Power Princess

Power Princess

Zarda, more commonly known as Power Princess, is a fictional Marvel Comics character. Two different versions of the character appear in two separate (but related) continuities.

Various incarnations of Power Princess

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


caption=Power Princess. Art by Jim Calafiore.
character_name=Power Princess
real_name=Zarda Shelton [Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: A-Z Update (2006)]
publisher=Marvel Comics
debut=Defenders #112 (October, 1982)
creators= J. M. DeMatteis (writer), Don Perlin (artist)
species = Utopians
homeworld = Earth -712
aliases = Claire Debussy
alliances=Squadron Supreme Golden Agency Exiles
Superhuman strength and speed
Does not age
Over 500 years of combat experience|

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; they are, indeed, the equivalent on the Squadron's Earth of the Inhumans ["Squadron Supreme" #1 (1985)] . 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 [Squadron Supreme #1 (1985)] . 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 (mirroring the relationship between Steve Trevor and the golden age Wonder Woman), a sailor whom she met during "the war" (possibly World War II). 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. 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 Sheldon 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 [Squadron Supreme #1 - 12 (September 1985 - August 1986)] .

Defending the Earth-712 against an attack by the Nth Man, Power Princess and the Squadron Supreme were stranded on Earth-616 [Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe (1989)] . During this time they lived at Project Pegasus and became allies of Quasar. Some time later, with the help of the Avengers, the Squadron Supreme were returned to Earth-712.

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. 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. However, under her guidance and direction, the Exiles came the closest they have ever been to beating Proteus. Unfortunately, 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. After finally defeating Proteus by trapping him in Morph's body, Power Princess remained an Exile to continue fixing damaged realities. She also suggested that Blink bury Mimic in his home reality. Otherwise Blink would have buried him in the desert of Panoptichron. Power Princess left the team to return to the Squadron Supreme in Exiles #90, making her the first member to voluntarily quit the Exiles. She was replaced by Psylocke.

Powers and abilities

Power Princess is superhumanly strong and is considered the third strongest super-being on her Earth, with Hyperion and Redstone being first and second, respectively.

She can fly, although her upper limits are not established. She possesses a great deal of physical resiliance and durability: she is able to withstand repeated blows redirected from Hyperion. She carries a shield made of an undisclosed substance which is extremely durable. She sometimes wears a suit of armour to enhance her natural resiliance.

As a Utopian, she ages far more slowly than normal humans.

Power Princess: Supreme Power


caption=Power Princess from Supreme Power. Art by Gary Frank.
character_name=Power Princess
real_name=Princess Zarda
publisher=Marvel Comics
debut="Supreme Power" #2 (November, 2003).
creators= J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Gary Frank (artist)
aliases=Claire Debussy, Princess of Power
powers=Above normal intelligence, superhuman strength, speed, flight, stamina, durability, agility and reflexes, radiation beams from eyes, extensive experience in hand-to-hand combat, absorbs life-force of humans to keep youthful appearance|

Fictional character biography

The new Princess debuted in "Supreme Power" #2. Apparently a Greek goddess who sleeps in a mausoleum, 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. [Supreme Power #10-11] .

After separating, Zarda goes on a rampage, disregarding human life and private property [Supreme Power #12] . 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. We are shown through Amphibian's eyes, 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). After, Doc has no memory of the exchange, revealing further that his prism has the ability to control him when it wants to [Supreme Power #15-16] . Later, Zarda kills a woman and steals her identification in hopes of starting anew, while working in a women's clothing store [Supreme Power #16] .

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 asked her to fill in some Identification and non-disclosure forms, but Zarda lied to the officer saying she can not remember details due to an "accident". After General Richard Alexander asked why she called herself Zarda, thinking it to be an old nickname, he informed 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 , a cartoon related to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe).

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 super-human after he survives an assassination attempt. The team is sent to the region "to take him out", 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.

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 solders, 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 of the insurgents who raped and killed her mother and older sisters, Zarda said Inertia is now like her.

Mark Milton gives a press conference of the "Long Walk" mission; at the interview, Hyperion meets Redstone and a fight starts. Zarda steps into the fight after watching from her government residence. She flies to Los Angeles, beating Redstone badly. Hyperion stops her from killing him to tell her to take Redstone's nuclear warhead out of Los Angeles up to the stratosphere so it won't detonate in the middle of downtown Los Angeles, which she does, possibly at the expense of her own life.

Later in life, Zarda decides to travel to the Ultimate universe to keep an eye on things. [Ultimate Power #9]

Powers and abilities

In addition to the same physical abilities she shares with Hyperion, such as flight, super-strength, and enhanced durability, her powers also include some healing based 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 killed a human female, somehow absorbing her life energy (or some similar effect). Both times, her "imperfection" was removed. On the opposite end of the scale, she used a similar life force transfer to heal Hyperion when he received life threatening injuries.

In addition to all her powers, Zarda has demonstrated a love of carnage and killing, most likely linked to her ultimate (apparently) mission of conquering the human race.


Additional notes

*J. Michael Straczynski was a staff writer on .

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