PEARLA

Real Name: Pearla

Identity/Class: Extra-dimensional (Microverse (formerly Sub-Atomica)) humanoid

Occupation: Queen;
    former Princess

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Ant-Man (Lang), Ant-Man (Pym), Fantastic Four (Human Torch, Invisible Girl/Woman, Mr. Fantastic, She-Hulk, Thing)

Enemies: Dr. Doom, Dutta, Lizard Men of Tok, Psycho-Man
    formerly used the Thing as her pawn

Known Relatives: father (unnamed, former King, presumably deceased)

Aliases: Empress Pearla, Princess Pearla, Queen Pearla

Base of Operations: "Mirword," Microverse (formerly Sub-Atomica); (see comments)

First Appearance: Fantastic Four I#16 (July, 1963)

Powers/Abilities: Pearla wears 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.

History:
(Fantastic Four I#284 (fb) - BTS) - As a young girl, Pearla and her friends secretly sneaked into and explored the Mines of Nuvidia, where they enjoyed playing fairy tale types of adventures.

(Fantastic Four I#16 (fb)) - After Dr. Doom was sent into Sub-Atomica (after Fantastic Four I#10), where he landed on "Mirword" . Doom posed as a benevolent wizard (sufficiently advanced science being indistinguishable from magic, you know), gaining 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 pronounce him absolute ruler of Mirword.     Doom also sought to force Pearla to marry him.

(Fantastic Four I#16) - Doom then used the device to torment the Fantastic Four with his shrinking ray, while Pearla accessed one of Doom's device to transmit a message to the Four, "Flee for your life! Beware of Dr. Doom!" Nonetheless, the Fantastic Four traveled to Sub-Atomica to investigate, where Doom defeated them (they remained only a few inches high) and imprisoned them alongside the king and Pearla. The effects of the shrinking ray wore off while they were trapped in Doom's prison.
     Doom contacted the Lizard Men of Tok, enemies of Mirword, and threatened to betray Pearla's world to the Lizard Men if she refused to marry him. Doom also offered the Lizard Men the Fantastic Four as slaves if they joined him. The Fantastic Four broke themselves, Pearla, and the king out of prison, and they then assaulted Doom's fortress and, with aid from the Ant-Man (Pym), they forced Doom to flee back to Earth.
    The king used Doom's enlarging ray to return the Fantastic Four to Earth. Pearla pleaded with the Human Torch--the most fascinating man she had ever met--to remain on Mirword. The Torch told her he couldn't leave his partners, but maybe he'd be back some day.

BTS - Pearla became queen of Mirword, presumably after the death of her father.

(Marvel Two-In-One#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, she 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. 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#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 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 Mirword and used his giant armor and his emotion ray to conquer her 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 servants, Pearla fled into the Nuvidian mines, where she remained free for a year and a half.

(Fantastic Four I#284) - When the Psycho-Man sent the fear-controlled She-Hulk to the mines, Pearla confronted her and convinced her to overcome her fears and fight back against her slave-driver, Dutta. Unfonrtunately, this was not before Dutta found Pearla and skewered her through the shoulder with his weapon. She-Hulk then 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 Storm turned his own weapon on him.
    Johnny Storm explained to Pearla that he was committed to someone else ("Alicia Masters," actually Lyja), but Pearla told him she had responsibilities to her own kingdom, and 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 Mirword, 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 Mirword 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 Mirword 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 (Lang) replacing the MIA Reed) followed the false trail to Mirword, 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 wished them a safe and successful journey as they continued their search for Reed.

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!

    "The Micro-World of Dr. Doom" has never received a name. How about Mirword?
    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 "Mirword."
    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.

CLARIFICATIONS:
No known connection to:

 


images: MTIO#87, p12, pan4 (Ron Wilson + Chic Stone, 1982);
    Fantastic Four I#284, p21, pan 3 or 5 (John Byrne, 1985)
    Fantastic Four Unlimited#8, p23, pan1 (Dante Bastianoni and Ralph Cabrera, 1994)


Other appearances:
Marvel Two-In-One#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)


Last updated: 09/20/03

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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