Appearances vs Sincerity

I think people as a whole are becoming increasingly aware of how doing something purely to project the appearance of good values and intent is not as good as actually, sincerely having those values.

When the goal is to do something purely for the sake of appearances, then any work toward that end stops as soon as it’s deemed “enough.” It’s only done as a form of protection against anyone saying it’s not being done. “See, I said I support this cause, I said a lot of nice things about it that one time a few years ago so I’m good.”

When something happens sincerely, though, it’s self-generating toward better for the future. Actions and statements grow organically not from a desire to look good, but a desire to BE good. The difference is important.

Most of Marvel’s behavior regarding Polaris for the past decade has been, I think, about the appearance of doing “enough” for her rather than sincerely wanting to do enough for her. And I think the deterioration of Marvel’s treatment of her since 2015 is a vivid sign of this. Because if they were sincere, they would have spent the past 5 years improving their treatment of her instead of what we’ve seen.

In the early 2010s, there were a lot of things that fans wanted. Lorna brought back from space exile. Lorna confirmed to be a mutant again. Lorna confirmed as Magneto’s daughter (something that had gone untouched for 10 years at that time). Lorna’s origin story told. Lorna leading a team.

From 2012 to 2015, Marvel provided these things, and they were for the most part good.

They did have problems – which I ranted about at the time, and I think I was perfectly fair to rant about.

Her origin story getting told had no promotion, and the arc ended with basically an excuse for Lorna to not interact with her father anymore afterward. All-New X-Factor also never really got any promotion, issue 4-6 treated her poorly (heavily leaning toward acting like Gambit was the real team leader and Lorna’s a member of his team), and various issues besides. And outside of those things, we had projects tied to the Avengers trying to exclude Lorna from the Magnus family, and trying to replace her with other women for a sister role or visual counterpart in Wanda’s life.

But, in spite of those problems, X-Factor #243 did tell her origin story. All-New X-Factor had her leading a team, and let her interact with her siblings. Secret Wars provided Lorna in a great role for her (albeit at times not doing right for Pietro and Magneto) in its House of M, and various other appearances. We also had appearances and acknowledgments otherwise, such as with Savage Hulk going back to Hulk’s first run-in with the X-Men and showing Lorna present.

Then we had a decline after 2015.

She was in limbo for two years (or one and a half, if you count Deadpool and the Mercs for Money). When she returned, it had the APPEARANCE of a big return for her, but in reality she was used to promote Havok and Magneto. On Blue, she led another team, but purely as a backup for the main team and in service to the very Havok-oriented story.

She had good scenes in the Uncanny X-Men event, which was good as she hadn’t been included in a major event in over a decade. But then Prisoner X saw her serving as a supporting character for essentially Bishop’s book. Now, I’ve heard she was written well on it, but “supporting character on Bishop’s book” when the book comes off aesthetically very inspired by Gifted’s usage of Lorna in prison is a backstep to me. Especially when it’s more of a side story.

Then House of X, Powers of X, and X-Men #1 happened.

HoX really only used her as something Magneto could spout exposition to. X-Men #1 only really used her so readers could connect with Cyclops. The only thing “Lorna” about that exchange was a reminder that she’s dated Havok, which in this scenario is the absolute last thing that has any bearing for Lorna.

She’s a survivor of Genosha who was respected by millions and seen as his heir, and she was the one who launched Krakoa into space in Giant-Size X-Men after getting powered up by Storm, Cyclops and Havok. Is that history really worth nothing, especially when other characters like Storm get to be mad about what happened on Genosha despite not personally going through the trauma of it like Lorna has?

Consider that with Marvel’s behavior since. She’s been absent from anything for a year. She wasn’t included on an X-women variant cover, despite there being plenty of room to add her, and other women like Dani Moonstar and Magik included. She’s not on the Quiet Council. She’s not considered Omega even though Magneto is, and various past books have said or implied she either has the potential to surpass him (earlier stories), is already his equal (The Twelve), or has already surpassed him (Genosha, albeit as his powers were weakening).

When she was finally announced on a book, that book turned out to be… X-Factor. The same title name she was on in the 90s. Except this time, she’s not even leading it. She’s a member of this team someone else is leading. And the only thing really mentioned about Lorna in all talk for the book so far is essentially “she dated Havok.”

No mention of Genosha. Or Krakoa. Or being the second woman to join the X-Men. Or even having gone into space on a team with Rachel prior to this. The only thing mentioned is that she was in a relationship with the only man Marvel’s ever allowed her to date in her entire existence (whereas Marvel’s allowed Havok to have an ongoing thing with a different woman every decade, most recently with Wasp).

This is the break down of appearances when there is no sincerity. People at Marvel believe they “did enough” for Lorna when they told her origin story and let her lead a team. It doesn’t matter to them that they sabotaged her chances of those things really getting attention and meaning anything big for her. To them, those few acts even in a void are sufficient for them to go back to treating her as poorly as they did before. To them, those few things that should have happened DECADES ago are something they can point to and say “See, we respect the character, we did these things for her so you should be happy and stop expecting so much.”

That’s a false argument. It implies that Lorna deserves to be treated poorly. That she deserves to be undermined, have her potential squandered, have the important things about her history and their gravity completely ignored by this company. It’s an argument that tries to proclaim that negative bias against the character is supposed to be the norm, that negative views of the character are the “right” way to look at her, and expecting the common decency of due respect and catching up on things that should’ve happened for her a long ass time ago is somehow pushing the boundaries of fair request.

To people at Marvel, Lorna is a D-list or lower character who barely qualifies as a character and wastes panel space.

To me, Lorna is an amazing character that’s supposed to be A-list but keeps getting treated like she isn’t because people at Marvel put their personal biases above what’s right. Starting in the 70s and continuing to today, with rare exceptions.

If Marvel had been sincere in trying to treat Lorna well, and do well with their work as a whole, then Lorna’s history would mean something. She would have a huge voice when it comes to Genosha. The fact she launched Krakoa into space would at least get mentioned. She would be acknowledged as a meaningful woman within the X-Men franchise when they do things like the X-women variant cover.

The lack of these things tells us there is no sincerity from Marvel. Anything they say that sounds good is about appearances, not a genuine desire to do well with what they have and improve upon their past.

This is why I do not trust Marvel. To date, what I have seen from Marvel is that they’re only concerned with putting on the appearance of caring, and don’t actually care about her at all. And don’t want to. Because they undoubtedly think any attempt to understand and empathize on the character is wasted time they could be putting into “characters that matter” in their eyes.

It’s not like this is the only place where we see Marvel, or Disney, saying and doing things for the sake of appearances that it’s clear they’re not sincere about. A commonly observed issue with Disney as a whole is how they keep getting credit for introducing the “first openly gay character” in their films every year, and it’s always something like two extras kissing in the background of a scene for 2 seconds.

This post is mainly for me to vent. But if it’s being read, the main takeaway I’d like to give is to watch for the difference between a company saying or doing something because they want to put on a good appearance for PR reasons, and a company saying or doing something because they sincerely believe in it and want to do good.

The cases where it’s for appearances tend to go nowhere, get sabotaged constantly, and end as soon as the company thinks they’ve done enough to get away with not doing any more.

The cases that are sincere will happen regardless of perceived PR value. Characters will get much needed progress even if they personally don’t like the character or think it won’t sell or make the company look better. It won’t matter how “obscure” a character is, they’ll still be considered deserving of better.

That wraps up this rant.

Polaris Headcanons

I have a lot of different Polaris headcanons. Some of which I find more valid than things Marvel does, on account of how Marvel never thinks or cares about Lorna as her own character. I’ve decided to make this post to collect all the different headcanons I have!

Note: I have enough that it’s entirely possible I may forget some, and have to come back to this to add what I’ve forgotten.

I’ll enter each headcanon, and if I want to say a little more on it then I’ll add text after.

Lorna can change the color of her hair

Lorna’s powers of electromagnetism mean she has access to the whole electromagnetic spectrum – including colors. By this token, perhaps her hair defaults to green because it fits her mood, or because it’s the middle balance of rainbow colors (ROY G BIV).

Lorna is a knight/warrior type

Which does not detract from the princess aspect either (hi Xena). But when I convert characters to medieval settings, Wanda’s a witch. Lorna’s a knight. We’ve seen her don armor before as Pestilence.

In legend, I also think she would slot in well with Arthurian tales as the Green Knight.

Lorna has a Phoenix-equivalent concept of some sort out there

Another user on Twitter recently suggested from art that Lorna could be The Dragon. I like this concept. It pairs well with the Phoenix concept as a mythological creature, dragons are often seen as green and liking to collect treasure (e.g. Lorna’s original gold secondary color), and often perceived as evil (again, going back to the original conception of Magneto as evil).

Lorna creates her own costume with her powers

In my head, Lorna’s costume isn’t cloth. It’s very thin metal, constructed by her using materials that are around her. When she needs to enter combat, she doesn’t dress or undress, she gathers molecules and constructs it however she wants.

Lorna creates art with her powers

This is something I don’t see Magneto doing, but definitely see Lorna doing. Exploring her artistic side as a fun, constructive use of her powers.

Lorna can’t die

Lorna’s existed since 1968. In that whole time, aside from alternate universes, she’s never died.

Realistically, I think this is because Marvel cared so little about her that they didn’t think her dying would serve a purpose. But it pays off because with all the shit she’s been through, to NOT die to me implies there’s something about her that simply can’t be killed. Like her survivor’s spirit and electromagnetic powers work together.

In my mind, at most her body could be destroyed but she would still exist as an electromagnetic entity who rebuilds her body with her powers. Perhaps that’s even what happened on Genosha for real. It would really feed into survivor’s guilt for her, by the way.

Lorna is bi/lesbian

This is one part “I really like this for her,” and one part “she keeps getting treated poorly around men, so maybe women would be better.”

Within this idea, my top pick of a partner for Lorna is Jean. I think it would open excellent doors for the two characters to revisit their history way back to around when Lorna arrived on the scene (before Giant-Size X-Men and all that followed). Second pick for partner may be Emma Frost due to Genosha connections, but I’m really big for the Jean.

Lorna has low-level semi-psychic powers

The “low level” part of this is honestly more to be fair to full-fledged psychics than anything else. Since it wouldn’t be fair if Lorna could be as powerful as a main psychic AND have the rest of her powers.

Over time, research has found electromagnetic waves are able to do a lot of things involving the human brain. Some research can pick up thoughts and dreams. Some research can suggest an action for someone to take. From this, I have a headcanon that Lorna can use telepathy and add/erase/alter memories.

Lorna can access the internet at any time with her mind

The internet via WiFi is essentially electromagnetic. By this token, Lorna should be able to access the internet with her brain. No need for a computer, no need for a monitor. She’s already both. What’s more, because it goes straight to her brain, she should be able to read and process faster than someone simply reading from a screen.

This would make her one of the “smartest” people alive. By that I mean, say she encounters someone who’s been poisoned. She can look how to cure that poison immediately. Heck, she could have a live chat with a real doctor. Perhaps even sharing images/video from her brain to see what’s happening in real-time.

The weakness to this, of course, would be any time Lorna enters an area where those waves can’t reach her. If the signal’s cut off, then she can’t make use of it.

Lorna can create audio/video in her mind

If she has access to the electromagnetic spectrum, why not manipulate it to broadcast or record whatever she wants? She could make fake footage that looks like someone said something they never did. She could play her dreams and fantasies on TVs. All sorts of things.

X-Factor

I had a longer post on this in drafts. Then I deleted it. Because it doesn’t need to be a long post.

I don’t expect anything good for Lorna from this book. Period. I could write a big in-depth explainer behind that, which I originally was going to do, but the bottom line is Marvel and the team haven’t given me any reason to think it could be good for her on any level. I can’t even begrudgingly say “Lorna deserves better but this is better than nothing,” because I actually think Marvel leaving her alone is better for her and nothing I’ve seen so far makes me think otherwise.

Lorna’s stuck on a team she was put on in the 90s. The writer either can’t or won’t mention anything about her besides that she dated Havok, even something simple like how Lorna and Rachel were in space together. The past few years have been poor treatment of Lorna in general, but narrowing just to HoX/PoX/DoX, there’s been no acknowledgment of anything Lorna’s done besides Havok.

I don’t expect everything Marvel does to cater to my exact specifications, but if Marvel’s going to use her, I expect key moments in her development like how she survived the Genoshan genocide and was considered Queen of Mutants by those who remained to actually mean something. Instead, we’ve got Storm able to freely cite that genocide while what happened to Lorna is treated like it never happened.

Anything that ignores such a vital moment in a character’s history when it matters deeply, is absolutely worthless.

And even in the off chance that Marvel ever gets its act together and acknowledges what happened to Lorna for once after 15 years of ignoring it, a throwaway line in a single panel is not sufficient both for the importance of what happened and the insultingly long gap from when Marvel last acknowledged it to today. These other characters get to regularly talk about what a horrific event the Genoshan genocide was, but Lorna can only be used for her dad to spout exposition at her or for Marvel to hype up Havok for the billionth time cause they think he can’t hack it without exploiting her? Please.

That’s what I have to say about this book at the moment. Lorna deserves a hell of a lot more and better. Tacking her to a team book she’s not even leading, with the same title as what she was on in the 90s, doing nothing else and apparently with no grasp of what she offers (just “oh she dated Havok”) is not the way. I’m not going to deny the evidence of my eyes and ears.

“Best Kept Secrets” + X-Factor

I’m combining two topics into this post.

I recently had reason to think of “best kept secrets.” Generally, we think of that as a good, endearing trait. Like being a best kept secret makes that thing more valuable, has the extra street cred of being an in-group privilege.

You see that cozy little cafe down the street, the one you’d miss if you weren’t looking for it? They make the best sandwiches you would ever eat. But not many people know about it. It’s a special privilege for those who know about it.

But I heard someone that pointed out: best kept secrets die quietly.

That same little cafe? When times get tough, maybe their business struggles to survive. Maybe it doesn’t survive. And then 50 years after its closure, because it was so small and secret, nobody remembers it even existed. Despite all the good work put in, it’s disappeared from public knowledge.

Polaris is a best kept secret.

She’s an amazing character, with amazing potential, whose background offers a lot of relatable content and depth. We’ve seen what’s possible with this. She was the breakout character on Gifted, even without being able to call upon history (e.g. Genosha) or relationships (e.g. Scarlet Witch) that exist in the comics. We’ve seen tons of excitement and fan content over the years from people who find out she exists.

But that’s the key. They need to know she exists. Which is something Marvel doesn’t want people to know.

I could cite a lot of things, but HoX/PoX/DoX is easiest because it’s recent. Marvel didn’t acknowledge Lorna’s history with Genosha or Krakoa. They didn’t include her on the X-women variant cover. They only used her as something to build up Magneto and Havok, and exposition provided by them. And now, she’s going to be put on X-Factor – not as a leader, but as a supporting character they’re trying to frame as sort of an overseer or advisor or something. And in talking about the book, the only aspect of her Leah mentioned was her relationship to Havok. Despite how, along with so many other things, she could’ve said something about wanting to delve more into Lorna and Rachel’s dynamic due to history in space.

Every single action taken by Marvel lately has been one geared toward forcing Lorna to stay bogged down as a “best kept secret” who serves the whims of whatever characters they like and respect more, or whatever story they want to sacrifice her on the altar of. In spite of how Gifted demonstrated she can be and deserves so much more.

This is not the way. And I reject it.

I’ve had some people, mostly eager fans of HoX/PoX/DoX or Marvel, suggest that Marvel’s treatment of Lorna is more than enough and I should be happy instead of critical. That I’m somehow in the wrong for demanding better for her, and sometimes citing how other characters aren’t getting their due either and should.

I’m not going to be quiet about Lorna. I’m not going to let Marvel kill her as a “best kept secret.” If they can’t do better by her, then they should just not use her and leave her to her fandom making everything of her that Marvel won’t. If Marvel wants to get in the way of that, they’ll see me call out when they do.

If this is supposed to be such a “great new era” for the X-Men franchise like Marvel and its corporate fans claim, then I expect them to show it. I expect them to treat Lorna and other characters a hell of a lot better. I expect them to interrogate long-standing “traditions” and if they hold any merit. I expect them to radically adapt and improve upon their creative philosophy, to better utilize what they have and touch fans who they’ve missed for so long due to bad policy.

Simply making mutants the dominant species is not a new era. Giving them fluff like their own language, a resurrection process, that sort of thing is just the appearance of change. Real change is deeper and harder.

That’s topic one. I also said I would be talking about X-Factor, topic two.

I’m against the upcoming X-Factor book. I’ve said why. It’s placing Lorna into a supporting character role for a team book led by Northstar, while Lorna isn’t doing something more important elsewhere. More importantly, said team book is named X-Factor, a book she’s been stuck on for 30 years and which she previously led. Lastly, there’s been zero sign of Leah considering who Lorna is for herself. Just her talking to a couple friends she knows who are fans, and taking away from one of them that apparently Havok is more important than anything else about everything Lorna’s been through in her life.

Some people (again, mainly HoX/PoX/DoX fans) think I’m being too hasty and judgmental about X-Factor and what Leah Williams might do with Lorna. They think we haven’t seen enough yet for me to be able to make that determination.

I understand their reasons for thinking this. And I need to pull in some of my own history for full, proper consideration. Back in 2011/2012, when Marvel announced that Polaris was going back to X-Factor written by Peter David, I was pissed. I saw it as a backstep. As Marvel trying to undo Lorna’s character development and revert her to a 90s view of her. I fully expected that Peter David, having written Lorna in the 90s and being older at this point, would feel strongly compelled to revert Lorna to how she was when he last wrote her and ignore anything writers did after him.

About this, I’ve said before: in retrospect, I was wrong and too quick to judge. Peter David ended up doing a lot of good things for Lorna, contrary to what I expected back then. I didn’t imagine him giving Lorna her origin story, having Lorna lead ANXF, or having Lorna build up her relationships with Wanda and Pietro. And when Peter David DID write her origin story, I expected the worst – and was pleasantly surprised.

But that was back then. Things have changed greatly.

I was new to X-Men comics in 2011/2012. I had been told things, and read things, but I hadn’t experienced things yet. I didn’t have much grasp on how Marvel thinks and functions.

More importantly, Marvel’s had more problems with how they treat Lorna in the past few years than they did in 2011/2012. Yes, in 2011/2012, she had been tossed into space and then space limbo. And yes, her getting sent into space was purely to be Havok’s girlfriend. But there were at least bright spots like her time with Crystal and Luna. And just 2-3 years prior, Lorna had a big role on Wolverine and the X-Men, and AU versions of her did great things in Jeff Parker’s Exiles and Fantastic Force. Mike Carey’s Five Miles South of the Universe re-established that Magneto is her father, that she’s a mutant, and her return to Earth could have technically re-opened doors; arguments could’ve been made that Lorna returning to X-Factor was just a baby step to regaining a platform.

Plus, many of the biggest problems with Marvel’s treatment of her seemed isolated to how a certain editor outside the X-books saw her. Not problems within the X-books themselves.

Jump to today. We spent late 2015 to early/mid 2017 with Lorna in limbo. When she DID return, it was primarily to promote Havok and Magneto, and everything she did on Blue was in service to that. What little good that came pre-HoX/PoX/DoX, was a tiny drop amid usage for the benefit of other characters. Like a panel or two of her doing something cool before she talks up Havok to launch him into a new team book he leads.

The trend of Marvel and the X-Men books at present is one where there’s no reason to trust they’ll change course with X-Factor. Especially with the position they put Lorna in, and how Leah’s talked about her so far.

If I turn out to be wrong, I’ll be amazed and own it. Like I own that I was wrong about Peter David, above. But it would not be an unjustified wrongness. It would be absolutely justified by my experiences and observations over the past few years.

Which means that I’m not going to give X-Factor or Leah “benefit of the doubt” when history tells me that would be a mistake.

They can say Lorna is “the north star of the team” as much as they want. I’ve seen others say such things only to do the exact opposite. I saw Motomu Toriyama claim he was going to write Aya Brea as a cool mature woman in her 30s in 3rd Birthday, only to write “Aya” as a woman scared of combat who endures and accepts repeated sexual harassment and has her clothes ripped off for a game mechanic argued as “for realism” (despite Aya being sort of like a ghost). Before revealing at the end that it was Eve in Aya’s body, and killing Aya. I could say I’m going to buy every single X-Men comic out there, doesn’t mean I’m actually going to do it.

You can’t expect me to put faith in this book when both Marvel and the writer are unable to acknowledge any of her own actual character history.

New Polaris/Lorna Dane “soundtrack”

In 2017, on Tumblr, I created my own idea of a Polaris “soundtrack” for the character. It was largely constructed in chronological order of her life.

Three years have passed. New songs have come out. And this time, I’m far more eager to create a “soundtrack” that’s more about capturing her essence as I see it via the songs I know and like rather than trying to code songs to her life events.

So let’s begin!

Golden – Halestorm

Ignorance – Paramore

Joan of Arc – In This Moment

Going to Hell – Pretty Reckless

Monster – Stitched Up Heart

Vicious – Halestorm

Turn Off the Light – Kim Petras ft Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

Lightning – Fireflight

White Flag – Bishop Briggs

Nightmare – Halsey

Simmer – Hayley Williams

Control – Garbage

My Tears Flood the Streets – Charlotte Martin

Blindside – Icon for Hire

The Last Hope in a World of Hopes – Temperance

Otherworld – The Black Mages

New book. Skipping. Here’s why.

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.

Havok.

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

https://www.marvel.com/articles/comics/this-april-x-factor-returns

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.

Polaris: Year in Review (2019)

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!

Uncanny X-Men

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…

Fandom

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.

A car paint was made of Lorna for Forza Horizon 4 (a racing video game) less than a week ago.

More fanart, including some of the Magnus family observing Hanukkah. Tattoos. 3D renders and statues.

by Victor Araujo

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.

My Activity

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.

Spirit of Polaris

You can’t kill an idea.

This is said so often that it comes off as cliche. But it means more than that. You can’t kill a soul. You can’t kill a heart. No matter what someone tries to do, there’s a permanence of a high ideal concept which cannot be destroyed, denied, or tarnished. It buries deep and persists no matter how far down bad actors dig to try to yank it out. Even if tiny traces remain, it will continue to play out.

Polaris is more than just a fictional character and the way a company writes her. She’s the heart of what people see and feel from her. She’s everything anyone needs. She’s a comfort to those who need to empathize. She’s an inspiration for those who need a boost in spirit.

Marvel can fuck up. Their fuck-ups will never take away what matters most.

A fan can dream. A fan can make, and imagine, and believe. Those are things Marvel can never take away, no matter how ignorant or regressive they choose to be.

While Marvel’s busy wasting time on power plays, dictating that X character is an omega but Y isn’t, how Q character that’s a pet favorite of theirs can be in everything but A character that people want can’t be in anything… Lorna’s giving people and the world what they need.

Which is so much more important than whether or not some asshole with a title sees what’s really going on. Or respects it at all.

This is why I’ve said the things I’ve said lately. Why my stance is what it is.

Lorna has transcended Marvel. Her value isn’t in if she had her annual cameo this week, or how many panels exist where she gets mansplained to.

I know this because no matter what Marvel tries to do, Lorna is still Lorna. They can’t make me lose sight of her worth and potential. No matter what happens, there will always be at least me. They can’t snuff that flame out. No matter how hard they try.

Mapping MarvelThink

For the fun of it, let’s take a look at Marvel thinking toward Polaris. The “logic” behind certain actions both done and possible, as well as defenses of Marvel behavior (past or potential).

1) “There isn’t enough interest in Lorna to justify using her”

If you take a real look around online, this is just patently false. Interest in Lorna is still high. When Gifted was doing well by her, she was all over the place, managing to garner far more attention and interest than anyone expected. There’s also been a general move in pop culture toward all the things Lorna best exemplifies when used well.

You have to be completely tone deaf about the current state of society to think Lorna has no place or use.

But even without that, Marvel’s not been shy about using and promoting plenty of other characters that don’t have anywhere near the same level of interest in them. Lockjaw got his own miniseries. So did Multiple Man. Marvel even created a miniseries for a brand new character they created only for that miniseries (Worst X-Man Ever). Basically, Marvel’s saying that a brand new character with almost no marketing who they will never use again somehow has more worth and interest than Lorna.

Without Gifted or anything else to go on, the argument would remain that Marvel needs to make at least one real attempt with her before they can safely consign her to the dungeon of nothing. Marvel has not done that. Therefore any argument of “no interest” in her is colossal bullshit.

2) “This fan is saying things we don’t like, so we’ll take it out on their favorite character”

This is in response to the idea that complaining about Marvel mistreating Lorna results in Marvel treating the character poorly, refusing to use her where appropriate or necessary, etc.

There are a lot of fans in the world. Fans have different viewpoints. It’s natural. One thinks something’s good, one thinks something’s bad, one eats cheese wheels all day. But it says something all on its own if Marvel is “punishing” all fans because they don’t like the words and actions of one or a few.

For one, it further demonstrates that they have no respect for Lorna or her worth. If a couple fans’ thoughts are enough to sour them on a whole ass character, they’re doing their jobs wrong and have no business working at Marvel. I manage to not blame Havok for the sins of creatives who have mistreated Lorna for his benefit; you don’t see me saying Havok should be blacklisted from comics because of that history. I recognize the character is separate from things I hate about his usage.

For two, it demonstrates a very clear lack of respect for fans and consumers as a whole. You have however many fans exist in the world who absolutely adore the character and see great things in her.

In the past 10 years, I’ve seen the kind of impact she has. I’ve felt moved by fans who said they have a figurine of her at their desk at work for emotional support. I’ve seen tattoos by people who cherish her enough to have her (or a symbol of her) inked onto their arms or legs. I’ve gotten pissed after learning that racists verbally abused a black Polaris fan for cosplaying as her.

If Marvel is ignoring aaaaallllll of those shows of fandom, all those life experiences, because they’re mad that I or any other fan is calling them out on poor behavior (even if they don’t think I’m valid in what I’m saying), then Marvel is a flat out shitty company. People behind those decisions don’t deserve to be in control of characters that hold so much meaning to fans.

Even if taking the POV of “Marvel can’t dignify fan demands cause they result in more,” it’s hardly dignifying fan demands to use Lorna where necessary. You don’t have to give Polaris a solo book to acknowledge that her time on Genosha was an essential character moment for her and use it in events where Genosha is important.

When you refuse to do the bare essentials because you don’t like one person demanding far more, you’re saying every single fan has no worth in your eyes and you do not respect them in any way.

3) “Her use in <insert old decade> is her best use and we must recapture it”

This is nostalgia talking. Pure and simple. There are certainly many things about Lorna’s history that can and should be used and explored, but it should never be about simply trying to copy-paste a time that some guy really liked when he was growing up. Progress is about moving forward, not looking back and drawing Twitter handles on an old picture.

4) “Fixing decades worth of problems would take too much time and effort”

This has two gaping hole fallacies.

One, it assumes that if you can’t fix every single problem then you shouldn’t attempt to fix anything. In reality, fixing one thing is better than fixing nothing. People of color who have been wronged in the United States will never see full reparations for all the harm done to them, but at least SOME things can be done, however small. Lorna’s situation obviously doesn’t compare, but the same basic logic applies.

Two, we go back to how this amounts to Marvel saying Lorna is a nobody character who doesn’t deserve good treatment. If this were someone like Jean Grey or Invisible Woman, Marvel would trip over themselves to clean up past messes because not doing so very visibly reflects poorly on them. It’s symptomatic of lack of respect for the character – and other characters like her.

5) “Now isn’t the right time, other things/characters take priority”

Okay then, when IS the right time?

Lorna’s existed since 1968. That’s 51 years. Does that mean there has been not a single month out of 612 months that fits as the right time for her? Will her time come 51 years from now? Will it come centuries from now when we’re all dead?

I used to think “Lorna needs X before Y is reasonable to ask for.” Then I saw them give minis to characters like Lockjaw and Multiple Man, and ignore her as part of the Magnus family and try to replace her, and undermine her to promote Havok on Blue and subsequent work.

I’ve learned that if you give Marvel an excuse to hold her back, they will absolutely run with it. An “unreasonable” demand is only “unreasonable” because Marvel thinks she doesn’t deserve that level of respect and likewise doesn’t have enough respect for her fans to pursue it.

This is everything I can think of at time of writing. I will add to this post if anything more comes to mind. Feel free to reach out via Tumblr/Twitter or the contact form on here if you have any I’ve missed.

The Bar

Time for me to admit something.

Many of the times I insist on/demand something for Lorna, I know that in the eyes of Marvel, they consider it “unreasonable.”

That does not mean I do not genuinely feel that way. I mean what I say. I think what I’m demanding is absolutely reasonable. There’s a disparity between what I know is reasonable, and what Marvel – and people who cheerlead and defend them – thinks is reasonable.

But I can’t (and won’t) base what I want and push for based on what Marvel thinks is appropriate and reasonable. Here’s why.

Polaris’ history is one of constantly being underappreciated, misused and misrepresented. The opinion of her at Marvel is very low. The attitude there alternates between thinking she’s good fodder for promoting other characters (mostly men, e.g. Havok) and nothing else, and thinking she’s completely worthless. There have been attempts to replace her with other characters. Multiple times.

What you push for sets a bar. In ordinary, good scenarios, a company would attempt to meet or exceed that bar. Marvel does not do this. They always, always strive to come up short of that bar. My top theories as to why being that they think Lorna doesn’t deserve it, and that they don’t want fans to feel like Marvel will do whatever they want.

If you want Lorna to get something, you have to demand it. Even if you think Marvel won’t go for it. When you do, you have a higher chance of at least getting something that may not be quite what you wanted, but it’s at least closer.

By contrast, if you go with the bare minimum of what you want, the least effort that will satisfy your needs… Marvel is never going to give it. If you want Lorna to lead a team, maybe she’ll get to do it for one story arc. If you want Lorna to be a team member, you might get lucky and see her show up for one arc of a team book as a temp replacement. If you want Lorna to appear in a story arc, you might be lucky if she shows up in one issue. Want her in one issue, maybe she’ll show up as wallpaper in the background.

With Lorna, you have to set the bar high to receive anything. Otherwise you get nothing.

That’s my admission tonight.