Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Profile: Lady Dorma

Lady Dorma
First appearance: Marvel Mystery Comics #82, May 1947

Current status: dead

Was subjected to the following act of discrimination: in Sub-Mariner #37 Vol. 2, May 1971, just shortly after her marriage to prince Namor of Atlantis, she was murdered by asphyxiation (she could not breathe above water) at the hands of the evil queen Llytra of Lemuria, who coveted Namor for herself to consolidate the two kingdoms and increase her own ruling influence. She had kidnapped Dorma in order to blackmail Namor, but he found out and tried to stop Llytra. Unfortunately, the evil queen, deciding that, if she couldn’t have Namor’s hand in marriage, that Dorma couldn’t either, broke the water tank where she was holding the Lady hostage, and Dorma choked to death on the upper air she could not adapt to, dying in Namor’s arms, and leaving him a widower on the very same day he wed.

What’s wrong with how this was done? Although Lady Dorma was a very weakly written supporting character during her Silver Age appearances, engulfed with melancholy thought balloons about the male lead (and her willingness to tolerate Subby’s crush on Sue Storm, who was already engaged to Mr. Fantastic, did not speak well of Dorma’s backbone), that does not mean it wasn’t possible to improve upon prior characterization, and make her more of an interesting protagonist, even if she still maintained the status of a minor character.

During Heros Reborn, there was an alternate reality version of herself featured in that since-scrapped pocket universe, who was even more rabid in personality than her own predecessor had been. But that, if you ask me, was only screwing up in the opposite direction.


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