Saturday, September 22, 2012

One Can Never Have Too Many Thrones


Name This Marvel Villain??

Don't ask me how, but it took this unsensational villain four consecutive issues to be disposed of. She was also an indirect catalyst for a great deal of change that took place in the Sub-Mariner title, not that it did her any good.

Exiled from her own land, she travelled to another and eventually became royalty (though a few of her subjects regarded her as a royal bitch) by a combination of manipulation and, believe it or not, her feminine wiles. Appearances can be deceiving. This fanged fatale was actually quite the looker in her day. But it was her transformation to this form which allowed her to prevail over Prince Namor--though her disposition as a tyrant was a constant no matter how she appeared.

This is Virago, who usurped the throne of Zephyrland, an undersea kingdom in another dimension, and turned its peaceful citizens into slaves. Four of those citizens fled to Earth's dimension and sought the aid of the Sub-Mariner, who returned with them but fell to Virago's other form which you see here--that of the aptly-named She-Beast.

After beating Namor, Virago decided to travel back to his dimension and order his death from the throne of Atlantis. She was driven out by Namor and his warriors--but she later freed one of  Namor's old foes (Orka, the Human Killer Whale), and the two went on to reduce Atlantis to ruins. In the process, Namor was involved in the accident that deprived him of his ability to breathe air and forced him to adopt a live-saving costume designed by Reed Richards; simultaneously, the same accident caused a deadly nerve gas to decimate Atlantis' population.

This particular story went on longer than it should have, since much of writer Steve Gerber's focus was on "the Four"--a small group of noblemen who struggled to save Zephyrland. An odd diversion, given that both Namor and Atlantis were going through huge changes meant to revive sales in the Sub-Mariner title. It took quite a long time to revive Atlantis--eventually accomplished in another book by, of all people, Dr. Doom.

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