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Sabra (character)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sabra from All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #9.
Art by Mike Perkins.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearance(Cameo)
Incredible Hulk #250
(August 1980)
Incredible Hulk #256
(February 1981)
Created byBill Mantlo (writer)
Sal Buscema (artist)
In-story information
Alter egoRuth Bat Seraph
SpeciesHuman mutant
Team affiliationsX-Corporation
New Warriors
Notable aliasesSabra
  • Superhuman strength, speed, agility, durability, stamina, and reflexes,
  • Ability to transfer her life energy to other people
  • Ability to grant superpowers to other people
  • Regenerative healing factor
  • Equipment includes wrist gauntlets that fire plasma bursts and paralyzing quills, anti-gravity devices granting flight, and standard weapons
  • Trained armed/unarmed combatant

Sabra is a character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Bill Mantlo and artist Sal Buscema, the character first appeared in Incredible Hulk #250 (August 1980) in a cameo, before making a full appearance in Incredible Hulk #256 (February 1981).[1] Sabra is the alter ego of the Israeli superheroine Ruth Bat-Seraph (Hebrew: רות בת-שרף). She is a mutant, and serves as an agent to the Israeli secret service known as the Mossad.[2]

Shira Haas is set to portray a reimagined version of Sabra in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Captain America: Brave New World (2025).



Concept and creation


Belinda Glass, a singer and the first wife of Marvel writer Mark Gruenwald, came up with the name and concept of the character.[3] "Sabra" is a slang term for a native-born Israeli Jew. The name refers to the prickly pear cactus: tough on the outside but soft and sweet on the inside.[4]

Publication history


Sabra debuted in Incredible Hulk #256 (February 1981), created by writer Bill Mantlo and artist Sal Buscema.[5] She later appeared in the 1990 New Warriors series, by writer Evan Skolnick and artist Patrick Zircher.[6] She appeared in the 2009 Astonishing Tales: Sabra, her first solo one-shot, by writer Matt Yocum.[7]

Fictional character biography


Ruth Bat-Seraph was born near Jerusalem.[8] She was raised on a special kibbutz run by the Israeli government after her power manifested.[9] Ruth was the first superhuman agent to serve with the Mossad (the Israeli secret service).[10] She became a police officer in addition to serving as a government agent.[11][12] Her first public act as Sabra was a battle with the Hulk, whom she mistakenly believed was working with terrorists.[13] Not long after that, Sabra was chosen as a pawn of Death in the latter's game against the Grandmaster. There, she met Iron Man and the Arabian Knight, and battled She-Hulk and Captain Britain.[14] She later appeared at the Hulk's amnesty ceremony in Washington, D.C.[15] Some years later, Sabra's young son was killed in a terrorist attack. She disobeyed orders in order to bring her son's killers to justice.[citation needed]

Another dispute with the Hulk was intensified as Sabra's powers temporarily robbed him of his voice, making it seem as if he was still a near-mindless monster. She fought the Hulk, but the two worked through their differences and attempted to search for a child who was foretold to become a genocidal maniac, while contending with Achilles of the Pantheon, who was sent to kill the boy.[16]

Later, during a peace process meeting, Sabra finds herself fighting the New Warriors while under the mental influence of a mysterious, unexplained force.[17] Some time after, Sabra finds herself caught up in the events of the anti-mutant campaign known as "Operation: Zero Tolerance". It is at this time that Sabra fights alongside the X-Men and begins to subscribe to the philosophies of Charles Xavier.[18][19] Sabra spends some time as a member of the X-Corporation's Paris branch.[20] She accompanies Xavier and other X-Men to Genosha after it was demolished by Sentinels.[21]

During the JLA/Avengers crossover event she was seen holding the Wailing Wall together after Krona's attack cause earthquakes across the globe.[22]

Sabra is one of a handful of mutants to have retained their powers after the effects of M-Day.[23] She is later seen, under request from the British government, aiding Union Jack against a terrorist attack on London.[24] She comes into conflict with the new Arabian Knight because of cultural differences,[6] but they begrudgingly work together,[25] paralleling her relationship with the first Arabian Knight during the Contest of Champions.[26]

During the Civil War within the US superhero community over the Superhuman Registration Act, Sabra joins Bishop's government-sanctioned team that polices unruly mutants.[27][28] Mossad assigns her to the force in exchange for intelligence and technology so Israel can enact its own registration program.[29] Sabra is identified as pro-registration in the superhuman Civil War as one of the 142 registered superheroes under the Initiative.[30][31]

During the events of Secret Invasion, Sabra is briefly seen fighting off Skrulls in Israel.[32]

During the Ends of the Earth storyline, Sabra is one of the heroes that respond to Spider-Man's call for help against Doctor Octopus' satellite factories. She is shown fighting through Octobots at a seemingly abandoned factory until being shot by Crossbones with a sniper rifle.[33]

Sabra later represented the Israeli government when she attended Black Panther's meeting in the Eden Room of Avengers Mountain.[34]

Powers and abilities


Sabra possesses superhuman abilities due to her mutant heritage, such as superhuman strength, speed, agility, reflexes, endurance, and stamina.[35] She can withstand impacts up to high caliber rifle fire, though she has been wounded by fire from an MP-40 sub-machine gun. Sabra can heal regeneratively faster and more extensively than a regular human being.[36]

She is also able to charge other individuals by transferring to them her own life energy, and in the process, enhance their physical state of health (she has twice used this ability to save dying individuals) and granting them low-level super-powers, which are apparently determined randomly and are otherwise unrelated to Sabra's own mutant powers (such as the wind-generating powers given to a woman who took the costumed identity Windstorm).[37] The recipient retains their new powers until Sabra herself decides to withdraw them by retrieving her life energy. Her standard power levels drop when she gives away her life energy (she has been shown losing up to half her natural physical power), but they return to normal once she takes back her life energy.[citation needed]



Her various costumes, usually based on the design or colors of the Israeli flag,[38][39] contain additional paraphernalia to enhance her combat capabilities. She wears a cape that contains a secret Israeli gravity-polarization device, which allows her to neutralize gravity's effect on her mass, and a tight array of four electric micro-turbines which impel air for sufficient thrust for inertia-less mass to fly at subsonic speeds.[39][40] She wears special, pressure-reduction valve nose filters to allow her to breathe at high speeds and high altitudes. The cape also contains a wafer-thin computer system which processes her mental commands received by the circuitry in her tiara. The cape also has an optical navigation device which functions as an auto-pilot. Besides her cape, Sabra also has neuronic-frequency stunners built into her two wrist bracelets that shoot "energy quills", small bundles of low-density plasma (like balled lightning), that travel just below the speed of sound. Her quills can paralyze the nervous system of any organic being almost instantaneously.[1]

In addition to her superhuman abilities and equipment, Sabra possesses the standard weapons, and armed and unarmed-combat training given to members of the Israeli military.[38][41] She is trained in police methods and skills and in anti-terrorist techniques.[42][43]



Nirit Anderman of Haaretz named Sabra the "first Israeli superheroine," writing, "Although there were several attempts to create local superheroes in Israel – for example Sabraman, Super Shlumper and Falafel Man – none of them managed to survive for long. The only ones who succeeded in this mission, even going one step further and creating a female superhero rather than a male one, were the guys from Marvel."[44] Deirdre Kaye of Scary Mommy called Sabra a "role model" and a "truly heroic" female character.[45] Nicole Lampert of The Jewish Chronicle described Sabra as a "great Jewish superhero."[46] Brenton Stewart of Comic Book Resources referred to Sabra as one of "Marvel's most prominent international heroes," saying, "While she's never had her own series, she's carved out one of the most fascinating histories of any of Marvel's international heroes in her various encounters with the X-Men, the Hulk and Marvel's other heroes,"[47] while Scoot Allan ranked her 7th in their "10 Strongest Female Marvel Protagonists" list.[48]

Dalton Norman of Screen Rant included Sabra "10 Best Marvel Characters Who Made Their Debut In The Hulk Comics" list, asserting, "It wasn't long before Sabra became an important fixture in the Marvel Universe, and she has popped up on numerous occasions including as a vocal supporter of the X-Men and their defense of the mutant cause."[42] Cali Halperin of Jewish Telegraphic Agency named Sabra one of the "5 Female Jewish Superheroes Everyone Should Know."[49] Margaret David of SlashfFilm included Sabra in their "10 Marvel Characters We Expect To See Introduced In MCU Phase 5" list, asserting, "With the world of the Avengers under siege by new paranoia and powers, mirroring our world's rampant and long-standing problem of anti-Semitism, Sabra's probably going to be the vehicle for meaningful commentaries. Further, it's going to be great to see more diversity and faith in our heroes."[50]

The reception of the character by Palestinians and Arabs was more negative. Some have argued that the portrayal of Palestinians and Arabs in her comics are harmful stereotypes, claiming that several of the Arab characters she interacts with are portrayed as misogynistic, antisemitic, and violent. When her appearance in Captain America: Brave New World was announced, Yousef Munayyer, a Palestinian-American writer and analyst, said the comics did not suggest "anything positive" about her film appearance, since turning Israeli spies into heroes is "insensitive and disgraceful."[51][52][53] The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) said that "the original comic’s ugly racism and valorization of Mossad are sickening".[54] In November 2023, the BDS Movement National Committee and PACBI, said that the character is a personification of "apartheid Israel," and a racist character which promotes "Israel’s oppression of Palestinians," and called for a boycott on Marvel on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.[55]

Other versions


House of M: Masters of Evil


An alternate version of Sabra appears on Earth-58163. She is a member of the Red Guard and assists them in their fight against the Hood's Masters of Evil.[56][57]

Ultimate Marvel


An alternate version of Sabra appears in the Ultimate Universe. She appears as a severed head on the wall of a hideout of the supervillain Doctor Faustus, along with the heads of agents from other intelligence agencies who were sent after him.[58]

In other media


See also



  1. ^ a b
    • Miller, Max (September 12, 2022). "Who Is Shira Haas' Sabra In Captain America: New World Order?". Looper. Retrieved September 16, 2022.
    • Gelman, Samuel (September 10, 2022). "Captain America 4 Casts Israeli Hero Sabra". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved October 16, 2022.
  2. ^ Bacon, Thomas (September 10, 2022). "MCU's Second Mutant Confirmed? Sabra Explained". Screen Rant. Retrieved October 17, 2022.
  3. ^ Khan, Nilofer (September 13, 2022). "Marvel's desire to be politically charged has backfired with 'Captain America 4's Sabra; here's why". Mashable. Retrieved October 17, 2022.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b Elbein, Asher (September 20, 2022). "Why Marvel Fans Are Concerned About Israeli Superhero Sabra's Addition to the MCU". The Daily Beast. Retrieved October 16, 2022.
  7. ^ Cheifetz, Tori (June 28, 2009). "Meet the Captain America of Israel". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved April 18, 2023.
  8. ^ Levine, Caroline (September 14, 2022). "Everything You Need to Know About Marvel's New Jewish Superhero". HeyAlma.com. Retrieved October 17, 2022.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Pitts, Lan (September 20, 2022). "Marvel Studios Taking "New Approach" To Sabra For Captain America 4". GameSpot. Retrieved October 10, 2023.
  11. ^ Tamer, Rayane (September 24, 2022). "Why Marvel's new superhero has Palestinians furious". SBS News. Retrieved October 17, 2022.
  12. ^ Anderman, Nirit (September 13, 2022). "Marvel Studios Faces Backlash for Adding Israeli Superheroine Sabra to 'Captain America' Film". Haaretz. Retrieved October 17, 2022.
  13. ^ Mantlo, Bill (w), Buscema, Sal (p), Buscema, Sal (i). "Power In the Promised Land" The Incredible Hulk, vol. 2, no. 256 (February 1981).
  14. ^ Marvel Super Hero Contest of Champions #1-4 (June–August 1982). Marvel Comics.
  15. ^ Incredible Hulk #279 (January 1983). Marvel Comics.
  16. ^ Incredible Hulk #386-387 (October–November 1991). Marvel Comics.
  17. ^ New Warriors #58
  18. ^ X-Men #67-69. Marvel Comics.
  19. ^ Zachary, Brandon (September 17, 2022). "Captain America: New World Order's Sabra Could Help Bring the X-Men to the MCU". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved October 16, 2022.
  20. ^ New X-Men #131 (October 2002). Marvel Comics.
  21. ^ New X-Men #132 (November 2002). Marvel Comics.
  22. ^ Avengers/JLA #4
  23. ^ The X-Men: 198 Files (March 2006). Marvel Comics.
  24. ^ Union Jack vol. 2, #1 (November 2006). Marvel Comics.
  25. ^ Union Jack Vol 2 #4
  26. ^ Lau, Evelyn (September 13, 2022). "Marvel's Israeli superhero Sabra sparks online debate". The National. Retrieved October 16, 2022.
  27. ^ Civil War: X-Men #1 (September 2006). Marvel Comics.
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  29. ^ Civil War: X-Men #2 (October 2006). Marvel Comics.
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  32. ^ Secret Invasion #6 (November 2008). Marvel Comics.
  33. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man: Ends of the Earth #1. Marvel Comics.
  34. ^ Avengers Vol. 8 #11. Marvel Comics.
  35. ^
  36. ^ Allan, Scoot (August 7, 2022). "Marvel's 10 Most Powerful Healers". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved September 16, 2022.
  37. ^ Bacon, Thomas (September 10, 2022). "MCU's Second Mutant Confirmed? Sabra Explained". Screen Rant. Retrieved October 16, 2022.
  38. ^ a b MEE staff (September 13, 2022). "How Marvel's Israeli superhero Sabra may prove a headache for the comic book franchise". Middle East Eye. Retrieved October 16, 2022.
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  41. ^ Gray, Ali (July 4, 2014). "The 10 Most Patriotic Superheroes". IGN. Retrieved October 16, 2022.
  42. ^ a b Norman, Dalton (May 24, 2022). "The 10 Best Marvel Characters Who Made Their Debut In The Hulk Comics". Screen Rant. Retrieved October 16, 2022.
  43. ^ Berkowitz, Adam Eliyahu (September 11, 2022). "Marvel's latest movie features Israel-themed superhero". Israel365 News. Archived from the original on March 16, 2023. Retrieved March 16, 2023.
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  55. ^ "Black Friday: Boycott Genocide Enablers" (Press release). Palestinian BDS National Committee. November 23, 2023. Archived from the original on November 24, 2023. Retrieved November 24, 2023.
  56. ^ House of M: Masters of Evil #4 (January 2010). Marvel Comics.
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  58. ^ Ultimate Comics: Armor Wars #2 (December 2009). Marvel Comics.
  59. ^ "Doomsday". Fantastic Four: The Animated Series. Season 2. Episode 13. February 24, 1996. Broadcast syndication.
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  62. ^ a b Coggan, Devan (July 12, 2024). "Sam Wilson Takes Flight in First 'Captain America: Brave New World' Trailer". Marvel.com. Archived from the original on July 12, 2024. Retrieved July 12, 2024.
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  • Sabra at the Marvel Universe wiki