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.

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.


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.

X-Men Blue #11 Thoughts

It’s that time again. I’m going broader this time. Saying thoughts about the book as a whole too.

In all honesty, I’m pretty bored with the book. The primary reason I read it is because Polaris is on it.

There’s just flat out too much emphasis on alternate universe characters. Way, way, way too much. Bunn takes extra time to explain who these characters are this time, but it doesn’t really matter. Most people are going to think there’s no real point cause they aren’t going to matter after Blue. Just look at the three AU mutants that showed up on All-New X-Factor #2, as part of Quicksilver’s story. If they’ve been up to anything since 2014, I have no idea what it even is.

In the hierarchy of comic book characters, AU characters are considered pointless unless you’re really deeply committed to a specific character. They’re not the “real,” 616 versions of these characters.They’re going to go away and be completely irrelevant some day. Rachel Grey/Summers works because she’s the child of two core X-Men, there’s no 616 counterpart to her, and she was one of the early ones. Characters like this Colossus knight, Blood Storm and Jimmy don’t have that.

AU characters work for brief arcs. They work for entirely self-contained stories. They don’t work as the core theme of a committed ongoing book. They’re a pretty good example of the pitfalls of being a hardcore fan and making comics. Things you geek about may be things casual readers don‘t really care about.

It also pisses off a LOT of people who are fans of characters that aren’t getting used. All these storylines about AU characters are storylines that COULD have been traded for ones featuring characters that are largely ignored. As a Polaris fan, if she wasn’t being used in any comics and this was happening, I’d be absolutely pissed. I’d be pointing at X-Men Blue as evidence of Marvel being so awful that they think even temporary AU characters are more deserving of use.

If this looks in any way like an attack on X-Men Blue, then I just want to emphasize that’s not my intent. I’m just trying to explain what a lot of fans must be thinking and feeling even if they don’t outright say it. The first step to making sure things work out well is to know where a problem is so it can be fixed.

I also generally get the feeling Bunn is uncomfortable with the fluffy happy teen O5. I get the feeling he’s more comfortable with dark, rough, edgy characters and storylines, and he’s trying to bring more of that into the book cause it’s his natural element.

This isn’t a dig on him. All writers are more comfortable with some scenarios than others. It’s why a lot of writers fall back into old habits of how to treat characters, what storylines they pursue, etc. Bunn’s comfort area is dark and rough stuff. There’s nothing wrong with having a comfort area. But it does mean doing stuff outside it is more difficult, and there’s a tendency to try to bring in comfortable stuff to make it easier.

On to other things.

The Edgar Rice Burroughs reference is both good and bad. It’s a reference that makes sense for Jean Grey to make given her original time period. I get the impression Bunn is having fun with the writing there, and that’s always a good thing. On the other hand, it’s a reference most people aren’t going to catch. I actually had to look up who Edgar Rice Burroughs is to understand the reference, and I think I’m atypical in a willingness to do that. This is a case where I think a different reference, even if it was a modern one, would’ve worked better.

Jean Grey showing more variety with her powers is good here, between hallucinations and the TK bumpers. I know some people have complained about her not being creative enough with her powers. This issue showed she can do more than telepathy and throwing things around.

On that note, would just like to note as a Polaris fan that Lorna could do the same things if Marvel was willing to acknowledge the full extent of what can be done with electromagnetism. Just throwing that out there.

The line “lemonade from lemons.” Entirely personal thought horning in, I would’ve liked ‘demonade from demons’ more. There’s nothing wrong with the original line. It’s perfectly fine. I just felt it could’ve used some playfulness.

Also, Jean asking Scott what’s wrong toward the end. This is probably nitpicking. I know Jean explains about how they need to make mental partitions and all, and reading between the lines, I’m sure this was a sign of Jean setting one up to avoid picking up Scott’s thoughts. It still irked me and felt like she should’ve known anyway.

Now for a couple Polaris-specific things.

The vents (or whatever the word is) they’re in, I feel Lorna in particular has much more that she’d contribute to it given how much loss and pain she’s endured. In all honesty, I doubt that will be acknowledged. Everyone at Marvel likes to pretend she’s a white as snow Xavier type that’s never endured any trauma or suffering. I don’t know if it’s executive/editorial mandate (probably is) to ignore the core of who Lorna is, or if it’s various creative types doing it, but it’s annoying and I don’t expect it to change here. It’d be really nice for things to work otherwise.

As far as Lorna (and Magneto, and Danger) having been beaten by Madelyne Pryor and them, it’s fine here. Nothing wrong with characters getting beaten by other characters, and I appreciate that it happened off panel so there’s no arguments about it. But, general warning: Polaris (and the others, really) being beaten like this should be rare. Do it too much and it not only makes a mockery of the characters, but for this book, it raises the question of how they can even pretend to be in a position to mentor/teach the O5. Jean and Cyclops at least got out alive, after all. What do they have to teach the O5 if they can’t protect themselves and need rescuing all the time?

Lastly, Blood Storm. I’ll just get it out in the open: I know she’ll be sticking around. I hope Bunn is better about having Polaris and any version of Storm on the same team/book together than Claremont was. I’m a lot more open to Storm and Lorna interaction than with Havok. I’m willing to give it a shot cause the hate-a-thon got dropped after Claremont left, and more emphasis was put on Storm’s value in her own right than in tearing down Lorna to do it. But, I’m still cautious on this point.

All I’ve got to say for now.

X-Men Blue #9 Thoughts

Thoughts time. Cliff notes before in-depth.

1) It was good. I’ll continue reading Blue and MIGHT get the physical copy of this issue.

2) It turned out much better than I expected given what I saw in #8 and everything leading up to it.

3) I don’t regret any of what I said after #8. Every word of it was true to what I saw. But I’m glad what I expected to happen didn’t happen.

4) It’s not lost on me that Marvel deliberately buried view of it on their digital store so that it’s not only not a highlight, but literally the very last book listed for sale today.

Now for my thoughts.

I still have a problem with the use of “daddy’s little” before Mistress of Magnetism. 
Its phrasing basically takes a title unique to her – Mistress of Magnetism – and frames it as if it’s something she only gets to have because Magneto’s her father. As if she would be stripped of it without Magneto.

To me, that comes off as a dig on any complaints about making the entire focus of her cliffhanger appearance in #8 on the men in her life. This could have been a big problem for me if things were really bad elsewhere, but thankfully things got better.

I liked Lorna forcing Jean to go rescue the others. It serves as a refutation of the idea that Lorna can’t fight her own battles or that she’s not as capable as Jean. This is important, since historically Lorna has been used to make the others look good at her expense. This issue thankfully doesn’t make that mistake, and also doesn’t drag Jean through the mud to make the point either.

The art is, of course, amazing. Glad they’re using this specific version of Lorna’s costume too.

Lorna interacting in any way with Havok was a huge, huge, huge red flag for me coming into this issue – and why I expected it to be a colossal disaster. Fortunately, their interaction was very brief and it won’t be something that persists issue after issue.

The biggest risk with anyone writing any of their relationship is ultimately a matter of time. The more panels and time spent on it, the greater the risk Lorna will get screwed over for Havok’s benefit. This was mercifully brief enough to avoid that outcome. Which is great. I came into this expecting most of the issue to be their fight.

Which, by the way, is another good thing here. I was expecting their interaction to be all about their relationship and how much Havok supposedly means to Lorna and blah blah blah, all the horrid things. Instead, Havok provided actual insight into who Lorna is as her own character. He said things that didn’t make it look like Lorna’s identity revolved around him. Some people might have been tempted to do that thinking it would show Havok’s ego and possessiveness, but it would’ve been a huge mistake that damaged perception of Lorna and her potential. So credit to Bunn for avoiding that trap.

The dialogue when Jimmy attacks the guards is really amusing. Makes me think of the play on 60s Batman sound effects that I saw out of Batman and Harley Quinn on Monday.

I also get this overall feeling that the dynamic between Polaris and Danger will be a lot better in X-Men Blue than it was in All-New X-Factor. And I also get the sense that things may turn out good between Lorna and Briar.

I think Bunn’s getting into the groove of the book now, too. The humor is more on point and comes off more natural.

I’ve softened up a lot on my attitude since X-Men Blue #8 specifically because Bunn started talking about Polaris and responding to questions. I don’t expect or demand that he rave endlessly about her or anything like that, but being willing to talk about her and show at least some interest is crucial IMO. It shows the person is putting some thought into her. As such, it becomes easier to put more faith into the notion of good intentions – that even if something looks bad, the writer at least meant well. And now it’s not words alone, but an actual issue to back the words up.

At the end of this issue, I do actually get a sense that future issues will explore Polaris as her own character and not just as Magneto’s daughter. I hope that sense is correct.

So, I end with a dual-pronged deal. This issue was good. Much better than I expected. I intend to keep reading it, and I think there’s a lot of potential and opportunities here. I get the feeling that future issues will do better than the bad start of #8.

But… I can’t bring myself to say “I look forward to future issues” either. Especially since the last few pages tease the idea that there might be more forced interaction between Polaris and Havok in the not too distant future. They’ve only been kept apart for 6 years, if I willingly ignore Havok’s appearances and interference in All-New X-Factor (2014). Blue #8 and #9 alone was already way too much time, way too soon, for them to be interacting.

I really don’t think I can overstate the negative impact that having Polaris interact with Havok had on my ability to trust the potential good of Lorna on X-Men Blue. It’s like driving after being in a horrible car crash. It doesn’t matter how stable the car is, how clear the roads are, how attentive you are to any hazards. You still keep expecting to get hit hard any minute.

That’s what touching on their relationship for Lorna’s introduction on this book was to me: scraping against my car when I haven’t had enough time to just simply drive without incident. I expected a massive wreck and it didn’t happen – but how do I know one isn’t coming the next time I drive? Or the next? Or the next?

All in all: I do encourage people to read this issue. I hope you enjoy it. I wish I could’ve done so. My reaction may not be yours.