Raava the unskrulled
This obscure character only appeared in a few issues of Marvel’s 2017 Black Bolt series, by Saladin Ahmed and Christian Ward.
There isn’t much about her but she’s kinda cool, she’d be handy in a number of space adventures, and she seems straightforward.
- Real Name: Raava.
- Known Relatives: Possibly Skragg and Raavaka (children, deceased).
- Group Affiliation: None known.
- Base of Operations: Mobile in spaaaaace.
- Height: 6’3″ (1.90m). Weight: 240 lbs. (109 kg.).
- Eyes: Green. Hair: Black.
Powers & Abilities
Raava is a large, muscular and skilled melee fighter. She looks like she could win high-level caber toss competitions. Do Skrulls toss cabers ?
The unskrulled’s martial speciality is fighting with a pair of large broadswords, with a cutlass-style spiked guard. But she’ll also do fine with a longsword, or even a large piece of sharp, flat metal.
She stated that she was a highly skilled spaceship pilot.
Raava also knew about the physiology of a somewhat obscure humanoid species, about Earth, etc.. She presumably knows about space stuff in general.
Stars, my destination
She has some sort of direction instinct. Raava always knows where to go to reach her objective. Even in a maze, even if she cannot see anything, even if the environment keeps shifting. This seems to be a super-power.
On the other hand, she never learned to shapeshift. On some panels she seems to be increasing her stature for intimidation purposes, but that barely counts by Skrull standards. And it presumably doesn’t make her stronger.
Still, coming from a shapeshifting people means that Raava is skilled at spotting illusions and disguises.
Raava can arm herself with two energy blades, the Angry Daughter (orange) and the Hungry Son (magenta). Their nature is unrevealed. They might be :
- Technological (unlikely).
- Semi-mystical (like Star Wars lightsabres).
- A super-power of hers (most likely hypothesis).
As a third power, Raava seems able to fly – perhaps even in a vacuum. Maybe flight, swords and navigation form a unified theme in her culture.
Raava is a Skrull adventuress. As she refuses to comply with any law or acknowledge any authority, she soon ran into severe troubles with the regimented Skrull jurisdictions.
She was branded a pirate, though that may have been baseless. Or heh, maybe she has a cracked copy of Photoshop CS6 😱.
Raava boasted that she had flown ships through the poison storms of Vokkorra-4, and the god-mazes of Yalg. Presumably, she had all sorts of space adventures.
But she was eventually captured. From there she was transferred to a secret Inhuman space prison. Which likely means that her captors really, really wanted to get rid of her.
This may be when she was declared “unskrulled”.
Pregnant with metaphor
Raava once states that authorities took her first child, then her second child. And that then, “men with laws and threats of cages took Raava’s bloodkin until she could birth no more”.
This led to her striking back. Then, after much violence, to her imprisonment.
Her words are ambiguous :
- The children could be her actual children. Or a metaphor for her energy swords.
- The “bloodkin” may thus be lovers impregnating her… or people who taught her to manifest swords.
- Or maybe the oviparous Skrull women can only get pregnant a few times in their lives, and “bloodkin” meant eggs.
- Or maybe “bloodkins” means a (piratical ?) Skrull subculture to which Raava belonged, and she refuses to have lovers outside of it.
- If the swords are technological (but powered by will, a bit like Green Lantern power rings) maybe the “bloodkin” are piratical blood brothers who built these for her.
The simplest explanation :
- Her actual children were killed. We do see two young Skrulls in a scene where the protags are haunted by the dead.
- The swords are part of her super-powers, named in honour of her kids. They manifest once a super-power neutralisation effect is gone.
Et prisonniers de l’inutile
Within the secret prison, aged inmate the Metal Master (Molyb of Astra) had been plotting. He gradually assembled a gang. Beyond Raava, these included :
- “Blinky”, a telepathic alien child.
- Carl “Crusher” Creel, aka the Absorbing Man.
- And eventually Inhuman King Black Bolt (Blackagar Boltagon).
Against all odds, they discovered the nature of the prison and its warden.
Once the warden had been destroyed, the elated Raava said her farewells and returned to free space.
Raava is a sort of Cimmerian barbarian, fiercely forging her own independent destiny and scoffing at “civilisation”.
She’s a rugged survivor, plays by her own (minimal and pragmatic) rules, despises those who follow orders, relishes in violence, etc..
She talks of herself in the third person, with stilted expressions. Presumably, this is because the dialogue takes place in Kree and thus her second language. If so, it’s also possible that she’s speaking in an older form of Kree.
One gets the impression that Raava is violent and ruthless, but not malevolent. She may be more of a hunted rebel figure, whose crimes are committed to survive and thwart the authorities hounding her.
Some of her dialogue gives the vague impression she often works as a smuggler.
Raava dearly loves exploring space. She calls the stars her friends, and longs to travel to new solar systems.
“YES ! Raava is free ! Raava is armed ! Let the men of laws and cages tremble !”
“Raava does not trust your mettle, Earther. But she has few options. And this is the best of them. We would escape this foul place. Are you with us ?”
“Raava loves her shape and never learned to change it. Because Raava loves her face and never learned to change it. When Raava kills a man, he *knows* it was Raava who killed him.”
“Raava’s right hand holds Angry Daughter. Her left hand holds Hungry Son. Forged from Raava’s fury. Tempered by Raava’s will. With these, RAAVA WILL CUT DOWN ANY WHO STAND IN HER WAY !”
DC Universe Adaptation
(This section proposes ways of using this character in DC Universe stories).
She’d be a Khund, and there you go. See the profile for Green Lantern Kho for a bit about khundness.
DC Heroes RPG
Tell me more about the game stats
|Dex: 06||Str: 05||Bod: 05|
|Int: 04||Wil: 04||Min: 05|
|Inf: 05||Aur: 04||Spi: 06|
|Init: 015||HP: 035|
Claws: 09, Detect (Destination): 50, Flight: 10, Truesight: 03
Bonuses and Limitations:
- Claws manifest has full-size broadswords, and is wielded as such.
- Detect is Form Function.
- Detect is Discerning, in that it allows for computing an exact path.
- True Sight is a Skilled Power.
Vehicles (Space): 07, Weaponry (Melee): 06
Area Knowledge (Local galactic group), Languages (Kree, Skrull), Schtick (Paired swords).
Mistrust, SID of Obeying.
Stats are highly speculative, given the lack of material.
That a good part of the dialogue takes part in Kree is my assumption.
Flight is set high enough that she could fly through space (as she seems to do as she leaves), *if* you use some rules about accelerating in a vacuum.
She may also have Sealed Systems, but we can’t tell from that page. Plus, it might be her chestplate that has a vacuum protection mode.
A recurrent issue with Detect and similar Powers is that APs are both the Range, *and* something for meta-Powers (Neutralize, Drain, Adaptation, Sorcery, Mimic…) to interact with. These usually are orthogonal concerns.
But here it’s just right. Since her direction sense was still up when everybody’s Powers had been bollixed.
Source of Character: Black Bolt comics.
Writeup completed on the 1st of January, 2021.