A guest in the Ultimate Universe, Squadron Supreme’s Power Princess’s quest for new experiences saw her fight, befriend and sleep with their Hulk.
Thanks to the multiverse theory, it has become quite common for characters from different timelines or universes to crossover with others in mainstream comics. One such event was the Ultimate Power mini-series which saw characters from the Ultimate Marvel universe cross paths with the Squadron Supreme universe when it appeared the Ultimate Reed Richards was responsible for a deadly virus wreaking havoc and death on Squadron’s world. After the battles on both universes were concluded with those responsible detained on the Supreme-verse, Power Princess, Marvel’s pastiche of DC’s Wonder Woman, agreed to stay in the Ultimate universe to keep an eye on things. During her time there, she came across the Ultimate version of the Hulk, whom she battles, befriends, and eventually sleeps with.
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This version of Power Princess first appeared in Supreme Power #2 as a Greek goddess who slept in a mausoleum for millennia until she awoke to help heal an injured Hyperion, eventually enjoying a romance with him. Calling herself Princess Zarda, she possesses many of the same abilities as Hyperion, a Marvel pastiche of Superman, along with being a skilled hand-to-hand combatant, highly intelligent, and capable of life-force absorption and transference. With her true past a mystery and claims of being an alien sent to conquer Earth being hinted at but unconfirmed, Zarda stole the identity of Claire Debussy after likely killing the original Claire as her human alter-ego and remained one of the Squadron Supremes’ powerhouses. The Ultimate Power series saw Zarda travel to the Ultimate Universe as the Squadron’s representative to oversee their efforts to capture and bring Doctor Doom to bring justice for his crimes on their world.
In the Ultimate Hulk Annual #1 by Jeph Loeb with art by Marko Djurdjevic and Ed McGuinness, Zarda has difficulty fitting in this new world. After defeating the villainous Wrecking Crew, she is stopped from killing them by Captain America. Annoyed by her attitude and arrogance, Steve Rogers challenges her to travel the United States and listen to its people, hoping the experience would humble the Power Princess and teach her what’s expected of a hero. Zarda’s latest pit-stop has her rude attempt to order food is interrupted by the arrival of a naked and very hungry Hulk. His behavior and threat of eating people forces Zarda to intervene, with the following battle destroying much of the nearby environment and her own motorcycle. Although Hulk is strong enough to actually hurt Zarda, the former goddess is victorious but chooses to not kill him, deciding to honor Captain America’s request to not murder anyone although she believes it is a mistake.
The entire issue is about a rude and arrogant Wonder Woman stuck in a new world when she is used to acting without restraint or rules and being told she has to learn how to be a better hero. When she runs into the Hulk, she sees him as a monster who she has to deal with because the normal people can’t just give him what he wants. Although she has no issue with Hulk’s nudity, if Zarda has to wear clothes, so must he and upon defeat, she makes him her responsibility. She not only buys him pants but also as much food as he could eat, admitting that their battle was the first fun thing she’s done in this world. Before she is to return to the Ultimates, she asks Hulk if there’s anything else that he’d like to do with her, and Hulk’s smile says more than any speech bubble could.
In the end, Zarda indulges his request and yet make it seem like the Power Princess was simply following Captain America’s request to experience life among this Earth’s people. The only thing more bizarre than the ending of this issue is that this was one of the few times we saw Zarda. Besides a place in Loeb’s New Ultimates series, this version of Power Princess later returned to her homeworld and died in 2015’s Secret Wars. Perhaps less is more regarding her night with the Hulk, as it feels like Zarda’s time in the Ultimate Universe was more of a wasted opportunity.
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