Lorna’s hair origins, for your consideration

Thoughts arose from tweets on the Twitters.

There’s a little discrepancy on the nature of Lorna’s hair color.

X-Men #49: Lorna’s says she was born with green hair.



X-Factor #243: Lorna’s memory suggests her green hair came about when she used her powers on the plane.



What can account for this discrepancy?

Did her foster parents tell her she was born with green hair?

Did she assume she was born with green hair because she has no memories prior?

Was she really born with green hair (and therefore born with her powers), and Suzanna dyed her hair brown to cover it up, only for the dye to come off when she used her powers during the crash?

Just one of those things worth pointing out, needing some blanks filled some day.

Polaris of the Green Hair

I had some thoughts on my drive in to work today concerning Lorna’s beautiful and awesome green hair. And because I love writing these articles, I’ve decided to make writing them into part of my celebration of Lorna’s 50th anniversary.

As most fans know, Lorna used to dye her hair brown to hide her green hair.

image

She’s had that green hair ever since. So here’s the question: Why was Lorna dyeing her hair?

These are a few theories.

Foster Parent Protection

This is the theory I’ve held longest, but it’s only as I start to write this post that I realize it’s not the only possible reason.

Lorna is growing in a world that fears and hates mutants. What if her foster parents knew she was a mutant and hid it from her? Perhaps Magneto took Lorna to the only living family other than himself that could take her in, explained his desire for Lorna to lead a normal life, and the Danes took over from there.

Even if the Danes didn’t know Lorna was secretly a mutant, the visual signifier could have led people to believe she was a mutant and attack her. So, it could have been a matter of protection.

Subconscious Aversion

This is a theory I don’t like (at least right now), but as it’s a possibility I’m including it.

Lorna’s green hair came about when her powers manifested – and she accidentally killed her parents. In other words, in a child’s mind, green hair = trauma and death. Mastermind may have altered her mind to make completely forget, but trauma is not just the memories themselves. It’s the echoes they leave in the mind, and that would have been difficult to impossible to erase.

So, Lorna dyeing her hair may have been a small part of her that remembered the feeling of her trauma and didn’t have the tools to get past it, so she avoided it. She dyed it brown, her hair color from before her powers awakened, after all.

Bullied

And then there’s kids.

Kids are horrible to other kids that stand out “too much.” Just about anything could be grounds for bullying and harassment, and green hair is astoundingly showy in a room full of kids with brown, black, blonde or red hair. As she says in her introductory story, she dyes her hair to “avoid attracting the curious.” What if in this case, that meant kids who wanted to pick on her for it?

Similarly, maybe it made her more of a target for sexual harassment, and her method of dealing with it back then was to “dress down.”

End of Hair Dye

So with these three theories, I come to the final thing I wanna bring up. She stopped dyeing her hair after her powers were restored and she realized she was a mutant. Why?

Here’s what I think: she’s discovered who she is as a mutant and now embraces what that green hair means for her. Her green hair isn’t just a quirk of genetics. It’s symbolic of her identity. It no longer represents something to fear or be ashamed of. It represents her power, her courage, her calling as a mutant.

She never dyes her hair again because deep down, no matter what she says or does, subconsciously she loves being a mutant and standing out as one. Any claims made to the contrary are false. If they weren’t, why would she go around showing off the most visible sign of her mutant identity?

The Polaris Chronicles – Chapter 3 – salarta – X-Men (Comicverse) [Archive of Our Own]

Chapter 3:  A New Age

Summary:

A teenage Lorna Dane watches a fight between the X-Men and Magneto on TV and wonders: why can’t she be one of them?

Author’s Note: This chapter takes a tense shift from past to present tense. I realize this is generally a bad idea, but I think present tense works better for what I’m trying to do. Anyway, this is a ‘fanon’ chapter, and I explained its inspiration on AO3 if you wanna see what it is there.

She watches them on TV. These superhumans. These homo superior. These X-Men. Their faces play over and over on the screen in sheer radiant glory, blasting debris, icing roads, tossing boulders. One majestic mutant soars to heights under his own power that only an Angel could dream to reach. Each of the boys – and one girl, she reminds herself – take to action with a youthful rebellious zeal only teens could bring.

An apocalypse. A revolution. The dawning of a new age filled with awe and wonder. People call these strange times many things, but as she looks on, Lorna Dane asks herself one simple yet important question.

Why not me?

She hides herself in hair dye. Chestnut waves roll down her shoulders, obscuring the painful truth of an emerald lie teasing her with the idea of becoming something more, something different, something special and better than a meek girl sitting in her living room. She wonders why her hair couldn’t stand for more than a rare condition inherited from a father she couldn’t even remember. Just enough strangeness that people might mistake her for a mutant. Not enough to be one.

A pitched battle between good and evil rages on the tiny box in front of her. Lorna bears witness to a scowling man in red and purple as he lifts whole cars off the ground. She imitates his motions, dreaming of the power to make them sail skyward as he did. The thrum in her fingers dissipates when she sees the Angel weave between those cars. Darting up, dodging right, all with the grace and finesse of an avian god. His gloriously fluffy feathery white wings pin to his back as he spin-dives into his foe.

For a moment, this Magneto looks finished. He topples over, rolls backward, electricity sparking along his body. Another lad’s crimson optic blast rushes toward him at the speed of light. Blink of an eye. But then, Magneto recovers at the very last second. A wave of his arm sends the blast into Angel, knocking him out of the air.

In her mind’s eye, it’s her deflecting that blow. Her feet lifting off the ground. Her cape billowing in the wind. She sees green all around her, on her, inside her, rippling like a force of nature.

Then, her mind drifts to other thoughts. Kinder thoughts. Gentler thoughts. She wouldn’t have to use such a wonderful gift for fighting. She could build things. Create things. From the tallest skyscraper in the world to the most elegant statues of these mutant heroes she could imagine, Lorna could mold each scrap of metal into precisely what she imagined. She could show everyone what a boon these mutants were.

… If she had the parts. She doesn’t have the parts. Her hands shake because her heart can’t. Tears stream down her face. She doesn’t understand the hole buried in her chest. Why she can’t fill it. Why the images playing in front of her press upon that void but don’t quite fit, tapping at the edges, slipping at the corners.

In those moments, she thinks about the man in red and purple. An outcast among his own kind, she knows he wreaks havoc and causes trouble for his fellow mutants. The X-Men wouldn’t fight him if they had no reason. Yet, she can’t help seeing some part of herself in him. His defiance. His rage. His spirit, burning as if guided by some higher calling. He glows so brightly that she finds it hard to believe all those horrid things people call him on the news. Murderer. Monster. Despite them all, one insidious label sticks out most of all: Mutie.

That word. The M-word. The reason her parents insisted she hide her green to make herself look normal, mundane, ordinary, like everyone else. The reason she sits inside the house while bigots and haters march along city streets, denouncing the future.

Not her future, of course. Her little quirk of color means nothing. ‘Minor detail’. Even Dr. Moira said so.

But it doesn’t stop her from wishing, and dreaming, and thinking. Her eyes light up. What if she could be part of something greater? What if she had the power to set an example, to right the world’s wrongs, to become her best self while standing beside friends who saw her green hair and loved her for it? She reaches out to the screen… and pulls away when it crackles.

When it spits sparks. When the picture flickers in and out with fiendish abandon. She mentally chides herself for not remembering her mother’s warnings about how sensitive these so-called technological wonders truly were. One wrong touch or one hand in the wrong place set them off in a smoldering heap. Like a good girl, she leans back in her couch and waits for her chance to see her mutant heroes once again.

Wishing she could join them.

The Polaris Chronicles – Chapter 3 – salarta – X-Men (Comicverse) [Archive of Our Own]