Meet Umar the Unrelenting, Sister of the Dread Dormammu
Who is Umar the Unrelenting? Read on to discover more about this powerful Faltine sorceress, who is the sister of Dormammu and mother to Clea.
Siblings: can’t live with them, can’t banish them to the Dark Dimension… or can you?
In many ways, that question underpins the very existence of one of Marvel’s most formidable mystical powerhouses. But while she is perhaps better known for her familial connections, this cosmic queen is much more than her family ties.
We are talking about a being born of the legendary Faltine; a goddess made of pure magical energy who, with the slightest wave of her hand, once halted the advance of the Multiverse’s most terrifying otherworldly horde. To her, the Incredible Hulk—at his absolute most powerful—was little more than a plaything; the very fabric of reality around her, a thin veil to casually brush aside.
She is Umar the Unrelenting, and while she is indeed the sister of the Dread Dormammu and mother of Clea, the Dark Dimension’s own Sorcerer Supreme, Umar is also one of Doctor Strange’s most fearsome and powerful foes. You will put some respect on her name!
Who Is Umar?
First appearing in STRANGE TALES (1951) #150 by Roy Thomas and Bill Everett, Umar quite literally burst out of thin air to quell an invasion of Mindless Ones. For the unacquainted, the Mindless Ones are a living plague of laser-firing rock golems; their ceaseless, all-consuming battle is the only thing they know, and it’s enough to send a chill down the spine of Marvel’s mightiest heroes.
An otherwise improbable feat for any spell-slinger to accomplish alone, Umar made repelling the Mindless Ones look easy, banishing the unbreakable brutes with just one finger. She doubled down on proving her power later by mentally controlling the Mindless Ones, just to annoy Doctor Strange. Then, in STRANGE TALES (1951) #156 by Thomas and Everett, she shot one of her patented bolts of bedevilment clean through the Earth “as easily as a sharp-edged blade can slice thru paper!” If that’s not a flex, what is?
Umar was only defeated thanks to the combined efforts of Doctor Strange, the Ancient One, the all-powerful (yet oddly proportioned) demon Zom, and Veritas, “the living embodiment of truth incarnate.” All those powers stacked against her may seem unfair, but it’s also a testament to just how strong Umar is and always has been.
Finer points of Umar’s mysterious past came to light nearly 20 years later, in DOCTOR STRANGE (1974) #71 by Roger Stern and Paul Smith, and three years after that in DOCTOR STRANGE, SORCERER SUPREME (1988) #22 by Thomas, Jean-Marc Lofficier, Randy Lofficier, and Lee Weeks.
Together, these issues revealed that Umar and Dormammu—members of the Faltine, who are beings of incalculable magical power that occupy their own reality—were banished from their dimension after killing their father, Sinifer. They were also guilty of “lusting for matter,” which is a capital offense to Faltinians. After their banishment, the two found refuge in the Dark Dimension, where they met a wizard named Olnar.
Umar and Dormammu worked together to seduce Olnar, urging and empowering him to conquer other realities. Unfortunately for them, they kicked one heck of a hornet’s nest and freed the same Mindless Ones Umar imprisoned later.
The sinister siblings fought the horde back, but Umar was drained after the more hands-on battle. While she gathered her strength, she allowed Dormammu to take lordship of the Dark Dimension… at least for the time being.
Umar spent years ruling alongside him on a secondary throne, but in DOCTOR STRANGE (1974) #71, a new twist added depth to her story with powerful ramifications.
Mother of Clea, Matron of Chaos
Even mystical beings born without form can get bored, and in her queenly malaise, Umar took a fancy to the child of her late Multiverse-conquering chum, Olnar. She and his son, Oniri, had a secret love affair, which led to the equally secret birth of their child, Clea: heir to part of Umar’s Faltine powers and stewardship of the Dark Dimension.
Clea learned her shocking lineage in DOCTOR STRANGE (1974) #72 by Stern and Smith, but still overthrew her mother, took her crown, and sent both her parents to a Limbo prison. Umar was freed years later in DOCTOR STRANGE, SORCERER SUPREME (1988) #22, when a returning Dormammu needed help recapturing the Dark Dimension from Clea.
Umar, being unrelenting, ultimately betrayed her brother and tried to usurp his rule, only to be beaten. In her defense, she was still nursing a Limbo hangover! But while she may be a terrible parent, Umar is nothing if not a fighter: a trait she highly values not just in herself, but in her chosen lovers.
While she was disgusted by the union she shared with Clea’s father, Oniri, Umar actively sought a more physical partnership with one of Marvel’s mightiest monster when she romantically targeted none other than the Incredible Hulk!
Strange Bedfellows: Umar & the Incredible Hulk
The unexpected hookup came about after Umar joined her brother’s side during yet another one of his bids for power, this time to kill and absorb Eternity’s essence and recreate reality in their likeness.
In DEFENDERS (2005) #2 by J. M. DeMatteis, Keith Giffen, and Kevin Maguire, Umar seemed more relaxed and much more invested in enjoying the finer things in life, like manservant-assisted baths and television. Sure, she passively allowed Dormammu to siphon her power for their ends, but she was more interested in lying back and waiting for the conflict to come to her.
Umar’s luxuriating was anything but lazy, though, and rarely does she simply rest. No, Umar plans. On one such occasion, she noticed Hulk on the battlefield. Even though he suffered a disconcertingly easy defeat by Dormammu and was turned to stone, Umar found Hulk’s otherwise “repugnant” form both durable for her bedroom proclivities and useful in her ultimate scheme to kill and replace her brother.
Unfortunately, even the Green Goliath’s incredible constitution couldn’t keep up with Umar’s unbridled desire. He did, however, provide enough distraction to help her refocus and assist the Defenders in defeating her brother, even after he achieved godhood. Such is the divine level of Umar’s spite, which she exacted here with suitable aplomb.
As she promised him during their goodbyes, Umar kept tabs on the Hulk and was all too pleased when, in INCREDIBLE HULKS (2010) #630 by Greg Pak and Paul Pelletier, she was summoned by a wish to confront him alongside some of his greatest enemies. Unlike them, Umar played her cards smart, waiting for Hulk’s power to reach its crescendo before mystically whisking him away to her Dark Dimension boudoir.
Everything went off the rails after Hulk’s friends came to get him, especially as he seemed to be having the time of his life. After all, this was Worldbreaker Hulk, who enjoyed spending his days destroying Mindless Ones and his nights with Umar. In the end, despite finally finding satisfaction in a partner, the unrelenting one released Hulk back to his wife, Betty Banner (then the Red She-Hulk). She called them a “cute couple” before making her grand exit, allowing them to return home.
Afterwards, Umar went home and continued plotting in the trappings of her station. But it wouldn’t be long before her path would cross once more with Stephen Strange—after she helped successfully murder him.
Umar & the Death of Doctor Strange
While not directly responsible for his death, Umar was implicated in helping arrange Stephen Strange’s murder during the DEATH OF DOCTOR STRANGE (2021) miniseries by Jed MacKay and Lee Garbett. She did so by entering into a deal with Baron Mordo’s apprentice, Kaecilius, who was the one who ultimately killed Doctor Strange. It must be said, however, that the evil plan Umar helped concoct was done out of sheer self-preservation.
At the time, the entire mystical Multiverse was under threat of being consumed by a triumvirate of magic eaters known as the Three Mothers and their horrifying spawn, the Peregrine Child. In a bid to prevent the four from finding and destroying them, the magic warlords from across realities—including Umar—conspired to destroy Doctor Strange and thus dispel the magical wards he cast to keep them out of the main Marvel universe.
So unimpeded, Umar and her coconspirators squirreled away somewhere on Earth and hid from the Mothers and Child. They believed that surrounding themselves with the Avengers, X-Men, and other Super Hero groups would help protect them.
The warlords and Umar—who settled her kingdom, New Umarria, in Antarctica—were successful in arranging the death of Doctor Strange, but less so in staying hidden from their hunters. Luckily for them, as always, the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth had a plan, even in death. In this case, he was able to channel a past version of himself to solve his own murder and successfully push back the invasion of the magic snackers.
Umar’s last appearance of note occurred in STRANGE (2022) #4 by MacKay and Marcelo Ferreira. Here, she invited herself to the Sanctum Sanctorum to have dinner with Earth’s new Sorcerer Supreme: Strange's wife and her daughter, Clea.
The oddly heartfelt reunion saw Umar admitting she was proud of Clea and even that she loved her, further softening the Faltine warlord’s rep as a hard villain. It was short-lived, however, as the two got split up during an attack by the Blasphemy Cartel, a black ops team sent to strategically remove magical players from the Multiverse.
After the Cartel’s defeat, which Umar toasted by drinking goblets of their blood, she retired back to her Antarctic kingdom. There she stayed until DOCTOR STRANGE (2023) #3 by MacKay and Pasqual Ferry, where it was announced she would be getting married to Tiboro, the Sorcerer Supreme of the Sixth Dimension. It remains to be seen where this will go, but one thing is for certain: sparks will fly.
After all, for nearly 60 years, Umar has consistently vexed and confounded those around her, despite their own impossible powers. Whether she stands against her brother Dormammu, her daughter Clea, “the accursed Doctor Strange,” her ex-lover the Hulk, or even Eternity itself, Umar has proven time and again that she is unrestrained, unapologetic, and as ever, unrelenting.
Receive your invitation to Umar the Unrelenting's wedding in DOCTOR STRANGE #3, on sale now!
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