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Real Name: Serina (last name unrevealed)

Identity/Class: Human

Occupation: Student

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Isaac Christians, Dolly Donahue, Patsy Walker, Valkyrie (Brunnhilde)

Enemies: None (though pediatric cancer wasn't her friend)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "Sweetie", "poor thing", "beautiful girl" (nicknames used by Patsy Walker)

Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
     formerly the pediatric ward of Montclair General Hospital, New Jersey

First Appearance: Defenders I#101 (November, 1981)

Powers/Abilities: Serina possesses no known superhuman abilities. Remarkably bright and upbeat in spite of her cancer diagnosis, Serina was convinced she wouldn't die.

Height: 4'9" (by approximation)
Weight: 80 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Green
Hair: Unrevealed (bald due to chemotherapy)


(Defenders I#101 (fb) - BTS) - Serina was diagnosed with pediatric cancer and admitted to Montclair Hospital in New Jersey for treatment. As a side effect of the chemotherapy, her hair fell out. Over time, her skin became pallid and she grew emaciated because of extensive weight loss. Despite all these hardships, Serina wasn't scared of the cancer. She convinced herself the world was a special place where a kind of magic existed that kept you safe from harm as long as you treat everybody nice.

(Defenders I#101 - BTS) - When she was admitted to Montclair (following her injuries endured during the Six-Fingered Hand crisis), Dolly Donahue often spent time reading to the children of the pediatric ward, including Serina.

(Defenders I#101) - During one of her visits to the ward, Dolly was surprised when her friends Patsy Walker and Valkyrie dropped by, accompanied by the Gargoyle (who was covering his demonic features with a long coat and a scarf). Moments later, a nosy little patient grabbed at the scarf, revealing the Gargoyle's true face, but despite some initial shock Dolly, Serina and the other kids were all accepting of their unusual visitor. However, Patsy Walker soon found herself sobbing in a corner, overcome with emotion when she remembered the literal hell she'd just been through after she learned she might actually be Satan's daughter. Serina, her dolly in hand, approached Patsy and tried to console her. Sitting on Patsy's lap, she explained that even though she had cancer and that the "keema therapy" had caused her hair to fall out, she didn't think it was a big deal. Serina then shared her belief that the world's a magical place where being nice to people prevents you from being hurt or dying. So taken by Serina's innocence and conviction, Patsy cheered up and told Serina that she radiated that special magic. She then kissed the little girl, assuring her that she wouldn't feel like crying for a good while.

Comments: Created by J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Don Perlin (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks)

What if lil' orphan Annie got a leukemia diagnosis instead of adoption papers? Meet Serina.... a walking, talking, gut wrenching sucker punch right in the feels. Even though DeMatteis intended her as a shamelessly saccharine plot device to help Hellcat cheer up after her recent ordeals, Serina might well be the first Marvel Comics character to openly suffer from cancer. A few months later, in January of 1982, The Death of Captain Mar-Vell would take that subject to the next and ultimate level.

Back in 2013, yours truly interviewed J.M. DeMatteis about his run on Defenders. He had the following to say about Serina: "There was no in house trepidation at all about featuring a young, bald, cancer patient. One of the best things about Defenders is that it wasn't a high-profile book. We were off in a corner and I could get as weird and personal as I wanted to without worrying about stepping on anyone's toes. And, yes, that story was very much intended as a kind of spiritual cleansing after the literal hell the team went through in the Six-Fingered Hand story."

Profile by Norvo.

Serina should not be confused with:

images: (without ads)
Defenders I#101, p14, pan2 (main image)
Defenders I#101, p14, pan4 (closeup)
Defenders I#101, p14, pan3 (Serina and Patsy Walker)

Defenders I#101 (November, 1981) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Don Perlin (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks), Al Milgrom (editor)

Last updated: 07/08/17

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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