Polaris: Decade in Review (2010s)

This post is overdue. I didn’t want to start it until I was ready to sit down, think it through, write it out deeply.

Like my year in review post, this is going to be stream of consciousness. It will also be prone to errors. I’m dealing with a whole decade this time, not just the most recent year. By errors, I mean I think I might get some details or even some years that things happened wrong.

I would say as a quickie overview that Lorna’s arc of the decade has the look of standard deviation: starts low, goes high mid-decade, falls to low again.

2009

This seems weird to include, but there are a few reasons. One, 2009 is when I discovered Lorna exists. Two, I wasn’t aware of her in the 00s to write anything for that decade like this. Three, the decade technically isn’t over until 2020 ends.

There were three appearances of real note for Lorna: Jeff Parker’s Exiles volume 2, Fantastic Force, and Wolverine and the X-Men. All of them alternate universe.

In Exiles volume 2, we had our first glimpse of what more could be done with Lorna and Wanda as sisters. It included this Exiles team visiting a House of M world. Exiles is seriously my top suggestion for reading of Lorna.

It was also during 2009 that Lorna received her currently second most high profile (then most high profile) depiction, on the Wolverine and the X-Men cartoon.

WatXM is the last time Lorna surviving Genosha, and the emotional impact it had on her, has come up anywhere in anything official out of Marvel. It was also the first time any media suggested Lorna having anyone that isn’t Havok (in this case, Gambit) as a potential love interest. Someone might claim Random from the 90s, but it was really clear Lorna did not feel the same about Random. Hints of Iceman used to sometimes surface too, but they never went anywhere (nor should they, now).

And then we had Fantastic Force.

In this alternate universe, we had two things going for Lorna. One, she was part of a trio called “The Hysteries” with Jean and Wanda, with Lorna and them taking a darker more villainous tone. It played on how all three have a history of comic book tropes using the “hysterical power-mad woman” card. Only difference is in Lorna’s case, she never went full villain.

The other thing Fantastic Force had going on was an AU maternal descendant, named Psionics (first name Cindy).

The other thing going on during this time was 616 Lorna out in space with the Starjammers.

It had good and bad qualities. Mostly bad, IMO. Lorna was largely used to bolster Havok’s cred, same as most depictions of her. Her being in space cut her off from ongoing events, and ultimately, fed into how Marvel today pretends she had nothing at all to do with Genosha (as evidenced by literally everything about House of X/Powers of X/Dawn of X).

The sole bright spot of her time in space in/around 2009, I’d say, is that she got to interact with Crystal and Luna. You see Lorna’s real value, potential, and history in those moments.

At the time, it was the closest thing we had to an acknowledgment that Lorna is Magneto’s daughter. You’ll read more about the struggles on this throughout the post.

2009 wraps up with this: the Disney buyout.

Everything good that happened above, ended abruptly after the buyout. Wolverine and the X-Men was canceled despite plans out to season 3. Exiles volume 2 was also canceled at 6 issues, despite a significant amount of an issue 7 already written. Obviously this wasn’t aimed at Lorna specifically, but the beginnings of Marvel screwing over the X-Men franchise in a bid to eventually get its film rights back from Fox.

Anyone reading this already knows how the Disney-Fox film rights matter played out.

2010

Nothing. I don’t remember anything happening in 2010 for any of the Starjammers. Their absence was egregious enough that someone made this graphic at the time.

(Notice Polaris was mentioned first in the proposed hashtag)

2011

Lorna (and the others) finally got written again on X-Men Legacy, in the storyline “Five Miles South of the Universe.”

In this storyline, we had a few good developments.

One, it confirmed Lorna is a mutant again. See, in the 00s, Lorna’s powers were stripped from her by Wanda in the whole Decimation matter. Her powers were restored in an Apocalypse storyline, but it kept her status as mutant or “tech enhanced human” vague by saying her powers came from Celestial tech but were “evolving” in some way. FMSotU confirmed her status restored.

Two, it further confirmed Lorna as Magneto’s daughter. Up til this point, the only confirmation was Lorna looking at lab results in Genosha before is destruction. That left an opening for someone at Marvel to claim something different – and there were (and still are) people at Marvel eager to change that.

Three, it brought Lorna back to Earth. She could be involved in events and X-Men books again.

Another thing that I can’t recall if it happened in 2011 or 2012, was a change to Magneto’s ending on Marvel vs Capcom 3. An update changed a graphic to include Lorna in his Brotherhood.

I THINK 2010 or 2011 was also when Marvel had an X-Men banner at a Comic-Con with Lorna on it near Apocalypse. Unclear on the year. What I remember is that fans speculated it meant not only a return of Lorna to major X-Men events, but that her past with Apocalypse would be addressed in stories. Shortly after, Marvel said the banner didn’t indicate any plans, and was simply the artist drawing whoever they wanted.

It was the moment when I realized the need to question Marvel’s actions and statements.

2012

Two appearances that I can recall.

First, there’s Avengers vs X-Men. And this is where I talk about the actions of a specific editor who I’m deliberately choosing not to name.

I said before that some people at Marvel are against Lorna being Magneto’s daughter. This editor was so committed to it that not only did he look for excuses to justify the idea, but he followed through in omitting her from the family in everything he had a hand in. A House of M portrait in Children’s Crusade was redrawn to take Lorna out. She had no part in No More Humans, or Magneto: Not a Hero. Which brings us to AvX.

At first, the editor said Lorna wouldn’t be anywhere in it because “events are only for A-listers and B-listers.” Eventually, she was added, and while she had this cool image…

She also had this.

Mind-controlled into submission to Phoenix Frost. Lorna went unnamed, and worse, she was completely excluded from all family moments. The book went so far as to have Magneto ignoring Lorna being controlled in this scene right here like she didn’t matter.

The very same father who just months prior, on Five Miles South of the Universe, made a special trip specifically to rescue her from space. Yeah. Marvel assholery.

Outside of this, we also had Lorna returning to X-Factor with Havok.

Which I ranted about. A lot. I saw it as Marvel moving to undo her character development by reverting her to a book, writer, and role she had in the 90s. In retrospect, I think I was too quick to judge and assume about Peter David at the time.

It was in this year that Lorna finally had her origin story told on X-Factor. She went 44 years without it told, and the lack of it was a big black mark considering all other characters like her had theirs told decades ago and even brand new characters often got theirs told within a few years. So it was a major positive development for Lorna.

It also secured Lorna as Magneto’s daughter, which at the time most assumed would not happen with Peter David since he seemed to dislike Magneto quite a lot.

Marvel did nothing to promote it though. Thankfully though, at the end of this arc, Havok left to be a co-leader on Uncanny Avengers (and sort-of broke up with her again, since they sort-of got back together in space) while Lorna stayed on X-Factor.

2013

More time on X-Factor. I complained a lot about the costume change, as I hate team costumes.

On the plus side, though, Lorna got to interact with her brother Pietro for the first time in a decade!

Yes, that meant getting drunk, throwing objects and shooting bullets at him, but it was still the first time in too long that Lorna got to spend time with either sibling.

She appeared on Astonishing X-Men by Marjorie Liu as well, for Iceman’s story arc.

Ironically for how little dialogue and presence she had, I still think this was one of Lorna’s better depictions in the decade. Even with this odd moment

Pretty sure Lorna could drink Kitty under the table

Keep in mind, when this arc came out, the Iceman gay reveal hadn’t happened yet. In covering his history with past romances and potential love interests, it was great to see Lorna acknowledged for her part.

I remember wishing that more would be done with Lorna and Nurse Annie during this arc. Sadly, it did not happen. And that’s fair, since the arc was about Iceman, not Lorna. But I think it was still a lost opportunity.

Outside of comics, it was Lorna’s first ever playable video game appearance! On Lego Marvel Super Heroes.

She had no story involvement, and the shared power set with her dad had the same color, but it was still her first playable appearance.

It actually got me into playing most of the other Lego video games to boot. I never would have played any of them if not for Lorna appearing in this game.

I think this is everything about 2013. Heavier content in 2014.

2014

This is it. The year.

Lorna led the All-New X-Factor team.

I had a roller coaster of reactions. I won’t describe in-detail cause that would be a whole other post. The short of it.

Ecstatic on announcement. Hated how during issues #4-6 Gambit seemed to be the “real team leader,” recruiting half the team (with Lorna even seeming to hating Danger’s add but not shooting it down) and overruling her repeatedly. I didn’t like the team costumes, but was okay with them due to having a reason and purpose (and Lorna leading).

The problems cleared away starting with issue #7.

More importantly, ANXF provided two very important developments for Lorna.

One, leading a team of her own. Up to this point, Lorna had never led a team in her own right. The closest she had was fill-in/temporary leadership experience (whether teams or pretending to be her father on Genosha). So this was a big development for her.

Two, she FINALLY got to spend time with her sister Wanda in the 616 again! After over a decade of no interaction.

Lorna also had plenty of good sibling moments with Pietro, but the Wanda time stands out because it hadn’t happened yet.

Marvel also didn’t promote the issue (ANXF #14). There was still an uptick in sales for it anyway despite everything working against it. But, it was pretty obvious why Marvel didn’t promote it if you looked over at… Axis.

That’s not Lorna in the picture. That’s Enchantress. Why is her hair green, and Wanda’s red? Simple. This was one of two attempts by the editor I previously mentioned to “replace” Lorna with another character in Wanda’s life and dynamics. The other attempt will be mentioned in 2015.

But to add a disclaimer for Enchantress fans: I’m not saying “Enchantress can’t interact with Wanda.” She absolutely can. They can have amazing dynamics unique to themselves, which Lorna could never cover with Wanda. What I’m saying is that Enchantress shouldn’t be used as a replacement for Lorna, just as Lorna shouldn’t be a replacement for some other character.

Anyway, Axis. As Axis unfolded, we also got the “reveal” that the Maximoff twins aren’t Magneto’s kids. Just like that, all the development Lorna had with Pietro on ANXF, and the potential to do more with her sister Wanda, stopped meaning anything.

I don’t just mean “it made it worthless.” I mean Marvel completely abandoned it. Lorna hasn’t talked to either sibling once since 2014. We don’t even know if Lorna knows she’s supposedly not their sister anymore. It was never addressed.

Back to ANXF. Another interesting note, to me, is the way Lorna’s Pestilence costume was redesigned. It went from this in the original comics:

To this in a flashback image on ANXF:

Kiiiinda needlessly sexualized. As a guy, I’m fine with it, but I also acknowledge how peculiar it is. Not like Gambit’s down to a banana hammock for his Death look.

In the same year, we had Savage Hulk volume 2, which started with a story arc covering when Hulk first met the X-Men. This included Lorna.

Before judging the above, context is key. If you read the story, this didn’t really happen. It was some weird fantasy in a character’s head (can’t remember if it was Xavier’s or Banner’s). But it’s relevant for my posting here, because it shows awareness at Marvel of how important Lorna’s headgear is to her visual presence.

Lastly, the Days of Future Past mobile game (no longer available, and the company no longer exists) was released. Updates made Lorna and Storm playable.

I’m still disappointed the game never got ported to Steam, PSN or other formats. Playing via phone was too awkward for me to continue. I think if it was on a full-fledged system, it would’ve done much better.

2015

I think I’m going to get the “replacing Lorna in Wanda’s life” part out of the way first.

In 2015, over on Uncanny Avengers, a new “sister” for Wanda and Pietro was introduced. Named Luminous.

With a single color scheme and headdress too. Yeah, they totally weren’t trying to replace Polaris with Luminous when they pulled this.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way.

The Secret Wars event brought with it a lot of AU appearances for Lorna. There were myriad cameos in things like Inferno, and Star-Lord & Kitty Pryde. The one that matters of the AUs though, was Secret Wars: House of M.

Which treated Lorna awesome. I have no difficulties saying that. It did great by her. She got to be smart, savvy, powerful, understanding, the whole package.

But, I have to be honest and say that it did poorly by Pietro, and Magneto at one or two points. And I’m a firm believer that you don’t need to throw one character under a bus for the benefit of another. Still, it fueled a fun idea of Lorna and Black Cat doing (lesbian?) crimes together that sadly never went further.

Meanwhile, 616 Lorna finally showed up on the Magneto solo written by Cullen Bunn.

It was… okay. Flipside to Peter David, I put a lot of faith into Bunn. There were some issues that I chose to disregard. Still some good to it though.

The main good as I saw it came from letting Lorna interact more with her father. Marvel hadn’t done anything more with it after Five Miles South of the Universe, so this was the first time (and frankly, was the only reason I had started reading the Magneto solo). There was a one-panel hint at Lorna’s time as a Marauder/possessed by Malice as well.

This was followed by….

2016

Nothing. At all.

At least that I can remember.

There was discussion of wanting her to be in Bunn’s Uncanny X-Men, and him suggesting it could happen. But it never did. A whole year spent in limbo with nothing happening with or for her. Any version of her.

2017

A lot happened suddenly in 2017.

The biggest news out of everything was Lorna getting her very first live action appearance! Played by Emma Dumont on Gifted.

There was speculation as to whether or not the little girl in Days of Future Past was supposed to be Lorna (fan talk) or some other random girl (Bryan Singer talk). But here, we had something certain.

And the character broke out in a big way. If you were present in 2017 and watching things unfold, you would’ve seen how Marvel and even the people on Gifted expected Blink to be the breakout star, only for it to become Lorna. Marvel even put Blink on a team and relaunched her Exiles book in 2017, before the show launched, which is very different from the “only show up as a supporting character for one book” plans they had for Lorna.

Another non-comics thing that I think happened in 2017, Lorna finally got a new figurine! Marvel Legends.

This is important because Lorna had not received a new one in over a decade. When this was announced, the speaker even openly said (paraphrase from memory, not exact quote), “You can finally take her off all your top 10 most wanted lists.” That’s how badly she needed a new one. A special shout-out on the fact it took longer than it should have.

Beginning of 2017 in comics, an AU version of Lorna showed up in Deadpool and the Mercs for Money, written by Bunn.

It was, like her appearance on the Magneto solo, okay. But it was for me the first sign of Marvel swinging the Lorna-Magneto daughter-father pendulum too far the other way. Here, Lorna is outfitted in a look largely taking after her father, talking about her father’s values and her father’s views. She’s not talking like an independent woman fighting a fight she believes in, but like a child doing what she thinks some man wants her to do in his absence.

This problem reared its head again when 616 Lorna finally showed up again on X-Men Blue.

Before we get into that, here’s what we saw leading up to her appearance there.

At C2E2, we got this teaser of how Lorna would return in Secret Empire on Blue. When Lorna finally showed up there, we got…

“Daddy’s little mistress of magnetism!” and a lot of talk of how she’s supposedly defined by her association with Havok and Magneto. As if she offers nothing for herself.

This galled me all the more since it was redefining a title she held for herself even before Magneto was restored as her father to somehow be something she can only have because of him.

Other moments came along, like this one which had Lorna mansplained to about something that she’d know better on given what happened to her on Genosha.

Things did get better. Continued into 2018.

2018

We did still have some complications on Lorna’s treatment on Blue. However, they ultimately got better as far as her dynamic with her father is concerned.

On that count, Bunn improved much like how Peter David improved in his treatment of Lorna on ANXF starting with issue #7.

Bunn also brought back Lorna’s history with Malice.

… But it wasn’t good or bad. It was just okay. Because nothing really happened. Malice-possessed Lorna hurt and killed people, then Lorna overcame Malice. It didn’t slip into the bad of using her as a punching bag like Claremont did decades ago, but it also didn’t spend any time analyzing who Lorna is or how she feels.

And here’s why. Because this moment didn’t get to happen as a dedicated story arc. It became a footnote in a story arc dedicated primarily to Havok.

Lorna led a team in Havok’s story arc. But this was undermined by how it worked in service to him, unlike how Peter David had Lorna leading a book for herself. Similarly, there was a team costume which unlike ANXF, had no real purpose to it.

And then there was this fucking cover.

I don’t blame Bunn for this. I blame Marvel, and people above him. Because first of all, I assume Bunn didn’t request this cover. But even if Bunn had said “I want this cover,” someone above him looked at this even at concept level and approved it. They thought a prone Lorna with her legs spread open, being fought over like a trophy, a prop, between Magneto and Havok was the way to go.

They basically said “Yeah, we think Lorna is just an object in the stories of men, and we’re gonna show it.” And I sincerely think this is an accurate reflection of what people working at Marvel right now think of her.

After Blue, Lorna mostly got thrown into limbo again comics-wise til the end of the year. She showed up in Phoenix Resurrection for a line or two during Blue. One thing of note is this Amazing Spider-Man cover.

After WatXM in 2009, this variant cover is the closest Marvel has ever come to acknowledging she even existed anywhere in the same hemisphere as Genosha. It’s representing her storyline on New X-Men #132, when she was dug out of Genosha’s ruins.

End of the year, she had some good moments in the Uncanny X-Men event. Tossing X-23 with her powers. Sensing Magneto’s EM field on a Storm-led team. Better writing in that portion than on Blue. If only it had continued on that trajectory toward better.

Meanwhile, Gifted was wasting its potential and losing viewers. I caught this initially with how they handled Dreamer’s death at the end of 2017. I stopped watching, but from what I’ve been told, Lorna on Gifted was horribly written in season 2 (Emma Dumont doing the best she could as a professional with what they forced on her) and mistakes like that are what killed the show in early 2019.

If you want to go conspiracy theory, perhaps the showrunner and writers were forced to take her that route as an aid to ending the show around the Fox buyout so Marvel wouldn’t have to carry it. Not hard for me to imagine after what happened to projects Lorna was on after Disney bought Marvel in 2009.

2019

It was between 2018 and 2019 that Marvel really stopped hinting around their “force Havok on Lorna and use her as a prop for his benefit” desires and started trying to blunt force it.

There were moments like this, using flashbacks as an excuse to show them together.

There was Marvel Tales, with a great cover used as a bait and switch for how the only story with her in it is Havok’s intro issues where Lorna was treated poorly to build him up.

There’s this “flashback montage” in Prisoner X which apparently decided that an image of the two kissing is more important than, I don’t know, Lorna surviving the worst fucking genocide of mutants in 616 history and having to deal with the subsequent trauma?

And of course, the Marvel Legends pack of 90s Lorna with 90s Havok, at the same time a Magnus family pack was released that had Wanda, Pietro, and Magneto but not Lorna.

And there are plenty of other smaller, subtler insults to boot. But those stand out in memory.

In the case of Prisoner X, I assume it was out of Vita’s hands one way or another. As in, regardless of if Vita wanted or didn’t want it, someone above said it had to be in the book.

But on the subject of Prisoner X, I also didn’t read it. Why? Because in my case, I had issues with how it was clearly inspired by Gifted yet put Bishop in the lead and made Lorna into a supporting character. I covered my reasons in my 2019 year in review post. For what it’s worth though, I’ve been told – supported by the pages and panels I’ve seen – that Vita did write Lorna well if you look only at the writing itself.

For what it’s worth, I did like what I saw and heard about Lorna having special insight into what was happening, being framed as an “evil mutant,” etc.

Then we get to House of X, Powers of X, and Dawn of X.

Lorna’s only appearance in House of X was pretty much to be talked at by her father.

Admittedly, this was handled better than how Blue had Lorna surprised by an attack on HQ just so Magneto could mansplain surprise attacks. But still, it’s just “clueless Lorna told things by wise dad.” Worse, Lorna’s history with Genosha could’ve been used pretty much anywhere in HoX/PoX/DoX and it hasn’t been, not once.

There was also a genetic creation of some kind made from Lorna and Emma Frost’s DNA on Powers of X, which somehow ended up male, so that’s something.

Lorna had an appearance on X-Men #1 as part of Dawn of X, too, with a few okay scenes.

A write-up on Marvel.com before X-Men #1 came out kinda gave away both the summation of contents for her and how Marvel (still) views Lorna as a character, though.

As you can see, Havok and Magneto both have descriptions citing major character moments. Whereas for Lorna’s description, all you have is “her daddy is Magneto and she can totes learn lots from him oh and her naughty ex is Havok.” Not even the write-up acknowledges her history with Genosha – showing that Marvel isn’t thinking about it either.

The Future

I think it’s appropriate to round out this post with a look to the future.

As far as coming works, we have zero news on Lorna appearing in anything aside from collections of old works. The closest we have is a rumor that she might show up in live action again as a secret mutant under the protection of Luke Cage and Danny Rand. Everything is speculation and fantasy.

For my money’s worth, I don’t think Lorna should be involved in the X-Men comics right now anyway. I’ve seen enough. I think she’s better off out of that mess, saved for a future Marvel that both wants and deserves what she has to offer.

What I really mean is, Lorna’s future is in her fans. And I think everything about the past decade bears that out if you look close enough.

Fans noticed things she needed. Origin story told. Mutant status and father confirmed. Interaction with her siblings. A team book she leads. And the considerate, open-minded portions of Marvel at the time pursued those things as a result.

On the flipside, we had not one but two attempts to replace Lorna in Wanda’s life with other characters. We had (and still have) Marvel trying real hard to define Lorna as a prop for Havok and Magneto. What Marvel’s telling us is that contrary to anything they say, they actually do realize she has worth, and fandom for her matters. They just wish they could shift the fandom toward characters they think are “more deserving” of appreciation and respect than Lorna.

The truth is, Lorna’s fandom doesn’t need Marvel. I’ve seen the enthusiasm and creative output of her fans. She’ll survive, possibly even thrive, without Marvel. I’d rather see her in the hands of people who respect her (fans) than people who clearly don’t (Marvel).

That’s my self-indulgent closer. I’m looking forward to another decade of progress for this badass green-haired Mistress of Magnetism and Queen of Mutants!

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