This was in the issue of Blue put out today.

This is a good final moment for Lorna on the book. Much better than what I thought was her final moment, the Havok-focused one from months ago.

If things had gone better for her use on Blue, this would have been a good lead-in to Lorna leading a new school and team. Take a bit of her experience with Genosha, and her mix of Xavier and Magneto philosophies, and you have something good to work with. Danger would’ve been a good member of a team led by Lorna.

There’s one thing I want to point out concerning Marvel and use of Lorna, and part of the process involves acknowledging one good thing about Blue that I haven’t mentioned much until now.

Out of all pictures of Lorna during her time on X-Men Blue, this is the one I keep seeing most on social media.

One of my big complaints – perhaps biggest – of Lorna’s earlier appearance on X-Men Blue was that it bent over backwards to put “she’s Magneto’s daughter” at the forefront of everything about her. Doing that brought about a lot of problems. History was overlooked, opportunities were missed, etc.

One thing Cullen Bunn did right and well with Lorna on Blue is exemplified in the above image. He actually did take steps to fix the problem of how Lorna’s own identity was getting ignored in earlier issues.

The above image’s usage on social media is the result.

There are various images people could use instead. The page where she’s described only as “daughter of Magneto.” The panel where her memories are used to “redeem” Havok. Both of which I abhored, but even ones I support like Lorna training Angel and Jimmy. Those get less use than what’s above.

Here’s why it gets so much use. The picture acknowledges that Lorna is Magneto’s daughter, but it doesn’t define her as Magneto’s daughter. She’s acknowledged as her own character. She may have things in common with her father, but she has her own independent interests and drives that take precedence over who her dad is, too.

This was something Bunn did right, and it paid off for everyone. If he had done more like this, I would be saying a lot of good things about Blue today and how he turned his use of her around. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened with regard to Havok.

A few days ago, it was confirmed that X-Men Blue is ending, and Bunn is off the X-Men books as he goes to other areas of Marvel. I have a few things to say.

Editorial vs Writer

I’ve seen some people say Bunn kept getting interference from editorial. If that’s true, and if things I’ve complained about concerning his writing happened only because of that interference, then I apologize for as hard as I was on him.

However, I did also repeatedly say that I needed clear signs it was editorial and not him, and I never got those signs, so I had to assume it was primarily Bunn’s choices as a writer. And as such, until I see proof, I have to lean toward the expectation that “editorial got in his way” is more likely fans of Bunn wanting to write off problems as things he had no control over.

Expectations vs Reality

When I originally found out about Bunn, I read the Magneto series both cause knowing Magneto fed into knowing Lorna, and because I hoped Lorna would show up there and get the same care and attention Bunn was giving Magneto. I assumed quality for Magneto would trickle down to quality for Polaris, which led me to imagine all sorts of things could happen.

Not that every story arc or issue would be “about Lorna,” as that would be absurd and greedy. But I expected that when she did show up, she would get some really good stuff out of it.

Instead, most of her presence with Bunn writing her has been what she can do for Magneto or Havok. How Magneto having a daughter can boost his profile. How Havok’s ex can give insight into who he was before inversion. Even Lorna’s big return was really all about how she could benefit those two men. And then, not content with Havok having stolen the sole issue where Lorna could have shone, he was then given a five-issue story arc.

That was not what I expected and hoped for with Bunn when I supported him taking over as her writer. Frankly, I expected editorial to refuse to let her be used. But in a scenario of Bunn getting to use her more than that, I expected great things from him.

I expected scenes of Lorna talking to teen Jean and teen Iceman because they came from a time shortly before they would’ve met teen Lorna. I expected that Lorna and Magneto’s shared Genosha history would be featured prominently. I expected that if Malice was used, Bunn would delve into the vast potential behind it. I even fandommed that perhaps the time travel device Bunn introduced was going to bring teen Lorna in, or that the Sentinels that helped the teen O5 were controlled by Lorna.

I don’t know with 100% certainty why none of that happened. Maybe editorial shot it down. Maybe Bunn didn’t care enough about Lorna as her own character to want to do anything like any of that.

The Overall Takeaway

My overall takeaway is that Blue ending, and Bunn moving on to other areas of Marvel, is… good. At least for Polaris.

Under Bunn, Lorna didn’t really reach any important milestones or development like she got with Peter David – who I also didn’t exactly like writing her, but I came around to him by the end of ANXF as he made real efforts to fix things in response to complaints.

The three things that can be said for Bunn having written Lorna is that she interacted with Magneto, Malice came up again, and she was on a flagship title. But I can’t say he made good use of her, because he didn’t. We learned nothing new. She didn’t achieve anything new. And with the teen O5 going away soon, it feels more and more like he wasted a golden opportunity to tell such amazing stories.

Someone I used to talk to, used to say Lorna needs a writer that will champion her before she’s able to get real use and real attention at Marvel. The impression I got out of what Bunn’s done with Lorna is that her champion wasn’t Bunn. If he was, he would’ve done more with and for her. If editorial resisted, he would’ve fought for her. At the very least, he would’ve said more publicly to show interest in her so fandom could talk to him and he’d have fandom as a bargaining chip.

I don’t want a writer writing Lorna that only sees Lorna as Magneto’s daughter or Havok’s ex. If it’s editorial who sees her that way, I don’t want a writer writing Lorna that isn’t willing to push back against editorial’s misguided ideas of who Lorna is. I want a writer for Lorna that sees her potential and wants to use it.

I wish Bunn the best wherever he goes. If editorial was screwing him over like some fans say they were, I’m glad he’s switching to where editorial can’t do that to him anymore. I thank him for not making things worse for Lorna when he could have. And if he sees her potential some day, or he gets up the will to fight for her to be treated better by Marvel, then I’m open to him writing her again – but with an understanding that I’ll need some convincing that things will be better the next time around.

Covers and solicits for Blue #33 and #34 came out today. These are for August, two months before Lorna’s 50th anniversary.

I have some things to say about assumptions I’ve seen concerning the cover for #34. But first, the cover and solicit for the issue it’s paired with.

X-MEN BLUE #34
CULLEN BUNN (W) • MARCUS TO (A)
Cover by R.B. Silva
• Time-traveling Magneto must team up with the future counterpart X-Men in order to save mutantkind from extinction.
• But in order to do so, will Magneto submit to his darker instincts?
• Don’t miss a major turning point for the Master of Magnetism!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

The solicit for #33 explains Magneto’s gone 20 years into the future, so this is with him still there.

I’ll also have some good things to say after I talk about assumptions.

First, there’s the assumption that this is Polaris on the lower left. It’s a perfectly fair, reasonable assumption given Lorna’s use on Blue and that the costume and hair match.

However, this is Marvel. This is the same company that tried to make Enchantress look like Lorna during Axis, and for the Shadowcat wedding issue last week, made Brand look like Lorna while placing her between two women who just happened to be wearing green dresses. Even though all signs point to Lorna, it’s important to be prepared for the chance Marvel’s doing that on purpose before revealing it’s an entirely different character.

Second, there’s an assumption that this is proof Lorna doesn’t get killed off in upcoming issues and Marvel acknowledges she has a future. For which this assumption has three mistakes.

Mistake #1: Lorna being alive in the future doesn’t mean she doesn’t die in the present. Characters die and come back to life often. This is important because if she gets killed off, Marvel telling us “she’ll be back” means little if they conveniently have her dead in October during the 50th anniversary of her creation.

Mistake #2: The future can change. Just because she’s alive in the future now doesn’t mean she’s promised a return if she’s killed off. 

Mistake #3: If she’s killed off in coming issues, then even if Marvel of today intends to bring her back, plans can change. Someone else could take over and decide to keep her dead.

All in all, it’s nice to be optimistic and hope for good things to happen. Maybe they will. But with Marvel, it’s also important to be prepared for them trying to pull fast ones and steering people toward making assumptions that aren’t true.

I said I’d have some good things to say after I addressed assumptions, so here they are.

This cover is better than the coming cover for Blue #28. If that is Lorna on the lower left corner, Magneto isn’t just standing over her, he’s standing over all of them. It sends a message of Magneto overpowering all of them, not just Lorna.

If that is Lorna, I also really like that it appears the costume she’s wearing will be at least closer to her iconic costume. That’s become a lot more important to me than it already was after Marvel decided to give Havok a book to lead where he gets to wear his iconic costume, paired with the “making Brand look like Lorna” debacle from last week. Those two situations have made me a lot more opposed to the idea of Lorna in a generic team uniform than I used to be.

The glove reminds me slightly of Anka’s idea for a costume redesign, which is the only redesign I’ve seen and liked so far.

I think some people are assuming they see a part of Lorna’s headpiece on the right side, but I think that’s just a portion of cape sticking out. I could assume she’s missing the headpiece she should have cause I’d expect it to poke out, but I’ll wait under the idea that maybe her hair is blocking it.

Someone pointed out to me that volume 6 of the trade paperback for X-Men Blue is collecting only Blue #35 and #36, with speculation that the book ends with #36.

Blue’s release schedule is two issues per month. Having looked at that schedule, #36 would be the second issue of September – meaning it ends right before Lorna’s 50th anniversary in October.

Old, idealistic, optimistic me from 2009 would like to accept fantasies that there’s some big secret plan for Lorna’s anniversary, and would like to believe this is a hint that Marvel will actually acknowledge her value and history in October. That version of me would like to believe Marvel will do something big for her, like announce a solo book, or relaunch Blue with much more of a focus on Lorna’s value and potential than we’ve seen so far.

Current, jaded, pessimistic me – which has been right more often than old optimistic me – expects otherwise. I remember when Pietro was deliberately left off covers of All-New X-Factor while Days of Future Past was in theaters. I remember Brevoort trying to “replace” Lorna in Wanda and Pietro’s lives, first with Enchantress during Axis, then with “Luminous” on Uncanny Avengers.

Jaded me expects that if Blue ends at #36 in September, it’s to keep Lorna out of the comics on the exact month of her anniversary.

Because jaded me has been right more often than optimistic me, I’m deferring to jaded me again. I’ll have to wait until there’s more to go on before a firm conclusion can be made, though. Hopefully we get good news in/about October.

Edit: Though if jaded me’s view is correct, it would also mean Lorna wasn’t killed off in Blue #28/29, which is what I’ve been expecting will happen to her. So, positive note.

Question: Bunn, Treatment of Polaris

I have a question.

I’ve leveled complaints about Bunn and his treatment of Polaris/Lorna Dane for several months. I’ve really picked up with it in the past month, due to Blue #23.

But I’m not getting any pushback. Even when I’ve complained about the worst stuff I’ve ever seen for any character in anything, I’ve had at least some tiny shred of pushback. And a few months back, I did have that with Bunn. I haven’t had it lately though. I’ve only seen people who also see problems with what Bunn’s doing, or who agree with what I’ve been saying.

So my question is this: do you disagree with my complaints? Do you think Bunn’s doing a good or great job with Polaris?

I’m not looking for an argument with this post. I’m not requesting an explanation, though you can give one if you want. I just want to know if there’s support for how he’s treating Lorna that hasn’t been said or that I’m not seeing.

I will admit in advance that if reasons are given, I might say something about those reasons, but it would very likely be in a new post.

Oh hey look, the cover for an upcoming Blue issue reinforces every bad thing I’ve said about Bunn on his view and treatment of Polaris, and adds more weight to arguments he can’t write women at all.

Remember: the cover of a comic is almost always a reflection of the story contained within. They’re trying to sell you on the story with it.

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.