Allow me to walk through some things as to why I’m reacting as strongly as I am about Polaris continuing to get screwed over repeatedly by Marvel while they put Havok on a pedestal and keep giving him things they robbed Lorna of getting.
Several years ago, Polaris was relegated to an isolated corner on X-Factor while Havok was getting tons of hype, use in crossovers, and leadership on Uncanny Avengers. You may have seen me complain then, too. But if you did, you would also have seen that I didn’t take it as a reason to refuse to see Marvel films, or refuse to read anything Havok was in. Even Havok horning in on Lorna’s affairs on All-New X-Factor while she was leading the book wasn’t enough to make that happen.
Now, Havok is getting to lead a team on an X-Men book (deliberately not naming it), wearing his iconic costume, while Polaris is maybe leading a team as well but without her iconic costume.
If you look at this, Havok is actually a “step down” from where he was a few years back, but I’m reacting stronger than I did back then.
So what’s changed? Why am I so aggressive and taking it harder this time?
It’s all about how Polaris has been treated the entire time leading up to this announcement.
Before Havok went off to Uncanny Avengers, Polaris got her origin story told – and it was all her story. Havok was involved, but the story wasn’t about him, it was about her. In addition, Lorna was treated fairly well in spite of being around Havok. She was written as asserting her own unique identity. Her treatment improved in the run-up.
Polaris was treated well and with respect, including around Havok, before Havok assumed leadership over at Uncanny Avengers. As a result, I was annoyed by Havok getting more than Lorna, I called it out repeatedly, but it didn’t cause me to not buy things. It didn’t make me have to make plans for what I’ll do when Marvel gets worse.
Here’s where the current situation differs: all throughout the run-up to Marvel announcing Havok leading his own team book, Polaris was treated poorly to build up Havok.
X-Men Blue #8 was made out to be Lorna’s big return after a 2 year forced limbo. They provided a cover styled after X-Men #50. They announced it at a conference. It looked like they might have realized she was getting a raw deal and wanted to give her something to make up for it.
Then the actual issues came out and practically everything Lorna said was about how “great” non-inverted Havok is, how he’s Lorna’s ex-boyfriend, how everything about Lorna should be seen as defined by her as a supporting character for Havok’s story. If it’s not about her as a supporting character for Magneto.
This is in addition to almost all of X-Men Blue #8 giving Havok countless things Lorna didn’t get. He got to lead a new team. He got to be presented as a major threat to the teen O5 X-Men. He got to build a strong connection with characters like Briar Raleigh, and have new interactions with Emma Frost.
All Lorna got was beating up her ex, and her identity revolving around a mix of him (mostly him) and Magneto. No team. No new connections/interactions. Just that.
Fast forward to the most recent issues of X-Men Blue.
X-Men Blue #23 decided to once again make Lorna’s dialogue focus on “how important” Havok is to her. Not only that, it attempted to frame a paltry 6 years of not being a couple as “a really long time apart,” clearly trying to set up justification for forcing them back together and having them interact. Trying to sound like Lorna’s been allowed to establish herself without him.
Except she hasn’t. For the past 6 years, it’s been a mix of undermining her (no promotion and isolated), writing her poorly, and not writing her at all (for 2 years). Six years apart means fucking nothing if Lorna is constantly held back during that whole period.
The last couple issues were better to Lorna. She fought with Malice, she beat Malice. Unlike prior issues, the focus was actually on Lorna herself. Not Havok. Not Magneto. Not what her getting possessed can do to benefit one of the two men in her life. It was all about development for Lorna.
But there were still problems. The most egregious being that Lorna overcoming Malice was treated as a minor footnote story to a broader story all about Havok.
Lorna beats (a weaker, alternate universe version of) Malice after 20-25 years of that lingering in her history, and to Marvel, that’s only good enough to be flavor text for Havok’s much bigger story.
And then there’s the cover for X-Men Blue #28. Which is still the cover they’re going to use.
In the lead-up to Havok getting his own team book with him as leader, Marvel’s putting out a cover of a weak, defeated and prone Polaris being fought over like a trophy by Magneto and Havok.
Everything Havok’s getting is at Lorna’s expense.
His big return came by robbing Lorna of her big return in X-Men Blue #8 and #9.
His big storyline in recent issues comes at the cost of one of her big developments cut short and treated like a minor footnote to his story.
His getting to lead a team book gets its push with her being presented as a weaker and worse leader than him, one he’s able to defeat and then fight for possession of. Only failing because a “better man” stands in his way to take ownership of Lorna instead of him.
Compared to when he went off to Uncanny Avengers, where his use and promotion didn’t involve him hijacking Lorna’s origin story to promote him, or her origin story being a footnote to his story.
Everything about how Marvel is treating Polaris and Havok lately is a repeat of how they’ve treated these characters for decades. It’s all a repeat of the negative and spiteful attitude toward Lorna that caused her to not get an origin story for over 40 years. That caused her to not get to lead a team of her own for over 40 years. That caused people to think of her so lowly that when I discovered her back in 2009, and I said she should return from space, a guy said she should stay there to “keep her away from characters that matter.”
What I want is very simple: I want Lorna treated with the respect she’s long overdue, and I want Marvel to make up for how they’ve been screwing her over to promote and benefit Havok all this time.
It doesn’t mean “don’t let Havok lead a team book.” But it sure as hell means give Lorna the attention, spotlight and developments that were stolen from her during Blue #8 and #9. It sure as hell means keep her away from Havok until Marvel’s spent enough years to know how to not treat Lorna poorly around him. It sure as hell means let her be involved in broader Marvel and X-Men events that she should be taking part in.
And it means acknowledge it’s her 50th anniversary and do something to promote and celebrate it. She was wrongfully excluded from nearly everything done for the X-Men franchise’s 50th anniversary back in 2013 while Havok wasn’t. She deserves the recognition and respect she wasn’t given back then, especially with the raw deal Marvel’s given her for most of her history.
Commit to a better future for her by showing appreciation for how long she’s been around and the highlights of her past. Like being the second female X-Men member. And surviving Genosha.
If Marvel aims to be the good company its fans and supporters say it is, then what I’m asking for should be easy.