TV audiences are currently getting their introduction to a live action Lorna Dane courtesy of FOX’s new series The Gifted, and the mutant Polaris is already in a precarious position. Imprisoned for using her abilities, she’s not exactly having an easy time of it on the show. The Gifted, however, has nothing on Lorna’s comic book history.
Even before Lorna took on the codename Polaris-- even before she met the X-Men for that matter-- her life was full of one tragedy after another. She was a frequent kidnap victim, targeted by numerous villains thanks to her heritage (being the daughter of a supervillain like Magneto comes with some drawbacks) and her skill set. She was also constantly betrayed by people she thought she could trust, even her own family.
Lorna couldn’t even catch a break when comic book writers created alternate timelines and other universes that featured the character. Bad luck followed her whether she was a member of the X-Men or not.
Just how much bad luck Lorna will have in The Gifted remains to be seen, but the show has plenty of comic book predicaments to borrow from, and we’ve got a rundown of the 17 Worst Things To Happen To Polaris.
17 Malice Bonded With Her
Though Lorna Dane was introduced nearly 200 comic book issues before she was introduced to the psionic villain Malice, Lorna didn’t spend time as a full member of the X-Men. If she had more time with the X-Men and more training, maybe she wouldn’t have found herself captured or under the effect of someone else’s mind control so often.
Malice, a psionic entity recruited by Mister Sinister to become part of his Marauders, was one of the many villains to get their hook into Polaris. Malice fused her energy with Polaris in order to control her, forcing Polaris to battle the X-Men.
Of course, bonding with Polaris wasn’t exactly pleasant for Malice either. With their energies combined, it became nearly impossible for Malice to find a new host until, one day, she also bonded with Havok, Polaris’ boyfriend, and attempted to kill her former host. Talk about holding a grudge.
16 Stripped Of Her Magnetic Powers
It wasn’t just standard villains that were out to get Lorna; Lorna’s extended family were also responsible for many of the tragedies to befall her in the comics.
In one memorable storyline, not long after her bonding with Malice, she was whisked away to a dimension in Marvel Comics known as the Savage Land. There, a woman named Zaladane, or as she claimed, Zala Dane, seeked to claim Lorna’s abilities for her own. She hooked Lorna up to a mysterious device and used it to strip her off her magnetic abilities, transferring them to herself.
As it turned out, Zaladane claimed to be Lorna’s sister, though just how she ended up in the Savage Land or the extent of her connection to Lorna’s family was never brought up. During the experience, Lorna activated a secondary mutation, allowing her to grow in size and strength, though those abilities eventually faded as Lorna gained her old power set back.
15 Captured By Mesmero
Lorna Dane’s first introduction to comic book audiences involved her traveling cross-country in a trance caused by Mesmero. Lorna didn’t even know she was a mutant when Mesmero decided to use a machine called the psyche-generator to lure mutants to him.
In addition to Lorna being compelled to travel against her will, Mesmero also used the machine to activate her mutation, removing the mental blocks that had been placed on her as a toddler and planned on making her Queen of the Mutants. Behind this scheme? None other than longtime X-Men villain Magneto.
While Lorna’s world was still reeling at the revelation that she had been forced across country and that she was a mutant, Magneto also revealed that he was her father, further confusing her as to which side of the conflict she should align herself with. Ultimately, she chose the X-Men.
14 Controlled By Erik The Red
As Lorna took a break following her introduction to the X-Men and went to school to pursue a degree, but she couldn’t escape the bad guys. A member of the Shi’ar Intelligence known as Erik the Red began controlling her.
Lorna and her boyfriend Alex were both controlled by the Shi’ar Intelligence officer and pitted against their friends, the X-Men. The goal was the assassination of Charles Xavier, and though that didn’t happen, Erik the Red still kidnapped the duo and took them into space when they failed to defeat the X-Men. Eventually, Professor Xavier was able to help them escape the mind control.
The silver lining to this particular experience? Lorna got herself a new codename. Up until this time, Lorna hadn’t settled on what to call herself. She’d gone by Magnetrix is in the past, but didn’t like it. Erik the Red called her Polaris, and it stuck.
13 Nanobots Implanted In Her Eye
Polaris also experienced her share of betrayals by people she could trust, not just those who entered her life out of the blue.
When Lorna was no longer an active member of the X-Men, she spent time as the team leader for X-Factor, an offshoot of the other X-teams. Her team was a little different though in that the team actually belonged to a corporation and was responsible for protecting a business rather than other mutants.
As it turned out, Lorna couldn’t trust her own boss as he had surgery performed on her without her consent. Specifically, he had nanobots inserted into one of her eyes so that he could see everything that she saw. The surgery was performed while she slept and she was none the wiser. Creepy.
12 A Gateway For The Shadow King
After Polaris temporarily lost her magnetic abilities thanks to her sister, her secondary mutations had an odd effect. In addition to her increase in strength, she was apparently a nexus -- though not one for energy, but for emotion.
Polaris was the gathering point of negative emotion, and considering the amount of pain in her life, and the mental health issues she faced throughout the comics, it’s no surprise that someone who fed on anger and fear decided to use her. When the Shadow King discovered that she was a nexus for negative emotions, he decided she made the perfect gateway.
The Shadow King was able to use Polaris to travel to the physical world from the astral plane, increasing negative emotions all over the world as a result. It was following the battle where the X-Men defeated the Shadow King that Polaris gained her magnetic abilities back and her secondary mutation vanished.
11 Abandoned By Havok
Much of Lorna’s comic book history involves her dating fellow X-Man Havok, and the two even joined up with X-Factor together. Their relationship hasn’t always been smooth sailing, though, and it was rocky enough for Lorna to believe he’d abandon her with nothing but a note.
While acting as the leader of the X-Factor team, and while also being tested as the government’s secret weapon against an attack from Magneto, Polaris wasn’t entirely sure where she stood with Havok. The two were on-again-off-again so much that, when he was kidnapped and a note was forged, Polaris believed what it said.
The note detailed that her former boyfriend decided to leave X-Factor because he needed time away from Polaris, playing right into her abandonment and trust issues. She didn’t discover that he had actually been kidnapped until he attacked the team.
10 Betrayed By Sabretooth
Following Havok “leaving” the X-Factor team, Polaris found herself leading a group of people she didn’t really know very well, partly because the government conscripted some mutants into joining-- like Sabretooth and Mystique-- who ultimately, couldn’t be trusted.
At this point in X-Men history, both Sabretooth and Mystique had spent most of their time on the page as villains, and Polaris had gone up against them in a few fights. As they joined X-Factor in a government deal, Polaris started to question her own leadership skills and just what she was doing.
Her doubts were well founded as Sabretooth ended up betraying his new teammates. Polaris didn’t escape the betrayal unscathed either as she wound up spending a long time recuperating from the injuries she sustained while fighting him.
9 Held Prisoner On Another Planet
Lorna, after being rescued from a group holding her prisoner yet again, became part of a team to battle the villain Vulcan in outer space. While the team of X-Men characters do make it to a big showdown, and Polaris helps save her friends, she ends up left behind on an alien world, and, you guessed it, imprisoned.
Following their fight with Vulcan, Polaris actually joins up with the cosmic team called the Starjammers. She spends time fighting the bad guys with them, and their aim is to destroy Vulcan once and for all. Unfortunately for Polaris, she ends up captured by Vulcan.
Vulcan doesn’t just hold her prisoner though. He also keeps her sedated so that he can study her. It’s Havok, along with some of the Starjammers he joined up with, who eventually frees her so she can get out of her prison - which also happened to be hidden underwater.
8 Framed For Killing A Dozen People
In the Ultimate universe in the comics, Lorna wasn’t a member of the X-Men or X-Factor, but was instead, a member of a mutant peacekeeping group led by Emma Frost, the sometimes villainous White Queen in the prime universe. Lorna couldn’t escape tragedy in the Ultimate universe either though.
As a teenager, Lorna participated in a rescue mission, and was framed for the deaths of a dozen people. The claim was that her powers had been used to kill the victims, and she was taken into custody, imprisoned with Magneto. There was no love lost between the two, though, as Magneto used her as bait, beating her nearly to death in order to lure Havok to their cells so he could escape.
Lorna was eventually cleared of all charges, but she was then killed in an explosion.
7 Held In A Breeding Pen
In the mid-'90s, an event took over Marvel Comics, replacing the current continuity with an alternate timeline in which Professor Xavier was killed and the supervillain Apocalypse attacked the planet a decade before he did in the normal timeline. This change led to catastrophic events across the board, but Polaris definitely got the short end of the stick.
Polaris, unlike many of the characters who comic book readers knew so well, wasn’t part of a resistance force fighting against Apocalypse, and she wasn’t one of the mutants in his employ either. Instead, she was one of the inhabitants of a breeding pen, an enclosure where humans and mutants alike were experimented on.
Even when she exists in alternate timelines, villains manage to put Polaris in a cage.
6 Captured By Sentinels
The Sentinels have existed in Marvel Comics almost as long as mutants have. Debuting 14 issues into the original X-Men series, the Sentinels were presented as robot-like entities that hunted down mutants. Polaris met one shortly after her comic book debut.
Polaris had only been aware of her abilities for a handful of issues before a Sentinel recognized her as a mutant. She was targeted by the second version of the Sentinel to land on the page -- one that could actually adapt to mutant abilities used against it.
The Gifted has also brought a version of this story to life only a few episodes into the new live-action series. Polaris has been captured by the government group called Sentinel Services and has been serving time in a detention center, unable to use her abilities without experiencing severe pain, thanks to a collar on her neck.
5 Witnessed The Genosha Massacre
Longtime X-Men fans know that the fictional location of Genosha was very important in the comics. It was a base of operations for Magneto for a while, but it was also the site of a tragic massacre.
Polaris and Quicksilver both worked undercover on Genosha, seemingly on Magneto’s side, but in reality, they were helping to get refuges of his war with humanity off the island. The island was a haven for those mutants who allied themselves with Magneto, and the villain Cassandra Nova used that to her advantage.
Cassandra Nova set an army of Sentinels on the island, decimating the population (which meant millions of mutants), and Polaris was one of the only survivors, battling the Sentinels until the end.
In fact, she remained on the island long after the fight ended, which is where the X-Men found her, emotionally spent from the experience. She became much more likely to shoot first and ask questions later following the incident.
4 Left At The Altar
More than 300 issues after Lorna Dane made her comic book debut and caught Havok’s eye, it seemed like the troubled couple would finally get their happy ending in Uncanny X-Men #425. Unfortunately, Lorna’s horrible luck struck again.
Polaris and Havok decided to marry after he awoke from a coma. Polaris was under the impression that he was as devoted to her as ever, but as it turned out, Havok had been having an affair -- albeit a telepathic one -- with his nurse while in his coma.
Havok left Polaris at the altar, leaving her stunned, and damaging any future relationship they had. Polaris found it difficult to trust him when they were teamed up in a fight, though eventually the two found their way back to one another again.
3 Depowered On M-Day
Polaris’ half-sister Scarlet Witch has had her fair share of tragedy follow her through the comic books as well. When her sister used reality warping abilities to avoid grieving the loss of her children, it went very badly, and Polaris was one of those affected.
After Scarlet Witch bent reality to get her lost children back, then bent reality again to take on the Avengers she blamed for the loss, then yet again to attempt to fix things, Magneto murdered her brother Quicksilver in his rage. To punish their father, Scarlet Witch attempted to get rid of the mutant gene completely on M-Day.
Her attempt resulted in her “depowering” millions of mutants, including her sister Polaris, instead. For a long time, Polaris was in denial that her abilities were gone, instead insisting it was a mental block.
2 Became A Horseman Of Apocalypse
In addition to all of the average villains putting Lorna in dire straights and her own family making her life more difficult, Lorna also ended up in Apocalypse's crosshairs. He didn’t want to destroy her-- he wanted her on his team.
When Apocalypse kidnapped her and hooked her up to a new machine, Polaris became Pestilence in a storyline following her depowering. Though she no longer had her own mutant abilities, Apocalypse gave her new powers that involved spreading disease, but also being able to carry numerous diseases without being harmed by them. Her own abilities began to mutate as a result.
The X-Men did save her from the clutches of Apocalypse, but his other Horsemen wanted her back. Rather than stay caught in a tug-of-war between the two sides, Lorna renounced them both and struck out on her own.
1 Discovering How Her Parents Died
Polaris had grown up as Lorna Dane in a loving family. She just didn’t know for many years that her parents weren’t her real parents. They had adopted her after her own were killed in a plane crash.
In X-Factor #243, after Polaris had spent years wanting to know more about her past and whether or not Magneto was her real father, she discovered that one of her own teammates was able to see into her past by touching a photo of her parents. Of course, she wanted to know everything.
This turned out to be one of the most heartbreaking moments in her comic book history, as it was revealed that Lorna, at only three years old, was the one who had brought down the plane her parents were in.
Her mother and her mother’s husband had been arguing about Lorna’s birth father -- Magneto -- and Lorna, wanting them to stop arguing, lashed out. Her powers manifested, ripping the plane apart. She was the only survivor.
Did we miss any particularly heartbreaking moments about The Gifted's Polaris? Are there any of these stories that you want to see in live action? Let us know in the comments!