damask-rop-def108-lyreDAMASK

Real Name: Zaffer

Identity/Class: Extradimensional (Wasteland) musician (race unrevealed)

Occupation: Multiple (surviving/existing)

Group Membership: None

AffiliationsDefenders (Hellcat/Patsy Walker, Hulk/Bruce Banner, Namor the Sub-Mariner, Son of Satan/Daimon Hellstrom, Valkyrie/Brunnhilde), Rose of Purity

Enemies: Enchantress (Amora);
    formerly the
Defenders (Hellcat, Hulk, Namor, Son of Satan)

Known Relatives: Zaffer (mate and lover)

Aliases: None

Base of OperationsWasteland planetoid in the Wasteland dimension

First Appearance Defenders I#108 (August, 1982)

damask-rop-def108-facePowers/Abilities: Damask speaks telepathically, enabling her to communicate with beings from other worlds or dimensions without a language barrier. 

    Damask also appeared to be empathic to some degree, able to sense good and/or evil within others.

    She is experienced at playing a lyre-like instrument.

    Gentle, peaceful, and friendly, Damask is slight of build and inexperienced in combat.

Height: Unrevealed (approximately 5' 4"tall; she was a bit shorter than the 5'8" Hellcat)
Weight: Unrevealed (approximately 110  lbs.)
Eyes: Either white (with no visible iris surrounding the pupil) or with a small black iris that looked like a pupil (I think the triangular pattern shown in the image of her crying is a reflection)
Hair: Light pink
Skin: Red

History:
damask-rop-def108-mostlyfull-frontal(Defenders I#108 (fb) - BTS / Defenders: Strange Heroes: Rose of Purity) - 100,000 years ago, Damask was aboard a great ship that crashed on the barren planetoid known only as the Wasteland; the only other survivor of the crash was the massive warrior Zaffer.

    The Rose of Purity, the last survivor (and/or sole remaining member) of the race that had previously dwelled on the planetoid, nurtured Zaffer and Damask back to health. In addition, the Rose cared for them, filled them with joy, and set free their hearts and minds. It granted them all their souls could desire, it acted as mother, father, and child to them.

    Sustained by the couple’s love and worship, the Rose altered his world to create a heavenly environment for the two, possibly granting telepathic ability to them if they did not already possess it. Zaffer and Damask lived an idyllic life as lovers, with Zaffer forsaking his former violent nature. Zaffer and Damask considered the Rose to be their Great God of Purity, and they felt that they needed the love of their god and each other.

    At some point in the succeeding millennia, others visited the Rose’s world, where Zaffer and Damask made them welcome.damask-rop-def108-full-profile

(Defenders I#107 - BTS / Defenders I#108 (fb) - BTS / Defenders: Strange Heroes: Rose of Purity) - In recent years, the Asgardian sorceress Enchantress (Amora), lonely for a soul mate, drew the embodiment of love itself  to Asgard and imbued it with a physical male form. To be worthy of Love’s devotion, Enchantress felt she needed to cleanse her soul of past evil via the Rose of Purity’s power, for its petals, when brewed with magical herbs and roots, could supposedly restore lost spiritual purity. 

    Amora learned the Rose's location from fellow Asgardian sorceress Karnilla. Although willing to seek the Rose itself, Enchantress at least claimed to be unwilling to leave Love, whose created form was bound to Asgard.

    Amora  intended to entrust the quest to Asgardian warrior Valkyrie, her longtime pawn, at that time inhabiting mortal Barbara Norriss, but Norriss’ body had been slain following a recent encounter between the Defenders, the Earthly team of champions to which she belonged, and Anthony Power’s Secret Empire. Valkyrie’s soul, summoned via sťance, asked her teammates to retrieve her true body, but Amora, briefly departing Asgard, interrupted the proceedings and trapped Valkyrie’s soul. She extorted the Defenders’ cooperation under threat of destroying Valkyrie’s Asgardian body, which she promised to unite with Valkyrie’s soul if they brought her the Rose of Purity. 

    Unknown to Amora, Love, troubled by her actions, telepathically contacted Defenders leader Dr. Stephen Strange, who mentally warned three of his colleagues — Beast (Hank McCoy), Gargoyle (Isaac Christians), and Spider-Man (Peter Parker) — to refuse the Enchantress’ offer. To keep Amora distracted, Strange withheld his warning from four others — Hellcat, Hulk, Namor the Sub-Mariner, and Son of Satan — whom the Enchantress teleported to the Rose’s world; Hellcat also carried Valkyrie's sword, Dragonfang, which then held Valkyrie's soul.

(Defenders I#108) - Damask played her lyre-like instrument while Zaffer happily danced until being surprised by the presence of the Defenders. After a brief pause, Zaffer telepathically greeted the strangers, introduced them to their god, and then sang a song of their history, accompanied by Damask's lyre, at the conclusion of which Zaffer and Damask bowed and curtsied, respectively, and the Rose transformed the barren planetoid into an idyllic paradise. 

    As Hellcat noted she could feel the peace, joy, and love in the atmosphere, Zaffer told her that their god was showing her what can be when you give reign to the purity within. Zaffer then encouraged the Defenders to dance, sing, give thanks to their god, and enjoy this paradise as long as they were remained. Damask remained silent throughout this discussion.damask-rop-def108-struggle

    When the Hulk explained that they needed the Rose to bring back their dead friend, Zaffer realized the visitors wanted to take their god, leading to a fight between the Zaffer and the Hulk, Namor, and Son of Satan.damask-rop-def108-tears

    While Zaffer descended into savage combat with the three male Defenders, Hellcat rushed forward to cut down the Rose with Dragonfang. However, the Valkyrie's spirit resisted Hellcat's sword-strike, unwilling to sacrifice the Rose and the happy lives of Zaffer and Damask for her own sake. Unwilling to lose her then-closest friend, Hellcat nonetheless prepared to cut down the Rose, but Damask rushed forward, grabbed Hellcat's arms,and begged her to stop. 

    Damask related how Zaffer had forsaken his warrior ways, but now Hellcat's teammates had reawakened the violence in his heart, staining his soul with brutality and rage. Hellcat warned Damask to get away from her as she didn't want to hurt her, but Damask insisted that they had already hurt her, and that the violence angered their god, and it would cause the Rose to remove its influence, reverting the planetoid to its desolate state. Telling Hellcat she could sense that she was not evil, that she was a good soul, she asked Hellcat how could she do this.

    Hellcat shoved Damask away, sending the delicate alien sprawling, and she raised Dragonfang to strike the Rose. However, as the virtually paradise reverted to the barren wasteland, this combined with the turmoil in Hellcat's heart, and she found herself unable to slay the Rose and destroy the lives of it, Zaffer, and Damask. Convinced of the wrongness of their actions, Hellcat persuaded her fellow Defenders to end the battle. 

    Zaffer lamented that all was lost and that their god had forsaken them, but the Rose then restored his world’s blissful state, claiming the brief crisis had enabled them all to better appreciate paradise after having walked through the wasteland of their own hearts.

    Damask and Zaffer stood silently as the image of the Enchantress then appeared above, telling them that they would be trapped there for all eternity. Thereafter, Zaffer told his new friends that they were more than welcome to remain with them, and that he and Damask would be proud to share what was theirs. Namor considered that they may have no choice but to accept.

(Defenders I#109 - BTS) - Dr. Strange summoned the four Defenders (and Dragonfang) from the Wasteland to Asgard to oppose the Enchantress and her agents.

(
Defenders: Strange Heroes: Rose of Purity) - Zaffer and Damask’s peace and paradise presumably continued.

Comments: Created by J.M. DeMatteis, Don Perlin, Sam Trapani, Rick Magyar, and Jack Abel.

    I always enjoyed the unique appearance and character of Zaffer, and my copy of Defenders I#108 is starting to fall apart from being read so many times.
    I would love to see Zaffer and Damask again in the right story, keeping true to history and nature. Maybe we could gain some back-story...are their races native to the Wasteland dimension or did they arrive there under unrevealed circumstances?

    Zaffer and Damask's real names were confirmed in the Rose of Purity's profile in Defenders: Strange Heroes (February, 2012). damask-rop-def108-defsh
    Damask is a tone of red.

    Zaffer and Damask got nice images in that profile, but Damask's features look a bit too human in this image to me. Especially her eyes

    Big thanks to Roger Ott for cleaning up the image from Defenders: Strange Heroes.

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Damask
should be distinguished from:



images
: (without ads)

Defenders I#108, pg. 10, panel 5 (playing lyre);
        pg. 12, panel 1 (face);
            panel 2 (full, profile);
            panel 5 (mostly full, frontal);
        pg. 15, panel 4 (struggling with Hellcat);
        pg. 16, panel 2 (tearful face)

Defenders: Strange Heroes: Rose of Purity entry (full; standing)

Appearances:
Defenders I#108 (August, 1982) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Don Perlin (pencils), Sam Trapani, Rick Magyar, Jack Abel (inks), Al Milgrom (inks/editor)
Defenders: Strange Heroes (February, 2012) - Jeff Christiansen, Mike O'Sullivan, & Stuart Vandal (head writers/coordinators)


First posted: (Sub-profile under the Rose of Purity) 12/03/2003; (full profile) 10/31/2021
Last updated10/31/2021

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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