Real Name: Pearla
Identity/Class: Extradimensional (Microverse (formerly Sub-Atomica)) humanoid
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Ant-Man (Scott Lang), Ant-Man (Henry Pym), Brainstorm (Valeria Richards), Fantastic Four (Human Torch/Johnny Storm, Invisible Girl/Woman/Susan Richards, Mr. Fantastic/Reed Richards,She-Hulk/Jennifer Walters, Thing/Ben Grimm), Gargantua from Sub-Atomica, Jo-Venn, N'Kalla, Powerhouse (Franklin Richards)
Enemies: Dr. Doom
(Victor von Doom), Dutta, Lizard
Men of Tok, Psycho-Man;
formerly used the Thing as her pawn
Known Relatives: King of Mirwood (father, presumably deceased)
Aliases: Empress Pearla, Princess Pearla, Queen Pearla
Base of Operations: Mirwood, Microverse (formerly Sub-Atomica); (see comments)
First Appearance: Fantastic Four I#16 (July, 1963)
Powers/Abilities: Pearla displayed no paranormal physical abilities. She wore a tiara, composed of the mineral Nuvidia, which formerly enabled her to resist the emotion-controlling weapon of the Psycho-Man (he has since apparently discovered the means to overcome that).
Height: 5' 7"
Weight: 120 lbs.
(Fantastic Four I#284 (fb) - BTS) - As a young girl, Princess Pearla and her friends (children of the palace staff) secretly sneaked into and explored the Mines of Nuvidia, where they enjoyed playing fairy-tale types of adventures.
(Fantastic Four I#16 (fb)) - Dr. Doom was shrunken into Sub-Atomica (after Fantastic Four I#10) and appeared on the "micro-world" of Mirwood, where he posed as a benevolent wizard (sufficiently advanced science being indistinguishable from magic, you know) and gained the trust and confidence of the King and Princess Pearla. Doom duped the King's men into building a molecular ray apparatus, with which he shrank the King and Pearla to the size of his fist. Doom then forced the King to declare him absolute ruler of Mirwood; Doom also sought to force Pearla to marry him.
(Fantastic Four I#16) - Doom used the ray apparatus to torment the Fantastic Four by periodically shrinking them before returning them to their normal heights. But Pearla accessed one of Doom's devices to transmit a warning message to the FF, "Flee for your life! Beware of Dr. Doom!" Nonetheless, the Fantastic Four imbibed a shrinking serum (provided by Ant-Man [Henry Pym]) and traveled to Sub-Atomica to investigate. The FF appeared before Doom, who used his ray apparatus to further reduce their size to mere inches (relatively speaking) and easily captured them.
The shrunken FF were imprisoned alongside Pearla and the deposed King. Pearla informed them that Doom had contacted the Lizard Men of Tok, enemies of Mirwood, and threatened to betray her world to the Lizard Men if she refused to marry him; she also mentioned that Doom offered the Fantastic Four to the Lizard Men as their slaves if they joined him. Feeling hopeless over their dire situation, the sobbing Pearla began to weep, but Mr. Fantastic told her to save her tears, and he came up with an idea for them all to escape from the prison. After using the molecular ray to to restore themselves back to their relative sizes, the Fantastic Four assaulted Doom's fortress, and with aid from the Ant-Man, they forced Doom to flee back to Earth.
After the battle, the King was grateful for the heroes saving his realm, and he wanted to know how he could reward them. Mr. Fantastic asked that they simply be permitted to use the molecular ray to enlarge themselves back to normal, so they could pursue Doom. Before the enlarging ray was activated to return the Fantastic Four to Earth, Pearla pleaded with the Human Torch--"the most fascinating man" she had ever met--to remain on Mirwood; the Torch told her he couldn't leave his partners, but maybe he'd be back some day.
BTS - Pearla became queen of Mirwood, presumably after the death of her father.
(Marvel Two-In-One I#87 (fb) - BTS) - Zorak, leader of the Lizard Men of Tok, vowed to ravage Queen Pearla's kingdom and take Pearla for his bride if she could not produce a champion to defeat him in single combat. Remembering the aid she had received from the Fantastic Four, Pearla ordered her scientists to transport the Thing to her world. However, rather than playing it straight, Pearla had begun to secretly gather a vast armada of warships (see comments). When the Thing arrived, she fed him the seductive hypno-fruit to ensure his cooperation--the drug would slow and weaken the Thing, but Pearla cared little for that, as once the contest had begun, she would signal her armada to attack and destroy the homeworld of the Lizard Men. Without his vast armies behind him, Zorak would have to surrender to her.
(Marvel Two-In-One I#87) - Ant-Man (Scott Lang,
successor to Pym) answered a request for aid by the Fantastic Four
and followed the Thing to Sub-Atomica. There he learned of Pearla's
plot, and he flew a swarm of alien insects into the gladiatorial ring to
distract Zorak just as he had the Thing at his mercy. Ant-Man used a
cybernetic disruptor to shock the Thing back to his senses, and he
quickly mopped up with Zorak.
Pearla prepared to launch the armada anyway, but the Thing and Ant-Men stopped it; they then forced Pearla and the Lizard Men to sign a peace treaty.
(Fantastic Four I#284 (fb)) - The Psycho-Man arrived on Mirwood and used his giant armor and his emotion ray to conquer Pearla's kingdom with ease. Only Pearla, unwittingly protected by her Nuvidian tiara, remained free from his control. To hide out from the Psycho-Man and her former subjects, Pearla fled into the Nuvidian mines, where she remained free for a year and a half.
(Fantastic Four I#282 - 283 - BTS) - After discovering the Hate-Monger was a construct of the Psycho-Man, the Fantastic Four traveled to the Microverse in their Reducta-Craft. But using his giant armor, the Psycho-Man captured the FF; as he held Mr. Fantastic and the Human Torch prisoners, the Psycho-Man tortured the Invisible Girl with his emotion ray, and he sent the fear-controlled She-Hulk to labor in the Nuvidian mines.
(Fantastic Four I#284) - While the She-Hulk worked in the
mines, Pearla confronted her and convinced her to overcome her fears and
fight back against her slave-driver, Dutta. Unfortunately, this was not
before Dutta found Pearla and skewered her through the shoulder with his
weapon. After punching Dutta, She-Hulk carried the injured Pearla to the
surface of the mines, where they met up with the rest of the Fantastic
Four, just in time to hear the maddened screams of the Psycho-Man as Sue
Richards turned his own weapon on him.
Johnny Storm explained to Pearla that he was committed to someone else ("Alicia Masters," actually Lyja); Pearla told him she had responsibilities to her own kingdom, but hoped that they could remain friends.
(Fantastic Four Unlimited#8 (fb) - BTS) - With the seeming death of Reed Richards (@ Fantastic Four I#381), the Psycho-Man sought vengeance on the Fantastic Four (and particularly Sue). He returned to Mirwood, where he accessed the technology left behind by Doom to alter the data tapes of the real Dr. Doom to leave a false trail directing the Fantastic Four to Mirwood in their search for Reed. Using Doombots, Doom's Robot Guards, and his own emotion-controlling device, the Psycho-Man took control of the people of Mirwood and made it appear as if Doom had conquered them, and that Pearla was leading a resistance movement against him.
(Fantastic Four Unlimited#8) - The Fantastic Four (with Ant-Man [Scott Lang] replacing the MIA Reed) used the Reducta-Craft and followed the false trail to Mirwood, where Empress Pearla told them the fictitious tale of Doom's takeover. They joined her rebellion and targeted "Doom," but Lang--whose helmet perhaps allowed him to resist the Psycho-Man's manipulations--suspected foul play; Lang located Pearla in the control room seemingly directing the Doombot. Lang knocked Pearla out, but was then attacked by the true villain, the Psycho-Man. Lang managed to destroy the villain's emotion control box, allowing the other members of the Fantastic Four to overcome the false Doom. Confronted by the FF, the Psycho-Man vanished in an explosion, and Pearla was re-established as Empress. Pearla bestowed medals of honor upon the FF and told them they would always be welcome within her kingdom, then wished them a safe and successful journey as they continued their search for Reed.
(Fantastic Four VI#20 - BTS) - Wyatt Wingfoot asked the Human Torch if his current relationship with Kaila was comparable to his relationships with Crystal, Pearla or Zsaji. Neither Johnny nor Kaila were happy to hear about his past girlfriends at this point in their relationship.
(Fantastic Four VI#46) - Psycho-Man attempted to remake Sub-Atomica in his own image by using his molecular rearranger (actually a molecule imbued with the complete consciousness of the Molecule Man/Owen Reece), but was thwarted by the combined forces of Pearla, Gargantua, the Fantastic Four, the Kree child Jo-Venn, the Skrull child N'Kalla, Franklin and Valeria Richards. After Psycho-Man had been defeated Pearla singled out the Human Torch and personally thanked him for saving her realm.
Comments: Created by Stan "The Man" Lee and Jack "King" Kirby.
As a result of an as-yet unseen struggle between Thanos and Baron Karza, all of the "Micro-Realms" such as Sub-Atomica now exist within a single dimension, so there's no reason that Rick Jones or Captain Marvel couldn't bump into Pearla at some point. At any rate, she's due for another appearance some time in the next few years!
She finally appeared again in 2022!
"The Micro-World of Dr. Doom" has never
received a name. How about Mirwood?
I only have the black-and-white Essential F4, but I have ordered the F4 Masterworks volume II. Once I get that, I'll do an entry for good old "Mirwood."
Also, Pearla's people advanced rapidly from being relatively primitive to being able to construct their own inter-dimensional transport device and interstellar ships. I would credit them analyzing and utilizing the technology left behind by Doom.
One might hypothesize that Pearla's belligerent behavior in MTIO#87 was influenced by the Psycho-Man, or she could have been stressed by her father's recent death(?) and the pressures of leadership. Or it could be that she actually is a nasty bee-yatch and that she only puts on the nice facade around the FF (or at least around the whole group...or maybe just Johnny). Her transition from Queen to Empress might suggest that the armies of her nation have gone on to conquer other parts of the planet, if not the entire world.
An inside joke in Fantastic Four I#284:
Barry Dutter used to be the head of some anti-She-Hulk movement, who
wrote a seemingly endless string of letters to the Avengers, and then to
the Fantastic Four, insisting that she be removed from the groups. John
Byrne used the character Dutta in F4#284, had him oppress and
torment the terrified She-Hulk, and then had the She-Hulk punch him out,
yelling "Dutta, shut up!" This was Byrne's response to Barry Dutter.
Barry went on to work for Marvel, as an editor, and possibly more.
Since the Human Torch lacks a current girlfriend, I'd think now would be a good time for him to meet up with Pearla again...or maybe Valeria of the 5th Dimension.
Profile by Snood. Update by Markus Raymond (FF 2022). Expansion by Ron Fredricks.
Pearla has no known connection to:
The King of Mirwood should not be confused with:
The unidentified elderly ruler of the extradimensional "micro-world" of Mirwood, he was the father of Princess Pearla.
When Doctor Doom came to his realm, the trusting King was impressed by his skills, so he appointed Doom as his personal scientist. But Doom secretly constructed a molecular ray apparatus, which he used to miniaturize the King and Pearla; Doom then declared himself ruler of Mirwood and imprisoned the shrunken King and Pearla.
But the King and Pearla were rescued by the Fantastic Four and Ant-Man (Henry Pym), who forced Doom to flee back to Earth. After the battle, the grateful King offered to reward the heroes for saving his kingdom; Mr. Fantastic requested that they simply be permitted to use the molecular ray to enlarge themselves back to normal, so they could pursue Doom.
At some point, the King apparently died, and Pearla took his place as the ruler of Mirwood.
--Fantastic Four I#16
images: (without ads)
Marvel Two-in-One I#87, p11, pan4 (Main Image - Pearla)
Fantastic Four I#284, p6, pan2 (Headshot - Pearla, wearing tiara)
Fantastic Four Unlimited#8, p19, pan1 (Pearla tells Fantastic Four fictitious tale about Dr. Doom)
Fantastic Four Unlimited#8, p49, pan3 (Pearla bids farewell to Fantastic Four)
Fantastic Four I#16, p14, pan3 (in flashback, King of Mirwood; Princess Pearla, Dr. Doom (background))
Fantastic Four I#16, p14, pan5 (in flashback, shrunken King and Pearla, in Dr. Doom's hand)
Fantastic Four I#16, p17, pan1 (King and Pearla in prison)
Fantastic Four I#16 (July, 1963) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Jack Kirby (pencils), Dick Ayers (inks)
Marvel Two-In-One I#87 (May, 1982) - Tom DeFalco (writer), Ron Wilson (pencils), Chic Stone (inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Fantastic Four I#284 (November, 1985) - John Byrne (writer/pencils), Al Gordon (inks), Michael Carlin (editor)
Fantastic Four Unlimited#8 (December, 1994) - Tom Brevoort & Mike Kanterovich (writer), Dante Bastianoni (pencils), Ralph Cabrera (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Fantastic Four VI#20 (May, 2020) - Dan Slott (writer), Paco Medina (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Fantastic Four VI#46 (October, 2022) - Dan Slott (writer), Cafu (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)
First posted: 09/20/2003
Last updated: 07/08/2023
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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