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Thundra (Marvel Comics) looking a bit sad

Thundra

(Part 3)


Context

Thundra is a Fantastic Four character, first seen in 1971.

Though she’s by herself straightforward, a profile of her must cover a lot of ground. Since her career involves a lot of time travel, and multiple dimensions .

So the profile is presented in short-ish episodes :

  1. Femizonia – a gender study. Start there.
  2. .
  3. Thundra – the 1990s and 2000s. This here article.
  4. .

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History (part 2)

(Again, this assumes you’ve read the previous chapter, covering Thundra through the 1970s and 1980s).

(This document covers everything from 1991 — when Thundra returns — to the closing months of 2009 (when the “Code Red” story arc starts).)

Polemachus

The Sisterhood improved their trans-dimensional travel technology. Perhaps with the captured Roxxon Nth Projector experts.

This opened up a new way to get resources – pillaging other dimensions.

Thundra and the Femizons thus raided the strange world of Polemachus. Ruled by super-barbarian Arkon the Magnificent, it was a particularly macho society.

But Polemachus was tougher than it looked. They even attacked back, as they saw Femizonia’s women-dominated culture as unnatural.

Soon, the two worlds were at war. But Femizonia lacked the resources to fight both its own men and Polemachus’.


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With a little help from my friends

Thundra kidnapped Franklin Richards and Rachel Carpenter to force, respectively, the Fantastic Four and the Avengers West Coast to help her. While Thundra probably wouldn’t hurt children, the Earth-616  heroes couldn’t be 100% sure.

However, half the Earth-616 hostages and heroes were snatched in transit by Polemachus operatives. The Polemachians hypnotised the heroes to serve them, then renewed their assault on Femizonia.

A battle ensued, as the United Sisterhood and their reluctant Earth-616 heroes met these invaders on Earth-715. In the fray, Thundra started beating on Arkon, hoping it would break polemachian morale. But the super-barbarian rallied and fought her toe-to-toe.

Thundra proposed that they make peace and date instead. Though surprised, Arkon agreed after she flattered him about his strength.

While Arkon clearly wasn’t an intellectual titan, Thundra was genuinely interested in his brawn and martial talent. In hindsight, we can imagine that she considered him a good progenitor to have a super-strong daughter.


Soundtrack

Something by a suitable lady that strongly evokes 1991, lessee… Oh yeah, PJ Harvey’s first single.

Sort of like motor-like, disillusioned punk rock. Not for everyone, but for those who loved it it was a highlight of that year.

Available for download on Amazon .


History (Part 3)

Thundra became Arkon’s consort, and thus the co-ruler of Polemachus. Presumably, that was a state secret on Femizonia.

But in 1993, the energy rings surrounding Polemachus once again went awry. They now burned too bright, ruining polemachian agriculture.

Many thought that this was divine punishment for having a foreign, independent queen.

Put rings on it

Scientists couldn’t find a way to dim the rings. Parts of the populace instead demanded sacrifices to appease the gods. A girl named Astra was the chosen offering.

Thundra forcefully prevented the ceremony. Her consort sided with her, but they were grossly outnumbered. The couple fled to Earth-616.

As they were meeting with the Avengers Thundra, Arkon and Astra were summoned back. But the Avengers were transported along.

Vision (“Victor Shade”) deescalated, brokering a deal with head priest Anskar.

Rid me of these turbulent priests

The deal worked – the Avengers fixed the planetary rings. But Anskar murdered Astra anyway, and Avenger Sersi (Sersi of the Eternals of Earth) incinerated him in retaliation.

Priests Cranus and Gullo schemed against the Imperionic couple to avenge Anskar. They drugged Thundra, plunging her into a homicidal rage.

Meanwhile, the rings entered a warm period.

Overwhelmed and thinking that the rings were breaking down, Arkon tried to have Polemachus switch positions with Earth.

This created random warps between the two worlds. The rampaging Thundra thus ended up on Earth. But Quicksilver (Pietro Maximoff) and the Knights of Wundagore brewed an antidote. Thundra thus regained her free will, then beat up the conspiring priests.

The dimensional switch between Earth and Polemachus was aborted. And the Knights helped fine-tune the planetary energy rings again.

That vizier is no good

Conservative polemachians still feared that Thundra’s influence on their Imperion would ruin their patriarchal ways.

Thundra (Marvel Comics) clobbers the Thing 1970s

These men found an ally – Arkon’s vizier Greybeard. He ran much of the day-to-day government of Polemachus.

Greybeard, a technologist, felt threatened by Arkon and Thundra’s plan to make technology more accessible to Polemachians.

The vizier kidnapped five people from Earth :

  • The Wrecking Crew, a super-strong mercenary quartet. The classic brute squad.
  • Photon (Monica Rambeau) of the Avengers, who at that point was in energy form.

Greybeard trapped Monica in an energy bottle. She now powered a device that could supercharge the Wrecking Crew’s strength for a while.

Enjoying their “Class 100” strength, the Crew agreed to lead an assault against Imperion City. Most of the polemachian military was behind them, having sided with the vizier.

Coup in Imperion City

The empowered Wrecking Crew dispersed Arkon’s loyalists and vanquished the Imperionic couple.

Arkon was jailed. He lost his will to fight after he was told that Thundra had been executed.

As to Thundra she actually escaped, though her right eye was crippled.

After rallying a small force of loyalists, Thundra allied with a team of Avengers who had come to recover Photon.

It was critical for Thundra that Imperion City be liberated by Polemachians. But it was highly defensible, and her forces were scant.

With the Black Knight (Dane Withman)’s help, she could refurbish some old attack aircraft. But only the youngest partisans — teenagers — agreed to fly them. That was due to decades of mounting rejection of technology in polemachian society.

Counter-coup

The kid pilots and their antiquated aircraft could achieve air superiority, which made an infantry assault feasible. But they took bad casualties.

Thundra (Marvel Comics) wins her fight with the Thing

Torn, Thundra allowed the Avengers to accompany her in storming Imperion City. While politically unfortunate, this would relieve the pressure on her underage air force.

The assault freed Arkon, then stormed the Imperionic palace. Greybeard was captured, and forced to proclaim Arkon’s restoration.

Meanwhile, Photon freed herself as the Avengers were fighting the Wrecking Crew. This returned the Crew to their normal level of power – way under the Avengers’ powerhouses’.

Furious Polemachus warriors nearly slew the vizier. But Greybeard was saved by the Avenger Firestar (Angelica Jones). The coup was over.

A time for leaving

After this crisis, Thundra left Arkon and Polemachus.

During the battle, Arkon (who still thought that Thundra had been executed) had been making eyes at the Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff). Thundra returned in time to notice. This might be what precipitated the divorce.

Two other guesses :

  • It’s possible that the arrangement to rule on both Polemachus and Femizonia wasn’t tenable.
  • If Thundra indeed wanted Arkon to give her a child, perhaps it had turned out to be unfeasible.

Thundra later stated that their personalities were too strong for them to fit together for too long. But they parted on friendly terms.

As she returned to Femizonia, Thundra’s destroyed eye was restored. Perhaps a cloned organ had been grown.


History (part 4)

Thundra continued to lead the United Sisterhood’s military, defeating male champions such as one “Death”. The Femizons became the largest empire in Earth’s history.

Thundra and the Fantastic Four (Marvel Comics) and Tigra by George Pérez

Though she still looked in her early-to-mid-30s, Thundra was concerned about her ability to bear an heir. She decided to have another go at it, again jumping into the past to fight a super-strongman.

This was presented to the population as another great symbolic strike. This time against the strongest man of all times, the incredible Hulk (Dr. Bruce Banner). A video drone would record the fight.

Thundra’s first choice would have been Thor Odinson. But the Sisterhood’s chronal tech wasn’t what it had been 15 years before. They couldn’t get a lock on him. Whereas historical research determined :

  • A place and time where the Hulk had been, and which their chronogates could reach.
  • That he likely could impregnate Thundra, despite both their altered organisms.

An homage to Billie Jean King, perhaps

Thundra slid back to Earth-616 in 2008, and engaged the Hulk in a desert. Meanwhile the camera drone scanned the Hulk’s DNA, confirming that an offspring would be viable.

Thundra beat the Hulk back for a short while, then collapsed an entire cliff upon him. The Empress then presumably made a little victory speech for the drone.

She then helped the Hulk dig himself free from under the rubble. And convinced the confused man-monster to let her take cell samples from inside his cheek.

Dancing cheek to cheek

The original script for this issue was that Thundra convinced the lonely Hulk to have sex with her. And therefore, got pregnant with Lyra in the old-fashioned way.

Thundra (Marvel Comics) kicks the Hulk in the face

This was rejected by the editors, leaving us with the “cell sample” take. Which somehow happens after she kisses him.

Normally I wouldn’t mention this edit. But it opens a huge plot hole.

Namely “if Thundra simply needed cell samples, why on Earth didn’t she get those *way* earlier ? Such as asking Ben Grimm for samples ‘to help with medical research for children’, which would be technically true ?”.

Verdade, She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters) would have been an even more obvious donor choice if Thundra just needed some mouth cells.

The edit occurs during a scene that is clearly presented as disinformation. So you can always consider that the “cell samples” thing was just another fabrication for propaganda. Yes, it’s pretty meta.

One for the books

Historical records show that Thundra then returned to Earth-715. The cells were cultivated and transformed to make her pregnant. She gave birth to a perfectly viable baby girl, Lyra.

As hoped, the green-skinned kid would grow up to be even more powerful than the mighty Thundra. This provided the Sisterhood with a woman strong enough to be the future Matriarch and hold it together.

Over the following 20 years, Thundra continued to lead Femizons until they claimed practically the entire world. Only a few male holdouts remained in the Middle East.

As she got older Thundra focused on defensive operations, while Lyra led offensive operations. The young woman wore the exact same costume as her mother.

That’s what official records say.


The crux of the paradox

In actuality, Thundra’s trip in the past went wrong right after she parted ways with the Hulk. It created a serious time paradox threatening to destroy the Earth-715 timeline.

Said paradox was as follow:

Step #1

From Thundra’s point of view, she didn’t manage to come back to Earth-715 at all.

Thundra (Marvel Comics) WWE-style wrestling the Thing

The time platform died before she could make the jump back. She was stranded in the XXIst century.

She consulted with Reed Richards. But even he couldn’t send her back, as tracking down the correct timeline  was impossibly thorny.

(One surmises that Thundra, trapped by her previous lies, couldn’t tell Richards that Femizonia had never actually merged with Machus. Operators far less skilled than Dr. Richards, but who know that Earth-715 still exists, are later seen locating Femizonia without issues.)

Step #2

However, Lyra did exist. In fact, she travelled back in time and interacted with Earth-616.

Yet from the present’s perspective, she couldn’t possibly have been born.

Thundra knew of the paradoxical existence of Lyra. She did all she could to avoid any contact with her currently-impossible daughter. Such an encounter would worsen the paradox.

Thundra was aware that this Lyra might be from another possible future. But there was no way to be sure and the stakes were too high.

The woman with the plan

Thundra devised a plan. We don’t know the details, but it presumably aimed to return her to Earth-715 as if the Sisterhood’s chronogate had functioned correctly. Thus allowing for the official version of the events, above, to take place.

Her plan involved the video drone. She used it to record a secret message for the future. She also did something with the drone’s cryo-core.

Since we never see Thundra pregnant, I hypothesize that she had an early embryo surgically removed, then frozen using the core. If you use the official “cell samples” version, the process is even simpler.

This hypothesis is because I assume that her goal was to have the pregnancy take place in the future, and have Lyra born on Earth-715. Therefore reducing the temporal paradox.

Step #3

Thundra hid deep in the Southwestern US deserts. Her goals seem to have been :

  1. Disappearing to reduce the odds of paradoxical, young adult Lyra finding her.
  2. To remain in an area she knew the United Sisterhood’s chronogates might reach. It was a slim possibility, but better than nothing.

History (part 5)

Not long after, Thundra was seen running a commune of proto-Femizons in the wilderness. She took women in and taught them the Femizon warrior culture.

Thundra (Marvel Comics) and Lady Vermin

(This may have been to “defend” Earth-715 by making it more likely to occur. But note that we can’t tell whether the commune was run by Thundra-stranded-in-2008, or a later version of Thundra who travelled back to the 2000s.)

The Femizon commune grew large enough to earn its own Skrull infiltrators during the Secret Invasion . But when they activated, they were overwhelmed by Thundra. The towering redhead even took one alive.

Inhuman sisters Medusa and Crystal then came to the commune. They wanted access to the Skrull prisoner, to gain intelligence about their comms.

Thundra was reluctant to help the Inhumans, as they were governed by a King. But her buddy Medusa convinced her that :

  1. She wielded enough political power for the Inhumans to be considered not to be male-led.
  2. Black Bolt was a noble, non-toxic feller.

Eat your greens

She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters) met with Thundra in unrevealed circumstances during this general time frame. They became friends.

She-Hulk was considered a great woman of history on Earth-715. Thundra may have wished to meet with her out of historical curiosity. And/or there was a “make the Femizon future more likely” angle.

(Thundra also had an interest in dating Shulkie. As it turned out Jennifer was straight and that was the end of it, aside from occasional friendly teasing.)

She-Hulk, Thundra and friends would occasionally assemble as a new version of the Lady Liberators. This was a reference to a brief-lived women’s lib coalition of super-ladies, back in the 1970s.

Exile on male street

In 2009, the immensely strong (and crassly chauvinistic) Red Hulk (Thaddeus Ross) emerged. He worfed  a number of powerhouses, including She-Hulk.

Thundra (Marvel Comics) with Medusa and Crystal

Walters called in some friends to have her revenge. The first two who responded were Lady Liberators, namely Thundra and Valkyrie (Sam Parrington). Though the Red Hulk was vastly stronger, they held their own.

More ferociously fighting female friends came in, and they took the Rulk down.

Thundra wanted to behead the Red Hulk, but the other heroines opposed this. Still, she was right – the Rulk had recovered and was biding his time. He escaped, taking Thundra with him.

Ross wanted to make her an offer. He told the Femizon that his allies in the Intelligencia could get her back to her Earth and solve the time paradox.

Thundra agreed. But if they worked together right away, it took place off-panel .

How liberating

She-Hulk soon reassembled the Lady Liberators. The mission was to deliver supplies to Marinmer, a dictatorship hit by a terrible earthquake. Humanitarian aid was blocked for political reasons.

Beyond Thundra and Jennifer, the Liberators were :

Thundra (Marvel Comics) throws a punch crimson dynamo

The local dictator demanded that the Winter Guard stop the Ladies from delivering their supplies. But upon seeing the devastation, the Russian operatives stopped obeying his orders.

The Liberators cleverly took over by faking the public suicide of the dictator. This allowed them to authorise aid, and organise elections, with no loss of lives.

These actions landed the She-Hulk in hot water with the US Department of State. Which led to her Skrull buddy Jazinda being captured by a governmental agency.

Mrs. Richards, Thundra and Ms. Parrington stormed the military base where Jazinda was being tortured. After clashing with Behemoth (Manfred Haller), they freed their friend.

E pluribus

The Lady Liberators (including Mrs. Richards plus the usual suspects) were later captured by the Collector, an Elder of the Universe. He considered that female heroes would become collector’s items as the mega-powerful Unum hunted heroines across the universe.

The Ladies escaped, and joined forces with alien heroines. Mantis and She-Hulk stopped Unum by explaining to her how she had been manipulated.

Thundra then returned to her desert exile.

Continued !

So yep, we’ve just covered another 20 years of events.

The final parts will recap what happened during the 2010s, then move on to our other usual sections – Description, Personality, Game Stats, the ultimate secrets of love and the universe, etc. etc..


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By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Marvel Comics.

Helper(s): Darci.

Writeup rewritten on the 9th of April, 2021.

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