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.

Nothing’s changed

Yesterday, the X-Office at Marvel announced their post-HoX/PoX books and rosters. And…

Nothing’s changed.

The “new era” touted with Hickman is the exact same as everything that came before. I can say this before HoX/PoX even come out for one reason: their treatment of Polaris.

This is where a typical fan in typical fashion would typically assume the only basis I have for making this remark is fanboyism. Allow me to explain.

Marvel has an established corporate culture. Outsiders need not apply. Marvel would like people to think that they are very open-minded, willing to try new things, accepting of different perspectives and suggestions. But the reality is that they are not. Sina Grace recently outlined his struggles with Marvel while he was working there, as one concrete example. And that was with a high-profile character recently touted and publicized in media for his recent reveal as being gay. It’s worse when you dig deeper down to characters traditionally looked down on at Marvel… like Polaris.

In the past, I have seen countless forms of dickery out of Marvel. To go through every single one of them would be (and has been) a post in itself. Today, I am going to focus instead on the biases against Lorna that have been reflected in people who work at Marvel.

A year ago, a fan asked Gail Simone about a Polaris solo. Her response? “Polaris might be a hard sell, but I think a few lady mutants could carry their own book…”

I want to stress that we do not know how Gail feels about Lorna with this – whether she likes or hates Lorna. What we do know, is that as an employee working at Marvel, she thinks a Polaris solo would never happen at Marvel, or that it would be an excruciating uphill climb.

This is echoed in remarks from Jordan White last year.

This came out of a back and forth I was having with him at the time. In his (mistaken) belief, Lorna doesn’t have enough fan demand to sell a book.

Lastly, recently, I found out a Marvel artist viewed Lorna as a “third tier character” from the 90s, in response to a Lorna fan cosplaying as her at a local convention.

That’s three comments from people who work for Marvel that all converge on a central perception: that Lorna is worthless, has nothing to offer, and shouldn’t get much (if any) use – especially not as her own character.

Here’s why this is a problem: Polaris is one of the most high profile underrepresented, underappreciated, misunderstood characters within Marvel’s entire roster of X-Men characters. No, she’s not the only character where these descriptors apply. But unlike other characters, she has a LONG history of mistreatment to go with it, and she has the Gifted version of her breaking out in popularity recently despite all expectations.

When Gifted was first coming out, majority focus of advertising and promos was on Blink. During that time, Marvel put Blink on a team book AND released a new volume of Exiles with her as the leader. But when Polaris became the breakout star instead, they… used her to promote Havok. Twice. Including this cover that makes her look like a trophy for Havok and Magneto to fight over.

Since 2017, most of her use has put her in lesser roles, building up other characters – so far, all of them men. But the main beneficiary has been Havok. In all her appearances except the Uncanny X-Men event (NOT ongoing book), she has been used to promote him in some way. Whether it’s her return to comics getting hijacked, or a kissing image forced into Prisoner X, or releasing a Marvel Tales book with Lorna on the cover but the actual story inside is of Havok.

This treatment of Lorna is traditional. It’s how she’s been mistreated for decades: as if she has no value whatsoever except as a man’s (Havok’s) pet/status booster/helper. If she’s not being used to support Havok, then she goes into limbo, because that’s the only “worth” Marvel culture has seen in her for most of her existence.

And that is the crux of my argument behind why nothing has changed with HoX/PoX and what comes after. Lorna’s absence.

If Lorna was unhampered by old time bullshit biases, her newfound popularity via Gifted would have resulted in not only a meaningful presence in coming events, but a big spot of some kind (leadership, or a solo or mini, etc) to at least test the waters and make a bit of extra cash. Marvel’s argument for not giving characters books has been “they wouldn’t sell,” but Marvel has had no problem giving books to characters like Lockjaw, or Multiple Man, or Chamber, or countless others. Even Strong Guy got a oneshot in the 90s. Lorna has been given nothing.

More importantly, if the X-Men books were going through any kind of real change, part of that process would involve seeing where they have done poor work in the past and making amends for it. Spotting characters long overdue for a fair shot and giving them that fair shot. Finding important events and history that have gone ignored for far too long, sometimes decades, and bringing them back and revisiting them.

Polaris has all three in spades. The negative attitude toward her at Marvel alone is proof of this. The poor treatment she’s received across decades has become so ingrained in Marvel’s corporate culture that they can’t see her potential, and dismiss and downplay fan interest. Interest, I will add, that has led to countless pieces of fanart, fanfic, cosplays, full-fledged game mods, and so on. I even made a Polaris minicomic (commissioned Mlad for art, written by me) for her 50th anniversary. A character with no fandom does not get this level of fan activity.

It is also important to add within this that both Matt Nix for Gifted and Chuck Austen on Uncanny X-Men in the 00s originally planned to put Lorna in a “token girlfriend” role, but radically changed their plans when they actually got to know her. When they put some real thought into Lorna, really dug into who she is, Lorna’s popularity soared.

So this is the summary. The lack of any meaningful presence for Lorna in HoX/PoX means they haven’t put any thought into her. If they haven’t put any thought into her, it means they haven’t done so for the franchise as a whole either. Putting deep thought into the X-Men franchise as a whole would’ve inevitably turned up the need for a serious overhaul in how they view and treat Lorna given her history and recent events. She would not have been the only character to come out of the woodwork with this need, but she would’ve been one of the big ones.

If nothing is changing for Lorna, then nothing is changing for X-Men. It’s that simple.

This is not a prediction of the success or failure of HoX/PoX or what comes after. It’s an assessment of what will come regardless of the outcome.

My final point. There has been a hell of a lot of hype surrounding HoX/PoX about how it’s supposedly a huge revolution for the X-Men franchise. How it’s supposed to change everything we know. To which I have two things to mention.

It’s evident that X-Men is intended by Marvel to make a huge comeback from the past decade of Marvel undermining it due to their spat with Fox over the film rights. In video game terms, this makes HoX/PoX the equivalent of the most important AAA game being released by a major video game publisher for the year.

You know what happens in Japan with such games? Famitsu gives it near-perfect scores. Doesn’t matter how good or bad it actually is, Famitsu will score it highly because they know it’s too important for the company to assess properly. The same goes for most publication style reviews. Only exceptions are cases like the original FF14 release, where they’re so bad that calling them out is a near necessity.

Writers, artists, etc working in the industry also have a vested interest in going along with what Marvel wants people to think. Play nice, and you stay on Marvel’s good side. Stay on their good side, you have a higher chance of getting gigs.

Of course, not every reviewer, writer, etc is going to behave this way. It would be asinine and insulting for me to say that. Many will speak highly and genuinely believe it. This is where hype comes in. Hype has a tendency to make feelings stronger than normal. I’ve seen it countless times, as initial hype for a game gives way to apathetic response once the hype is gone. Huge Marvel fans who want to believe Marvel is the best will see what Marvel releases exactly how Marvel wants it to be seen. Actual response by non-hardcore fans will be much different, and even hardcore fan attitudes will change somewhat once the shine of hype is worn away.

I’ve seen this play out with various Marvel comics already, by the way. Where fans of a writer will say bad depictions are perfect, or haters will say great depictions are awful, but when it’s been out for a while, the real views rise to the top.

In the end, I could always be wrong. I might be missing something and not realize it. I don’t know what I don’t know. But this is what I expect based on all the evidence I’ve seen – and my sense of Marvel has gotten much keener in the past 2 years than it was any time before.

Polaris solo – ideas and options

Hi everyone! Yes, it’s been a long ass time since I wrote a WordPress blog post. I’ve either been tweeting, posting on boards, felt it was better represented in a Tumblr post, or did certain other things of no mention. 🙂

I was also busier (emotionally, mentally) in my offline life than usual. The stuff that made me busy is gone, so I’m freed up for more of this again.

Over a year or two ago, I talked to someone in the comics industry about the idea of a Polaris solo. I’m deliberately not naming them because I don’t want to risk bad comments sent their way, especially as I know they meant well and would’ve said what they said regardless of who they were talking about.

Anyway, this someone said that they thought a solo (or rather, a solo pitch) could only be successful if there was an underlying “core” unique philosophy that would really stand out and carry the book. They felt that one of Lorna being a champion of mutants post-Genosha wasn’t unique enough from other X-Men. I’d obviously say otherwise, but I can understand why they would think that as an outsider to Lorna fandom. How she differs is hard to summarize, best handled in execution of story.

Since then, I’ve occasionally tried to write posts like this but tried to make it fit closer to What was asked of there. I’m able to write this post for one reason: I’m ditching that “prerequisite.”

Lorna’s poor treatment for most of her history is built off following Marvel expectations and code. Playing ball as Marvel would have it played always, ALWAYS holds her back. So I’m not going to do that. I’m throwing out what could be done for a Lorna solo in free form, sharing everything that would make it successful in the right hands.

And I make this post knowing that there’s no way current Marvel would ever give Lorna a solo book. They’re too biased against her. They could have a million guaranteed sales for a Polaris solo and they’d refuse. With no chance they’ll make one, there’s no risk that I might accidentally say things that would keep them from making one.

Characters

I strongly believe the key reason the Scarlet Witch solo had such poor numbers was because it failed to utilize (or rather, Marvel aggressively barred) Wanda’s meaningful connections getting play.

Lorna’s solo success would come in part from stories told with other characters. Mostly ones that are actually relevant to her. Occasionally, ones that she hasn’t interacted with before.

  • Jean Grey
  • Iceman
  • Scarlet Witch
  • Quicksilver
  • Magneto
  • Crystal
  • Luna
  • Danger
  • Black Cat
  • Professor X
  • Nurse Annie
  • Wolfsbane
  • Rachel Summers
  • Random
  • Zaladane
  • Malice
  • X-23
  • Captain America and/or Iron Man
  • Red Skull

This is just a list of what I could think of as characters with potential for stories with Lorna. The one thing I’ve learned from writing fics for over 15 years is, when you’re really in the zone, you go places you wouldn’t expect – and one story can suddenly spawn another you weren’t expecting based on where it went. I have some fics that I expected to be self-contained and I ended up writing multiple chapters.

I’ll get into some stories I’ve thought of with some of these characters below – along with ideas for brand new ones not tied to those characters.

You will notice I left Havok (and Cyclops) out completely. A Polaris solo is only going to be good and succeed if Havok is kept the hell away from it. Even though there would be other character interactions, the solo’s primary goal is to make the most of Lorna, what she has to offer, and all those bits about her that have gone unused for too long. Havok has held her back for decades, and interacting with him has been overplayed as hell. His involvement would only hurt the solo.

Cyclops could still be good for interaction. I mainly left him off because I expect any dynamic between Lorna and him would lead some to expect Havok to be at least mentioned. And he shouldn’t be.

Storylines

You do, of course, need storylines. It can’t be a character ambling around in random scenes that go nowhere. So here’s storylines I’ve thought of.

  • Retelling of X-Men #49-50 all from Lorna’s POV
  • Pre-X-Men high school issue(s), showing why she dyed her hair, seeing her foster parents, etc
    • Good opportunity to introduce a new character that then figures into present day events
    • Sometimes her powers act up in moments of stress, out of her awareness (e.g. “why isn’t the TV working?”)
  • Malice possessing Lorna again, BUT with a very heavy empathetic toward Lorna POV
    • Multi-issueSee who Lorna is by how people respond to her acting “OOC,” and how Malice is able to exploit their faith in Lorna
    • Also see INSIDE Lorna’s head, as she fights Malice from within; backdoor way of also seeing old events and how she feels about them
  • Anti-Apocalypse cult; Lorna dealing with them
    • I imagine this as a flashback, pre-space story; see her fighting them, saving people from getting killed by their reckless attacks, integrating in the culture to not stand out and learning from it, etc
    • Alternately, modern day setting, could be a chance to do something with Dust
  • Zaladane returns, trying to ruin Lorna’s life again
    • Good opportunity to restore the twins as Lorna’s siblings, and end of this storyline could segue into storylines with them
    • IMO Zaladane could be ultimately revealed as Lorna’s sister on her mother’s side
  • Lorna and Wanda dealing with consequences of M-Day
    • Lorna got REALLY screwed over by losing her powers on M-Day; IMO they could fight it out, and ultimately come to a point of catharsis that revives and deepens their sister bond for future stories
  • Serval Industries: what happened to it?
    • Lorna’s eye cam still exists; could do things with that
  • Status update with Nurse Annie and Carter
    • Don’t have a lot of thoughts on what ELSE could be done here; maybe tie in with other comics’ stories.
    • Would also be a good time for Lorna to apologize for blaming Nurse Annie for things that were not her fault during Austen’s run; Havok not named of course
  • Red Skull payback
    • Depends on where Red Skull is in things now. I’m mainly thinking about Axis, how he exploited Genosha’s dead, Lorna finally getting a chance to kick his ass over it
  • Auntie Lorna helps Luna as she’s growing up!
  • Polaris and Black Cat on a heist. That’s it. That’s the idea.
    • You can thank Secret Wars: House of M for this.
  • Polaris and X-23 shut down a shitty clandestine government project
    • Built off X-23’s history (of course) and how the government at one point wanted to turn Lorna into a weapon in their arsenal against Magneto
  • Lorna and Iceman finally get together about his coming out
    • Insights into their history way back to when she first joined the X-Men
  • Revisit Genosha, relive the final moments in detail and see what life was like before the genocide (Lorna picking up residuals)

And that’s all the ideas I can think of right this second. I may edit this post to add others!

When I was trying to think of this in a “core philosophy” way, I was taking it as more of a world tour thing. Lorna going to different countries, exposing herself to different cultures, all to better understand all the walks of life mutants come from and better protect and help them. And maybe thatt could happen here. But there’s a hell of a lot as it is able to be touched on as said even without the “world tour” component.