This is a Polaris post. About authority on defining and understanding characters, and companies vs fandoms.
Companies have their own ideas of what deserves or doesn’t deserve attention. How to use their “assets.” What they want people to think and believe about those “assets.” Within that, as the rightsholders, they want a constructed reality wherein the only “true” and “legitimate” version of a character or relationship or story resides with the company. With the people who own the rights and are legally allowed to profit off of it.
There’s a problem here. Even the best, most well-intentioned companies can’t cover everything. They can’t grasp everything. And that’s just the optimistic POV. It’s not counting companies with people who look at various characters with hate on their minds, or presumptions of lack of worth, or looking at everything through their own fandom and not considering the fandom of people other than them.
That’s the risk.
If you buy into a company’s narrative, that they’re “the authority” and you must abide by what they say, then you have no options even if what they say is garbage. It could be racist, sexist drivel. But if you just accept “only the company gets to decide what counts,” then that’s what it is. Marvel could write Captain America as a sieg heiling Nazi and you have to accept it (hi, Secret Empire). Now, he’s a Nazi. Nevermind whatever he’s been before.
This is where fandom comes in. Fandom by its nature hones in on the beautiful, the sad, the dark, the powerful, everything about the object of its fandom. It explores the myriad dimensions that the company either can’t or won’t. Furthermore, authority is decentralized in fandom. There isn’t one lone person who gets to decide everything. It’s a work in progress of many anonymous and non-anonymous people all over the connected world.
Case study: Magnus family
Marvel demanded via Axis that people accept “Wanda and Pietro are not Magneto’s kids” as canon. According to Marvel, they’re not related, and they shouldn’t have family-based stories together.
If you stuck only to Marvel’s narrative and nothing else, that’s it. Done. The family is over. No stories to tell, nothing to engage in. Time to move on and do other things.
Fandom didn’t do that. Fandom refused. It doesn’t matter what Marvel puts out, how fiercely they try to reinforce the retcon. The fans have decided it was a stupid ass decision and have chosen to ignore it. And we’ve been better off for it, because we’ve seen some amazing fanart, fanfic, fan comics, cosplay, etc come out of it.
This cycles back to Polaris specifically, not just in the context of the Magnus family.
Consider Marvel’s behavior for the past few years (don’t even need to consider decades). Marvel’s constructed authority, what they want people to believe, is that Lorna has no value outside of providing support for other characters – primarily Havok and Magneto. She gets no stories actually focused on her. She leads no teams. When she shows up, it’s to reinforce Magneto being powerful and wise, or Havok having a woman he dated, or how helpful she can be in telling the stories of Bishop or Northstar or whoever else.
If you stick to Marvel’s constructed “authority,” then Lorna really isn’t worth much. According to Marvel, she has no history with Genosha or Krakoa, has no past dynamics with Jean or Iceman, nothing worthwhile.
Fandom says otherwise.
Fandom has looked at her character history and seen these things that Marvel, in all its “wisdom,” deliberately pretends never happened. Fandom sees the importance of Genosha in shaping her world view. It sees the fun she must’ve had with Jean, or the insight of Iceman’s relationship history for an outsider view. And then fandom does something with it – unlike Marvel.
Fandom presents an actually proper, accurate picture of who Lorna is and what she offers at the same time that Marvel presents an atrophied, dismissive, ignorant view. And ignorant has two meanings here. Ignorant in that they aren’t willing to consider what she truly offers as a character. Ignorant in that they literally ignore key aspects of who she is and what she’s done.
This is why you see me spurning HoX/PoX/DoX and talking about fandom being Lorna’s salvation. Marvel’s “authority” is not to be respected, because it’s false. It lacks anything other than a spiteful cardboard conception of her. Fans have the true multi-dimensional view of her. So they’re her future.
Marvel’s just the people who own the legal rights. That’s all. They’re not even her creators. Her creators (Don Heck and Arnold Drake) died over a decade ago. Steranko’s the only one still around art-wise.
That’s all I have to say at the moment on the topic. May add later or write a sequel if I feel it’s relevant.
Today, I’ve been exposed to a few things that lead me to think greatly about outspokenness. And reactions to it. Especially when the topic is problems.
People don’t like when you “air dirty laundry,” as they think of it. When you cite problems and insist on fixes. Especially if those people are in positions of power where they have some kind of expected duty to provide the fix, or to be outspoken themselves when they either don’t care that deeply or dread some kind of backlash.
You would think that the more serious the issue, the more eager someone else to set things right. But no. In fact, something very serious can have the most effort to suppress and ignore and silence outspokenness about it. Because people don’t want to think about it. They just want to forget and bury it, even if doing so is toxic and destroys from within.
With any legitimate problem, when initially called out, there seems to first be that effort to forget. To pretend it never existed. Then, if it’s serious enough, things change… temporarily.
By temporarily, I mean doing and saying things that appear to be responding to and addressing those problems without really doing much. People in powerful positions offering a few breadcrumbs of the appearance of sympathy. Maybe rushing to a “quick fix” where they think offering up the most talked about bits will magically make everything instantly okay, and you can go back to Business-As-Usual. You can now forget those awful things, what impact they had, and focus on other things you like and care about more.
… Unless that isn’t “enough” for someone. And that someone feels that what’s been offered wasn’t sincere, or fell short, or most importantly, wants some assurances that there will at least be attempts not to repeat past mistakes. That’s when the people who initially sought to look open and cooperative will become dismissive, and derisive, and attempt to “punish” anyone who’s still outspoken.
The natural – and hoped for – reaction when faced with that kind of reaction is for the outspoken person to feel like they should self-silence and slink into obscurity to avoid being a target. Because the general effort against them is to try to make it look like any further outspokenness is only going to hurt the thing they care about, and themselves too.
But when something is truly wrong, that is not the way. In reality, if you stop speaking out, you’re allowing matters to look like they’re far less important than they really are. The real path forward is to continue, because it’s justified, and necessary. Ostracism, dismissiveness, and sometimes isolation is a test of the seriousness of the issue.
If the issue isn’t worth enduring such things, then obviously a person should not keep going for the possibility of a reward they may never get. But when the issue matters, then being outspoken about it matters.
This past week has been a lot of exposure to things that I had been meaning to get to, but put off. Like finally watching sharp objects, and listening to Hayley Williams’ solo song after putting it off for a week. In each case, I think I wouldn’t have been quite able to handle what they offered when they first came out.
I’m a pretty big believer in many things happening when they need to happen for me. And that maybe it looks like it should’ve happened sooner at first, but when it really does happen, it clicks.
This goes for many things. Not just “you’ll watch a show when it’s right for you.” I think I’ll become aware of certain things when I need to. I’ll feel certain ways, make certain arguments, even if it seems like it’s a “bad idea” to do so, because it’s what’s needed right then.
This loops back, like many things, to Polaris. This might seem contradictory. To think “things will happen when they need to happen” while simultaneously insisting they happen. If things are supposed to come at their own pace, isn’t pushing for them to happen sooner pointless?
It’s not. Because things don’t just happen. The light bulb wasn’t randomly invented one afternoon. It took many attempts, with different components and variables, to make that invention work. It required rigorous study and analysis.
Same goes for Lorna, and many other things. If you say and do nothing, it remains undone. As a part of this world, one’s own acts contribute to its outcomes. In this sense, following my own compulsions is a necessary thing that works toward things happening when they need to happen.
We are not creatures in a vacuum.
This is why I’m not concerned about the trajectory of my actions with my fandom while other people are hesitant. I’m doing what I need to do, at the time it needs to be done. Sometimes I know exactly why. Sometimes I don’t, but it becomes clearer as events unfold, or when something happens later.
I’m feeling a tad emotional tonight and like I feel like I should write something, but I don’t know what to write. Nothing really feels right.
So I guess I’ll go with whatever feels right.
I think what I want most is to be proven wrong about the pessimism I have toward certain companies, and people who work at them. I want to be shown that they do care. That they can genuinely see value in things they’ve shown disdain and disrespect for.
It needs to be sincere. I’m so sick of companies saying things that sound good and then going back on it. I’m sick of Nintendo treating Samus Aran like a pariah because they fucked up Other M but don’t want to admit it. I’m sick of Squeenix refusing to fix what they did to Aya Brea and Parasite Eve with 3rd Birthday. I’m sick of Capcom acting like Jill Valentine and Claire Redfield are only useful as supporting characters for men, mainly Chris and Leon – who they treat as if they’re the two main stars of the series. A complete change from the early days when RE1 and RE2 treated male and female characters like equal co-stars.
I’m sick of Marvel. I’m sick of Marvel trying to undermine Polaris in “subtle” ways. I’m sick of being told things that sound nice but mean nothing, and lead to nothing. I’m sick of being told Lorna “doesn’t have enough fan interest” because the person saying it hasn’t spent two seconds looking at the fandom, when I know better.
I’m sick of Marvel getting credit for things that, after all my experiences these past 10 years, looks to me like nothing more than Marvel trying to appear good for business reasons with no real genuine desire toward any of it. That they would just as soon flip around and do the opposite if they figured it would benefit them. I think if Marvel thought they’d make more money and get more popularity by writing a slew of racist and sexist comics, they would do it.
I’m also sick of seeing certain hardcore fans of companies defend their actions everywhere just cause the things they like are treated well. I get it, you like that Marvel’s putting a spotlight on the X-Men franchise and you don’t care if they treat Lorna like shit. You like Capcom putting Leon on a pedestal and don’t care if Claire’s treated like she’s just a token woman in his story. I get it. And it’s disappointing. Because even the best company ever is never objectively perfect at all times.
There’s a lot of “getting anything should be enough for you” and the like that’s just tiring and annoying. Because it’s empty. It’s acting like problems should be ignored as long as you get something. “Hey, you’re supposed to be getting paid for your work, but getting a cupcake every month is something so you should be happy with that.” It’s the same thinking that sexists use to put down women expecting better treatment in the U.S. today, as they cite other countries where women are treated worse.
And that’s the point at which those same people will try to dismiss the point because it’s not equal in seriousness. Of course it’s not. That’s obvious. Stop side-stepping the actual point of the comparison that the “logic” beneath is the same.
A lot of this has become a blur. I’ve seen these “arguments” so many times, and rebutted them so many times, that this feels like me sometimes.
Which I feel bad saying because sometimes people making those arguments are sincere, and other times they’re not, and it feels disrespectful toward the sincere ones. But I also can’t change how I feel, that it feels so rote. I don’t think I’ve had any truly unique arguments made toward things I’ve said in years.
So much of what I encounter is so based in POVs that try to excuse badness that it just feels empty.
Like I get it. Marvel spotlighted your fave in this book, so you wanna act like it was perfect and what it did with every character was perfect and fans of other characters shouldn’t expect better. At least when Lorna got a big spotlight on Secret Wars: House of M, I was able to admit that Pietro and Magneto were handled poorly in spots. I didn’t pretend mustache-twirly traitor Pietro was a good take for him and try to make excuses for it. I didn’t try to delegitimize any views that any fans of his had about that take on him.
Why is it so common for fans who are getting everything they want to be dismissive of fans whose faves get regularly screwed over?
Actually, if I’m being honest, I know the answer. They don’t want to see it. So they try not to.
I’m sad because it’s going to take a long time before anyone’s going to be at Marvel that’s willing to do better than say a lot of pretty things with no substance behind it. And that sounds like a crude and inappropriate overgeneralization, but I’m so burned out at this point that it feels true. I don’t see how anyone who works there is going to start doing right by Lorna because I haven’t seen any signs of a desire to do that from anyone working there for the past 5 years. I don’t see how anyone who’s actually capable of liking and respecting Polaris today is going to get hired into the corporate mindset Marvel has, do several gigs, successfully make a pitch to obstinate editors and execs who are convinced that Lorna sucks, and get the kind of support needed for it to be successful.
I see that as something that could happen some day far off from now. I don’t see it happening any time soon. In turn meaning I don’t see why Marvel should be getting any money or support.
This turned out to be a bit of depressing post. But you can see why I focus on the fandom as what’s best for Lorna instead of Marvel. Marvel doesn’t seem to give a shit, and its corporate fans are all too eager to make excuses for everything Marvel does. So there’s no chance really of Marvel as it is right now surprising me with a sudden turn-around that proves all my negative views about them to be wrong.
None of what I’m saying right now even actually matters. This post doesn’t even really matter. Marvel’s already failed the test of corporate and creative good. If they had passed, posts like this wouldn’t exist. I’d be espousing how amazingly Marvel’s come along with Lorna over the span of a decade instead of decrying its myriad faults.
So really, insincere, disingenuous, “say whatever sounds good” Marvel has no reason to change either. They clearly don’t want to change or they would’ve done it already. And they wouldn’t need prodding from someone like me. They’d do it because it’s the right thing to do, and take pride in efforts to be a better company with or without these comments.
I guess I’m done with this post. I’m sure some guy that hates me or wants to be overly defensive of Marvel’s gonna come along and think reading this is gonna change anything while nothing about their POV – the thing that actually matters – has actually changed.
Because to properly understand requires looking outside oneself. And they don’t do that. There’s too much presumption of Lorna “not having interest” or “getting more than enough” because that’s what they think, without taking a second to look outside themselves to wonder why anyone would think otherwise.
Some of you reading this know a book was announced that will have Polaris on it.
I’ve seen the information. Hard pass. Here’s why.
There are many things about the announcement that are either promising or murky on their own terms.
Leah, a female writer, writing Lorna is on the face of it good. I’ve said before that I thought a female writer could do better with Lorna than male writers. Implying something more may be done with her code name sounds good. The talk about how she has a lot of ground to cover that hasn’t been also sounds good.
Returning to a book titled X-Factor and not being the team leader, only a team member, after her own run as leader on All-New X-Factor was effectively sabotaged is bad. The “in-story reason” for her not being leader, depending on the details, could either make everything perfectly fine or merely serve as a bad excuse for Marvel not having her lead a team.
But it’s this line:
helped me see Polaris and Havok’s relationship in a new light
That instantly turned what was a “wait and see” book into a hard pass book. Not buying it, not reading it.
If you haven’t paid attention to my posts, let me explain. Lorna has decades worth of her character getting screwed over to benefit other characters, mainly Havok. Marvel has been especially bad about this around Havok over the past few years.
Lorna’s return to comics through X-Men Blue was hijacked to promote Havok in advance of him leading a team book. On Prisoner X, a flashback splash page decided that showing Havok kissing Lorna was necessary, yet they had not one image to depict how Lorna survived Genosha. You know, the huge genocide that gave her massive PTSD. X-Men #1 comes out, a teaser news release defines her exclusively by how she’s Magneto’s daughter and dated Havok while the men got blurbs of actual character description, and the comic follows this teaser near perfect.
To say Havok anywhere near Lorna right now is wrong would be a huge understatement. She needs minimum of a decade nowhere near him, having her own stories told and getting respect she was denied for decades, before writers are even remotely ready to write the pair together.
Otherwise it just goes right back to treating Lorna like shit to promote Havok. Erasing her character development (e.g. GENOSHA) because Lorna’s own actual history means nothing to Marvel if it doesn’t make Havok look good.
I don’t just have a short fuse about Marvel’s dickery toward Lorna via Havok. The fuse is gone. It’s been gone since 2017. Everything is a garbage fire, and Marvel’s throwing in gasoline.
I don’t need to read a single page of the new “X-Factor” to know not to read it. To know it won’t do anything for Lorna. Marvel has proven it. Both over the past 51 years, and since 2017.
The instant Havok is invoked like this near Lorna, that’s it. It’s done.
It’s one thing to say there’s potential in the pairing if handled right. It’s another to talk about the pairing in a manner suggestive of plans to use it when it is absolutely not the right time and there’s a shitton else that needs to happen way before then.
Water is great for a plant until you fucking drown the thing in 50 feet of it. Alcohol can be enjoyable til you down 60 bottles in an hour.
But, this is why you harvest seeds from the plant before someone decides to chuck it into 50 feet of water.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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….
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
I’ve decided that it would be beneficial, mainly for myself, to think back on the past year as it relates to Polaris. Bear in mind that as always, these are my opinions. They can differ from what other people think. I may also accidentally say things that are incorrect – perhaps even obviously so. It’s easy to forget details with the passage of time.
Lastly, this is entirely stream of consciousness. Whatever comes to mind. Not going out of my way to find details of note.
Here we go!
At the beginning of the year, the Uncanny X-Men event was still happening. We shifted from the main event book where Lorna had a couple nice feats and moments, to Vita Ayala on Prisoner X.
I felt the basic premise of Lorna on Prisoner X was good. Along with the writing of Lorna when taken in isolation of everything else. The problems I had with Prisoner X were: 1) the concept seemed inspired by Gifted, yet Lorna was slotted in as a supporting character for Bishop, and 2) it was yet another case of Lorna as support for a male character’s story. If the book had done something like “each character sees their own version of a prison” (e.g. Bishop sees a concentration camp, Lorna sees a mental institution or jail, another character sees a school, etc), I think I would’ve read it.
During this period, we saw X-Men fandom go from raving excitedly for what Rosenberg would do, to absolutely hating his guts because of all the character deaths – and at one point, unintentionally insulting the trans community with usage of Rahne as a clumsy allegory.
Bear in mind, the general public had absolutely no idea that Hickman was coming into the picture. As far as fans knew, Rosenberg was it.
Marvel forcing Havok on Lorna
This is where a special note is deserved.
Marvel was telegraphing intent to force Havok on Lorna starting 2017. This year is where they started to get more blatant with it.
In Prisoner X, they had a flashback image of Lorna kissing Havok – while there was nothing at all of her surviving Genosha.
At the end of Age of X-Man, Rosenberg had Lorna ask where Havok was.
Marvel released a figurine set of Lorna and Havok – shortly after they had released a “Magnus family” set that completely excluded Lorna.
Marvel Tales came out with a great cover depicting Lorna… only for the only story within it involving Lorna to be Havok’s introductory issues, where she was treated poorly to build him up.
We haven’t seen much of it in the past couple months, but Marvel is absolutely still trying to pull this shit and waiting for the right time. Certain of it.
House of X/Powers of X/Dawn of X
Then Hickman came onto the scene.
I knew when the teaser image came out, no Lorna in sight, that she would be excluded from anything truly meaningful. And I was right. Her only appearance in HoX/PoX was to have the resurrection process explained to her by her father, while the dialogue reaffirmed he’s her father.
Admittedly, what Hickman did in their dynamic was much better than on X-Men Blue when Magneto was written mansplaining surprise attacks to his daughter that had survived the Genoshan genocide. But it was still bad for two reasons. 1) It reduced Lorna’s role to “object to be talked at” and 2) just like the complaint about Blue there, HoX/PoX ignored her character history in places it should’ve been highly relevant.
I actually made a mistreatment bingo card and used it for the first time with HoX/PoX. It will be used for future events too.
Dawn of X hasn’t been any better. Her sole appearance to date was in X-Men #1, where the main character beats for her were once again “ex of Havok, daughter of Magneto.” Nothing of Lorna herself. One good thing I can say is that she did a thing with Storm, but that’s it.
The fact Lorna wasn’t included on any covers, not even the X-women variant cover (which had Mystique, Dani Moonstar and others but not Lorna) says it all really.
One more note I forgot. The idea of North as a hybrid of Lorna and Emma Frost’s DNA is actually a kinda cool idea – but also bad in the sense that it would be supremely shitty of Marvel to do a lot with him while doing nothing at all with Lorna herself. It would just be Marvel once again saying “Lorna is only good for building up male characters – this time, a character created from her DNA.”
To wrap this section up, a reminder: I think Lorna is actually better off not involved in HoX/PoX/DoX at all. There are a LOT of problems with it. Some I’ve said publicly (e.g. Omega classifications), others not. But even setting most reasons aside, the simple fact is that Marvel’s not given any indication that they have any respect for either the character or fans of her. They’ve shown no willingness to explore what she has to offer, or what her fandom sees in her. Simply put, Marvel in its current state doesn’t deserve her. And she’s completely wasted on them. Better to wait for a better Marvel once all of this has passed.
But this leads me into…
I love you guys. This includes you guys reading this post, and you guys that don’t know this post exists.
Over the past year, I’ve seen some amazing things out of fandom.
4621NN, a Japanese Polaris fan, commissioned nearly a dozen absolutely amazing pieces of Lorna. This is on top of a corner of cool in a room they have which includes framed comics, framed artwork (lineart or not), collector’s cards, figurines and other things.
More fanart, including some of the Magnus family observing Hanukkah. Tattoos. 3D renders and statues.
Some of the fanart to come this year is quite imaginative, like Malice version Lorna as part of a Misfits/X-Men mashup, or this great punk style Lorna piece.
Since HoX/PoX ended and DoX started, I’ve been saying that I put my faith concerning Lorna’s future on the fandom. Not Marvel. What I’ve seen this past year has absolutely vindicated me on that front, and been amazing work all around. Been seeing more and more of it toward the end of the year as more fans are starting to do things for themselves instead of expecting Marvel to provide.
I simply can’t think of a better title, so this will have to do.
Just as the above has unfolded, I’ve done quite a bit this year as well as far as commissioning some great artists. For one, the Polaris minicomic co-created with Mlad (me on writing, him on art) finished in the early parts of 2019. I’m only including the “cover page” image here – follow the link for the whole comic.
Around St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to commission j-likes-to-draw for a piece of Lorna and Jean sharing in their affinity for green.
Then I learned that some people online were being incredibly shitty (as in, so bad that ‘racist’ isn’t a good enough descriptor) to a black Polaris fan for cosplaying Lorna. So I commissioned the ever-awesome bikenesmith for what he also awesomely titled Polarises of Color.
Seriously, go commission from him. He’s great.
As we reached Halloween, I put in another commission with BoxOfWant for something I’d wanted to see for years: Lorna dressed as a knight, Wanda dressed as a witch. There are two versions, one showing cleavage and one not. I’m posting the not cleavage because I’m a prude despite writing NSFW fics I like the way details around the chest shine out.
And that’s it… for now. 🙂 One more piece is on the way. Likely more if things go as I expect.
I can’t think of anything else to say. 2019 was a terrible year for me personally, but I think what I’ve seen for Lorna in the lead-up to its end suggests a north-star-bright future for her.