Lorna Dane was one of the in-between X-Men. Characters shoe horned into the book, as it was in between finding its voice. That first in-between period came after Roy Thomas tried to turn it into a straight superhero book, Steranko came aboard to boost the visuals and they just eventually waited for cancellation. That’s not to say that a green haired lady who spent decades with daddy issues wasn’t interesting. It’s just that she showed up at a bad time in the X-Mythos.
Lorna didn’t even get the code name of Polaris until nearly a decade after the character’s creation. For awhile she just went by her given name or the Magnetrix name that John Byrne pulled out of his ass for “X-Men: The Hidden Years”. Her first big mission with the team involved Mesmero convincing her to idolize a Magneto robot built by Machinesmith (aka Starr Saxon aka Gingerbot 3000). She bonded with Iceman after that incident, but she eventually met Alex Summers and began a tepid love affair that lasted decades. Seriously, they spent most of the 70s and 80s just functioning as a sane counterpoint to all of the Scott and Jean drama.
Chris Claremont then decided to toss Polaris a bone during the Outback era, by having her become psychically bonded by a Marauder named Malice. Unbeknownst to either party, Mr. Sinister knew that they couldn’t separate without killing one or the other. But, I’m getting ahead myself. Let’s take a look back at Alex Summers and Lorna Dane. They got their degrees, ran off to New Mexico and live alone. Occasionally, they would help fight Arcade and rescue the X-Men. That was about it for 17 years. I really thought there was going to be more meat there.
When I first started reading X-Men comics, Polaris was possessed by the entity known as Malice. Malice led to some weird adventures and helped to carry Polaris through Inferno and into the Muir Isle Saga. Basically, Polaris gets kidnapped by a half sister who is also inexplicably tied to Magneto. The half sister known as Zaladane screws with her powers causing Polaris to lose her magnetism and become super strong/fast. This lasts until the Shadow King takes notice of the power instability on Muir Isle where Polaris had been visiting Dr. Moira McTaggert to figure out why her powers were going bonkers.
This leads to an attack against the Reavers which destroys most of Freedom Force including long-term favorite character Destiny. With the distraction, the Shadow King takes possession of Polaris and begins another two year long storyline that Claremont became a fan of by the end of his run. By the time the Shadow King was destroyed, Polaris got her magnetic powers back. However, no one really bothered to address what happened with Malice. Claremont left that noise to Peter David to solve. Dude was busy working on Sovereign 7.
The X-Factor years are where I first started gravitating towards the character. Lorna Dane finally had a chance to shine and function as a feistier alternative to Jean Grey. Polaris was pretty new to most readers, so X-Factor writer Peter David had a lot of room to work with the character. However, he had to introduce the team of full of supporting and B-list mutants. All the while, Polaris still had the nasty Marauder known as Malice hanging around her head. Cue Mr. Sinister and his new team of mutants dubbed The Nasty Boys. Apparently, Mr. Sinister was a big fan of WCW while recuperating from being vaporized during Inferno.
Well, Mr. Sinister destroys Malice and Polaris is finally back to normal for the first time in years. This leads to X-Factor becoming more of a government strike force, Alex going fake rogue and then Alex seemingly being killed in an airplane explosion. Polaris starts hanging out with the X-Men again only to be kidnapped by Skrulls working for Apocalypse, since she was destined to be one of the Twelve that would destroy Apocalypse. She teams up with Magneto and beats back Apocalypse. Polaris decides to shack up with Magneto and his followers on the new mutant haven of Genosha where everything is sunshine and smalls. Then, Cassandra Nova killed 99.7% of Genosha’s population with a Sentinel fueled blitzkrieg attack.
Lorna Dane’s relationship with Havok has been complicated. By the time that Alex was brought back into the X-Men as a comatose semi-vegetable, Lorna was on the warpath. Apparently, she fought Alex was making coma fueled goo-goo eyes at his caretaker Annie. Annie and the recently awakened Alex tried to fight off Lorna, but ultimately the Juggernaut how to intervene as the voice of Reason. That’s right, kids. That’s where magnetic powers lead you. That and the buried memory that Magneto is your father. Which apparently Magneto confirmed on Genosha a few days before Cassandra Nova went super powered Hitler Bin Laden all over it.
Polaris was also one of the few survivors of Cassandra Nova’s attack on Genosha. Professor X worked with her a great deal after the attacks, but this was interrupted by Polaris being turned into the horseman Pestilence and her attempts at overthrowing the Shiar Empire. That last part was cool as Alex’s brother Vulcan had made the Shiar go crazy and she was teaming up with the X-Men to set things right. Now, she was back to being a full fledged mutant super heroine that wanted to get back into Alex’s graces. Alex was somewhere between meh and uncaring.
The connections to Magneto have always been a sore spot. However, recent attempts to stabilize the family connection have paid off. Quicksilver, Polaris and The Scarlet Witch function a closer unit. Quicksilver and Magneto both accept Polaris as a relative and Quicksilver is fond of checking in on her. Even Havok is having him do it without Polaris realizing it. There has been no mention of Apocalypse restoring her mutant powers after she lost them during M-Day. But, I guess people are now wanting to move further away from “House of M”. I don’t blame them, I’m just bringing it up for its point in history. Even if it was the first time we saw a group shot of Magneto recognizing her as one of his children.
Currently, Polaris is the leader of X-Factor. The rights to the team name were sold to Serval Industries by Jamie Madrox. In return, Serval placed nanobots in Polaris’s right eye that allow them to record and sell whatever footage she captures in battle. While the implication of a business owning its personal mutant combative team are dire, the All-New X-Factor team has been fun to watch. I just wish the art was a smidge more consistent and we go to see more about how stable Polaris has become for a constantly toyed around Mistress of Magnetism.