Welp, it looks like Marvel decided to give Havok a team book likely with him as leader, and it appears he gets to keep his costume too.

Which is all just eye-roll worthy and typical Marvel to me. Let Havok hijack Polaris’ big return, make a meaningful story for Polaris into a mere minor subplot to a story about Havok and cut it short, then further “reward” Havok by giving him a team book. All the while forcing Polaris into a generic team outfit to strip her of her unique visual identity while Havok gets to keep his.

I’d say the sole saving grace to this is that at least Marvel isn’t being garbage enough to force Lorna into being Havok’s underling on that book this time, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she gets thrown into limbo soon. Or there’s a crossover event that bends over backwards to emphasize Lorna being “beneath” Havok. Or any number of things Marvel loves to do to her because they seem to perceive Havok as her superior who should be allowed to completely subjugate anything she has to offer.

To make this clear: my annoyance isn’t that Havok is getting things. My annoyance is that after he already got to hijack things meant for Polaris, Marvel’s giving him even more.

Recently, he got to rob Lorna of her big return in X-Men Blue #8, and he got to rob her of any kind of spotlight for overcoming Malice. Historically, he was used to rob her of decades of real use and development, including not getting an origin story.

Given recent and long-term history? I’m not a fan of the @marvelentertainment equivalent of this gif.

All in all, I think from this point onward, I’ll be staying away from anything that includes Havok in it until Marvel makes up for Lorna having been screwed over for Havok’s benefit throughout X-Men Blue.

Nothing that boosts him deserves the sales or support until Lorna gets fair compensation for the things he’s taken away from her lately. Building him up to this point didn’t require Marvel going back to being assholes and screwing her over to get him there. They made a conscious, deliberate decision to either do that to her or let it happen.

And no, “Polaris is leading a team” is not fair compensation when Havok’s leading a team too, especially with him getting to wear his costume while Lorna doesn’t get to wear hers.

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.

image

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.

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.

image

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’ll say this about Cullen Bunn’s focus on Havok on X-Men Blue: it’s gotten me in enough arguments with Havok fanboys to make me hate Havok more than I did before his run.

All I’ve ever asked for in regards to their relationship was to keep them apart for long enough that Lorna got to properly establish herself as her own character without him. I judged that to require 10 years apart since 5 didn’t suffice in the 00s. That’s literally all I asked. I didn’t ask for Havok to be kept away from her forever. I didn’t ask for Havok to be treated like shit for Lorna’s benefit to “make up for” all the times she got treated like shit for his benefit. Before Blue, I didn’t even hold Havok being forced into Lorna’s origin story, or into her leading her own team on ANXF, against him.

But after X-Men Blue #8 and #9, after the heavy upcoming focus on him for the next Blue story arc, and after arguments I’ve been in (especially one where a Havok fanboy’s been outright lying by saying they’ve been apart for 10 years when it’s only been 6 at best), I increasingly find myself thinking “fuck Havok.”

Lorna can’t do a single fucking thing without Marvel shoving him into Lorna’s affairs, and she can’t have a leadership role, a starring TV role, a supporting role, anything without Havok fanboys trying to put Lorna or her options down and acting like she isn’t a viable character without him. Including trying to make her interactions with Magneto out to be worse for her than the literal decades of trash treatment she’s endured with Havok, because of course.

If the goal is to wear out my very hard effort to not hate Havok and if the goal’s to kill my ability to remain open to their having a relationship once Lorna’s in good shape, congratulations, it’s fucking working.

Marvel’s Bias Against Polaris, For Havok, via Social Media

Quickly showing another tiny amount of further evidence of why Havok forced into Polaris’ affairs is a big issue for me. By comparison.

Here’s what the official Marvel account for Latin America on Twitter posted a couple days ago.

image

Now here’s everything the official Marvel account has tweeted about Lorna, with keyword Polaris.

image

Notice that the official Marvel account has never acknowledged Magneto is Lorna’s father.

Also notice that 4 out of 7 tweets invoke Havok in some way, to reassert the attitude that Lorna doesn’t matter or deserve to be talked about unless Havok gets something out of it. Notice that when they’re talked about, Havok’s name always comes first, as an implicit note that he’s perceived as “better” and “more important” than her.

I didn’t make a picture of it, but here’s what you get if you do the same search for Havok instead of Polaris.

https://twitter.com/search?f=tweets&vertical=default&q=Havok%20from%3AMarvel&src=typd&lang=en

Havok gets 21 tweets. Polaris only comes up in 3 of them.

Let’s sum this up in statistics.

  • Number of tweets for Polaris: 7
  • Number of tweets for Havok: 21
  • Polaris tweets mentioning/showing Havok: 57%
  • Havok tweets mentioning/showing Polaris: 14%

The social media for @marvelentertainment reflects Marvel’s negative, biased attitude toward Polaris. To Marvel, Havok is a diverse character that can be all sorts of places and be many things, but over half of who Lorna is should be defined by being Havok’s girlfriend.

To Marvel, Havok deserves 3 times more promotion and support than Polaris.

This is all stuff you can see plainly if you pay attention to the comics, but you don’t even need to do that. Marvel makes it obvious with their social media activity.

Thoughts on future X-Men Blue plans

A couple people have asked my thoughts about the March 2018 solicitations of X-Men Blue. I decided to make this post about it. I intend for this to be the only time I really say much about it here until there’s more info and we get closer, but I can’t promise that won’t change. I know myself, and I know life is always unexpected. Something might prompt me to post more.

I’m supportive of Bunn revisiting Polaris’ history with Malice. That, I presently have no issues with. I’ve said for a very long time that I’d like parts of Lorna’s character history where she was treated poorly to be revisited so they can be done right and respectfully this time. Claremont’s writing of Lorna when possessed by Malice is one of those times. If Bunn does it right, it could give a lot of great insight into Lorna and open doors for her.

Here’s where I have a problem: Havok, and everything about Bunn’s writing of Lorna on Blue sans Blue #15 and #16.

Blue #15 and #16 are the only issues where she’s had a good depiction. They’re the most recent depictions, so that’s good. That’s in Bunn’s favor. Recency matters. It could be a sign that he’s improving and trying to better understand the character, which is very important going forward.

Blue #15 showed an ability to acknowledge Lorna as her own distinct character while doing things with her father Magneto. Much better than prior issues, which I’ll explain shortly. Blue #16 showed he’s capable of grasping Lorna’s personality without trying to make it look like her personality isn’t her own. And, he managed to do it while having her interact with two male characters.

These are improvements. However, they’re minor improvements compared to major problems that came before.

In issues prior to Blue #15, everything she was written as saying and doing revolved around Magneto being her father and Havok being her ex. It wasn’t simply acknowledging and using those connections, it was defining her exclusively by those connections and nothing else. I won’t do a thorough accounting of those problems. If I did, I expect I could go for several thousand words. I’m going to set aside the Magneto aspects to focus on the ones that are relevant here, involving Havok.

The coming arc is literally titled “Cry Havok,” and one of the covers we’ve seen has Havok displayed on an equal footing with Magneto. Between the two, it’s pretty obvious the arc is going to be Havok-heavy and Havok-centric. He’s going to be the star of the show. There may be tangents of the issues that don’t include him, but the bulk of it will be about him.

… After he already had an arc devoted to him. What was that arc?

X-Men Blue #8 and #9.

Looking at only the visuals and the cover of X-Men Blue #9, it would be easy and understandable to mistake those issues as being about Lorna. They’re not. They’re actually about Havok. This was a case of deceptive appearances.

In Blue #8 and #9, Havok got the bulk of panel time outside of the O5 team. He got to lead a new team for New Tian. He got brand new interactions with Briar and Emma Frost. He defeated multiple members of the teen O5, showing himself as an intimidating threat in the process.

Lastly and perhaps most importantly, during the fight between Lorna and Havok, everything about the fight was geared toward building up Havok’s prestige and putting him on a pedestal. It emphasized his need for redemption, and presented his inverted nature, and worst of all, it played into the idea that there’s absolutely nothing about Lorna’s history worth bringing up besides her terrible relationship history with Havok.

Not even looking at the story itself, but in general, Havok got half of Blue #8 to establish himself before Lorna showed up, and Bunn was eager to tease Havok’s coming use on social media at the time while talking not at all about Polaris.

All Lorna got out of the issue was getting taken out of a two-year forced limbo, and having interacted with the teen O5 – both things Havok got too.

In an X-Men Blue issue presented like it would be Lorna’s time to shine, Bunn had Havok completely steal the spotlight from her. Havok’s struggles, his personality, his near-total dominance of Lorna and her history all became the focus of an issue that tried to look like it would be about Lorna.

Bunn has not done anything to give Lorna the spotlight that was stolen from her and given to Havok. He hasn’t tried to do anything that would make up for it. And now, he’s giving Havok a huge multi-issue spotlight.

Already, he’s refusing to fix a mistake previously made. That sort of behavior already rubs me raw. I’ve been boycotting everything Square-Enix since winter 2010 over that behavior, and I anticipate I’ll be boycotting Square-Enix for the rest of my life because they still haven’t fixed their mistakes. But there’s another aspect of concern even if I set that aside.

In an issue supposedly meant to be about Lorna, Bunn made it all about Havok. Now we have an arc that’s actually intended to be all about Havok from the start. If Bunn wasn’t able to treat Lorna with care and respect for an issue about her, how can I trust that he’ll manage to do it in issues meant to be about the character who stole her show?

Imagine a car. Imagine being offered the car and buying it, only for the dealer to hand the keys to some other guy who crashes it into a wall. Imagine, after the dealer’s done that, getting charged for towing the wreck and having it junked, then getting a gift card for Starbucks as compensation. Then, finally, imagine the guy who crashed your car getting offered a much better car, while all signs suggest you might be offered something half as good as the first car or worse.

That’s how all of this feels to me. Like Bunn had Havok ruin something intended for Lorna and is now giving him even more on top of it, as if tearing her down wasn’t enough.

I’ve said a lot here. What’s the final verdict?

Despite all my complaining above, I’m waiting to see what comes.

Like I said early on in this post, X-Men Blue #15 and #16 were good depictions. They’re going in a positive direction. If Bunn keeps that up, then maybe what he does with her in Havok’s arc will be fine. Entirely because of those two depictions, I’m willing to wait and see. It’s incredibly hard for me to do that, but I’m trying my best to wait. His treatment of Lorna in the arc might be just fine. He might do great things in working on her Malice history. We need more for me to know.

However, I don’t have much trust or faith in Bunn’s abilities anymore. Especially with Havok around. As such, if he pulls this off, I might remain open to future work from him. But. If he doesn’t pull it off, if it’s bad like Blue #8 and #9 were, then it’ll be a permanent end of any support of Bunn from me, and I’ll be pushing really hard for Bunn to never write Lorna again.

I’ve always been against Lorna having any interaction at all with Havok until she gets to properly and fully establish herself, which I judged as taking a decade minimum. This is why. If Havok wasn’t involved and Bunn screwed up, it would be bad enough but I could be more understanding and patient. Screwing up and having Havok involved takes it to a whole other level.

It’s not even a matter of want or don’t want. I am completely incapable of giving a pass on screwing Lorna over if Havok is involved, because he benefits by his very presence. It reinforces the false decades-old narrative that Lorna is a bad character deserving of poor treatment that should only exist to be a supporting character for Havok. I don’t have much tolerance for that.

That’s all my thoughts that I can think to gather in one post. It’s possible I’ll add to this post later if necessary. My intent is to avoid making multiple posts that individually stand out.

I’m not hoping “Bunn proves me wrong” for doubting his abilities. I have good reason to doubt them. What I’m hoping is that he proves me right for giving him another chance and not immediately condemning the arc as guaranteed to be bad for Lorna.

Oh, and if by some chance everything happening is the fault of people above him, then Bunn needs to signal that he’s not at fault and he’s trying to do his best in spite of that. At present, I have no such signal, so I have to follow the assumption it’s all on him.

Polaris soundtrack – other characters selection

I’ve posted and re-posted a Polaris soundtrack I put together previously. This time, I feel like pulling out the portions of it that involve other characters.

Decision, Xavier or Magneto: I Radio Heaven by Over The Rhine (lyrics)

Attraction (Iceman): Magnetized by Garbage (lyrics)

  • This one’s heavily inspired by Iceman’s sexual orientation and light shed on it in recent years, and how Lorna relates to it.

Freezing Feelings (Iceman): Blue Caravan by Vienna Teng (lyrics)

  • The lyrics at the end are the key reason behind this pick.

Self-Exile (Havok): Now I Can Die by Nina Gordon (lyrics)

  • Setting: Polaris living the “civilian” life with Havok after leaving the X-Men. My POV for this pick is… not a nice one.

Left at the Altar (Havok): The Reckoning by Halestorm (lyrics)

  • Lorna
    was in an emotionally vulnerable state. The wedding was a bright spot
    after so much bad… then Havok took it away from her at the worst
    possible moment. This being Lorna’s response to being screwed with after
    all she’s been through.

Altar Aftermath (Havok): So We Can Stay Alive by Garbage (lyrics)

Warrior (Quicksilver): Warrior by Charlotte Martin (lyrics)

  • Pietro’s view of Lorna, inspired entirely by All-New X-Factor #13.

Lost Brother (Quicksilver): Unbroken by Missy Higgins (lyrics)

  • Technically more of a Quicksilver song, from Lorna’s POV.

Magnus Sisters (Scarlet Witch): Daughters of Darkness by Halestorm (lyrics

Polaris vs X-Men, Magneto and Xavier: Joan of Arc by In This Moment (lyrics)

  • Took
    this from another fan here on Tumblr (name I forget) who suggested this
    for Gifted version Lorna. In this case, I think it would be an
    excellent song for Lorna in a theoretical event where she’s like Jean
    during Phoenix Saga or Scarlet Witch during House of M. Magneto, Xavier,
    the X-Men in general have a history of taking her for granted and not
    caring about what happens to her for various reasons (especially in the
    Claremont era). Here’s Lorna questioning their “morality” and how easy
    they seem to find disregarding her feelings and experiences while
    exploiting her for their own interests.

According to @marvelentertainment comic book law, Polaris is only allowed to date someone new once every 50 years.

Sorry, that’s just the way it is, I don’t make the rules. She got her one person that isn’t Havok out of Gambit in All-New X-Factor, so now she’s legally required to wear a chastity belt and give Havok the key until another 50 years has passed.

Polaris Relationships, Constructive vs Toxic

For lack of a better post title, I’m using this.

I’m going to start with an unusual prediction. In X-Men Blue #12, multiple characters, including Polaris, are trapped in these magma vents with a threat that trying to get out will roast them.

Polaris has a Masters degree in Geophysics. Despite being applicable to the situation, I predict her degree will not play any kind of role in getting out.

Okay, now to dig in on the main topic. I’m about to go into the difference in fiction between using relationships in a constructive manner vs a toxic manner. This is all going to revolve around Polaris because what keeps happening with her is the whole reason for this post.

Anyone that knows me, knows how absolutely dead set I am against Polaris and Havok interacting at all right now. They also know why. The pairing has decades worth of Lorna getting treated poorly for Havok’s benefit. Lorna is still suffering from that poor treatment, and Marvel keeps refusing to give her a fair shot to build her own character without his involvement.

Because most of my talk is about Havok, that could make people think there are no similar risks with other characters. That’s not true. The point of trying to keep Havok and Polaris apart for now is to let her break the cycle of poor treatment.

But, that cycle still exists, and it seems to have infected how some writers see her relationship with other male characters like Gambit and Magneto.

So, we’re gonna go into just what the heck I see as an issue. But we’ll start with what’s possible. The good stuff.

Potential: Gambit and Magneto

With Gambit, we have a character who’s charming, romantic but frequently underestimated. Much of Lorna’s history with Havok hasn’t been about the two showing affection for each other, but about Lorna showing devotion to Havok. One way. Gambit would be a nice change of pace, and he’d likely encourage a lot of taboo angles for Lorna to explore – compared to how Havok is straight-laced, self-suppressing, a “boy scout” to many even when evil.

Further, a lot of people seem to see Gambit as second to Rogue, in the same fashion as Polaris is often seen as second to Havok. Lorna and Gambit also have history as Horsemen of Apocalypse, and Lorna had a shapeshifter stripper that looked like Gambit at her bachelorette party. They have shared experience to build off of with each other, and a potential for storylines where they’re of equal importance.

SImilarly, Magneto offers a lot as Polaris’ father. He knew of her being his daughter at least since she was a toddler. He acted in ways he thought would protect her. When she grew up, he eventually recruited her for Genosha, helping her to improve her skills and learning a thing or two about leadership and diplomacy.

They have shared experience with genocides, too: Magneto with the Holocaust, Lorna with the genocide of Genosha. They both understand the effect their powers have on their minds and bodies. There’s a lot between them to work with. And, when the Maximoff twins are restored as Magneto’s kids, the whole family will have so much they can do together.

There’s a lot of potential here. So let’s look at how it’s been done all wrong lately.

Toxic: Gambit

All-New X-Factor started promising in issue #1. Some cracks in #2. But what’s relevant here, with Gambit, is #3 to #6. ANXF was a book meant to let Polaris lead a team of her own, and Gambit had experience as a leader. Gambit could have provided guidance, and they could have disagreed, but here’s the key: Lorna already had leadership experience thanks to Genosha (w/ Magneto) and replacing Havok and Madrox as temporary leader on X-Factor.

All-New X-Factor ignored Lorna’s leadership experience. It emphasized Gambit’s leadership experience. This started a downward spiral into problems where Gambit became a “replacement Havok.”

The rules of what would set Lorna off into “rage mode” were all over the place. A cat scratches her in ANXF #2 and she’s suddenly ready to kill it. Then ANXF #6 comes along, Gambit roughly yanks her arm and shouts at her not to do something just because he disagrees with it, and she just lets it slide?

ANXF #4 itself had everything deliberately set up for Gambit to be the “savior” – and for Polaris to look like an out of control idiot to build up Gambit and Danger. In theory, Lorna’s behavior could have been explained as emotions affected by remembering what happened to her on Genosha. But that allusion never happened. To get that message, you would’ve needed to know about Genosha and Lorna’s history. It wasn’t provided anywhere on panel.

Over the course of ANXF #3 to #6, Peter David slowly slipped from Lorna being the leader of her own team, to Gambit acting like the real leader of the team with Lorna only playing pretend. He even wrote Gambit as inviting Danger to the team, and Lorna acting frustrated by the offer but letting it happen. On her own team. As if, as leader, she has less authority to decide who’s on her team than one of the team members.

This is how what could have been a good relationship between Polaris and Gambit on All-New X-Factor was poisoned by poor writing. They could have developed an excellent dynamic. They could have been co-leaders, and storylines could have been developed that treated them as equals. Instead, the relationship as written on ANXF became toxic for Polaris. It made her look worse for Gambit’s benefit.

There’s still potential with them and I want to see it pursued. But it has to be done right. ANXF #2-6 wasn’t it.

Toxic: Magneto

This is a section I’d hoped I would never have to write. I spent much of the past 8 years pushing for Lorna and Magneto to retain their relationship and explore it because I saw so much opportunity for both of them. Unfortunately, that opportunity has not been seized upon to date.

We started with nice parallels. Magneto as symbolic of darker aspects of Lorna, and Lorna as in a sense providing a legacy for Magneto.

But there’s a difference between being part of a legacy that comes from Magneto, and existing exclusively to benefit Magneto.

In the final arc of the Magneto solo, we saw some great moments of Lorna and Magneto ‘Getting Shit Done’ ™ together. Those were good. We even got a reference to Lorna’s time as Malice!

But then we had her written as acting horrified by Magneto putting lives at risk while trying to save the world. As if she’s too dumb and naive to think on the level of her “wise and experienced” dad. We also had Lorna act shocked and betrayed by Magneto deciding to siphon all her power and take on trying to save the world by himself, as if she is, again, too dumb and naive to expect that from him after all their time on Genosha.

Then, on Deadpool and the Mercs for Money, we had her costume adapted with allusions to her father. This isn’t the first time a “future Lorna in a dead end future makes herself look like her father” scenario has happened, but there are key differences.

On Wolverine and the X-Men (cartoon), it was from a traumatized Lorna broken by the loss of her dad and all of Genosha. It was representative of shattered innocence, same as Lorna donning the helmet when Havok left her at the altar in the comics. On Deadpool and the Mercs for Money, it was Lorna adopting his symbols when taking up the mantle of leader – essentially suggesting that her authority to say or do anything for mutants comes exclusively from him, not herself. She’s just an extension of him.

X-Men Blue. This is the one I’ve been ranting about most. I’ll skip the Havok-specific parts and focus on the Magneto ones.

For her “big reveal” at the end of X-Men Blue #8, what Polaris got to describe was dialogue about Havok and her name as only this for description: “Daughter of Magneto.” Other characters got things like descriptions of their powers, or special titles. Lorna got “she’s an extension of her dad.”

With no insight provided into Lorna herself, her depicted reasons for being on New Tian and fighting Havok for #9 became “because daddy wanted her there.” #9 also added insult by twisting a title she’s well-known for, Mistress of Magnetism, and adding ‘daddy’s little’ in front of it. “Daddy’s Little Mistress of Magnetism.”

Bunn twisted it from a title she earned for herself, into a title bestowed on her solely because Magneto is her dad.

Finally, we get to X-Men Blue #10. Polaris and Magneto spend time together. Their interaction looked okay. Lorna said some nice things about not just going along with whatever her father says… but then their base was attacked. And in that moment, Bunn wrote Polaris as – again – stupid and naive, shocked by a surprise attack happening on the base, so that Magneto could “correct” her.

Polaris was nearly killed by a surprise attack on Genosha. Millions of people died all around her in a surprise attack she couldn’t stop. She had intense trauma from the ordeal that drove her “crazy.”

Simply put: there’s no way Lorna would be shocked by a surprise attack like that.

That’s how the relationship between Polaris and Magneto in the comics is on the verge of becoming horribly toxic for Lorna. Instead of their relationship used to help develop Lorna and establish who she is, it’s being used to rip development away from her and give it all to her father.

It’s the same problem Lorna always had with Havok. Anything she managed to accomplish, it ended up being just a sign of how great and wonderful Havok is. So far, Bunn’s writing of her relationship with Magneto is the exact same thing. It just doesn’t have Lorna crying “Daddyyyyyyyyyyy!” every time she gets a paper cut. Yet, anyway.

Toxic in Reverse: Magneto, Quicksilver

I want to touch on Secret Wars: House of M for a moment. Lorna’s depiction in that was excellent. Nothing wrong with it at all that I can imagine. The problem comes in with how Magneto and Quicksilver were treated poorly for Lorna’s benefit.

At one point, Magneto was written as stupidly blinded by rage and unwilling to work with others or listen to reason. He took unnecessary risks – which made absolutely no sense for a man who had somehow become such a high and mighty ruler. In that scene, Lorna was written as a sensible daughter, a calming influence, pulling him into the right direction. This made Lorna look great, but it didn’t fit Magneto at all.

Similarly, SW:HoM wrote Quicksilver as a conniving, cowardly brat who schemed with Namor to steal the throne. He trembled at the idea of having to fight Polaris, then acted high and mighty when a happenstance blow from elsewhere took her down. Did this make Lorna look good? Yes. Did Pietro need to be written this way? Absolutely not. He could’ve been playing Namor, for example, and he could’ve stood up to Lorna unafraid.

Final Thoughts

A lot of people mistakenly think that to make one character look good, you have to make another character look like shit. Or, they think it’s acceptable to ruin one character to build another.

This is ignorance, and it’s ultimately bad for all characters involved.

There is so, so much potential between Polaris and other characters. Friends. Enemies. Family. Lovers. Two characters can disagree on a topic and have their own points of view, based on their own life experiences.

Let’s take a hypothetical future scenario. Magneto and Polaris disagree on how to train the teen O5. Magneto decides to try to stay more in line with Professor Xavier’s teachings, because Prof X isn’t around and it’s what Charles would’ve wanted. He emphasizes diplomacy and non-violent solutions if possible, with only a little bit more of hard edges.

The wrong way to write Lorna here would be “Where’d my old man go, what happened to the ideals you taught me to believe?” This would be Lorna defined as a character whose identity depends solely on “what you made of me.” No development outside him. Just Lorna robotically serving as one aspect of Magneto’s character.

Another wrong way to write Lorna here would be having Lorna say Magneto is still too violent, and citing nothing of her own history except what men told her. This would be Lorna serving as an aggressor to Magneto’s plans just so he has a daughter adding difficulties. If there’s nothing in her own history to work with here, then it’s still defining her exclusively by her father.

The right way to go about it would be Lorna insisting on a direction based on her own history. One potential course would be Lorna insisting the teen O5 need to know the horrors possible to prevent/be prepared for something like the Genoshan genocide. She might insist on harsher training.

I am not saying this is how such a scenario “should” go. I’m not even saying I’d necessarily think it was the right way to go if it was written and made canon. I’m thinking off the top of my head in giving an example. The point of my example is that in it, Lorna is defined by herself. She’s defined by something she lived through that shaped her worldview and values – not by Magneto’s worldview and values. Her actions are hers.

Character relationships are only good for Lorna if she gets to be her own character in the process. They only tear her down if she’s just serving as a proxy or extension of another character.

And the same goes in reverse. You’re not challenging who your favorite character is by making the other character defined by them. There are no genuine outside viewpoints to contend with. It’s like arguing with yourself for the rest of your life. You’ll eventually reach a dead end and miss out on things you never would have thought of by yourself.