Defenders: From the Marvel Vault #1
In late 2010, Marvel announced a series of books based on previously unpublished and/or partially finished work found during the big office move that same year. Five “From the Marvel Vault” one-shots were published, including Doctor Strange, Gambit/Champions, The Hulk/Human Torch, Thunderbolts and this doozy. The backstory of this comic claims unused Mark Bagley pencils with a Fabian Nicieza script (since lost) were re-purposed by Kurt Busiek, who guessed what was supposed to be happening. The result is a freakishly plausible-yet-puerile story that is in fact, so brilliantly done that I’m not entirely convinced he just “found” these pencils [EDIT: See Comments below for something convincing from Kurt Busiek himself!] . Marrina appears in one panel as a floating head.
After the Defenders are shown in a series of bizarre dream sequences, it is revealed that they are actually trapped in the clutches of some sort of bizarre dream sequence-inducing creature straight out of the Lovecraftian Bestiary. Namor is the first to break free from its direct control in a manner highly reminiscent of a similar scene from Fred van Lente and Greg Pak’s Incredible Hercules #118 where Herc breaks free from Nightmare’s nightmare machine. Even after detaching himself from the creature, Namor still experiences forcible mental imagery, one of which is a set of five floating heads. In addition to his wife Marrina, the other four heads are his cousin Byrrah (on top), his other wife Dorma (who I believe is miscolored as human), beloved cousin Namora and his dad Leonard McKenzie, all dead at the time this was drawn. They are shown in one panel angrily shouting some kind of approbations down to Namor, bitter reminders of what Namor prefers to retain as his “sweetest memories.”
Look familiar? Alpha Flight fans remember the 1990s Namor: The Sub-Mariner series where we saw a pairing of Namor’s former wives Dorma and Marrina in dream sequences quite a few times:
And Marrina as a floating head in Namor #61:
All of which are likely the inspiration for this appearance. Regardless of my slight skepticism about Busiek’s claims, this book is simply a hoot to read and re-read, and I’m glad Marrina made it in from the supposedly lost story that might never have seen the light of day. This turned out to be one of the most interesting and enjoyable comics in my Alpha Flight collection.