded as his Squadron Supreme counterpart and developed an attraction to Zarda. Disgusted that she was already committed to the elderly Shelton, the villainous Hyperion suffocated Shelton and began romancing Zarda. Upon the return of the Earth-712 Hyperion, the truth was revealed and the impostor was destroyed. Although initially confused about her feelings for her teammate, Zarda and Hyperion eventually began a romantic relationship. Zarda then assumed leadership of the Squadron. Zarda participated in the final battled between Nighthawk, who had turned against the Squadron, and his Redeemers. She then disbanded the Squadron.
Defending the Earth-712 against an attack by the Nth Man, Power Princess and the Squadron Supreme were stranded on Earth-616. They encountered Quasar, and relocated to Project Pegasus. Power Princess was among the Earth heroes trying to save New York City from Eon's dying body. Some time later, with the help of the Avengers, the Squadron Supreme were returned to Earth-712.[volume & issue needed]
When Proteus, the Exiles' archenemy, showed up one day, he tricked the Squadron Supreme into battling the Exiles. While the Exiles were distracted, Proteus fled to another reality.[volume & issue needed] When Hyperion decided to join the Exiles, Power Princess stopped him, saying that Hyperion is needed in his own world. Power Princess then left with the Exiles to catch Proteus, despite the objections of Blink.[volume & issue needed] However, under her guidance and direction, the Exiles came the closest they have ever been to beating Proteus. When she threw one of the blades of Longshot, she missed Proteus and hit the Maestro instead, setting him off. The Maestro fought the Exiles, and then Proteus fought Maestro. Proteus took the body of Morph and fled, despite Zarda's plan she considered foolproof.[volume & issue needed] After finally defeating Proteus by trapping him in Morph's body, Power Princess remained an Exile to continue fixing damaged realities.[volume & issue needed] She also suggested that Blink bury Mimic in his home reality.[volume & issue needed] Otherwise Blink would have buried him in the desert of Panoptichron. Power Princess left the team to return to the Squadron Supreme, making her the first member to voluntarily quit the Exiles. She was replaced by Psylocke.[volume & issue needed]
Powers and abilities
According to the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, Zarda possesses superhuman strength, as well as superhuman agility, extremely retarded aging (though in the Exiles series, she states that she does not age at all), and superhuman durability that falls just short of making her bulletproof. This durability was sufficient enough to take blows from the likes of Redstone, though a shockwave produced by Redstone stomping the ground did scramble her insides for a short period and prevented her from standing. Power Princess also proved resilient enough to withstand three of Hyperion's blows that were redirected toward her by Inertia before being rendered unconscious. Zarda is also able to fly, presumably through psionic levitation. In addition to her superhuman abilities, Zarda carries a transparent shield of Utopian design that can block attacks up to tank shells and can be used to redirect energy. In addition, Zarda can throw the shield in a similar manner to Captain America, but given her superior strength, its edges are able to slice through metals.
Power Princess has extensive experience in hand-to-hand combat (according to her, she has over five centuries of combat experience[volume & issue needed]), and is skilled in discus throwing. She has undergone advanced graduate level studies in both Utopia Isle and Cosmopolis.
The Utopians are an experiment by the alien Kree of the Earth-Squadron's dimension to produce a genetically superior breed of human being. On the mainstream Earth, this genetic offshoot became known as the Inhumans following the use of the Terrigen Mist upon the populace. On Earth-Squadron, the Utopians never discovered the Terrigen Mist.
Power Princess: Supreme Power
Power Princess in Ultimate Hulk Annual #1, December 2008
Art by Marko Djurdjevic & Danny Miki.
|First appearance||Supreme Power #2 (November, 2003).|
|Created by||J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Gary Frank (artist)|
|Alter ego||Princess Zarda|
|Team affiliations||Supreme Power
|Notable aliases||Claire Debussy, Princess of Power|
|Abilities||Above normal intelligence, superhuman strength, speed, flight, stamina, durability, agility and reflexes, life-force absorption and transference, extensive experience in hand-to-hand combat|
The new Princess debuted in Supreme Power #2. Apparently a Greek goddess who slept in a mausoleum for millennia, at one point she wakes up and finds the injured Hyperion, healing him. She alludes to having similar origins to Hyperion (they are both aliens) and a mission to colonize and conquer the planet, but she is quite erratic, confusing her memories with allegory.
After separating, Zarda goes on a rampage, disregarding human life and private property. She attempted to remove Doctor Spectrum's power prism but the crystal's intellect contacted her. It informed her that she was "broken" in some way (apparently referring to her seeming insanity) and that it could not fix her despite her request to do so. She then was attacked by Amphibian in retaliation for harming Spectrum. It is indicated that both Doc Spectrum and Zarda have energy halos around them that bear an obvious resemblance to alien beings (Spectrum only exhibits this when the prism crystal takes control of him, revealing its origin and intelligence). Doc Spectrum subsequently has no memory of the exchange, revealing further that his prism has the ability to control him when it wants to. Later, Zarda kills a woman and steals her identification in hopes of starting anew, while working in a women's clothing store.
After that she made herself known to the federal government of the United States, as Claire Debussy (it is implied that Zarda murdered the real Claire Debussy and assumed her identity, as a scorch mark in the shape of a young human female is seen on a wall overlooking a pile of ash in her apartment.) But running her background down is hard. She said that her codename is Zarda, but at her power level the government did not push it. Later a liaison officer asks her to fill in some identification and non-disclosure forms, but Zarda lies to the officer, saying she can not remember details due to an "accident". After General Richard Alexander asks why she calls herself Zarda, thinking it to be an old nickname, he informs her that focus groups came up with Power Princess. After he asked her what she thought about the name, she said Princess of Power would be better, but the General said that it was already copyrighted (referring to She-Ra: Princess of Power, a cartoon related to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe).[volume & issue needed]
An African general named John M'Butu, a fast-rising tribal leader gifted with a powerful psychic suggestion ability and calling himself the Voice, is leading a genocidal campaign in the Salawe region of Uganda. The US government identifies him as a superhuman after he survives an assassination attempt. The team is sent to the region to assassinate him, but early in the fight, Hyperion, Doctor Spectrum and Amphibian are affected by M'Butu's power to control anyone who hears his voice. M'Butu commands the trio to hunt down their comrades. Zarda immediately notices that there is another voice in Hyperion's head and not the One True Voice. Zarda manages to free Doctor Spectrum by calling to the voice within the Power Prism, which takes control of Spectrum, and frees Hyperion.[volume & issue needed]
Later the Squadron are then ordered to take down insurgents in Ilam Province in Iran, an operation called "Long Walk". Zarda goes on a killing rampage. After Stanley Stewart sees her killing three unarmed soldiers, calling them harmless, Zarda says "Harmless, yes, for that minute. Now they are harmless tomorrow". After seeing Inertia help a little girl find and kill four men of her tribe who stoned her mother and older sisters to death after they were raped by insurgents, Zarda said Inertia is now like her.[volume & issue needed]
Hyperion gives a press conference in Los Angeles of the "Long Walk" mission, during which he is confronted by Redstone. During their fight, Zarda intervenes, beating Redstone badly, but stops short of killing him when Hyperion has her fly Redstone's nuclear warhead into the stratosphere to prevent it from detonating in Los Angeles. She even survives the direct nuclear blast, something Hyperion obviously would not survive so easily.[volume & issue needed]
The Squadron Supreme invade the Ultimate universe after their world is devastated by a threat that originated there.[volume & issue needed] At the resolution of this conflict, Zarda decides to remain in the Ultimate universe to keep an eye on things.
Later she fights and easily beats the Ultimate Universe's equivalent of the Wrecking Crew as well as the Hulk. After the short battle with the Hulk, she and the Hulk have sex. She also contemplates how the local heroes keep her from simply killing those who annoy her. She recalls how she often goes naked in her homeworld, not seeing a need to cover up her own beauty.
During the Secret Wars storyline, Zarda is shown to live in the Supremia Province in Battleworld. She is later killed during a battle with Squadron Sinister of Utopolis during an invasion on the Supremia Province when Doctor Spectrum incinerates to ashes with energy.
Powers and abilities
In addition to similar physical abilities she shares with Hyperion, such as supersonic flight, super-strength, greatly enhanced reflexes, superhuman senses and nigh-invulnerability, her powers also include some life-force based healing abilities; Zarda's first appearance is as an extremely aged crone. After killing a man that sees her, she then appears as her current form of a youthful woman. Twice in the series, after noticing a gray hair or a scratch from a fight, she kills a human female, somehow absorbing her life energy, thus removing her "imperfection". On the opposite end of the scale, she used a similar life force transfer to heal Hyperion when he received life-threatening injuries through a simultaneous ground zero detonation of 20 'daisy cutter' bombs, each with an explosive yield of 1 kiloton. While it is possible to hurt her, as shown when the superhuman strong Kingsley Rice cut her, she apparently even survived a direct nuclear explosion through a combination of her nigh-invulnerability and her life-force transference capabilities. While it is safe to say that she is able to drain almost any living being it still has to be revealed if she is able to use her life-force transference capabilities to heal a normal human or any other being besides herself and Hyperion. Like Hyperion she is able to survive the vacuum of space unaided for a considerable time, enabling at least interplanetary travel via her flight capabilities.
In other media
- Power Princess (alongside the Squadron Supreme) appears in The Super Hero Squad Show episode "Whom Continuity Would Destroy", voiced by Susan Eisenberg. This version possesses telekinetic powers.
- Power Princess (referred to as Zarda) appears in Avengers Assemble, voiced by April Stewart. In the episode "Hyperion," Zarda is only seen in flashbacks as well as memorial statue in Hyperion's lair. In the episode "Dark Avengers," Zarda later appears in person with the rest of the Squadron. In the episode "Secret Avengers," Zarda fights Crimson Dynamo for the keys to a specific power source only to be repelled by Captain America, Black Widow, Falcon, and Hulk. In the episode "Midgard Crisis," Zarda amplifies the zoo animals in order to get close to the Avengers claiming that she's trying to switch sides. When Thor finds Zarda on her island, she puts him through her training process where she creates different lifeforms like a dragon and some Rock Trolls. Unbeknownst to Thor, their training is causing tidal waves that threatened Manhattan. When Hulk arrives upon hitching a ride on Mjolnir, he tries to help Thor only to be amplified into a monstrous form by Zarda. Thor manages to help Hulk regain control as he regresses back to normal. Upon the arrival of the other Avengers, Zarda escapes. Upon meeting up with Nighthawk, Zarda tells him that she was wrong about swaying a member of the Avengers to their side. In the episode "Avengers' Last Stand," Zarda joins the Squadron Supreme into enacting Nighthawk's plot against the Avengers.
- Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: A-Z Update (2006)
- Squadron Supreme #1 (1985)
- Squadron Supreme #1 (1985)
- DeFalco, Tom (2006). The Marvel Encyclopedia. Dorling Kindersley. p. 226. ISBN 978-0-7566-2358-6.
- Defenders #112
- Squadron Supreme #1 (September 1985)
- Squadron Supreme #5
- Squadron Supreme #7
- Squadron Supreme #8
- Squadron Supreme #12 (August 1986)
- Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe graphic novel (1989)
- Quasar #13
- Quasar #27
- Exiles #90
- J. Michael Straczynski (w), Gary Frank (p), Jonathan Sibal (i). Supreme Power #10-11. Marvel Comics.
- J. Michael Straczynski (w), Gary Frank (p), Jonathan Siba] (i). Supreme Power #12 Marvel Comics
- J. Michael Straczynski (w), Gary Frank (p), Jonathan Sibal (i). Supreme Power #15-16. Marvel Comics.
- J. Michael Straczynski (w), Gary Frank (p), Jonathan Sibal (i). Supreme Power #16. Marvel Comics.
- Ultimate Power #9. Marvel Comics
- Jeph Loeb (w), Marko Djurdjevic and Ed McGuinness (a). Ultimate Hulk Annual. Marvel Comics
- Squadron Sinister #1
- J. Michael Straczynski. Supreme Power #10 Marvel Comics.
- J. Michael Straczynski (w), Gary Frank (p), Jonathan Sibal (i). Supreme Power #17 Marvel Comics.
- "The Dark Avengers". Avengers Assemble. Season 2. Episode 9. February 1, 2015. Disney XD.
- Power Princess at Marvel.com