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|Publisher||Marvel/Epic, First, Malibu/Bravura|
|First appearance||Dreadstar #1 (November 1982)|
|Created by||Jim Starlin|
|Abilities||Cybernetic telepathy (ability to control and "read" computers)|
Willow is a fictional character in the comics space opera Dreadstar, created by American artist Jim Starlin. She was introduced in the first issue of Dreadstar's regular series and had her origin told in issue 2.
Willow is a cybernetic telepath, a rare kind of telepath who has the ability of sensing and commanding computers and robotic devices as well as sentient minds. She used a "seeing-eye monk" named Rainbow as her eyes as she could telepathically see what the monkey saw.
As first seen in Dreadstar #1, Willow was part of a team informally known as "Dreadstar and Company," spearheaded by Vanth Dreadstar and Syzygy Darklock and composed also of the catman Oedi. Soon the low-brow merchant alien Skeevo would join them. At that point in time their main goal was to defeat Lord Papal and his Church of Instrumentality in order to restore peace to the Empirical Galaxy.
In her origin story in Dreadstar #2 it was revealed that her father had raped her as a child. This rape caused her to continue to see herself as a child even as an adult. While trying to train her in the use of her telepathic powers Syzygy Darklock realized this fact and showed her her inner light in an attempt to try to heal her. However, Willow embraced her inner light too fully too soon and was blinded as a result.
As the story progresses, Willow and her team gain and lose new members and go though a number of great successes and spectacular losses. Jim Starlin (her creator and writer of the series up until #40) put a lot of emphasis on her character, giving her strong emotional issues to deal with (a lost mother, distant father and eventual sexual abuse), involving both her parents as well as Vanth Dreadstar himself (whom she falls in love with, despite not being reciprocated) and a character from her past, Doc Delphi.
Lord Papal is eventually defeated, and they gain a new ally in former foe Ultraviolet. Not all changes are positive however, and Willow eventually chooses to take over the new government's main computer, renouncing her body and leaving a copy of her own personality to travel with her friends to a new galaxy in order to have new adventures.
The fate of the original Willow in her new guise as the sentient government computer is never revealed; her travelling copy, however, eventually decides to take over the soulless body of a later recruit, Iron Angel, initially in order to help against a resurrected Lord Papal. She decides to keep that body and begins to romance Vanth Dreadstar anew. While in Iron Angel's body she becomes pregnant with Vanth's child.
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