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Friday, January 14, 2011

Magic in the Mirror

An epic showdown between the Defenders and mind-controlled members the Squadron Supreme introduced the Earth-S hero named Arcanna and provided a glimpse at magic in the parallel universe that the Squadron called home (Defenders #113).

At the time, all of the heroes from the Squadron's world were thinly veiled versions of the Justice League of America. So when Arcanna readied to attack, she made like Zatanna from the JLA and spoke magic words backward to cast a spell.

Arcanna: sgnir fo ecrof dnuorrus ym ymeme.

Before the "rings of force" could surround anyone, though, a hex bolt from the Scarlet Witch defeated Arcanna. Future depictions of the character dropped the homage to Zatanna and allowed Arcanna to use her powers without reciting any magic words.

Later stories about the Squadron Supreme introduced another mage from Earth-S, the retired Professor Imam (first seen in Captain America #314). Carrying the title Wizard Supreme (as opposed to Sorcerer Supreme), Professor Imam filled a niche on Earth-S similar to that of Dr. Strange and his mentor, the Ancient One, in the mainstream Marvel Universe.

This image of Arcanna, from the first edition of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, shows the costume she wore in Defenders #113.

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