Marvel’s attempts to “replace” Polaris

Well hey! Two rants in one day! But this one is a result of Marvel’s ongoing “subtle” attempts to screw Lorna over. This time, it’s about Marvel trying to use existing characters or more commonly create brand new ones to “replace” Lorna and try to make her seem less valuable – especially in regards to her relationship with her sister, Scarlet Witch.

If you’ve read my blog before, you know some of the problems I’ve cited before. There’s a lot of history here, but to make things easier, let’s start with 2009.

In 2009, we started seeing Polaris and Scarlet Witch doing a lot together. Alternate universe versions of them were in Wolverine and the X-Men, Exiles, and Fantastic Force.

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Then all of a sudden, it stopped. What changed? Marvel did.

When Marvel got bought out by Disney, they stopped doing all of this. WatXM and Exiles were abruptly canceled. A few years later, they decided to start exploring Wanda and Pietro’s relationship to their father Magneto… and excluded Polaris every time.

Children’s Crusade outright removed Lorna from an already existing House of M portrait; I don’t have that, but this image gives you an idea of how extensively Marvel sought to ignore Lorna as part of the family.

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Marvel followed this same pattern for Avengers vs X-Men (where Magneto ignored Lorna being mind-controlled by Emma Frost) and No More Humans (where Lorna didn’t appear at all).

This was the status quo attitude at Marvel: keep them apart, pretend Lorna isn’t part of the family.

But then, something else changed. Marvel decided that instead of forcing another retcon on Magneto being Lorna’s father, they’d force a retcon on Magneto being Wanda and Pietro’s father. No matter what they claim, the reason ultimately boils down to how Fox owns the movie rights to the X-Men. Yet, Marvel was also very keenly aware of how much people wanted to see more of Lorna and Wanda as sisters, and they still do to this day.

In All-New X-Factor #14, we finally got to see Lorna and Wanda interact as sisters after a decade of not getting to interact at all. It came with this cover.

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Which seems great, wonderful and amazing… until you find out the whole truth.

Marvel refused to give All-New X-Factor any real promotion. While Days of Future Past was in theaters, they kept Pietro off the covers. More importantly, Marvel withheld this cover from release until the Friday before the issue would be on comic book shelves AND made the issue the second issue in a double shipping month.

Double shipping month means releasing more than one issue in a month, and it being an outlier. The effect is that people who don’t keep a close eye on comics aren’t aware there will be a second issue released in the same month, normally leading to lower sales. Marvel knew that withholding the cover and making it the second issue of the month to release would hurt its spread.

Keep all of this in mind, because here’s where I start talking about Marvel’s “replacements” for Lorna.

While Marvel withheld that cover until a week before release, they had no problem releasing this cover for Axis months in advance.

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That’s not Polaris. It’s Enchantress. Marvel recognized that Enchantress has a similar costume to Lorna, and if you recolor her hair to look green, people could mistake them. That’s exactly what happened, too. Countless people thought that was Lorna and had to be corrected on the mistake.

After Axis, possibly because Marvel saw people making this mistake and pointing out the insincerity of Marvel using Enchantress this way, they dropped trying to make Enchantress into Lorna’s replacement.

Instead, they introduced ANOTHER character, a supposed “sister” to Wanda and Pietro, named Luminous.

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This character also failed to do Marvel’s dirty work of making people forget about Lorna and the interest in her relationship with Wanda and Pietro.

But wait, there’s more!

There’s one more character I didn’t know existed until today.

Up to this point, Marvel’s attempts at replacing Lorna were women. It turns out, one of their attempts in January was actually a male character.

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Emerald Warlock. Introduced in Uncanny Avengers Annual, he’s intended to be an “archvillain” of sorts for Wanda… and he assumed the alias of Declan Dane.

Lorna Dane. Declan Dane. Emerald Warlock. Lorna’s green-focused color scheme.

When they created and introduced this character, Marvel could have given him a different color. Marvel could have given him a different alias. They deliberately chose the color and last name commonly associated with Lorna.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S STILL MORE.

These are the most notable, obvious cases that I think most people can see. There are a few less obvious ones that some might disagree on, but I think deserve a mention.

A common annoyance with regard to Lorna is how Marvel’s refusal to use and acknowledge her means her green hair and overall green theme are the main things people know her for… which also means that other characters sporting green hair or a green theme risk screwing her over more.

There’s Abigail Brand, a character created by Joss Whedon in the 00s, who has been a supporting character on Captain Marvel and also X-Men ‘92.

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There’s Viv, a member of Champions which is led by Kamala Khan.

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There’s Zenzi, in the Black Panther comic.

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Alone, none of these characters is damning of Marvel. Lorna doesn’t and shouldn’t have a monopoly on green hair or a green aesthetic. I think it’s absolutely possible that some of these characters were created or used without anything against Lorna intended, and I understand most people wouldn’t see it that way. I even like Zenzi’s design taken entirely on her own merits.

… But all these cases put together, combined with Marvel first ignoring Lorna as part of the family and THEN trying to find ways to replace her, speak volumes about Marvel’s intent.

When I say Marvel is screwing Lorna over, and refusing to use and acknowledge her, I’m thinking about all the things they’ve done to keep her from rising up AND all the things they do for other characters that they absolutely refuse to do for her.

And that’s where Marvel leaves us. For the past 7 years, Marvel has gone out of its way to prevent and undermine Lorna and Wanda’s relationship as sisters. That Marvel permitted Secret Wars: House of M is inconsequential. They did it knowing they would ignore its high sales and fan interest (in the 50k range, compared to the Scarlet Witch solo in the mid to high 10k range), and figuring it would allow them to blow off interest in both Lorna and the Magnus family as a whole.

Keep watching what Marvel does with these characters. They don’t care about character or story potential, especially when it might involve Polaris. They only care about pushing whatever personal or corporate agenda/vendetta they have at any given time.

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