Today, we look at how many times Polaris has turned against the X-Men, almost always as a result of brainwashing.
In Drawing Crazy Patterns, I spotlight at least five scenes/moments from within comic book stories that fit under a specific theme (basically, stuff that happens frequently in comics). Note that these lists are inherently not exhaustive. They are a list of five examples (occasionally I’ll be nice and toss in a sixth). So no instance is “missing” if it is not listed. It’s just not one of the five examples that I chose.
Lorna Dane, Polaris, has had an interesting career in the X-Men. She fought against the team in X-Men #50 (by Arnold Drake, Jim Steranko and John Tartaglione) one issue after she debuted, while being manipulated by Mesmero, but she wasn’t really a bad guy there, just confused.
She barely did anything against them, really, and then soon joined the team as a new member (along with fellow new member, Havok).
BRAINWASHED BY THE SHI’AR
After the All-New, All-Different X-Men joined the team, Havok and Polaris left the X-Men to finish their respective educations. Soon after they left, though, they were captured by an agent of the Shi’ar and brainwashed into becoming his agents on Earth. He had them attack the X-Men in X-Men #97 (by Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum and Sam Grainger).
Interestingly, Polaris and Havok were ultimately cured of their brainwashing off-panel sometime between X-Men #107 and #108 (revealed in a comment in X-Men #109). They went back to their reserve X-Men status and continued their studies.
POSSESSED BY MALICE
Their attempts at staying out of things fell apart when the Marauders hunted them down, with Havok barely surviving but Lorna was captured by the Marauders and then possessed by the evil entity known as Malice. Malice/Polaris attacked the X-Men in Uncanny X-Men #221 (by Chris Claremont, Marc Silvestri and Dan Green)…
Eventually, Lorna was cured of Malice’s control of her body, but then had her magnetic powers stolen by the villainous Zaladane (who may or may not be Lorna’s sister. That’s a whole other story). In the process, Lorna fell victim to the Shadow King, who used her as a sort of vessel for him to use his corruption powers. During this period, Lorna gained super-strength. Her powers returned following the death of Zaladane. Lorna then joined X-Factor along with Havok and rekindled their romance.
DRIVEN INSANE BY GRIEF AND REJECTION
After Havok was seemingly killed (in reality, he was sent to another reality), Lorna left X-Factor and eventually went to live on Genosha with Magneto, where her powers helped to boost Magneto’s dwindling abilities. In return, she helped to curb some of Magneto’s harsher tendencies in his leadership of Genosha. At the same time, she discovered that she was actually Magneto’s daughter (in the past, she believed she was but then learned that she was not but now learned that, nope, she definitely WAS).
While she was on Genosha, the island nation of mutants was attacked by Cassandra Nova, who sent Sentinels to wipe out almost the entire population, with millions of mutants killed in minutes. Polaris survived and was overwhelmed with the guilt of surviving (and, of course, also dealing with the trauma of seeing all of these people slaughtered in front of her).
Polaris returned to the X-Mansion with the X-Men and she picked up her relationship with Havok (who had returned from that other reality). They got engaged, but the problem is that while Havok was in a coma after returning from the other reality, the mutant son of his nurse used his powers to connect his mother and Havok’s minds during their sleep and they basically fell in love in their dreams. So while he was still with Lorna (even agreeing to marry her) he had these feelings for Annie. Meanwhile, Lorna was clearly altered by her experiences on Genosha and had become a good deal more ruthless, easily killing some bad guys on a mission.
And then, in Uncanny X-Men #425 (by Chuck Austen and Phillip Tan), when Havok can’t go through with his wedding to Lorna, she does NOT take it well…
She goes on a rampage and almost kills Havok. She is subdued. Charles Xavier helped Lorna work through her trauma and she was allowed to rejoin the X-Men. Unsurprisingly, Havok’s “based on a mutant child’s telepathic powers” romance with his nurse did not work out and he and Lorna tentatively took steps to getting back together, but Lorna was also pursuing a romance with her old flame, Iceman.
BECAME ONE OF APOCALYPSE’S HORSEMEN
Then House of M occurred, with the Scarlet Witch altering reality so that mutants (and specifically her father, Magneto), was now in charge of the world. As Magneto’s other daughter, Lorna was also a member of the House of Magnus and thus, part of the ruling class of Earth. Wolverine learned the truth and he put together a team of heroes to fix reality. Lorna helped fight against them, so I guess you coudl count that as her being a bad guy, too, but I think that that is a stretch, as, again, it was a whole other reality.
In any event, at the end of the story, a frustrated Wanda decided that mutants were the problem and used her powers to try to eliminate all mutants on Earth. Doctor Strange kept her from eliminating ALL of the mutants, but her immediate family all lost their mutant abilities (later on, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver were revealed to NOT be Polaris’ siblings or Magneto’s children, but that will be re-retconned eventually, so I’m not going to ignore it for now).
A depressed and powerless Lorna was then captured by Apocalypse and transformed into the new Pestilence, and was using her new powers to create a meta-plague. This was revealed in X-Men #185 (by Peter Milligan, Salvador Larroca and Jason Keith)…
This one is tricky, though, as she was working with Apocalypse and she was actually behind his ultimate master plan of creating the new plague, but she didn’t actually encounter the X-Men until the story was all over, but whatever, I still count it.
So Lorna then set out to hunt Apocalypse down once she was freed. In the meantime, Havok’s long-lost brother, Vulcan, showed up and caused all sorts of havoc on Earth and then flew into space to get his revenge on the Shi’ar, as well. So Xavier put together a team of X-Men to fly to the Shi’ar Empire to try to help them. Havok and Polaris both joined this team.
In the end, Vulcan ended up taking control of the Shi’ar Empire, and after Xavier and Nightcrawler were sent back to Earth, the remaining X-Men in space became the new Starjammers with the remaining Starjammers (after Havok’s father, the leader of the Starjammers, Corsair, was killed).
BRAINWASHED BY THE GRAD NAN HOLT
Eventually, Rogue, Gambit and Magneto (who now joined the X-Men) headed out to bring the outer space X-Men home. However, in X-Men Legacy #255 (by Mike Carey, Steve Kurth, Craig Yeung, Jay Leisten and Brian Reber), it turns out that Polaris and Havok had been brainwashed by the Grad Nan Holt, an alien race that had been treated as slaves by the Shi’ar and who were now using Polaris and Havok to torture and kill the Shi’ar. When the X-Men tried to stop them, Polaris and Havok turned on them…
In the end, the brainwashing was fixed and Polaris and Havok returned to Earth with the X-Men. Polaris hasn’t turned evil since…but there’s still plenty of time left!
Okay, if anyone else has a suggestion for a future Drawing Crazy Patterns, drop me a line at [email protected]!
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