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.

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