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X-Men: Many of Polaris’ Major Moments Happened Off-Panel

In a feature showing notable moments that occurred off-panel, see how much of Polaris’ major moments happened that way

Today, we look at how a number of major moments in Polaris’ life have occurred off-panel.

This is “Out of Sight,” a feature where I explore notable comic book moments that occurred off-panel. When I say “off-panel,” I’m mostly talking about a character not being around and then showing up and us learning that something dramatic happened to them off-panel. I’m flexible enough that I can deal with maybe something “in between panels,” as well. You can hit me up at brianc@cbr.com if you have a suggestion for a future column!

My buddy Michael’s birthday was last weekend and I always like to do a Polaris-themed post for him, so this is that!

Now, the early days of Lorna Dane, the mutant later known as Polaris, were pretty straightforward. She was introduced in X-Men #49 (by Arnold Drake, Don Heck and Werner Roth) as a young woman who was called to San Francisco along with other latent mutants by virtue of Mesmero’s mental abilities…

Iceman saves her (by the way, his method of saving her was kind of silly, no? “That woman looks like she is mesmerized and is just walking into traffic. Let me put some ice below her so that she slips.” Wouldn’t it make more sense to just ice her shoe to the ground?) and then we see that she has green hair, leading the Beast to determine that she IS a latent mutant…

We then learn that she IS a mutant with magnetic powers, just like Magneto, with this classic Steranko cover for the next issue…

All of this is very straightforward. She hangs out with the X-Men during this arc and then takes a few issues off before she is brought back during Neal Adams and Roy Thomas’ run on X-Men. In X-Men #60 (by Adams, Thomas and Tom Palmer), she asks to become a member of the X-Men…

However, she and fellow new recruit, Alex Summers (Havok), don’t actually go on missions with the team, until the team returned home in X-Men #65 (by Adams, Denny O’Neil and Palmer) and suddenly, off-panel, Alex and Lorna have teamed up with a “not really dead” Professor X to prepare for an alien invasion…

The day is saved and X-Men #66 (by Roy Thomas, Sal Buscema and Sam Grainger) ends with the team all together again…

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In Incredible Hulk #150 (by Archie Goodwin, Herb Trimpe and John Severin), we learn that off-panel, Havok has left the X-Men and Lorna has sought him out to bring him home…

He agrees to join the X-Men again at the end of the issue.

Then, off-panel, the X-Men and other mutants keep getting captured by the Secret Empire and we see in Captain America #174 (by Steve Englehart, Sal Buscema and Vince Colletta) that Lorna was one of the mutants who were captured…

In X-Men #94 (by Len Wein, Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum and Bob McLeod), all of the original X-Men except Cyclops leave the team…

Three issues later, in X-Men #97 (by Claremont, Cockrum and Grainger), we see that somehow, Lorna and Alex have both gotten together as a couple AND are now DOCTORAL STUDENTS IN GEO-PHYSICS!!

What in the what?!? How in the world are they doctoral students in geo-physics? When did they even get INTO geo-physics, let alone become DOCTORAL students in the field?!!? Yes, them becoming a couple off-panel is also significant, but not nearly as strange as them somehow being doctoral students. I guess a whole lot of college work was done after X-Men #66 and before X-Men #94?

Lorna gets captured and brainwashed by Erik the Red and this is the debut of her new codename (which stuck), Polaris…

Havok and Polaris are now brainwashed and fight against the X-Men…

They continue to serve Erik the Red for the next year or so, although generally they only appear in flashbacks (like when Firelord shows up to attack the X-Men, after having previously fought Havok and Polaris).

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Then the whole Erik the Red storyline wrapped up, but Havok and Polaris were cured of their brainwashign off-panel. It was revealed in a letter column, of all places, that they were cured.

We saw them cured for the first time in Marvel Team-Up #69 (by Claremont, John Byrne and Ricardo Villamonte), where we also see that off-panel they have decided to go move to Moira MacTaggert’s Muir Isle institute to help her there…

I guess this field of science is just as believable as them being geo-physicists!

Alex and Lorna pop up here and there over the next few years when stories involve Muir Isle (like The Proteus Saga), but the biggest change in their status quo occurred in Uncanny X-Men #218 (by Claremont, Marc Silvestri and Dan Green), where we check back in with them to learn that Lorna is now an archeologist out of nowhere…

Havok joins the X-Men in the next issue (Bret Blevins filling in on pencils) and Polaris is possessed by the Marauder known as Malice…

Polaris is the leader of the Marauders for some time as Malice, but then, in Uncanny X-Men #249 (by Claremont, Silvestri and Green), we see that off-panel, Lorna has broken free of Malice’s control (while Malice was still involved, of course)…

That whole thing became a storyline involving the Shadow King. It was all handled on-panel, though. When that was all settled, Lorna joined a new version of X-Factor that worked for the government, led by Havok.

Lorna eventually quit X-Factor when it became a sort of Suicide Squad-type team. Eventually, Havok returned to take over a new X-Factor that involved mostly members of the Xavier’s Underground Enforcers (a splinter group of the Xavier Security Enforcers) traveling back in time to try to prevent their future. Those members were Greystone, Fixx, Shard and Archer (Archer left the team before the end of X-Factor #149, though). In X-Factor #149 (by Howard Mackie, James Fry and Scott Koblish), Polaris and Madrox re-joined this team…

Greystone then sort of goes nuts and builds a machine that can mess with space and time and as Havok goes to stop him, he notes that X-Factor isn’t HIS team, so he puts Polaris in charge if something happens to him…

Well, wouldn’t you know it, something happens to him…

With Havok dead (he wasn’t really dead, of course, just shunted to another dimension for a spinoff series, Mutant X), X-Factor should still be a team led by Polaris, right?

But no, that was the last issue of that series and in X-Men #93 (by Alan Davis and Mark Farmer), Nightcrawler runs into Polaris….

and we learn that Polaris is now obsessed with believing Havok is still alive (she’s right, of course) and essentially, X-Factor not only broke up off-panel, but it doesn’t even get a MENTION that they broke up…

That’s a whole lot of off-panel drama for Polaris! And I bet that there’s even more I didn’t even feature here!

If anyone has a suggestion for a notable plot point that happened off-panel, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com! Happy birthday, Michael!

CBR Senior Writer Brian Cronin has been writing professionally about comic books for over fifteen years now at CBR (primarily with his “Comics Should Be Good” series of columns, including Comic Book Legends Revealed).

He has written two books about comics for Penguin-Random House – Was Superman a Spy? And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed and Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? And Other Amazing Comic Book Trivia! and one book, 100 Things X-Men Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, from Triumph Books. His writing has been featured at ESPN.com, the Los Angeles Times, About.com, the Huffington Post and Gizmodo.

He features legends about entertainment and sports at his website, Legends Revealed and other pop culture features at Pop Culture References.

Follow him on Twitter at @Brian_Cronin and feel free to e-mail him suggestions for stories about comic books that you’d like to see featured at brianc@cbr.com!

HAVOK AND POLARIS MEET THE HULK

HAVOK AND POLARIS BECOME…DOCTORAL STUDENTS?!?

POLARIS AND HAVOK ARE CURED OF THEIR BRAINWASHING OFF-PANEL

POLARIS BREAKS UP X-FACTOR

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