MARADA the SHE-WOLF
Real Name: Marada Starhair
Identity/Class: Human (1st
through 10th Century AD);
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Jaffar ibn Haroun Al-Rashid, Ashake of Meroë, Arianrhod McLlyanllwyr, Donal MacLlyanllwyr, Makede, Ntshonge, Taric Redhand and his pirate crew, Rhiannon
Enemies: Jaffar ibn Haroun Al-Rashid's
demon, Casta, Gyatrias, Inkose, Simyon Karashnur,
Keos, Macro, Y'Garon and other
demons of the Outer Dark (the Mabdhara, aka the
N'Garai masters), unidentified soldiers, various enemies
of Taric Redhand;
formerly Ashake of Meroë, Jaffar ibn Haroun Al-Rashid
Known Relatives: Unidentified mother, unidentified father (deceased), Caesar (grandfather; see comments), unidentified aunt(s) and/or uncle(s)
Base of Operations: Formerly Ashrandiar, on the rocky coast of England
First Appearance: Epic Illustrated#10 (February, 1982)
Powers/Abilities: Marada is a master warrior, highly
talented in hand-to-hand combat, swordsmanship, archery, and presumably other
weapons of the time. Short of being ambushed (or following a mystic attack),
she is not known to have ever failed in single combat against man, woman, or
demon, and she has been known to defeat multiple attackers by herself.
According to Simyon Karashnur, "She has powers both temporal and arcane, though she knows it not"
Marada wielded a sword of eldritch steel, forged for Donal Macllyanllwyr
(Epic Illustrated#10 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (fb) - BTS) - Marada's mother was the first-born of Caesar. Her father was a prince in his own land, but a slave in Rome.
(Epic Illustrated#10 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (fb) - BTS) - As a child, Marada's first lesson was to trust no one.
(Epic Illustrated#10 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (fb) - BTS) - Marada's mother asked Deiphobe, the Sybelline oracle at Cumae -- about Marada, and Deiphobe told her that Marada would hold the fate of the world in her hands.
(Epic Illustrated#10 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (fb) - BTS) - At age 4, Marada saw her father broken on the rack, disemboweled, and eventually drawn and quartered in a public execution; though he was a long time dying, the prince uttered not a sound. That night Marada's mother fled the Eternal City, taking her child to be raised free, far from the place that had claimed the life of her beloved.
(Epic Illustrated#10 /
Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (fb)) - Marada, still growing and
as much girl as woman, fought alongside Donal MacLlanllwyr and others near the
Rhine in pitched battle against a war party out of Germanica. She fought with a
ferocious skill that humbled most of the men beside her and earned her the name,
Later, celebrating their victory in a frontier post garrisoned by a cohort of the Thunderclap legion, Marada matched those tough legionaries drink for drink, sharing their bawdy songs and ribald stories. She gambled with careless abandon, yet invariably won more than she lost. When a trooper stepped out of line and tried to tempt -- then force -- her to his bed, she broke his jaw.
(Epic Illustrated#10 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (fb) - BTS) - Marada swore that no man would take her against his will, and that if she ever chose a lover or mate, it would be on her terms, not his.
(Epic Illustrated#10 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (fb) - BTS) - Marada crossed swords with Donal MacLlanllwyr on at least one occasion, and Donal counted himself lucky to hold his own.
(Epic Illustrated#10 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (fb) - BTS) - At age 24, Marada was a warrior known and respected throughout the Empire.
(Epic Illustrated#10 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (fb) - BTS) - Some of the Mabdhara (the N'Garai Masters), including Y'Garon, first of the Triad, sought the soul of Marada for her powers "both temporal and arcane, though she knows it not." Simyon Karashnur, a sorcerer serving the N'Garai, sought to bind Marada's power to the service of his masters.
(Epic Illustrated#10 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (fb) - BTS) - Marada again encountered Donal MacLlanllwyr in Damascus. Having led a caravan the length of the silk road, Marada and the warriors of her escort commandeered a tavern.
(Epic Illustrated#10 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (fb)) - As Marada and here allies celebrated their safe return with a vengeance -- while Donal stood hidden in the shadows, awaiting a chance to talk to Marada -- she was given a mug of wine, which she swiftly downed, only to realize it had been drugged. The one who gave her the wine told everyone he'd get her home unmolested, but she awoke in a tower, chained within a mystic circle. The sorcerer Simyon Karashnur greeted her and then summoned Y'Garon, who announced that she was to be his consort and then took her by force, mocking her resistance. In his passion, Y'Garon raked her back, cutting her to the bone; while Marada prayed the wounds would be fatal, Y'Garon contemptuously healed her. He then took part of her soul and replaced it with a piece of his own -- so that when the night finally came to an end and he returned to his realm, Marada begged him to stay.
(Epic Illustrated#10 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (fb) - BTS) - Roman Tribune Gaius Marcellus Fulva rescued Marada from her captor and arranged a caravan of Parthian mercenaries to return her to Rome in hopes of gaining favor with her grandfather, Caesar.
(Epic Illustrated#10 (fb) - BTS / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (fb) - BTS) - An Egyptian sorcerer infiltrated the caravan, unbeknownst to Gaius Marcellus.
(Epic Illustrated#10 /
Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf) - Donal MacLlanllwyr freed the
broken and submissive Marada from Parthian mercenaries (slaying the
Egyptian sorcerer before he could kill Marada). Donal was surprised to find her
so changed after just a week. Donal performed the rite to transport himself, his
warriors, and Marada to Ashandriar, an ancient and magical place ruled by his
mother, Rhiannon, mistress of the arts arcane, who recognized the stench of
blackest sorcery about Marada.
After a night's rest, Marada questioned Donal, asking if she was his prisoner. He offered to let her go free if she could disarm him in combat, but she was easily subdued. While she submissively offered herself to Donal, she refused to explain what had happened to change her so.
Simyon Karashnur had his torturer painfully slay Gaius Marcellus for his theft, after which he bound the soul fragment taken froom Marada to a demon of the Outer Dark, allowing it to take Marada's form; it could use its connection to her soul to travel to Earth and find and recover her for their masters. Sensing her soul fragment being bound to the demon, Marada awakened, screaming. Rushing to her side, Rhiannon sensed the hidden magical scars upon Marada's back; her granddaughter (Donal's daughter), Arianrhod stayed by Marada's side, talking to her, providing comfort, and becoming her friend over the course of the night. Nonetheless, Marada refused to share her recent trauma even with her.
Over the next few days Arianrhod gave Marada a tour of Ashandriar, and over the ensuing months they became inseparable companions; through Arianrhod, Marada discovered the wonders of childhood and a joyous innocence she had been herself denied. As Marada began to recover from her trauma, she found herself drawn to Donal. While bathing, however, Arianrhod mystically sensed Marada's scars and she questioned Marada, who furiously drove her off. Regretting this, Marada soon after opened up to Donal and revealed her trauma.
Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf) - The N'Garai Marada attacked
Donal and Marada; Arianrhod briefly stunned the demon, but it swiftly recovered,
delivered a mortal wound to Donal, and abducted Arianrhod to force Marada to
follow her. Rhiannon tried and failed to save Donal, after which Marada
re-donned her old warrior attire and had Rhiannon send her to Y'Garon's realm so
that she might rescue Arianrhod. Minor demons assailed Marada, but her instincts
and skills proved to be intact, and she slew all of her attackers. Eventually
she confronted Simyon Karashnur and Y'Garon alongside the chained Arianrhod.
Overcoming her fears, Marada hurled her axe at Y'Garon, wounding him, and when
he created a flaming sword, she met him in single combat, delivered another
wound, and proved herself his superior. Simyon conjured a floral scent (the
lotus?) that dulled her mind and rendered her body hypersensitive. She dropped
to her knees before Y'Garon, but as he raised his sword high, she suddenly
slashed upwards with her sword, gutting him. As Simyon prepared to flee, Marada
shoved her sword through his chest, apparently killing him as well.
Marada freed Arianrhod and told her of her father's death, but as Y'Garon's legions approached they were forced to flee. Arianrhod cast a spell to return them to Earth, but they arrived in an area unknown to them. Rather than risk an even worse outcome, Marada decided that they would journey on foot from there.
(Epic Illustrated#12 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (fb) - BTS) - Marada and Arianrhod traveled thousands of miles over the course of months.
(Epic Illustrated#12 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (fb) - BTS) - In East Africa, a mercenary captain had recognized Marada and -- well aware of her reputation -- made her a simple offer: join his command or die. Marada accepted the offer, but later found, as they struck deep into the black empire of Meroë, that they were on the wrong side of a rebellion, part of an army of freebooters hired to seize the throne of Meroë's ruler -- the Candance, Ashake.
(Epic Illustrated#12 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf) - On a morning in a dusty East African plain, Ashake's army ambushed the invaders. A bloody battle ensued, with the mercenary army getting slaughtered until eventually only Marada and Arianrhod were left.
(Epic Illustrated#12 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf) - Arianrhod was taken out before she could again attempt a transport spell, and Marada, distracted by Arianrhod's injuries, fell soon after. Ashake herself then showed up and stopped her soldiers from assaulting the unconscious women. Ashake had them taken to her castle and given drugs to help their pain.
(Epic Illustrated#12 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf - BTS) - Arianrhod magically healed her own injuries.
(Epic Illustrated#12 /
Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf) - Arianrhod healed Marada's
injuries after which the two were invited to dine with Ashake, who explained
that they would either participate in an event where she would hunt them -- and
earn either their freedom or death -- or become slaves; if she moved against
Ashake, the guards would slay them right there.
Though Ashake stated that she had never failed to slay her prey, Marada realized
that she had no real choice, and so she agreed.
The next morning, Marada and Arianrhod were sent out to try to reach some mountains across the plains to attain their freedom. They were sent bereft of anything save light clothing and sandals, and Ashake followed two hours later, armed with a spear, bow and arrows, sword, and dagger. After several hours, Ashake caught up to the pair and began targeting them with arrows. Marada pretended to take an arrow to the head in order to lure Ashake into a trap, then knocked her bow from her hands and stole her dagger. After a savage struggle, Marada overpowered Ashake, but then then four of the Candance's soldiers, led by Captain Keos, appeared, intending to slay Ashake and take command of Meroë for themselves.
Arianrhod cast an illusion of a firebird to distract them, and Marada hurled her dagger into the soldier Inkose. As another soldier, Casta, rushed to slay Marada, she reached the fallen Inkose first and used her blade to gut Casta. Using Casta's sword, Marada then faced Keos himself. Fresh compared to his exhausted opponent, Keos managed to pin Marada's sword, but Arianrhod stopped him from using his dagger against Marada, enabling Marada to free her sword and stab Keos through the gut. Ashake herself slew the last traitorous soldier, Macro, after which Ashake's loyal soldiers arrived. Recognizing that Marada almost certainly had saved her life, Ashake pronounced her and Arianrhod honored friends. Marada considered continuing her battle with Ashake but decided to instead accept her hand and part as friends.
(Epic Illustrated#12 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf) - After a week spent with Ashake, Marada and Arianrhod departed Meroë, taking Ashake's final gift, a pair of horses and directions to the high road north to Egypt. Ashake offered to Marada to stay with her as her right hand and...trusted friend (a hint at more?) to form a fighting force that even Imperial Rome would think twice about challenging. Marada declined, stating her pledge to return Arianrhod home, but commented that perhaps the She-Wolf and the Lioness might meet again.
(Epic Illustrated#22 (fb) - BTS) <760th year of the city of Rome> - Marada and Arianrhod gained transport on the merchant vessel Raven from Alexandria to Brindisium (and/or Massilia).
(Epic Illustrated#22: Wizard's Masque, Part I) - Marada was twice awakened in her sleep, once while Arianrhod was crying over having trouble remembering her father, and once when Arianrhod tried to use a magic spell to return them home, the latter of which allowed a Gyatrias (a tentacled demon dwelling in the void between worlds) to grab Marada and pull her through a portal. As she vanished, Marada futilely hurled her sword, which was left sticking in her cabin floor. Marada emerged "another day" aboard the ship the Dromond, where soldiers battled Taric Redhand's invading pirates. As Marada struggled fiercely, the Gyatrias released her in favor of easier prey, and she was left on the ship when the Gyatrias took a man through its portal. Thinking Marada a she-demon, the soldiers' captain attacked her, but she slew him, followed by the rest of the attacking soldiers. As a result, Marada was befriended by Taric Redhand, who brought her to Djeriabar, the Black Isle, to the tower of Jaffar ibn Haroun Al-Rashid, the only wizard who might return Marada to her home. Declining Taric's offer to stay with him, she shared a jug of wine at the city's central bazaar, but the two were soon beset by Taric's many enemies. They fled, but Taric turned to continue the battle and was soon slain by a thrown spear. Marada then fled on her own but eventually was cornered in an ally, at which point Jaffar teleported her into his palace, then magically re-clothed here in a princess' garb. Jaffar introduced himself to Marada and served her a meal and some wine; he seduced her, and the two shared a kiss. They were interrupted by a lightning bolt in the sky, at which point Jaffar excused himself to communicate with his demon masters, the Mabdhara. The communicating demon reminded him that Marada must die before sunrise.
Wizard's Masque, Part II) - While Marada lay, daydreaming out Jaffar and
wondering whether she was better suited as warrior or princess, a demon agent of
the Mabdhara leapt from the shadows and attacked her. It clawed her back while
announcing the blood debt between her and the Mabdhara would be paid that night.
It revealed itself to be a creature given life by Jaffar and that Jaffar served
the Mabdhara, and an irate Marada soon skewered it with her knife. She fled,
plotting to steal a boat and escape, but was confronted by Jaffar, who turned
her knife into a dove. Telling her the Mabdhara left him no choice, he
mesmerized, but was then distracted by thunder, and Marada kneed him in the
crotch. Unable to bring herself to break his neck, she fled again, took out a
guard, and claimed his sword; but then she was beset by a group of dead horses
and riders who stabbed her repeatedly with spectral swords, leaving her
weakened, before vanishing. Demons in the forms of Arianrhod and Rhiannon
attempted to dupe her into trusting them and then killing her, but her
experiences with Y'Garon left her able to sense such demons, and she slew them.
The demon riders then reappeared and stabbed her through the chest, leaving her
body to fall into the waters below.
She eventually washed up on the shore, barely alive, and was confronted anew by Jaffar. She stabbed him through the chest to no avail, and she eventually fell before him in a swordfight, seemingly taking a fatal chest wound, after which Jaffar delivered her to the Mabdhara, who consumed her...
...or so it seemed. Jaffar's magic blade cast an enchantment that preserved her life even as he took it, then he secretly healed her wounds and offered a simulacrum to the Mabdhara...one so perfect that even they were fooled. Jaffar met with Marada, revealed the truth and confessed that he had originally intended to kill her before falling in love. Knowing, however, that the Mabdhara would discover the truth if she stayed with him, Jaffar --after a kiss--then sent her back aboard the Raven. Arriving the instant after she had vanished, Marada was reunited with Arianrhod. After Arianrhod promised not to try such magic again, Marada asked to be be alone, and considered to herself that though she was tempted to stay with Jaffar as his queen, in her heart and soul she was a warrior and would remain so till the day she died.
Comments: Created by Chris Claremont and John Bolton.
As detailed by Archie Goodwin in Overview
(Epic Illustrated's notes on stories and contributors), Marada's first story was
initially intended to feature Red Sonja, but copyright complications at the time
resulted in the story and character being totally redesigned into Marada.
Further, it was intended to feature in Bizarre Adventures (the black and white
magazine that had evolved out of Marvel Preview). The delay due to the copyright
brought about a shelving of the material for use in Bizarre Adventures for many
months. Reluctant to let their work -- with which they were quite pleased --
languish in inventory, Claremont pitched it to Archie Goodwin and Jim Shooter,
the editors of Epic Illustrated (with the latter being Marvel's Editor-in-Chief
at the time), and they got a spot for it split between two issues...plus they
got to make it their own property (which was the nature of Epic material).
It has been theorized that Simyon Karashnur was changed from Kulan Gath, but I think he resembles any number of evil sorcerers from the Hyborian and other eras.
Marada is the daughter of a Caesar-but
not the Caesar, Gaius Julius Caesar, since she refers to his book on the Wicker
Man, the Celts, and Ashrandriar. Since she lived after the word "Caesar" came to
denote a title for a ruler (similar to how "Kull" became a title for the rulers
of Valusia), that means she lived some time after the death of Gaius Julius
Caesar. Caesar in turn died after the last pharaoh (as seen in Thor I#240-241's
flashbacks, the defeat of Cleopatra at Actium caused Egypt's annexation into the
The Ashake from New Mutants I#32 lived in Pharaonic times.
Since Marada Starhair invokes a goddess, this story takes place before about 300 AD or so, before the Theodosian Code, which made the Roman Catholic Church the official religion of the empire and banned almost all other religions--see my explanation under the Mitra entry.
Chris Claremont notes that he intended to do more stories about Marada and noted her time of activity as the century bracketing the Birth of Christ. I'd take that to mean from 50 BC to 50 AD.
Ab Urbe condita (related with Anno Urbis
conditae: AUC or a.u.c.) is Latin for "from the founding of the City (Rome)," traditional
--courtesy of John McDonagh and Darci
Y'Garon, despite his appearance, pretty much has to be the same as the character in other mainstream stories. Claremont wrote those stories as well, and named Y'Garon as being "of the Triad," of the "Outer Dark," and of the Madbhara...which have pretty much all become terms referring to the N'Garai. Via the Y'Garon connection, I'd mark Marada as being Earth-616 until proven otherwise.
Ashake was confirmed as a descendent of Chris Claremont's Ashake, who was an ancestor of Storm in the latter Ashake's OHotMU A-Z hardcover profile, written by David Sexton.
The Marada the She-Devil graphic novel is a colored retelling (not quite a reprint, there are a few minor pages added) of her stories in Epic Illustrated#10-12.
With Ashandriar allegedly being ruled by "Sidhe -- the immortal gods and goddesses of faery," I see no reason to assume Rhiannon to be anything other than the Celtic Goddess Rhiannon, though this is unconfirmed.
Profile by Snood.
No KNOWN connections to:
images: (without ads)
Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf, numbered page 30
Epic Illustrated#10 (February, 1982) - by Chris Claremont (writer), John Bolton (artist), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Epic Illustrated#11 (April, 1982) - by Chris Claremont (writer), John Bolton (artist), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Epic Illustrated#12 (June, 1982) - by Chris Claremont (writer), John Bolton (artist), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Epic Illustrated#22 (February, 1984) - by Chris Claremont (writer), John Bolton (artist), Stan Lee (editor and publisher), Archie Goodwin (editorial director), Jo Duffy (managing editor)
Epic Illustrated#23 (April, 1984) - by Chris Claremont (writer), John Bolton (artist), Stan Lee (editor and publisher), Archie Goodwin (editorial director), Jo Duffy (managing editor)
Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (1985) - by Chris Claremont (writer), John Bolton (artist), Jo Duffy (editor)
Last updated: 02/22/14
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
Marada and the characters in her stories (with the presumptive
exception of Y'Garon and the demons of the Outer Dark) are the property of Chris
Claremont and John Bolton.
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