Polaris and Trauma

I wasn’t going to make a post about this until/unless something new from Marvel pushed me into it. But it’s been grating on me enough that I want to make a post.

There are many ways a person may react to trauma. There is no one “right” way to react. The idea of reacting the “right” way falls into the “perfect victim” problem. You can’t just dictate that a certain behavior is what you would expect a survivor to exhibit. That a certain thought is one you would expect a survivor to have when faced with memories or with more, new traumas. You can’t carte blanche say “This is how all survivors think and act and feel.”

But when you’re writing a character, their thoughts and feelings and actions when faced with trauma need to come from a foundation of how they have thought and felt and acted in response to trauma previously. That needs to be taken into account even when they’re not currently facing trauma, since it’s a part of who the character is and what they’ve been through. It’s called character development. You develop the character. You don’t pretend things in their past didn’t happen and try to start over from scratch. You work from who they already are.

Marvel is not doing this with Lorna. Has not been doing this. And it’s frustrating as fuck to see.

I harp on the Genoshan genocide because that is a huge, weighty, character-defining experience that Lorna went through. It’s on par with Magneto surviving the Holocaust and Wolverine going through the Weapon X program. It wasn’t just a one and done situation. You don’t have a character go through an experience like that and just ignore it. It’s supposed to be too big to ignore.

Yet Marvel somehow does it. And it makes no sense even in the fictional world itself, because there should be reminders everywhere for Lorna. She was considered Genosha’s sovereign princess in its final moments, and in Uncanny X-Men #442-443, we even saw people bowing to her as their queen. Even if Lorna wanted to forget, why would all of those people, all of them, not be reminders of that history? Either in Lorna’s thoughts, or in wherever she goes?

We saw her develop from Genosha. We saw her struggle with the mental barbs and wires of trauma. We saw her worldview shift and grow from that trauma. By the end of Austen’s run, we saw Lorna as someone who would never want Genosha or anything like it to happen again, and she was ready to be more aggressive about it.

Part of what bothers me isn’t just that Marvel ignores Genosha. It’s that Marvel increasingly looks to me like they’re trying their damnedest to wipe it out from her history. Like they want people to forget it ever happened to her so badly that they want to try different ways of replacing it with new traumas.

When X-Factor #243 happened, I was, and still am, pleased that Lorna finally had her origin story told. I like that origin story. I support it. It’s a good origin story, and I think her reaction to it was perfectly fine. But in the back of my mind, a tiny, tiny part of me was concerned that Marvel might attempt to “replace” her surviving the Genoshan genocide with that. It didn’t happen, thankfully, but the risk remains.

Then a couple years ago, in Age of X: Prisoner X, Marvel had a scene where Lorna remembers major moments in her life. One of the images was… Lorna kissing Havok. Because Marvel has this desire to force her into existing mainly as Havok’s girlfriend. But what they didn’t include, was an image of her surviving the Genoshan genocide.

And then we have last year’s X-Factor #4, which was so dedicated to trying to misuse Lorna to raise the story’s stakes and make death seem more intense that it disregarded not only that Lorna survived the Genoshan genocide, but also how she fought in an actual war out in space (and the related casualties), and went through deaths of teammates she was much closer to in a prior version of X-Factor.

I realize this doesn’t seem like much to have an issue with yet. That’s why I wasn’t going to say anything until/unless something more happened with Marvel that pushed me into it. But I just need to say it now.

Marvel’s ignored Lorna surviving the Genoshan genocide for 15 years. They’ve had Red Skull exploit the Genoshan dead, Jean fight Cassandra Nova on Genosha’s ruins, and Storm show outrage over the genocide. But they can’t be bothered to acknowledge what Lorna went through even once. Even in passing. And even in passing honestly and seriously wouldn’t be sufficient especially after 15 years of nothing, but the fact they can’t even remind people that it happened to Lorna for a single panel is damning and frustrating and wrong.

X-Factor #4 should have explicitly acknowledged what happened to Lorna and worked with it carefully, compassionately, considerately to make what it was trying to achieve make sense with her. I can’t say I would’ve been fine with how she was depicted if it had done so. I’d have to see what was done, though for the sake of honesty I’m doubtful I would’ve been on board with X-Factor’s depiction even then. But I wouldn’t be so pissed about it because at least then the biggest thing to happen to Lorna would be acknowledged.

And part of my frustration with X-Factor is because honestly, I think leaving out what happened to Lorna on Genosha was deliberate. I think an editor at Marvel, not the writer, doesn’t want her to be remembered for that part of her history because doing that would require admitting she’s done meaningful things and had meaningful experiences and is worth a damn for something besides stroking Havok’s or some other (usually male) character’s goddamn ego for the billionth time in 52 years.

I think there’s a desire within Marvel to erase the most important thing that’s ever happened to Lorna because they don’t have any respect either for Lorna or the trauma connections that any readers might have connected with through her.

People generally seem to be aware that Lorna’s been through A Lot Of Shit. That’s good. It’s one side of the coin, and it’s progress, because just a decade ago were were in a place where nobody seemed to have that in mind.

But now it feels like people at Marvel don’t think they can ignore how she’s been through A Lot Of Shit, but do think they can get away with wiping out the worst Lot Of Shit she’s been through and replacing it with something else that’s much smaller, much less meaningful for her, something that could easily be set aside and diminished to keep her on the sidelines supporting whoever they think is more deserving of respect than her.

And that’s something I don’t want. I don’t want such an integral, deep, cutting thing about the character and who she is and what she’s been and become wiped out because some asshole at Marvel doesn’t like Lorna enough to want it to mean anything. It means something to me. It means something to plenty of other people, countless because there’s no way to see a tally, but you have no idea how much power that carries even if it’s just one person who gets something out of it.

We’ve seen how important these things are. We’ve seen how Black kids are inspired by seeing Black superheroes in Black Panther. How little girls are inspired by Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman and Black Widow. Even with adults, we’ve seen how Superman has touched some people to do good things with their lives and in the lives of others. Fiction isn’t just fiction. It means something to us on a deep, heartful, primal level. To cut something with so much weight and pretend it doesn’t mean anything at all is just all kinds of wrong on a level I can’t even put into words.

For some people, it’s “with great power comes great responsibility.” For others, it’s seeing Lorna survive a genocide, struggle through her trauma, and from it become ready to fight for a worthy cause instead of shrinking into a void like some would prefer out of her.

That’s it, that’s the end of this post. My inboxes are open for anyone that wants to get super double mad at me for having feelings.

Polaris Mistreatment Bingo: X of Swords

This is the newest in my Polaris Mistreatment Bingo card series, that I fill out after each event. I’m including reasons for my selections, and why I didn’t select other things.

Let’s begin.

Trait given to another character

For how Emma Frost was depicted far more like Lorna would behave if written properly, than the way Lorna was depicted.

That’s not to say Emma wouldn’t behave that way without Lorna around, but just how horribly Lorna was misrepresented makes this stand out. I was on the fence on whether to use this one, and decided Lorna’s treatment by comparison was bad enough to warrant it.

History gets ignored/Character development ignored or undone

Lorna’s depiction concerning Rockslide’s death.

Lorna is a survivor of the Genoshan genocide. On top of it, she was seen as a sovereign princess in its final moments, and millions of people died all around her while begging for her specifically to save them. We saw her deal with the trauma of it in the 00s.

Marvel’s been acting like it never happened for the past 15 years. Which is bad enough on its own, but it got taken to a whole new level of fuckery in X of Swords with Lorna depicted like she’s never once experienced someone die near her. This event had her acting horribly traumatized by Rockside’s death and blaming herself when a) they had no personal connection, and b) he wasn’t even anywhere near her.

This depiction MIGHT have been acceptable if the story explicitly pulled in her experience with the Genoshan genocide, or we were told her mental state was horribly altered by the prophecies being put into her head. As it stands, the story ends up treating Lorna like someone who’s broken to pieces over the death of a mutant she doesn’t even know, yet she somehow never once thinks about all the millions of people who died on Genosha that she failed to save. I’d say this alone qualifies as bingo for the whole card for how bad it was.

Character keeps changing to fit story

This is pretty blatant. She goes from fairly calm and confident in a fight, to a broken down mess over Rockslide’s death, to suddenly trying to give a stirring speech at his grave. All over the place.

Misused to make threat look more threatening

That’s what Rockslide’s death was all about. Its whole point was just to have people going “oh shit, these guys are dangerous despite our resurrection protocols.” Which is in itself a horrid disservice to Rockslide, but this post is about Lorna, not Rockslide.

By extension, Lorna’s depiction in this story was all about misusing her to emphasize the threat. Every line out of her mouth was meant to amp up emotions and make death out to be bigger and more horrific than it’s usually taken as in comic books.

And don’t get me wrong. Character death SHOULD be a big deal. But characters shouldn’t be written horribly OOC to make that happen. Furthermore, there were other characters who actually knew and cared about Rockslide that would’ve made way more sense as the focal point. I can’t say if any of them would have reacted the way Lorna was misrepresented, but they had more right to panel time for this purpose (whereas Lorna SHOULD have been on Empyre).

Bait and Switch Promo

We had multiple variant covers this year that made Lorna look powerful and cool, only for contents inside the comics to depict her as the exact opposite.

The variant cover for X-Factor #4 continued the pattern with this.

This variant cover drew a lot of speculation. Was Lorna going to die and be resurrected? Was she going to lead a mutant army to battle? Was she going to be a Swordbearer?

It turned out, none of the above happened. The closest she came to “leading” anything was her little speech at Rockslide’s grave. And before that, readers got a massive dump of Lorna acting like she couldn’t lead her own way out of a paper bag during battle despite decades worth of comics.

For that, bait and switch promo is 100% appropriate.

QUESTION: brainwashed or mind-controlled for others’ stories

This goes into the realm of fan speculation. Hence the question mark.

There is a theory that the woman who implanted the prophecies in Lorna’s head (I’ve forgotten her name and given this event sucked for Lorna, I don’t care enough to look it up) ended up altering her mind in the process. Even simply putting the prophecies in Lorna’s head and her having to say them can be construed as a form of brainwashing or mind control. But it’s a dubious, gray area issue. The theory is a theory specifically because the comics don’t say that’s what happened, it’s left to readers to imagine whatever they want. So, it might apply, depending on one’s views.

NOT SELECTED: Defined entirely by connection to a man

I considered this one from the combination of her written talking to Havok to mock her dad, and her depiction over Rockslide’s death. I only didn’t include it because 1) she pulled down the citadel (or whatever it was called), 2) she had the role of giving prophecies, and 3) her speech at the end of X-Factor #4 was more than simply Lorna talking about a man.

NOT SELECTED: History gets retconned

While Lorna’s mistreatment here ignored her surviving the Genoshan genocide, it didn’t say or do anything that would outright retcon that history. It’s very possible to reconcile X of Swords with her experience as a survivor at a later date.

A final note

What you see here is within the limits of the card I made a year ago. There is absolutely mistreatment not represented on the card. We had Magneto yelling at Lorna, and that yelling somehow shaking the prophecies loose. We had Lorna written as thinking she doesn’t want to exist. These are very obvious problems, and they give more reason for creating a new card that could encompass this kind of treatment by future comics published by Marvel.

Polaris Mistreatment Bingo

A year ago, I made this template after seeing people do a “bingo” for other things on social media.

Since then, I’ve filled this out for each event. Here’s House of X/Powers of X and X-Men: Empyre.

After this post, I will be making a new post every time I fill out a new card, using the relevant tags. The new posts will go into my reasons for what I selected (or didn’t select). This is just to get the old stuff on my WordPress.

I may make a new version of this card in the future. There have been some regular problems with recent events that aren’t represented on the card, and more common than other things on the card. I’ve also had enough to make a bingo every time but too scattered across the card, so a reordering may be needed.

A Christmas List

This time, I’m making a list of stuff I’m gonna be watching related to Christmas. Unlike Halloween, it’s not restricted just to horror.

I don’t have games this time. The only one that comes to mind is Parasite Eve, but I’d need to set up my PC to play PS1 games (Squeenix doesn’t get my money after what they did to Aya and PE with 3rd Birthday and their refusal to fix it). Other than that, I’m playing Genshin Impact which has a new snowy update which is the closest thing to counting.

I’m also not watching anything associated with Disney due to how they’ve treated Polaris UNLESS I already own the film or show on DVD/Blu-Ray and can watch it with that.

I welcome any suggestions. If they aren’t from a company I’m not touching, I’ll check them out and maybe add them to the list if they appeal to me.

Here’s my list!

Update: Crossed out is what I’ve watched so far. Asterisk was added later.


  • Die Hard
  • Die Hard 2
  • Gremlins
  • Black Christmas (1974)
  • Black Christmas (2006)*
  • Black Christmas (2019) (maybe; already saw it in theaters)
  • Christmas Presence (Shudder)
  • Christmas Evil (Shudder)
  • All the Creatures Were Stirring (Shudder)
  • Let It Snow (Netflix)
  • Silent Night, Deadly Night
  • Scrooged
  • The Children (2008/2009)
  • Anna and the Apocalypse
  • Nutcracker: The Motion Picture
  • Happy Christmas
  • A Christmas Story (maybe)

TV show episodes/specials

  • Seasons of Belief (Tales From the Darkside)
  • And All Through the House (Tales From the Crypt)
  • Creepshow Holiday Special
  • Night of the Meek (Twilight Zone)
  • A Traveler (Twilight Zone 2019, maybe)
  • White Christmas (Black Mirror)
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (original cartoon)
  • The Christmas Invasion (Doctor Who) (maybe other Davies/Chibnall specials too)
  • Jingle Hell (Charmed 2018)
  • A Solstice Carol (Xena: Warrior Princess)
  • Antisocial Climbers (Daria)
  • Depth Takes a Holiday (Daria)

A Halloween List

This is a very different kind of post from what I usually make. This one is personal, trying to put together a list of media to enjoy for Halloween around the day.

I’m mostly focusing on TV/film and video games. Other stuff not necessarily off limits but less likely.

I’m a bit limited on my video game options. I do not have XBox or Nintendo consoles, only my Playstation 4 hooked up. I MIGHT try to get my PS1 and PS2 games working on my PC but depends on how willing I am to set that up.

Following my principles to date, I refuse to touch anything connected with: Disney, Square-Enix, Capcom. I also loathe “torture porn” or extreme gross-out content. I generally hate jumpscare content but can put up with it if the story is good enough.

I welcome any suggestions!

There’s no guarantee I will get to or finish all of this. Alternately, I might watch something new before Halloween out of interest.

Anyway, here’s my list in no special order, divided up by format. Things that will be brand new for me to watch or play will be marked as new, otherwise it’s something I’ve done before. It will be updated as I think of new things or get new suggestions I want to try.


  • Scream 1-3
  • Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, and Evil Dead remake
  • Carrie remake
  • Happy Death Day and Happy Death Day 2U
  • Midsommar
  • The Craft (and the new one if it’s a reasonable rental price on release)
  • Pontypool
  • Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
  • Hell Fest
  • Happy Death Day and Happy Death Day 2U (maybe)
  • Rob Zombie’s Halloween II
  • Trick r Treat
  • Tales of Halloween
  • Eden Lake (maybe)
  • Veronica (maybe) (NEW)
  • Polaroid (NEW)
  • Mercy (NEW)
  • Wishmaster
  • Midsommar
  • Puppet Master (NEW)
  • Leprechaun (NEW)
  • The Mortuary Collection (NEW)
  • Scare Me (NEW)
  • In Search of Darkness: A Journey Into Iconic 80s Horror (NEW)
  • 30 Miles From Nowhere (NEW)
  • Random Acts of Violence (NEW)
  • Blood Quantum (NEW)
  • The Slumber Party Massacre (NEW)
  • Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (NEW)
  • It Follows
  • The Babysitter: Killer Queen (NEW)


  • Requiem From the Darkness
  • Masters of Horror (specific episodes: “Pick Me Up” and “Deer Woman”)
  • Scream Queens (maybe)
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (maybe) (NEW)
  • Castlevania (maybe) (NEW)
  • Dracula Netflix series (maybe) (NEW)
  • True Blue (maybe) (NEW)

Video Games

  • Friday the 13th
  • Among Us
  • Sanitarium (NEW)
  • Silent Hill 1-4 (if I try to get playing PS1 and PS2 discs working)
  • Here They Lie (NEW)
  • Siren (NEW, I think)

Polaris and Leadership

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post. I’ve had myriad things I’ve talked about in various places, but this is really the first thing that feels blog post worthy. It includes my views on the current X-Factor in relation to this topic.

Lorna and leadership positions is a complicated subject. Over the course of her existence, she’s been involved in teams and gained some measure of leadership experience within them. She’s also had moments where she was considered a leader figure – someone that isn’t leading a team, but had people who considered her an icon to follow.

I think it would be helpful to simplify this with a chronological breakdown of where she’s been in the comics… and where she is now.

  • Viewed as Queen of Mutants taking over for her perceived father Magneto (X-Men #49-50, 1968)
    • rejected at time both because “Magneto evil” and “Magneto not father”
  • Secondary/stand-in team leader (X-Factor, 90s)
  • Stand-in for Magneto taking his form via image inducer (Genosha, late 90s/early 00s)
  • Viewed as Queen of Mutants again after Genoshan genocide (Uncanny X-Men #442-443, 2004)
    • rejected at time while dealing with mental issues, but definite leader philosophies and will shown
  • “Second in command” (in theory) on Starjammers (late 2000s, early 2010s)
  • Fill-in leader for X-Factor (2012/2013)
  • FINALLY TEAM LEADER (All-New X-Factor, 2014)
  • Fill-in team leader again (X-Men Blue, 2017)

That’s the overall picture. Now let’s talk about it.

For many hardcore Marvel/X-Men fans, and some casual fans, the default perspective of Lorna in terms of leadership is connected to 90s X-Factor. She’s sometimes referred to as “co-leader” of that team, but it’s been pretty blatant that she hasn’t truly been considered by Marvel to be a leader or equal partner coming out of 90s X-Factor like that term should convey. When she went on to Starjammers, it was from Havok recruiting her to the team with a heavy emphasis on him leading it. He’s also repeatedly received leadership positions (Uncanny Avengers, Astonishing X-Men, etc) in the comics since the 90s while Lorna has not.

Equal partners would be getting equal opportunities. The lack of them for Lorna means that at least people at Marvel never truly considered her a co-leader of X-Factor. Only his subordinate. Second in command.

That gets me into the progression of Lorna in terms of leadership. Before the 2010s, she has a history of being used to fill in where most convenient for other characters’ needs. The implication is that Lorna does not exist to lead. She exists to support the leader, and keep the team together for the leader’s sake in their absence. She exists to be used for the benefit of whichever character is deemed by Marvel to be the one who shall lead. Her actions and remarks all feed into this idea. She may get to have moments where she gets to lead, but the underlying suggestion is that she’s only keeping the chair warm for the “true” leader’s return.

This FINALLY changed with All-New X-Factor. She FINALLY got to lead a team of her own for once. It took 46 years to happen, but happen it did.

… And her leadership was undermined. Both in the text at first, and by Marvel as a whole the entire time.

In the text, ANXF #4-6 presented Lorna as a woman who is somehow incapable of keeping herself together and making good calls. This flew in the face of her past experience as a stand-in which should have been understood as providing a foundation to build on. Those issues in essence treated Gambit like the “real” team leader, and Lorna as leader in name only. We saw it with things like Gambit recruiting Danger to the team while Lorna sulked to the side like she had no say in if she joins, and Gambit actually physically pulling Lorna’s arm to stop her plan of action as leader in #6, and Lorna just letting him do both without having words about how it undermined her as a leader. Later issues thankfully treated Lorna MUCH better in this regard, which is why you see me recommend ANXF #7-20 regularly. But the problems of those issues remains.

Outside of the text, Marvel gave ANXF no promotion. Pietro wasn’t on ANXF covers while Days of Future Past was in theaters. ANXF didn’t actually tie into Axis at all (which is pretty damning considering Axis used the dead of the Genoshan genocide, something Marvel’s been pretending never happened to Lorna for the past 15 years). All-New X-Factor #14, the issue of Lorna and Wanda spending time together as sisters, was buried as the second issue of a double shipping month (meaning people are less likely to know it released and buy it) with no cover for it out until the Friday before release (so nobody could see a visual and preorder the comic to show interest to comic shops, thereby limiting buzz and sales).

In short, Lorna’s only turn as the actual, intended leader of a team was undermined at its start in the script, and sabotaged on the promotion level.

And now we get to post-ANXF.

Lorna was in limbo from 2015-2017. When she finally held another leadership style position, on X-Men Blue, it was back to the “fill-in leader” dynamic. Lorna not leading a team cause she’s supposed to lead it. Only leading cause who’s supposed to be there isn’t right now.

This would be fine as a temporary, holding pattern sort of thing before Lorna moving forward to other things. Or if bigger things were happening for her. But then we get to the current X-Factor…. where Lorna is a team member.

ONLY a team member. She’s not leading this team. She’s not doing other, more important things outside of X-Factor that would make this a side gig. X-Factor is literally the only thing she’s doing.

So again, let’s consider this trajectory.

It took Lorna 46 years to finally lead a team of her own, on X-Factor. She ROSE to that position after decades of being kept behind, under the table, not properly explored, where even her origin story took over 40 years to be told.

Now it’s 6 years after Lorna led All-New X-Factor. And her progression in those 6 years has been from leading a team… to only filling in when the leader is out… to only being a team member on someone else’s team.

To put it simply: she’s been regressed.

The current X-Factor tried to smooth this over in the first issue, and with interview comments beforehand.

Interviews tried to call Lorna the “true north star” of the team, like she’s a guiding light. The problem is, a guiding light is not a leadership position. It’s a supporting character position. It’s the same position she had when she was on 90s X-Factor: providing support for Havok to be the “best leader he can be.” It’s the same position she had when she got sent out into space with Havok.

Guiding light supporting characters do not exist to have their own dreams or their own potential realized. They exist to help the leader realize theirs. They may have excellent moments within that narrative. Merlin of Arthurian legend does. But in the end, the guiding light character is not meant to have great things for themselves. They’re meant to refine a diamond in the rough so that diamond can shine brighter, with the implication that at full potential they’re much better than the guiding light could ever possibly be.

In so doing, the guiding light character is only to be remembered for how they were of benefit to the leader they supported. Not for what they personally accomplished or what thoughts, feelings, goals, aspirations they had of their own. If the guiding light character performs a miraculous feat, they may get credit for that feat, but the credit isn’t for their own development or own desires in life. It’s for boosting the leader’s goals.

This sends a message: this character isn’t “good enough” or “interesting enough” to ever be a leader for themselves. They’re “more appropriate” helping everyone else’s profiles rise.

Gambit did not have this problem on All-New X-Factor. When he was on ANXF, Marvel had recently given him a 17 issue solo book (2012-2013), and he was actively the leader of the Thieves’ Guild.

He had done something big just a year before, and status-wise he was actively doing something bigger than ANXF simultaneously.

Marvel is not doing that for Lorna.

The only, ONLY things she’s done so far in the past year are have Magneto talk at her about resurrection in House of X for a few pages, have Cyclops talk at her about his son on X-Men #1, some actual good pages in Deadpool #6 (outside of X-Men), and be a team member on X-Factor.

By comparison, Rachel has more usage and exposure. She was on the X-Men book too. Recently, she was present for Kate Pryde’s funeral on Marauders. She’s had a LOT of presence in relation to X of Swords as one of the swordbearers. And she’s undoubtedly showed up in other places I haven’t seen.

This is not to say “Rachel shouldn’t get those things.” That would be absurd and wrong. This is to put into context how Marvel is treating Lorna.

Marvel may try to claim she’s in a respected position on X-Factor. But if it’s truly respected, why is she not getting at least as much usage beyond X-Factor as Rachel? Why is X-Factor really the only thing she’s doing?

To go from leading X-Factor back down to merely being a team member on it and doing or getting nothing else is, to me, insulting. It’s like giving someone a demotion and thinking that a lot of nice sounding talk about them in a PR release somehow makes up for the fact they’ve been demoted.

My ultimate opinion is this: Lorna should not be on X-Factor.

She’s not leading the team. She’s not doing more important things outside of it. For all intents and purposes, it’s a hole in the ground they stuck her in to avoid her having any presence elsewhere, avoid complaints that they’re not using her, benefit the book by way of her association with it, and benefit the other characters by how interest in her can be exploited to draw eyes to the other characters.

If she had other things going on elsewhere that are more important, this would be fine. She doesn’t. So it’s not. All it does is drag down impressions of her away from the progress she was making and back toward a backwards, regressive idea of her based in the 90s where she’s only good for supporting and building up other characters (mostly men).

By sparing her from X-Factor, even if she’s in nothing else for many years, she at least retains that last position of her as leading ANXF whenever a much better Marvel comes along that has more respect for her.

And I don’t want her taking over leadership from Northstar. Leah obviously loves the character and wants him to lead it. She should get to do what she wants. Fans of Northstar should get to continue to see him leading it. But he doesn’t need Lorna dragged down to get him there. He can do all of that just fine without her anywhere near the book.

Lastly, this has nothing to do with Leah’s writing. I’ve made no judgments about her writing itself here – if she’s a good writer, if she’s a bad writer, any of that. She might write good scenes for Lorna within the context of the scenario she has here. That’s irrelevant.

What I’m judging is Lorna’s lack of respect out of Marvel, her being artificially restricted to this book with the title of what she was on 30 years ago, demoted from a leader to a team member. The bias and disrespect is palpable.

A few pages of something good (which, so far, none of it covers even one millisecond of her experience with the Genoshan genocide) for a fleeting moment do not in any way offset the net bad of completely destroying perception of her as a leader or leader figure for decades to come.

Instant gratification is trash if it’s going to kill you.

Maybe I sound overly harsh to some people. Maybe I seem too judgmental. But I’ve been a fan of the character for 11 years now. I’ve witnessed the way Marvel thinks and acts, and how decades worth of poor treatment and negative attitudes about her have undermined everything she is and could be. I’ve read pages of her treated poorly so other characters can look good at her expense. I’ve seen comments from editors where they insist she has no fan interest cause they have some bullshit idea in their heads and don’t want to put any real thought into it. I’ve seen those same comments serve as indicators when they excluded Lorna from comics where she belonged, and forced awful things from the past on her out of their nostalgia.

I don’t want a couple pages of puff to make the bad look better. I want REAL change in a positive direction for Lorna. I’m not going to be satisfied with less than that.

If you’re just tuning in, just stepping into the show, maybe X-Factor looks fine to you. Maybe it seems respectable and meaningful by the way Leah writes her on it. But nice writing means nothing when it’s bundled in a deadly package. A “present” of your favorite book is hardly a present if the gift wrapping is laced with poison and will kill you slowly as you read it.

That is my post. And my rant. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

Appearances vs Sincerity

I think people as a whole are becoming increasingly aware of how doing something purely to project the appearance of good values and intent is not as good as actually, sincerely having those values.

When the goal is to do something purely for the sake of appearances, then any work toward that end stops as soon as it’s deemed “enough.” It’s only done as a form of protection against anyone saying it’s not being done. “See, I said I support this cause, I said a lot of nice things about it that one time a few years ago so I’m good.”

When something happens sincerely, though, it’s self-generating toward better for the future. Actions and statements grow organically not from a desire to look good, but a desire to BE good. The difference is important.

Most of Marvel’s behavior regarding Polaris for the past decade has been, I think, about the appearance of doing “enough” for her rather than sincerely wanting to do enough for her. And I think the deterioration of Marvel’s treatment of her since 2015 is a vivid sign of this. Because if they were sincere, they would have spent the past 5 years improving their treatment of her instead of what we’ve seen.

In the early 2010s, there were a lot of things that fans wanted. Lorna brought back from space exile. Lorna confirmed to be a mutant again. Lorna confirmed as Magneto’s daughter (something that had gone untouched for 10 years at that time). Lorna’s origin story told. Lorna leading a team.

From 2012 to 2015, Marvel provided these things, and they were for the most part good.

They did have problems – which I ranted about at the time, and I think I was perfectly fair to rant about.

Her origin story getting told had no promotion, and the arc ended with basically an excuse for Lorna to not interact with her father anymore afterward. All-New X-Factor also never really got any promotion, issue 4-6 treated her poorly (heavily leaning toward acting like Gambit was the real team leader and Lorna’s a member of his team), and various issues besides. And outside of those things, we had projects tied to the Avengers trying to exclude Lorna from the Magnus family, and trying to replace her with other women for a sister role or visual counterpart in Wanda’s life.

But, in spite of those problems, X-Factor #243 did tell her origin story. All-New X-Factor had her leading a team, and let her interact with her siblings. Secret Wars provided Lorna in a great role for her (albeit at times not doing right for Pietro and Magneto) in its House of M, and various other appearances. We also had appearances and acknowledgments otherwise, such as with Savage Hulk going back to Hulk’s first run-in with the X-Men and showing Lorna present.

Then we had a decline after 2015.

She was in limbo for two years (or one and a half, if you count Deadpool and the Mercs for Money). When she returned, it had the APPEARANCE of a big return for her, but in reality she was used to promote Havok and Magneto. On Blue, she led another team, but purely as a backup for the main team and in service to the very Havok-oriented story.

She had good scenes in the Uncanny X-Men event, which was good as she hadn’t been included in a major event in over a decade. But then Prisoner X saw her serving as a supporting character for essentially Bishop’s book. Now, I’ve heard she was written well on it, but “supporting character on Bishop’s book” when the book comes off aesthetically very inspired by Gifted’s usage of Lorna in prison is a backstep to me. Especially when it’s more of a side story.

Then House of X, Powers of X, and X-Men #1 happened.

HoX really only used her as something Magneto could spout exposition to. X-Men #1 only really used her so readers could connect with Cyclops. The only thing “Lorna” about that exchange was a reminder that she’s dated Havok, which in this scenario is the absolute last thing that has any bearing for Lorna.

She’s a survivor of Genosha who was respected by millions and seen as his heir, and she was the one who launched Krakoa into space in Giant-Size X-Men after getting powered up by Storm, Cyclops and Havok. Is that history really worth nothing, especially when other characters like Storm get to be mad about what happened on Genosha despite not personally going through the trauma of it like Lorna has?

Consider that with Marvel’s behavior since. She’s been absent from anything for a year. She wasn’t included on an X-women variant cover, despite there being plenty of room to add her, and other women like Dani Moonstar and Magik included. She’s not on the Quiet Council. She’s not considered Omega even though Magneto is, and various past books have said or implied she either has the potential to surpass him (earlier stories), is already his equal (The Twelve), or has already surpassed him (Genosha, albeit as his powers were weakening).

When she was finally announced on a book, that book turned out to be… X-Factor. The same title name she was on in the 90s. Except this time, she’s not even leading it. She’s a member of this team someone else is leading. And the only thing really mentioned about Lorna in all talk for the book so far is essentially “she dated Havok.”

No mention of Genosha. Or Krakoa. Or being the second woman to join the X-Men. Or even having gone into space on a team with Rachel prior to this. The only thing mentioned is that she was in a relationship with the only man Marvel’s ever allowed her to date in her entire existence (whereas Marvel’s allowed Havok to have an ongoing thing with a different woman every decade, most recently with Wasp).

This is the break down of appearances when there is no sincerity. People at Marvel believe they “did enough” for Lorna when they told her origin story and let her lead a team. It doesn’t matter to them that they sabotaged her chances of those things really getting attention and meaning anything big for her. To them, those few acts even in a void are sufficient for them to go back to treating her as poorly as they did before. To them, those few things that should have happened DECADES ago are something they can point to and say “See, we respect the character, we did these things for her so you should be happy and stop expecting so much.”

That’s a false argument. It implies that Lorna deserves to be treated poorly. That she deserves to be undermined, have her potential squandered, have the important things about her history and their gravity completely ignored by this company. It’s an argument that tries to proclaim that negative bias against the character is supposed to be the norm, that negative views of the character are the “right” way to look at her, and expecting the common decency of due respect and catching up on things that should’ve happened for her a long ass time ago is somehow pushing the boundaries of fair request.

To people at Marvel, Lorna is a D-list or lower character who barely qualifies as a character and wastes panel space.

To me, Lorna is an amazing character that’s supposed to be A-list but keeps getting treated like she isn’t because people at Marvel put their personal biases above what’s right. Starting in the 70s and continuing to today, with rare exceptions.

If Marvel had been sincere in trying to treat Lorna well, and do well with their work as a whole, then Lorna’s history would mean something. She would have a huge voice when it comes to Genosha. The fact she launched Krakoa into space would at least get mentioned. She would be acknowledged as a meaningful woman within the X-Men franchise when they do things like the X-women variant cover.

The lack of these things tells us there is no sincerity from Marvel. Anything they say that sounds good is about appearances, not a genuine desire to do well with what they have and improve upon their past.

This is why I do not trust Marvel. To date, what I have seen from Marvel is that they’re only concerned with putting on the appearance of caring, and don’t actually care about her at all. And don’t want to. Because they undoubtedly think any attempt to understand and empathize on the character is wasted time they could be putting into “characters that matter” in their eyes.

It’s not like this is the only place where we see Marvel, or Disney, saying and doing things for the sake of appearances that it’s clear they’re not sincere about. A commonly observed issue with Disney as a whole is how they keep getting credit for introducing the “first openly gay character” in their films every year, and it’s always something like two extras kissing in the background of a scene for 2 seconds.

This post is mainly for me to vent. But if it’s being read, the main takeaway I’d like to give is to watch for the difference between a company saying or doing something because they want to put on a good appearance for PR reasons, and a company saying or doing something because they sincerely believe in it and want to do good.

The cases where it’s for appearances tend to go nowhere, get sabotaged constantly, and end as soon as the company thinks they’ve done enough to get away with not doing any more.

The cases that are sincere will happen regardless of perceived PR value. Characters will get much needed progress even if they personally don’t like the character or think it won’t sell or make the company look better. It won’t matter how “obscure” a character is, they’ll still be considered deserving of better.

That wraps up this rant.

Company and Fan Behavior

How y’all doin tonight?



I don’t know what I’m actually going to write about tonight. I’ve been commenting more often on my Twitter account lately. Let’s just see where this goes and add a title from there.

As a user of the internets, I’ve seen a lot of corporate and fandom behavior in my time. I’ve repeatedly seen companies make terrible decisions based off their biases. I’ve repeatedly seen fans defend those terrible decisions, often making excuses to suggest those decisions were good or there were no other options. I’ve also experienced on multiple occasions the sort of animosity received when questioning the actions of a company or creator that a fan has a deep devotion toward.

My comments and actions are built off my experiences. This is true for everyone, of course, but it’s worth explicitly stating because too often, people do not remember this implicitly. They remember their own experiences but forget that other people have experiences too, and those experiences shape their activity.

I can’t say I know with perfection what will or won’t happen, or the intentions of companies and people. It’s incredibly easy to misinterpret, misunderstand, miss important details. What I can say is that my experiences provide me with a base, a set of patterns, a commonality in the way certain types think and act. From this, I can get a sense of things that could happen and their likelihood.

Within this, I create a mental buffer zone. There’s what I expect. Then there’s the possibility of worse. I prepare for worse. Sometimes I’ll say worse scenarios I’ve prepared for, sometimes I won’t. Typically, the worse scenarios don’t happen.

It’s rare for me to be taken by surprise by worse scenarios anymore. 3rd Birthday is one of the cases that sticks out in my heart as a surprise. I thought it might do good things for Aya Brea, and by the end, Squeenix had sunk so low that I was mentally prepping for the prospect that they might make official guro.

But then that happened because of a mistake: any time I actually believe in good things coming from a company that has repeatedly done awful work for years, they always prove I was stupid to believe in them.

If you’re someone who wonders why I have a hard heart about what to expect from a particular company or creator, this is why. My experiences tell me not to trust them. So I don’t. The more bad experiences I have with them, the more good experiences I will need to restore any confidence I once had in them.

… Which is not the way bad companies operate.

Bad companies do not want to get better. They don’t want to learn from their mistakes. They want to people to THINK they want to get better, and avoid pretending they’ve ever made any mistakes as much as possible. Progress takes a level of work and conscientiousness that bad companies are allergic to. Better to say the words and do a couple token actions that give the appearance of progress, than to try at any actual, real progress.

And what’s most insidious about bad companies is how their status leads to exploitation of people fitting particular criteria toward the illusion of the company being better than it is.

A writer looking to break into an industry or establish their name can’t risk rocking the boat much if they fear doing so will lead to career death by a thousand cuts. Maybe they won’t get fired outright, because that would be too obvious. But they might get less work. Their pitches might be dismissed. If you’re denied opportunities you would otherwise get, that may not be called a firing on paper, but in function it most certainly is.

And then of course, there’s the fans. Who a creator would have to worry about as well. Hard to call out a company if the company has ardent fans eager to play defense for them no matter how heinous the company’s actions are.

I’ve had my own experiences. But in truth, the one sticking in my head most right this second is not one of mine. It’s what happened to a woman who dared to speak out in protection of her own work. Because her speaking out had the natural effect of making a company look bad, fans of the company wasted no time in smearing her. Making up all kinds of excuses for why their actions were justified. The sort of actions that they would decry as inappropriate if the target was the company or people working at it that they cherished so much. Then of course when their actions had the desired effect, I watched those same people continue to gaslight like hell. Pretending the logical evidence of the consequences of their actions right in front of them was something else entirely.

I’m being deliberately vague above. Because the person I’m thinking about is someone who by her actions and comments during the situation implied that she simply wanted it to end. And I aim to respect those wishes. Her wishes are more important than how I feel about the situation she was in. But I’m still pissed as hell about it, and it burns in me every time I remember.

I guess that’s where this post was leading. I’m going to wrap it up, and go back to playing a game I started.

A personal post

I’ve been wanting to write another post critical of Marvel. But in reality, right this moment, I’m feeling thoughtful and tender enough that I want to talk about other things with more emotion.

I think I take for granted and sometimes forget just how good things seemed to me when I was younger. I had a very fantastical, magical view of the world. Everything felt like it teemed with life and promise, and wonder. It’s what I learned from the Final Fantasy of old, and other media and influences I had back then.

This of course does not mean things actually were better then compared to now. There are so many advances we’ve made on many fronts. What I remember as a fond and better time, was also notably a time when gay marriage was banned, and the existence of trans people was often treated like a joke instead of given the respect they deserve. But on a personal front, it seemed better.

There are a lot of things I can’t really say here, either. Because they’re too personal.

What I can say is this: I have to believe things can get better. At least for other people if not for me. I have to believe good, caring, compassionate and considerate efforts to make the world better will lead to positive change somewhere down the road.

That doesn’t mean the efforts will always be benign and passive. Sometimes making the world better requires conflict and confrontation. Uncomfortable truths are hard to accept, and people tend to hate assessing themselves and fixing what they have wrong in them. People like the comfort of the familiar even if the familiar is toxic and hurts other people. Challenging that is difficult. Sometimes dangerous.

Honestly? I think that better world I’d like to see is also one I wouldn’t be a part of. I think I’d be gone, or I wouldn’t fit. It’s one thing to imagine, another thing to be, and who and what I am doesn’t really have a place in it if it’s actually realized.

It’s hard to properly describe what I’m feeling. I know the immediate thoughts people would have to the above, and those thoughts are wrong, but there’s no way to get even a fraction of it across without personal details. And even then, with those personal details, I doubt it could be understood. Understanding here isn’t about intellectual capacity or emotional care. It’s about perspective. These views are so uniquely tailored to my POV based on what I’ve experienced that there’s no real explaining. You get it or you don’t. It clicks or it doesn’t. And often you need to have those experiences too, because it’s hard to grasp the complexities without living them.

And I do greatly appreciate the life I have. The luxuries. The small bits of good I can still get out of it day to day. But there’s also the fear of it ending, and disappointment at the more there could be but isn’t.

Anyway that’s my personal post. I’m about to listen to these two in succession. It’ll be my first time with all of the second vid.


Hype can be insidious. Companies rely on it to sell their wares.

They develop massive marketing and advertising campaigns, sometimes even creating fake accounts, for the express purpose of making the average person think what they’re providing is so big and awesome and important that you absolutely must pick it up immediately.

They poke fandoms for buy-in in various ways. Appealing to them with particular language. “We’re bringing this franchise you love back to its former glory!” “Now with the return of this historically fan-beloved writer!” Or offering slick images. The underlying intent of it all is to build and maintain a consumer base which will simultaneously buy whatever gets put in front of them with the company brand, and defend that brand eagerly even in the face of any evidence that says it’s unearned.

I know this from experience. I used to be a hardcore Squaresoft fan, whose fandom carried me into Square-Enix content until the mistakes and insults became so many and egregious that I learned.

I’m not immune to the effects of hype. It can still influence how I think and feel. Even if I don’t fall into the trap of rushing to buy something due to hype, I may still get mentally absorbed into thought patterns encouraged by hype culture. In certain circumstances, it can still make me think what I’m seeing is far more important and not-to-be-denied than it really is until I reorient myself.

How do I reorient myself?

I think of what I’ve seen. Instances where excessive marketing and corporate talk or the appearance of fan support turned out in the end to not be anywhere near what hype made it look like. Where “You must support this, everyone’s into it, it’s the company’s direction for maybe even decades” fizzled out. Sometimes spectacularly.

These are just a few cases I’ve seen over the years.

3rd Birthday

One of the first, most memorable instances was 3rd Birthday. I could technically start with FFX-2 because I dove into it without thought from brand, but 3rd Birthday was where I saw and remember the entire landscape from start to years after release.

The game was announced for Japan. Initially as a mobile phone game, later as a PSP game. It was to be the return of Aya Brea after nearly a decade of nothing. Fans of the character and the original Parasite Eve games were excited. Most of the more vocal people continued to hype up the game all the way up to and slightly past launch.

But… it was bad. And a vivid example of people working at a company saying things they know people want to hear but not really meaning it.

Motomu Toriyama, who wrote the script for the game, said he was going to write Aya as a “cool mature woman in her 30s.” What the game actually did was have “Aya” act like a scared, submissive sex object who lets people sexually harass her repeatedly, before the final reveal that it was really the spirit of Eve (a younger girl) in Aya’s body… and you kill Aya’s spirit in the ending, leaving Eve in her body.

Yoshinori Kitase, the game’s producer, responded to criticism of the game’s clothes-ripping-away-from-damage game mechanic by claiming it was for “realism.” Which is not only flimsy for games, but in the specific mechanics of 3rd Birthday, is complete BS. “Aya” possesses a person’s body for missions in 3rd Birthday. What you’re seeing is her spirit, hence why what she wears differs from the character she possesses.

Originally, 3rd Birthday wasn’t going to have a shower scene. Then, at the last minute, they decided to add one… which was pretty much on the verge of softcore porn with its angles, sounds and visuals. Completely different from the far more tasteful shower scene from Parasite Eve 2.

In Famitsu (Japanese video game magazine), the biggest image for articles about the game was whatever fetish outfit they had for Aya that month. For Japan, they had special lines tailored to each costume, such as submissive server talk when she’s in the maid costume.

That’s the company… and then there were the fans. Who supported all of this. Most places you looked, people were hyping the game up, saying it would be amazing.

Years later, you ask the average person and if they even know the game happened, they say it was bad.

Squeenix to this day has done nothing to fix the damage they did to the character. They went from saying Parasite Eve would be one of their major returning franchises, to quietly shelving it and hoping people forget as they do other things.

That’s a common company response, by the way. To either kill a franchise they ruined, or double down and try to force people into accepting what they did as if it was somehow good. Companies rarely admit when they make mistakes, only doing so if what they did was so bad that not admitting fault and trying to make amends poses an existential threat. As seen when Squeenix went for a complete overhaul of Final Fantasy XIV and offered free access until the game was “good enough.”

Yet for Aya Brea, Squeenix can’t be bothered to admit and fix what they did. They’re responsible for one of the most atrociously sexist cases of character assassination in video games out there, but because the franchise and character are “obscure,” they think they can just pretend it never happened and hope people buy into a non-sexist perception of them from other games like Life is Strange.

People talk about how bad Metroid: Other M was. 3rd Birthday was worse. Much, much worse.

Soul Calibur V

The Soul Calibur franchise had been retired with SCIV. Bandai Namco felt they only needed Tekken. When Daishi brought a campaign to revive it, fans were ecstatic and eager to support him. The campaign itself was a success.

Then Daishi made the game.

He decided SCV’s story should have a time skip. The reason was so a majority of the roster could be purged and replaced with brand new characters.

It was primarily the existing female roster that got purged. Not even Sophitia and Taki got to be in the game, despite having been mainstays since the very first game, while characters like Siegfried and Mitsurugi and Raphael got to return. And Ivy, of course.

In the specific case of Taki, Daishi teased with the idea of her before explaining her exclusion as that she was “too old to be a ninja.”


Mitsurugi, a man, was the same age. He was included in SCV. Taki, a woman, wasn’t. It’s pretty blatant to me that behind the scenes, Daishi and/or the team thought that female characters have to be young and attractive in the ways they perceived attractiveness to get in the game. And that they’d been around too long, even conceptually (hence timeskip), to be appealing to them.

Again, like 3rd Birthday, a majority of fans were all in favor of SCV’s timeskip. I even talked to someone that insisted if the next game brought Sophitia back, they’d stop buying Soul Calibur games, just as I didn’t buy SCV.

Soul Calibur V sold half of what SCIV did. The most common complaint for the game was the new roster of characters, and purging of the old roster. It’s only recently that Bandai Namco released a new Soul Calibur game with Soul Calibur VI, meant to act as a reset for the franchise in a similar way to how Netherrealm Studios reset Mortal Kombat.

Tomb Raider

Some will disagree on this. I think I’m very justified.

The 2013 “reboot” presented “Lara” getting shipwrecked on an island. Everything about the game plays from what I’ve seen like “Lara” is the final girl in a horror movie. She gets traumatized, constantly attacked and pursued, and over the course of the string of “reboot” games suffers from PTSD. The underlying idea proposed being that it’s her journey toward becoming the icon.

Here’s the problem. The “reboot” destroys any notion that Lara had good qualities prior to 2013. Yes, it got rid of the bad elements like sexual objectification, but in the process it also threw away her status as a heroic icon and acted like “sex object” was all she had going for her for nearly 20 years.

That flies in the face of the character’s real worth. Lara Croft was created in 1996. At that time, games with female characters as the main protagonist were few. Lara’s arrival spawned Jill Valentine, Aya Brea, Regina in Dino Crisis, and many others as female stars for franchises.

Again, sexual objectification of Lara was bad – and it got worse as games went on, and games became worse in quality. But she had a personality, and had a positive impact on representation, that attitudes surrounding the 2013 “reboot” pretended never existed. They essentially wiped out that cultural memory in pretending the “reboot” was the first time anyone wrote a “real story” with Lara as an “actual character.”

What does this have to do with hype? Crystal Dynamics and Square-Enix were very, very successful at creating hype toward the ends.

They had advertising literally everywhere. That’s not exaggeration. Every site I visited except for hentai sites had ads. They also deftly covered up one of the game’s producers saying “Lara almost gets raped” and “players will feel for Lara cause they want to protect her” by very quickly announcing how they had Rhianna Pratchett writing the script. Nobody talks about that, may not even be aware of or remember it, and that’s how successful the move was. They were able to patch over comments that would’ve hurt sales by showing off how they have creative representation.

I also want to note that I don’t hold the “Tomb Raider” “reboot” or Crystal Dynamics’ actions against Rhianna Pratchett. Female writers need their gigs. She had few video game writing credits at the time, closest of note before that being Mirror’s Edge. People higher up on the project said what they wanted, her job was to do what she could with it.

Unfortunately, there’s only so much that can be done with a bad premise. And honestly, I don’t know where the line exists between what the higher-ups expected from her and what she decided to do on her own. So I err on the side of assuming the higher-ups are responsible given a) they have more power, and b) they could’ve stepped in if it was her plans and they didn’t.

Nowadays, people seem to be more discerning of the “reboot,” how it presented the character and franchise, and the effect it had. We’re out of the hype period. Culture is becoming more cognizant of issues they didn’t see before. But for its time, the “reboot” managed to convince a lot of people that it was making great advances for the character even as it gutted her and insisted she had nothing good to her pre-2013.

Man of Steel

I tend to talk a lot about how female characters are treated, because I’m more interested in them. Here’s one of two examples I have concerning male characters.

Snyder’s idea of “Superman” in films was through the lens of Batman. Blatantly. It was very Batman-colored lenses. Everything was grim, people died for Superman’s failures, etc.

Where things differ here compared to my prior examples is that a majority of consumers seemed to immediately acknowledge and condemn Snyder’s films for this. I didn’t see any hesitation. Yet the films still had their fans, and DC still carried this idea of Superman into Batman vs Superman in spite of people not wanting it.

My view of this (and for my next example) is that people in general are far quicker to care about when male characters are treated poorly than when female characters are. Which is incredibly sad. Hopefully it’s changing to where people care about how female characters are treated just as much, if not more than, male characters.

I can’t say DC’s attempts at hype were successful. They weren’t. Both films that Snyder’s “Superman” were in bombed. But a hype culture still existed, promoting the idea that you must see this film because it’s a big blockbuster film and part of this new expanded film universe like Marvel has. Plus you can see how dogged Snyder’s fans are with how vocally they’ve demanded the “Snyder cut” of Justice League.


Like Snyder’s “Superman,” people almost were immediately against DmC – a “reimagining” of the Devil May Cry franchise and Dante. The game’s writer and director, Tameem, certainly didn’t help himself as he responded to complaints by saying Dante sucked and he’d be “laughed out of bars” if he were real (which… we play games about demons for the realism now?).

Yet in spite of pretty common consensus against the game, it did have its fans and defenders who rode along for the hype. And this is where I have more reason to talk about it than Man of Steel.

The most notable situation here is hair color. Many people who were opposed to DmC talked about how its idea of Dante had black hair, unlike the franchise’s traditional Dante who had silver/white hair. Fans on the hype train eagerly jumped on the hair complaints and ONLY the hair complaints, while also ignoring the larger point to ridicule it as a miniscule aesthetic whine. “Look, they’re complaining about hair color!”

Such talk deliberately ignored two things. For one, hair color wasn’t the only complaint. It was merely the most visibly obvious change that people could call out. Most of the other problems with it were harder to explain well for anyone not really into the franchise and character. For another, the hair color was more a matter of what the change represented rather than the color itself. Some people like to be dismissive of visual indicators, but they really are a window into the attitudes of people behind those visuals.

Once again, like Man of Steel, majority noticed the problem in advance, and hype failed to win them over. But the fandom created a certain culture that tried to deter criticism all the same.

All-New X-Factor

Let me preface: by the end, in general I liked All-New X-Factor. I laud All-New X-Factor #14, which had Lorna and Wanda spending time together as sisters, and I often encourage reading it on my Polaris reading list.

But not all of the issues. I always say people should skip ANXF #4-6, and sometimes include #3 in that.

Here’s where hype culture comes in. I was reading every issue as it came out back then. I liked #1-2. But as we got to #6, I didn’t mince words on problems with its treatment of Lorna.

Peter David has fans. His fans didn’t like my raising complaints. So at the time, they were dismissive of everything I said, and often tried to shut me down and get me to keep quiet to maintain the “sanctity” of their favorite writer’s image. I didn’t back down, of course. Now, I don’t know what really happened with that creative team, but I suspect the criticism given by Lorna fans (not just me) led to some major improvements in the book so that it got much better from ANXF #7 on after.

Years later, you do see people speaking positively of the book. I like to think that talk is thanks to said improvements above. But you also don’t see those fans going around attacking anyone who levels a complaint. Because that’s how hype culture works most of the time. Once the thing being hyped is no longer happening, there’s less sense of urgency to be protective of it.

House of X/Powers of X/Dawn of X

My urge to write this may change from day to day, but lately, the biggest reason is House of X/Powers of X/Dawn of X.

This event is current. We don’t have the retrospective glasses I was able to use for cases outlined above. But through the cases above, it’s possible to weigh what’s really happening against the hype.

Marvel hyped up HoX/PoX/DoX as a huge return of the X-Men franchise to its “proper place” of glory after a decade put down. Fans see it as some sort of second coming, like it’s the be-all end-all of our times. It must be worshiped. It must be coddled. To go against it is tantamount to treason, and it’s supposedly going to decide the direction of the franchise and various elements of it for generations to come in all forms of media.

… That’s just what Marvel wants people to think.

It’s not the reality.

Marvel has an incentive to convince people that anything they make is revolutionary and you must must must buy into it. They make money. They get support. Acquire power. And absolute hardcore fans have an incentive to encourage such thinking, because it leads to what they love getting more resources devoted to it.

Here’s the thing. HoX/PoX/DoX offers nothing to me.

They’re not doing anything with Lorna’s history with Genosha or Krakoa (unless Empyre changes that; we’ll see). They’re not acknowledging how she’s the second woman to join the X-Men, leaving her off a female X-Men variant cover that includes other characters like Dani Moonstar, Magik and Mystique. They don’t have Lorna spending time with Jean or Iceman to take advantage of how she was with them way back in the beginning.

All Marvel’s done is make her a supporting character (not even leading it) of a book that has the same title she was on 30 years ago, use her for Magneto to mansplain at her or for Cyclops to talk about his family at her (with no input of her own), and bring up Havok.

Marvel would like for me to think that I must purchase what they make that has her in it, no matter how it treats her, because their word is law and hype culture says everything is perfect. But really, I don’t need to buy anything they make that doesn’t treat Lorna with the long overdue appreciation and respect she deserves. And in fact, if my only choices are mistreatment or hiatus, I’d gladly take hiatus and wait for a future Marvel that’s infinitely better for Lorna than current Marvel.

That won’t stop me from calling Marvel out where appropriate. Like how Marvel’s decided Storm should get to be outraged about the Genoshan genocide even though she wasn’t there while Lorna, an actual survivor or suffered immense PTSD from it, is written as if it never happened and she doesn’t even know what it is. Lorna on hiatus doesn’t give them a pass on all the things they should be doing and aren’t. It just means they’re not also getting called out for doing bad things they shouldn’t, and Lorna’s better preserved for future writers that will care enough about stories and characters to do right by her.

In recent months, I’ve started to see some people questioning HoX/PoX/DoX. And hardcore fans upset that people are questioning it. It’s really only the beginning, as the newness and hype culture wear off and people are able to take a look without being influenced by marketing efforts and fans’ attitudes.

And again, I’m not immune. The marketing and hype culture of HoX and PoX did get to me until roughly halfway through. I had trouble seeing it objectively during that period. I started to fall into thinking about the franchise and characters in ways Marvel wanted me to, and started to think it just might really have the level of importance Marvel wanted everyone to think it had. But since halfway through the event and up to right now, I’ve been able to see it a lot more clearly.

Remembering the cases I’ve shared here helped me toward that clarity. They’ll continue to help me every time a company announces something new. Past experiences educate me for future experiences. Sometimes, it even helps me in simpler ways, such as to delay purchasing something that seems urgent because there’s a sale or everyone’s talking about it.

This is a long post, so I’m wrapping it up. Maybe I’ll have another post sooner than the last few times!