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Queen Clea of Atlantis (Wonder Woman enemy) (Golden Age DC Comics)

Queen Clea

(Pre-Crisis version)


Context

Clea is a character whom Wonder Woman first encountered in 1944 – an evil Queen from lost Atlantis. Unlike most WW antagonists she did return. This meant in turn that, after the Crisis on Infinite Earths, there was a modern version of Queen Clea who clashed with the modern version of Wonder Woman.


Background

  • Real Name: Clea.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: Ptra (daughter).
  • Group Affiliation: Queen of Aurania.
  • Base Of Operations: Aurania.
  • Height: 6’5” Weight: 180 lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Blonde


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Atlantis is calling

The 1944 encounter with Queen Clea is one of the early sightings of Atlantis in the DCU. Or rather “the DCU”, with scare quotes. At that point Wonder Woman’s adventures were pretty much taking place in a continuity of their own.

(For what it’s worth, the earliest mention of Atlantis I can think of for the DCU is More Fun Comics #73 in 1941. Mike from dcindexes.com  can beat that with Action Comics #18 (the Zatara story) in late 1939).

This Atlantis is ruled by two rival kingdoms, both matriarchies. The domination of women is overwhelming, and is even accompanied by sexual dimorphism. The average Atlantean woman looks like she’s about 6’4”. Contemporary American and German men were about 5’9” on average.

Atlantean males, on the other hand, seem to be about 5’4” and to be mentally limited. They are referred to as “manlings”.

Setting

Many Atlantean women dress in a pseudo-Classical style reminiscent of Amazons and Greek gods in period Wonder Woman stories. Clea’s people dressed in a roughly comparable way but with a vaguely Mesoamerican vibe to it. Everybody’s White, as was the style of the day.


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The technology level seems to be late Classical (with a few oddities such as parachutes). The economy seems to be based on manling slave labour, presumably used for labour-intensive agriculture. An oft-mentioned deity is called Madra ; a presumably less benign deity is Satana, Queen of the Devils.

Most inhabitants speak in a pseudo-Shakespearian manner, comparable to Marvel’s Asgardians.

As with many lost world/hollow Earth settings, there are extinct animals around. For instance the local militaries have air cavalry mounted on vaguely pterodactyl-like giant beasts.

Aurania

Queen Clea’s kingdom is called Aurania. Queen Eeras’s kingdom is called Venturia and is larger and richer than its Auranian rival. Both came into contact with the surface world in 1944, after millennia of considering the surface a “lost world”.

Eeras allied herself with the Allies, and Clea employed German mercenaries. Though the manlings are incompetent and cowardly soldiers, the women are well-trained, fearless and very strong. Amazon records also described Atlantean women as “arrogant and vain”, which is not far off the mark.

The entrance to this Atlantis fragment is right on the equator by 23’ W and can be reach through an extinct volcano. A second volcano entrance, but its location wasn’t given.

A drawing of Queen Clea's Atlantis

The general setting is helpfully illustrated by the drawing above. According to Queen Eeras, the earth folded over Atlantis when it sank, creating a gigantic air pocket.

Wonder Woman noted that the material of the “dome” forming this pocket was radioactive. It thus provided heat and light and made it possible for a normal-looking ecology to thrive to some extent. Still, the conditions seem to generally be dry and hot.

When discussing with the Superman of Earth-1, Wonder Woman of Earth-2 explains that this is Earth-2’s version of Atlantis. This might be incorrect, since there is a Earth-2 Aquaman with a long career and another Atlantis. Our No Prize Hypothesis  is the Atlantis seen in Earth-2 Aquaman’s adventures simply lost contact with Aurania and Venturia during the sinking.


Powers and Abilities

Queen Clea is an Atlantean woman, and is thus very tall (especially by 1940s standards) and fit, with considerable strength. She’s also trained in the arts of war.

Clea demonstrated that the Amazons had taught her to fly planes, pilot submarines, etc.

She’s devious, manipulative, strong-willed, smart and ruthless. Her domineering presence and quick reflexes allow her to confidently meet most soldiers in close combat, for instance to hit them before they can shoot her.

The life span of Atlantean women is not mentioned, but my general impression was that it was well beyond surface standards.

One amusing lampshading  remark tells us that the Atlantean all speak “the ancient language of English”.


History

In 1944, Queen Clea reigns over Aurania – and it is possible that she has been on the throne for a very long time. Though Aurania has long been overshadowed by their Venturian rival, the ruthless Clea recently led a surprise attack that caught the Venturian military cold. As a result, Aurania conquered and occupied Venturia.

Queen Clea rows with a captain Wonder Woman

However, the fleeing Venturian queen Eeras reached the surface world. There she adventured for months, looking for some sort of weapon to repulse the Auranians. She focused on a chemical invented by one Van Vlek. Working the trail to that secret formula Eeras ended up in Dakar, where she met American military intelligence agent Steve Trevor.

Pooling their resources they secured the whole formula, and Eeras asked Trevor to fly her to Atlantis on his way back to the US. Trevor, who assumed that she was a lunatic, agreed. As he wasn’t expecting to fly into an actual access to Atlantis he had to land in less-than-perfect conditions. As a result they were captured by Auranian troops.

Wonder Woman came to the rescue, forging an alliance with Queen Eeras as both an Amazon and an American. Meanwhile, Clea was busy throwing Trevor into the arena to fight prehistoric boars. Wonder Woman fought everybody off and Eeras used the “devitamizer” derived from the Van Vlek formula to make all nearby Auranians collapse.

The Auranians hit by Eeras’ weapon soon recovered.

Giant girl volcano sky pirates !

The Venturians had their prisoners wear an iron mask . Clea exploited this by having her daughter Ptra secretly replace her in prison.

Clea then covertly rebuilt Aurania’s power. She formed a band of Auranian pirates who attacked surface world ships. They’d use blasts of air from the volcano to soar on parachutes and board nearby ships sword in hand.

Clea was especially interested in getting herself some of the bigger, stronger and smarter manlings of the surface world. She soon struck a deal with a ship full of German prisoners who were being deported to America for farm work.

The German soldiers, equipped with local swords and shields, attacked the Venturians. Meanwhile, Clea sneaked behind enemy lines to get the “devitamizer” that had previously felled her. She then used it against the Venturian forces and Eeras.

Thankfully Wonder Woman, Steve Trevor and the Holliday Girls were present to investigate the fate of the kidnapped American sailors. They freed everyone, then captured Clea and Ptra.

Crossing the Amazons, round 1

Queen Eeras, being reluctant to execute prisoners, agreed to hand Clea and Ptra over to the Amazons. The incorrigible Clea soon escaped, and even captured Wonder Woman and Octavia – the daughter of Eeras, who was studying on Paradise Island.

Queen Clea and Wonder Woman

However, when she landed in Atlantis, Queen Clea discovered that there had been a revolution. The inept manlings had taken over, using surprise and captured surface world weapons that had not been used by the more traditionalist female rulers.

Wonder Woman and Octavia escaped. They then made contact with Steve Trevor and the Holliday Girls, who had been flying nearby looking for them. In the meanwhile Clea convinced the stupid manling king to let her rule. But it was too late, and her manlings were dispersed by the Holliday Girls. Clea was again captured and imprisoned by the Amazons.

Crossing the Amazons, round 2

Some months later, the Saturnic slave-driver Eviless escaped from her cell on Paradise Island. She assembled a gang of prisoners, called Villainy, Inc., whose ranks included Clea.

Villainy, Inc. took over Paradise Island, but were soon repulsed by Wonder Woman. Still, Clea took Giganta with her and fled – and they stole a huge chest filled with Amazon jewels, too.

Clea tried to anonymously buy a submarine from Steve Trevor to return to Atlantis – why she needed a sub is unclear. However, Trevor recognised her and played along to capture her. As he made his move, Trevor was knocked out by Giganta. Clea and Giganta then captured the Holliday Girls and Wonder Woman to force Trevor to give them a submarine.

They did force Wonder Woman to steal a US Navy sub for them. But they were recaptured before their submarine could fully dive, and reimprisoned by the Amazons.

Crisis in eternity !

Under unknown circumstances, Venturia and Aurania later surfaced from the sea. Though Clea apparently stayed in prison for decades, unageing, she escaped in 1976 and abducted several criminals in America to help her conquer Atlantis.

She captured the Earth-2 versions of the Penguin, Ibac and Blockbuster, the later placed under her control using a stolen girdle of Aphrodite.

When the overconfident Superman of Earth-1 intervened, he was surprised by Blockbuster and Clea put a girdle around his waist. She then ordered Superman to attack Earth-2’s Wonder Woman, but Wonder Woman simply ordered Superman to stop (these girdles forcing their wearer to obey all commands) and Clea was defeated.

Meanwhile, the Penguin and Ibac successfully gathered resources for the real master behind the assembled villains. That was King Kull of the Beast-Men, who was mounting his genocidal attack on Earth-1, Earth-2 and Earth-3 (long story).

Ten years later, Earth-2 was destroyed by the Crisis. But there would be a post-Crisis version of Clea on New Earth.


Description

Clea’s trappings vaguely evoke ancient Mesoamerica (presumably Aztec, given the coif and a reference to “sacred serpents”) by way of ancient Egypt and Greece. Due to a continuity mistake, Clea was no longer drawn as being very tall and strong in her later appearances.

Giganta clubs Steve Trevor for Queen Clea

The red dress was the uniform of her parachuting she-pirates. Clea was the only one wearing a mask, presumably to prevent rumours of her return.


Personality

Clea is one bad seed – ruthless, cruel, completely self-centred (her own daughter Ptra is a best an expendable agent to her), determined to be in power at any cost, and slippery and honey-tongued when needed. She’s smart and will exploit any weakness in her opponents without making significant mistakes (unless the story calls for it).

Queen Clea seems to do a lot of banqueting with Roman-style live entertainment, presumably because that sounded evil tyrant-ish to the esteemed Mr. Moulton.


Quotes

“So this is our manling from the lost world – sacred serpents ! He’s as big as a woman !”

“Charge, manlings – a gold disc for every Venturian you kill !”

“That’s what thou thinkest, devil woman ! When you two regain consciousness your real troubles will begin !”

“I have come to see thee because I know thou art very influential with thy government. I wish to buy a [military] submarine.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Queen Clea

Dex: 05 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Power
Int: 06 Wil: 06 Min: 06 Occupation: Tyrant
Inf: 06 Aur: 05 Spi: 07 Resources {or Wealth}: 007
Init: 017 HP: 025

Skills:
Charisma (Persuasion)*: 06, Vehicles (Sea, air): 03, Weaponry (Melee)*: 05

Advantages:
Credentials (Kingdom of Aurania, High), Rank (Colonel equivalent), Slowed Ageing.

Connections:
Aurania (Low, from Credentials).

Drawbacks:
MIA toward Power.

Equipment:

  • On the battlefield, she will arm herself with a Broadsword [BODY 06, EV 04 (05 w/STR)].
  • At one point, Clea also produced an Atlantean Hunting Net [BODY 07, Snare (Area of Effect 1 AP): 07, Grenade Drawback]. This was large enough to capture a half-dozen persons standing close to each other, and is apparently very compact and easy to carry when folded.


Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG Print Friendly

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Queen Clea (pre-Crisis version) — Averaged PL 7

STR STA AGL DEX FGT INT AWE PRE
02 03 02 01 03 02 02 02

Combat Advantages

Close attack 4, Defensive roll 3, Improved Initiative, Ranged Attack 4.

Other Advantages

Benefit 1 (Probably doesn’t age normally), Benefit 3 (Queen of Aurania), Equipment 2.

Skills

Athletics 3 (+5), Close combat (Swords) 1 (+8), Deception 5 (+7), Expertise (Military strategy) 4 (+6), Insight 5 (+7), Perception 5 (+7), Persuasion 5 (+7), Vehicles 3 (+4).

Equipment

Broadsword — Strength-based Slashing Damage 3, Threat 19-20 ● 4 points
Hunting net — Burst area Snare 6, Reduced Range 1, Limited 2 (one-shot) ● 2 points

Offense

Initiative +6
Unarmed +7, Close, Damage 2
Sword +8, Close, Damage 5, Threat 19-20

Defense

Dodge 7 Fortitude 7
Parry 8 Toughness 6/3*
Will 9

* Without Defensive Roll

Complications

  • Obsession Clea is particularly power-hungry.
  • Outsider Clea lacks information about the “lost world” of the surface.

Power levels

  • Trade-off areas Attack/Effect PL 7, Dodge/Toughness PL 7, Parry/Toughness PL 7, Fort/Will PL 8.
  • Point total 89. Abilities 34, Defences 21, Skills 16, Powers 0, Devices 0, Advantages 18. Equiv. PL 6.


By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: DC Universe (pre-Crisis Earth-2).

Helper(s): Dcindexes.com , Darci.

Writeup completed on the 27th of May, 2010.

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