There’s one thing I want to point out concerning Marvel and use of Lorna, and part of the process involves acknowledging one good thing about Blue that I haven’t mentioned much until now.
Out of all pictures of Lorna during her time on X-Men Blue, this is the one I keep seeing most on social media.
One of my big complaints – perhaps biggest – of Lorna’s earlier appearance on X-Men Blue was that it bent over backwards to put “she’s Magneto’s daughter” at the forefront of everything about her. Doing that brought about a lot of problems. History was overlooked, opportunities were missed, etc.
One thing Cullen Bunn did right and well with Lorna on Blue is exemplified in the above image. He actually did take steps to fix the problem of how Lorna’s own identity was getting ignored in earlier issues.
The above image’s usage on social media is the result.
There are various images people could use instead. The page where she’s described only as “daughter of Magneto.” The panel where her memories are used to “redeem” Havok. Both of which I abhored, but even ones I support like Lorna training Angel and Jimmy. Those get less use than what’s above.
Here’s why it gets so much use. The picture acknowledges that Lorna is Magneto’s daughter, but it doesn’t define her as Magneto’s daughter. She’s acknowledged as her own character. She may have things in common with her father, but she has her own independent interests and drives that take precedence over who her dad is, too.
This was something Bunn did right, and it paid off for everyone. If he had done more like this, I would be saying a lot of good things about Blue today and how he turned his use of her around. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened with regard to Havok.
I wanna go back over things that happened with Cullen Bunn, Polaris, and my perceptions and reactions to Bunn as things progressed with him.
I started out highly supportive of him. I wanted Lorna able to interact with her father Magneto, and out in broader areas of the X-Men and Marvel universe where she could interact with other characters. I liked what I saw of the Magneto solo. I thought Bunn would be a good fit.
I really liked the scenes where Lorna and Magneto used their powers together. I liked the nod to Lorna’s history possessed by Malice.
I didn’t like Lorna somehow suckerpunched by Magneto, her powers drained. It felt like Lorna used as a tool instead of a character, and it didn’t seem to consider how that happened to Lorna before. But I didn’t say much about it. I felt the good had outweighed the bad, and I gave Bunn credit for the great depiction of Lorna on Secret Wars: House of M. Plus I had just come off Peter David, how I was hostile about him before he wrote a single new issue with Lorna. I felt I should give Bunn a chance to do more with Lorna first.
Two years passed with Lorna blacklisted from the comics. Bunn said he was going to include Lorna in Uncanny X-Men. It didn’t happen. I blamed Marvel editorial.
Then Bunn wrote an alternate universe Polaris in Deadpool and the Mercs for Money. I was pretty happy about that. Though I expected it to amount to nothing after two years of Lorna blacklisted. My original response was entirely positive. At the time, I didn’t see anything that bothered me about her use there.
Then, when Marvel announced Lorna’s return at a convention (the Chicago one, I forget what it’s called), including with a cover that was an homage to X-Men #50, I was cautiously optimistic.
Keep in mind. After two years, I came to expect Marvel wanted to bury the character, and editorial didn’t like that she had fans. Particularly as the spat between Fox and Disney kept going. Giving Lorna this return sounded great, but I expected we’d get little to nothing and then she’d be thrown back into the blacklist.
It’s when Havok started to figure into Blue that things went south real fast.
I noticed Bunn wasn’t saying anything at all about how he would soon be writing Polaris on X-Men Blue, unless specifically prompted by a question. He showed no excitement, enthusiasm or interest. By contrast, he was very happy to tease that he was going to write Havok – by posting a picture of his collection of Havok comics.
This was an immediate red flag for me. Bunn’s about to bring back Polaris, who has a cover dedicated to her return, whose return got announced at a convention, and what he’s most eager to tease is… writing Havok?
I didn’t say anything bad about Bunn at this point. I decided to wait and see what happened.
Then X-Men Blue #8-9 happened. And it exceeded my worst worries about what Bunn intended to do.
X-Men Blue #9 was supposed to be Lorna’s big return. It was supposed to be a chance to see this amazing underappreciated character show what she can do with a bigger platform, interacting with other major X-Men characters.
Instead, it was all about building up Havok. Presenting him as a major threat to the teen O5. Giving him a team to work for him. Giving him a chance to work with Emma and meet Briar. And then, on top of it, making Lorna’s fight with him all about how Lorna exists entirely to a) redeem Havok some day, and b) serve her father Magneto’s goals, needs and interests.
I was pissed. I was lied to as a reader who had supported Bunn, and Lorna was robbed of her moment in the spotlight. Everything got hijacked for Havok and Magneto’s benefit (moreso Havok than Magneto), and they didn’t need one damn bit of it.
Treatment of Lorna continued to have problems. In multiple cases, her history was ignored for Magneto’s benefit. So Magneto could make some smart quip that made Lorna look stupid. Or so Magneto had a little helper for a scene focused squarely on him.
After way more issues than it should’ve taken, Bunn started to do a little better with Lorna. He let Lorna work with her father in positive ways. He let her briefly train teen Angel and Jimmy. The latter wasn’t interacting with teen Jean and teen Iceman like Bunn should’ve done, but it was better than what he was doing.
Then he brought Havok back. And I lost all remaining respect I ever had for him.
Havok had already robbed Lorna of her return and spotlight in X-Men Blue #8-9. That was bad enough, not even counting the decades worth of how Lorna had been constantly torn down to build Havok up.
But now, Havok gets his own five-issue story arc too?! One where the core thrust of the storyline is “redeeming” Havok. Fuck that. Fuck X-Men Blue. Fuck everything.
Bunn toyed with the idea of doing something with Malice, but his failure to actually do anything with it only further magnified his lack of interest in and respect for Lorna. He didn’t use Malice to explore Lorna’s character in any way whatsoever. All he said with it is that Lorna can beat some low rent AU version of Malice, but it happened so quickly that it was clearly just filler. Buried as a tiny footnote in Havok’s story.
Then Bunn had Lorna as leader of a team. Which under normal circumstances, would have been a good thing. But not here. Here, Lorna’s team leadership was a lesser substory to the “great and glorious Havok” getting five issues of spotlight after he stole the 1-2 issues Lorna was supposed to have.
There were some good moments, but they were not enough, and they were too buried into putting Havok on a pedestal (mostly at Lorna’s expense) to have any real worth.
Plus, there was this fucking cover, which I will never get over until Marvel starts giving enough of a damn about Lorna to treat her better than this.
This cover is a perfect summary of everything that pissed me off about her treatment on X-Men Blue, and treatment by Marvel in general.
Lorna is a powerful storied character who cares about mutants and mutant rights. She suffered through the horror of seeing mutants she knew and cared about die in the Genoshan genocide. She’s the Mistress of Magnetism. She was introduced as Queen of Mutants.
But in the eyes of Marvel, and how she was mostly written on Blue? She’s just a limp trophy for Magneto and Havok to fight over. She’s just a toy for men.
This is why I’m as hostile about Marvel as I am right now. This is why I no longer have any respect for Bunn. They have this amazing character, yet they treat her like she has no value outside what she can do for male characters.
And as if to cap off just how atrocious and insulting everything that went down with Blue was, Havok proceeded to move on from X-Men Blue to get his own fucking team book with him as the leader.
Havok gets to hijack Lorna’s return, he gets to have his own five-issue story arc, and for what? So he can then get a whole fucking book dedicated to him?
What X-Men Blue did to me was make me loathe Havok more than any character I’ve ever seen, made me lose all respect I ever had for Bunn, and it’s now pushed me to where I’m going to be dropping everything Disney after this year.
On that last point, I’ve said I won’t do that if Lorna gets her own solo/oneshot or a team book with her as leader before the end of the year. I stick by that. It’s just that after Blue, I didn’t expect Marvel to have enough respect for Lorna to do that. So I’m preparing myself for when I make good on what I said I would do.
Everything that happened with Blue has also had a corrosive effect on my views of everyone else that works at Marvel. I’ve heard Matthew Rosenberg considers Havok to be his favorite character. Before Blue, I would’ve been open-minded to him writing Lorna. After Blue, I suspect he’d be such a fanboy for Havok that he’d set out to ruin Lorna for Havok’s benefit with any attempt to write her, and that he’d force Lorna into stuff tied to Havok when Lorna should be nowhere near him for the next 10 years.
All of that said?
It’s always possible I could come back around on Bunn. But it would take a hell of a lot for that to happen.
My default attitude is that I never want him to go anywhere near Lorna again. I don’t trust him to have enough care or respect for Lorna as her own character to do right by her. That means I’d be hostile to him writing her until he proves himself.
As I am now, I would not respond to hearing Bunn is writing Lorna by saying “I’ll wait and see where he goes with this.” I would expect the worst, and say Lorna needs to be taken from Bunn ASAP. But that’s the thing about life. Something is only true until it isn’t. The only way for my mind to change about Bunn is for him to do things that would make me change my mind.
But of course, that’s all contingent on if Bunn is able to treat her well. If he isn’t, then it’s better for him to cut losses.
A few days ago, it was confirmed that X-Men Blue is ending, and Bunn is off the X-Men books as he goes to other areas of Marvel. I have a few things to say.
Editorial vs Writer
I’ve seen some people say Bunn kept getting interference from editorial. If that’s true, and if things I’ve complained about concerning his writing happened only because of that interference, then I apologize for as hard as I was on him.
However, I did also repeatedly say that I needed clear signs it was editorial and not him, and I never got those signs, so I had to assume it was primarily Bunn’s choices as a writer. And as such, until I see proof, I have to lean toward the expectation that “editorial got in his way” is more likely fans of Bunn wanting to write off problems as things he had no control over.
Expectations vs Reality
When I originally found out about Bunn, I read the Magneto series both cause knowing Magneto fed into knowing Lorna, and because I hoped Lorna would show up there and get the same care and attention Bunn was giving Magneto. I assumed quality for Magneto would trickle down to quality for Polaris, which led me to imagine all sorts of things could happen.
Not that every story arc or issue would be “about Lorna,” as that would be absurd and greedy. But I expected that when she did show up, she would get some really good stuff out of it.
Instead, most of her presence with Bunn writing her has been what she can do for Magneto or Havok. How Magneto having a daughter can boost his profile. How Havok’s ex can give insight into who he was before inversion. Even Lorna’s big return was really all about how she could benefit those two men. And then, not content with Havok having stolen the sole issue where Lorna could have shone, he was then given a five-issue story arc.
That was not what I expected and hoped for with Bunn when I supported him taking over as her writer. Frankly, I expected editorial to refuse to let her be used. But in a scenario of Bunn getting to use her more than that, I expected great things from him.
I expected scenes of Lorna talking to teen Jean and teen Iceman because they came from a time shortly before they would’ve met teen Lorna. I expected that Lorna and Magneto’s shared Genosha history would be featured prominently. I expected that if Malice was used, Bunn would delve into the vast potential behind it. I even fandommed that perhaps the time travel device Bunn introduced was going to bring teen Lorna in, or that the Sentinels that helped the teen O5 were controlled by Lorna.
I don’t know with 100% certainty why none of that happened. Maybe editorial shot it down. Maybe Bunn didn’t care enough about Lorna as her own character to want to do anything like any of that.
The Overall Takeaway
My overall takeaway is that Blue ending, and Bunn moving on to other areas of Marvel, is… good. At least for Polaris.
Under Bunn, Lorna didn’t really reach any important milestones or development like she got with Peter David – who I also didn’t exactly like writing her, but I came around to him by the end of ANXF as he made real efforts to fix things in response to complaints.
The three things that can be said for Bunn having written Lorna is that she interacted with Magneto, Malice came up again, and she was on a flagship title. But I can’t say he made good use of her, because he didn’t. We learned nothing new. She didn’t achieve anything new. And with the teen O5 going away soon, it feels more and more like he wasted a golden opportunity to tell such amazing stories.
Someone I used to talk to, used to say Lorna needs a writer that will champion her before she’s able to get real use and real attention at Marvel. The impression I got out of what Bunn’s done with Lorna is that her champion wasn’t Bunn. If he was, he would’ve done more with and for her. If editorial resisted, he would’ve fought for her. At the very least, he would’ve said more publicly to show interest in her so fandom could talk to him and he’d have fandom as a bargaining chip.
I don’t want a writer writing Lorna that only sees Lorna as Magneto’s daughter or Havok’s ex. If it’s editorial who sees her that way, I don’t want a writer writing Lorna that isn’t willing to push back against editorial’s misguided ideas of who Lorna is. I want a writer for Lorna that sees her potential and wants to use it.
I wish Bunn the best wherever he goes. If editorial was screwing him over like some fans say they were, I’m glad he’s switching to where editorial can’t do that to him anymore. I thank him for not making things worse for Lorna when he could have. And if he sees her potential some day, or he gets up the will to fight for her to be treated better by Marvel, then I’m open to him writing her again – but with an understanding that I’ll need some convincing that things will be better the next time around.
This really, really irked me because even one absolutely horrid writer – bad enough that for a time top Google autocompletes for him included ‘sexist’ after his name – had people defending him when I called him out. I started to really, genuinely worry on what it said about Bunn that this other sexist writer had people willing to defend them while Bunn didn’t. So, thanks for changing that.
Second? I’ve been busy all morning and afternoon, as I said I would be yesterday. Even if what I’m about to say next wasn’t a factor, I haven’t had the time to post until now.
Third? I haven’t had a chance to see this “one page” you’re talking about. The only things I’ve seen so far are the preview pages from last week and four images of Lorna cropped to show just her, with no text. I dropped Blue after that horrid page from #23. As such, I have literally no idea what Bunn has or hasn’t done with #24. The entire issue post-previews could be The Flowers of Robert Mapplethorpe in comic book form for all I know.
Fourth? Whatever page you’re talking about could very, very easily be something you and other people think is perfection incarnate, but a closer look could reveal it’s loaded with problems.
I’m very used to being the sole voice or one of few voices to see something wrong in writing that other people don’t see. I’m used to being the host of a Cassandra complex, where I call out warning signs and they get ignored until it’s too late. This page you’re talking about could easily be such a case. Or it might not be. It really could be as great as you make it out to be. I’d have to see it first.
Fifth? I find your attitude amusing. Because you clearly don’t know me.
I want Bunn to “shut my mouth” in a good way. I want him to be a good writer and do amazing things with and for Lorna.
I don’t enjoy railing on him, saying he can’t write women, saying Polaris needs to be taken from him and given to another writer. Admittedly, there is a certain “fighter’s rush” when I get in the thick of it, but once it fades, there’s nothing left but depression and sadness and a slight feeling of guilt for having to call out another human being like that.
I want good writing. I want Lorna treated with love and care and due respect within that writing. If I say “this writer is ass,” I want that writer to show me I’m wrong to think and say such things. I want them to be the best damn writer they can be, especially to Lorna.
I’m not one of those assholes you’re thinking about that blindly hate on people or characters for no reason other than to act snobby and superior to everyone else. I don’t need to “win the argument” or “prove I’m better” or any of that junk. I don’t need to “be right.” I just need Lorna to be treated with the care and respect that’s long overdue for her. That’s really all I need. Lorna is more important than feeding my ego with the “I was right” line I’ve had to say far too often for over a decade in so many places.
I hope your claim that “just one page” is enough to “shut me up” is the real deal. I really, really hope that’s true, and that you’re not just throwing around empty trash talk. Thanks for coming to my TED talk.
I’ve leveled complaints about Bunn and his treatment of Polaris/Lorna Dane for several months. I’ve really picked up with it in the past month, due to Blue #23.
But I’m not getting any pushback. Even when I’ve complained about the worst stuff I’ve ever seen for any character in anything, I’ve had at least some tiny shred of pushback. And a few months back, I did have that with Bunn. I haven’t had it lately though. I’ve only seen people who also see problems with what Bunn’s doing, or who agree with what I’ve been saying.
So my question is this: do you disagree with my complaints? Do you think Bunn’s doing a good or great job with Polaris?
I’m not looking for an argument with this post. I’m not requesting an explanation, though you can give one if you want. I just want to know if there’s support for how he’s treating Lorna that hasn’t been said or that I’m not seeing.
I will admit in advance that if reasons are given, I might say something about those reasons, but it would very likely be in a new post.
Oh hey look, the cover for an upcoming Blue issue reinforces every bad thing I’ve said about Bunn on his view and treatment of Polaris, and adds more weight to arguments he can’t write women at all.
Remember: the cover of a comic is almost always a reflection of the story contained within. They’re trying to sell you on the story with it.
On this cover, the action is Magneto attacking Havok. The apparent cause? The passive, weak, defeated Polaris sitting right there.
No agency. No expression. Not even conscious. On this cover, Lorna exists exclusively to be a trophy for Magneto and Havok to fight over. Lorna isn’t a character on this cover. She’s an object for the stories of men.
By itself, this cover could get a pass. If Bunn had a pattern of treating Lorna incredibly well, then we could dismiss this cover as either the artist or the editor misrepresenting the story.
But we can’t do that. Because it fits Bunn’s pattern of poor treatment toward Lorna. It reinforces Bunn’s perception of Lorna as worthless as anything other than an object in the stories of men, primarily Magneto and Havok.
The story inside will match the cover. As such, if you’re still reading Blue and you’re a fan of Lorna (or female characters as a whole), I strongly suggest skipping #28 when it comes out. At least until you see what people say about it online. You’ll thank me later.
The article itself, in mentioning Malice possessing Lorna, puts primary emphasis on what that can do for the stories of other characters – primarily Magneto. Not what it can do for the 50-years-and-going story of Lorna Dane.
I don’t know whether this is just the writer’s take, or the writer is doing this off things Bunn has said behind the scenes.
Either way, it’s heavily informed by how blatantly Bunn’s priorities are all about what benefits characters he actually cares about, including Magneto and Havok, even if it’s at the expense of Lorna and other characters he clearly doesn’t care about.
This is a post-mortem of the support I used to have for Cullen Bunn.
When Bunn started writing Polaris, I was glad.
At the time, Lorna was being kept from interacting with her father. She was on a book that Marvel was using to isolate her from the rest of the Marvel universe, because the writer of that book was against “his” characters used elsewhere like that. The possible romance with Gambit was too often “Havok lite,” where Lorna was treated like his lesser, like a subordinate in a team he was the actual leader of instead of the leader of her own team.
In the beginning, I felt Bunn was doing great work with Magneto, and I wanted the same for Lorna.
Problem is. Bunn is worse for her.
He doesn’t see Polaris as a character to be given the same care and respect that he gave Magneto. He sees her as a tool he can exploit to make Magneto and Havok look better.
At the end of the Magneto solo, Bunn had Lorna act stupidly mad toward her father for putting lives at risk out of necessity. He then also had Lorna stupidly act like she was blindsided by Magneto betraying her trust, in taking power from her without permission.
These are both things that make absolutely no sense for her given her history. But okay, fine, I was able to overlook it because Bunn hadn’t written Lorna before. It takes time to understand a character, and feedback is a necessary part of getting things right. Be fair.
Deadpool and the Mercs for Money
In Deadpool and the Mercs for Money, Bunn had an alternate future version of Polaris leading the last mutants. At the time, I was very happy about this. However, there’s an element to it that I didn’t see as a problem until we had more cases of Bunn’s writing to go on.
Alternate future Lorna adopting the helmet and collar piece of Magneto’s usual costume.
See, in the past, Lorna donning Magneto’s helmet said something about Lorna. When she put it on when Havok left her at the altar, it was to demonstrate that she’s had enough of everything in life going to shit for her and she was ready to be as ruthless and vicious as her father is known to be. When she put it on in the Wolverine and the X-Men cartoon, it represented that version’s shattered innocence and everything she lost.
On Deadpool and the Mercs for Money, it stood for… Magneto’s greatness. She wasn’t wearing it for some grand character development of her own, or to showcase emotional turmoil. Bunn had her wearing those elements to pretty much say “Lorna is only able to be a leader and show the strength she has because Magneto is her father.” To bind anything she could do as a character exclusively to Magneto’s shadow.
Oh boy. Here we go.
X-Men Blue #8 was being showcased as Lorna’s big return, after a two year absence. But in its lead-up, Bunn said all of nothing about her. Which, alone, means nothing. But then he was very, very happy to tease that he was going to be bringing Havok back.
In other words, he was excited about getting to write Havok, but he wasn’t excited about writing Lorna. If he was, he would’ve been talking about her just as much if not more.
Then the issues came out.
He spends much of X-Men Blue #8 – Lorna’s big return issue – building up what a threat Havok is and letting him interact with various characters. Then, when Lorna finally shows up on the final page, she’s introduced as… “daughter of Magneto.”
Someone claimed editorial had control over this box. So okay, fine, let’s say they did. Doesn’t change that the sole dialogue she gets for her “big cliffhanger” is all about Havok.
Also doesn’t change this addition in Blue #9.
“Daddy’s Little Mistress of Magnetism.”
This is dialogue Bunn chose to include. Not editorial. Here, Bunn took a title that should have been used to introduce her in Blue #8 and deliberately twisted it into being something she only gets to call herself because Magneto is her dad.
He took a title that was her own and tried to make it into something Magneto gets credit for.
The rest of Blue #8 involves lots of talk about Lorna’s past relationship with Havok.
In subsequent issues of X-Men Blue, we got Lorna further treated like shit to bolster Magneto.
In one issue, Bunn writes her acting shocked that enemies would launch a surprise attack on their headquarters, all so Magneto can “correct” her.
This is something Lorna sure as shit doesn’t need to be told. Why? Because SHE SURVIVED THIS EXACT FUCKING THING. THE GENOSHAN MASSACRE. WHERE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE DIED ALL AROUND HER, BEGGING HER TO SAVE THEM.
This is like Magneto acting shocked about a mutant Holocaust happening and having Captain America correct him for being stupid enough not to expect it. It’s not only missing a crucial part of that character’s history, it’s an insulting miss.
Later, during the whole Mojo crossover with X-Men Gold, he had Mojo put Lorna in her old Malice outfit… and this is her reaction.
I wouldn’t expect Lorna finding herself in that costume to react like a shrieking banshee absolutely trembling in tears or anything. That would be stupid, and I had some jackasses try to frame me complaining about this in that manner.
What I WOULD expect is for Lorna to express disgust and outrage.
Malice possessed her. Imagine that. All it takes is five seconds of giving a damn about Lorna’s POV to understand. She had no control over her own body. Malice used her body to hurt the people she cared about, along with innocent people, and she suffered in the ride emotionally, reputation-wise, and physically as even the X-Men beat her down in that state and didn’t seem to care about the horror she was going through while possessed.
But what does Bunn do with it? He has Lorna act like it’s just some random strange costume. Not a costume loaded with deep meaning, symbolism and history.
Bunn used this costume from a terrible period of her life and treated it like flavor text to her advancing Magneto’s story about the Mutant Massacre. Bunn couldn’t even spare a few lines for Lorna in his quest to use her as Magneto’s lackey.
And then we get to this past Wednesday. X-Men Blue #23.
Bunn wrote Lorna telling these people to call her by who she is, not just by Magneto’s daughter, which was a good thing. I was very glad to see that. But then he did this.
“Don’t reduce me to being just Magneto’s daughter,” and the stadium cheers, until Bunn has her swiftly add “cause then you’re forgetting I’m also Havok’s ex! The person writing me thinks I only exist for the benefit of TWO men, not just one!”
And not only that, Bunn adds in the “we’ve been apart for a long time” line, which is not just bullshit, it’s bullshit that I know he knows better than to try to claim. They haven’t been apart for hardly any time at all, especially when you factor in Havok forced into every goddamn thing Lorna does, and he knows better.
I can’t make a “he just needs to understand the situation more” excuse for him this time. To make that excuse would be to pretend he’s so clueless about how comics work that he shouldn’t be writing them at all. And I know he knows comics. He has decades of knowledge about them, as a reader and as a writer. He knows better, so the only conclusion is that he’s doing this on purpose.
Where Things Stand
At this point, I think I’ve waited plenty long to see how things go with him.
I’ve seen Psylocke fans complain about how he treated Psylocke poorly to build up Magneto in Uncanny X-Men.
I’ve seen Emma Frost fans complain about how he’s trying to throw away her character development to reduce her to a villain type.
Combine that with what he’s been doing to Lorna, I have no choice but to agree with so many other readers out there on the conclusion they’ve come to: Cullen Bunn doesn’t know how to write women.
He’s completely incapable of writing them. Whether he’s incapable cause he’s not a good enough writer to handle it, or cause he IS a good enough writer but he just doesn’t give enough of a shit to do better (and that’s the nice interpretation of his work), I don’t know.
In Polaris, Bunn has this amazing badass woman who’s been through so much.
She unintentionally killed her parents. She lived a memory-altered lie of a human life as a teen, hiding her green hair cause it drew too much attention. She awoke to her powers and mutant heritage to being called a mutant queen. She suffered through possession and repeated mind control. She suffered through millions of people dying in the Genoshan genocide all around her, all begging her to save them, and her failing every single one of them. She suffered through an identity crisis when she lost her powers, and being forced into space, and tortured, and so, so, so much else.
Lorna Dane is an amazing as fuck character, and all Bunn sees in her is Magneto’s daughter or Havok’s ex-girlfriend.
I’m not buying another issue of Blue unless someone tells me Bunn did something so absolutely amazing with Lorna that it blows me the fuck away. If the next issue (meaning X-Men Blue #24) is as bad as Blue #23 or worse, I’m dropping and avoiding everything associated with Disney that I can until either Bunn does some damn amazing work with Lorna or Marvel takes Lorna away from him and gives her to someone who actually cares about her and what she has to offer.
Not as Magneto’s spawn. Not as Havok’s fuckbuddy. As Polaris, Lorna Dane, a character in her own right with a heart and mind and history and motivations and interests unique to her. That do NOT serve to make her look like shit so the men in her life look like gods.
This whole time, Bunn could’ve had Lorna interacting with Iceman and Jean to rekindle that lost shared history. He could’ve had Lorna fight Emma Frost in X-Men Blue #8 and #9 instead of Havok. He could’ve had Lorna actually say something about being put in the Malice costume. There is so much he could’ve done, and he wasted it all because he only cares about the men.
Take Lorna (and Emma Frost, and any other established female characters for that matter) away from Bunn. Leave him to create his own characters like Briar Raleigh, who really can exist exclusively to put his men on a pedestal without issue.
Bunn has no business writing Lorna, or any women really. Give Lorna to someone that cares.
I have time to write out something more thorough. Which means I’m going to go hard into exactly what pissed me off today about X-Men Blue #23.
And when it’s something this bad, I don’t give a shit about “spoilers.” Just like I didn’t give a shit about “spoiling” 3rd Birthday for people. Spoilers have no meaning when the product is basically bad fanfic.
Here’s the page. Lorna has limited presence in the issue, Havok already gets a sizable presence. And then we get this shit.
I liked the preview pages where Lorna tells Raksha or whoever these guys I no longer care about are to call her by her name, not just by Magneto’s daughter, but then Bunn goes off and shoves this garbage on Lorna.
A whole fucking page dedicated to using Lorna as a mouthpiece to demonstrate a massive raging fan boner for Havok. Bunn could’ve had Lorna talk about Emma Frost, or Sinister, but no, he just haaaas to force this whole page-long dialogue about how Lorna supposedly wuvs this piece of shit that’s held her back for decades and has always, ALWAYS stolen potential and opportunities from Lorna while never giving a single goddamn thing back.
Bunn may as well have written Lorna humping a shrine to the great and glorious Havok, here, for all the emphasis he places on making it all about Havok Havok Havok.
Or maybe this will better illustrate how pissed off I am, as done in tweet earlier today chatting with someone.
Raksha person: “Hey daughter of Magneto.” Lorna: “Call me Polaris.” Raksha person: “Okay but didn’t ya fuck Havok” Lorna: “OH BUT SEE HE’S A GOOD MAN AND CHCKJDJEUJDJDIDYAHSHDHDU”
I knew the second I saw this arc would be spotlighting Havok that it would be trouble, and Bunn not only proved me right, he went out of his goddamn way to do so.
Having Lorna chastise someone for treating her like she’s just Magneto’s daughter and nothing more loses all meaning when you then proceed to make her nothing but Havok’s ex-girlfriend who can’t go a fucking year without him forced on her narrative.
People use the Bechdel test as a gauge on whether or not female characters are written well, but in this case you don’t even need something that broad. Can Bunn go one issue without defining Lorna by Havok or Magneto?
That’s not a hypothetical, I honest to god don’t think he can do it. I don’t think he’s capable of understanding and giving a shit about who Lorna is as her own character if he can’t make it all about how much he loves Magneto and Havok.
What makes this even worse? The absolute bullshit line of “Alex and I haven’t been together in a long time.”
It’s only been five and a half fucking years. OUR TIME. Not comics time. Jean Grey was dead for around 15 years our time. Lorna didn’t even have Magneto fully confirmed as her father for nearly 10 years. But a little over 5 years and suddenly that’s supposed to be an eternity?
It’s made EVEN WORSE when you factor in the way comic book time works. Lorna was a teenager in 1968. Today, 50 years later, she’s in her late 20s or early 30s.
For generosity sake, let’s say Lorna was 18 in 1968 and she’s 32 today. That means every year of our time is about a fourth of a year comic book time. Five and a half years our time equals a year and a half in Marvel comics time for her.
Bunn’s having Lorna say a year and a half is a “long time” for them to not be a couple in the comics.
I know Bunn knows better than this, which leads me to two conclusions. 1) He’s a huge Havok fanboy who wants to push Lorna back over to him, meaning he has to pull stunts like this to justify his ploy. 2) He doesn’t give a shit about Lorna at all beyond her association with men.
If this was just one lone incident, one random mistake, I’d be more forgiving. But Bunn’s had MULTIPLE issues to get this shit right. He’s had since August last year to hear and digest complaints and alter plans in taking those complaints into account.
At this point, the only conclusion I can draw is that he doesn’t give a shit about Polaris at all and he shouldn’t have creative control over her. He doesn’t know how to write her, and he doesn’t even want to know how to write her.
I had complaints about Peter David, but Peter David was better than Bunn. He still had problems, but he made real efforts to fix things. When he laser focused on Lorna, he actually did some good work, e.g. X-Factor #243′s origin story. Bunn just doesn’t even try because he’d have to care to try.
I’m at a complete loss as to exactly how this can be salvaged at all. Maybe Marvel can say this Lorna is an alternate universe version brainwashed into thinking she’s 616 Lorna when she’s not. Maybe they can say she’s a Skrull. I don’t fucking know anymore and I don’t care, because as far as I’m concerned, Bunn hasn’t been writing Lorna. He’s been writing a plot device made to look like her so he can fangasm about Magneto and Havok at Lorna’s expense.
Bunn shouldn’t be writing Lorna. Hell, like a lot of other people have said, he probably shouldn’t be writing women period. He doesn’t know how to write Lorna and he doesn’t care enough to want to figure out how.
If it’s between Peter David or Cullen Bunn (rather than a female writer, for example), give her back to Peter David if he wants her. He has issues but at least he gives some fucks.
I don’t have time right now to spend on an incredibly exhaustive, detailed analysis of every single thing I take out of the issue and its implications, so this is my initial thoughts. And they’re… not good. Overall.
I’ll start with the things I actually did like.
As I said with the preview, I liked this.
I had big complaints about Lorna reduced to “daughter of Magneto” and nothing more in the earlier issues, and the downward spiral that had on her treatment in subsequent issues. I’m glad Bunn gave her a chance to emphasize that she’s not just Magneto’s daughter, she’s her own character too.
I also liked that the artist got a little gold in there, on her cape clasps.
That’s the positive.
A decent chunk of Lorna’s presence in the issue did exactly what I worried it would do: put the emphasis on her “status” as Havok’s long-time ex-girlfriend.
To make matters worse, there’s a bullshit line (and unlike in the past, I really don’t struggle to call it bullshit here) about how Lorna and Havok haven’t been a couple “for a long time.”
Lorna and Havok have only been apart for 5 and a half years. In real world chronology, that’s already very little time compared to Jean Grey being dead for something like 15 years or Magneto being Lorna’s father not getting confirmed for nearly 10 years. To say even in real world terms that it’s a long time is already bullshit.
But it’s even more bullshit when you factor in comic book chronology. Comic book chronology is much, much shorter. It’s why Lorna was a teenager in 1968 and she’s rough estimate in her late 20s/early 30s today, 50 years later. So to stuff words in Lorna’s mouth saying it’s been a long time is like a couple being apart for 6 months and acting like it’s been decades since they were together.
I’m not even going to get into how Havok’s been hovering over her ass every single time she so much as breathes in the comics since the “break up.”
That, alone, makes me expect the absolute worst for his use of Malice possessing Lorna in future issues. If Bunn’s so eager to claim something I know he knows isn’t true for his Havok ship, then I have to fully expect he’s going to screw up what could’ve been a good storyline with Malice, too.
I’m sure I’ll feel like I’ve been overly harsh later today, but I always feel that way. So posting this and getting other stuff done now.