FRENZY: Page 2 of 3

Publication Date: 25th Sep 2011


Joanna soon found herself with a new purpose and direction in life. She was recruited by Fabian Cortez to serve in a new incarnation of the Acolytes shortly after Magneto’s seeming demise. Cargill found a great deal of truth in the doctrine’s that Cortez offered up as “Magneto’s teachings”. The Acolyte’s tenants aligned with her anti-human sentiments and violent approach to asserting the superiority of homo superior. As an Acolyte, she dropped her codename and costume, going simply by her last name as was customary among her new brethren. These new Acolytes made their brutal debut when they attacked a school in search of a young mutant. Their mission was to abduct the child and “purify” the humans present.  In the initial assault, Cargill recklessly killed the X-Men’s longtime ally Sharon Friedlander, a nurse who had been stationed there to keep an eye on the young mutant. With her dying thoughts, Friedlander cried out to Xavier for help. When her teammates questioned if killing Friedlander was necessary, Cargill coldly replied “Probably not. But it was fun.”

By the time the X-Men arrived, the Acolytes attack was in full swing. Cargill rushed into battle with abandon, calling them “human lovers” and asserting that they should be helping them to dispose of the “genetically impure.” Joanna soon found herself in battle once more with Gambit, who was surprised to see her acting like a mindless sheep among Magneto’s flock. He easily subdued her. The Acolytes nearly succeeded in their mission but abandoned the mutant they sought when they learned her had Down’s Syndrome. Believing him to be as impure and unfit for Magneto’s grace as the humans, they attempted to purge the school’s entire population of students. Luckily, the X-Men were on hand to stop them. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #298]

With the Acolytes, Cargill had found a place where she felt truly accepted and where her aggression was harnessed for a higher purpose. She happily took part in an attack on a hospice as a means of manipulating Magneto’s son Quicksilver. During this action, she came very close to killing anti-mutant politician Senator Robert Kelly. She vigorously defended the Acolytes headquarters from the X-Men, unquestioning in her dedication to Lord Magneto. [X-Factor (1st series) #92, Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #300]

But it was not long before her absolute faith in the Acolytes’ mission was challenged on multiple fronts. Shortly after she was recruited, Magneto once more returned from the dead. While he was pleased to have new followers, he did not condone some of the Acolytes’ more violent acts in his name. It was also revealed that Cortez had betrayed Magnus and was behind his presumed death. Joanna had little time to get to know the true Magneto or to understand his true beliefs. Shortly after his return, the X-Men attacked his new orbital haven Avalon and his mind was wiped by Charles Xavier. Further questions about the Acolytes’ understanding of Magneto’s views were raised by their newest recruit, Piotr Rasputin who had willingly left the X-Men and accepted Magneto’s invitation to join him. During the trial of the Acolyte called Neophyte, Rasputin revealed that Magneto was a complex and multi-faceted person whose actions and motives were open to multiple interpretations. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #315]

A short time after this, Avalon was decimated by the arrival of the dimensionally displaced villain Holocaust from the Age of Apocalypse. Cargill was one of a handful of Acolytes saved from certain death by Jean Grey and Cyclops. Stranded with a small squad of Acolytes in the Australian deserts, Cyclops led them to safety. In doing so, he demonstrated a selflessness and leadership quality that Cargill came to respect. She even defended the X-Man against her fellow Acolytes. [X-Men (2nd series) #42-44]

Cargill and the other surviving Acolytes soon reunited under the leadership of Exodus. Once more, Magneto had disappeared from their lives after the fall of Avalon. Despite this, their dedication to the Master of Magnetism flourished and they gained many new converts. But Cargill’s inner conflicts about the Acolyte’s path were about to become a true crisis of faith thanks to the sudden appearance of Joseph, who appeared to be a revitalized and youthful version of Magneto. At first, Joanna was skeptical but after several powerful demonstrations she was convinced that this was truly Magneto reborn. Joseph was on a journey of self-discovery as he posed as Magneto and lived among the Acolytes. But he had also become a pawn in the power struggle between Exodus and Fabian Cortez. His presence and demeanor led to doubts among the Acolytes, many of whom were uncertain if he was who he claimed to be.

Cargill noted that he was much more merciful and humble than the Magneto she remembered. To her surprise, “Magneto” encouraged her questioning and the critical examinations of her faith and convictions that came with it. Cargill decided that this was indeed Magneto. Joanna was shaken and even reached out to former Acolyte Piotr Rasputin to ask him to return as she felt that the Acolytes needed the stability, balanced perspective, and strength he once provided. Colossus refused and Joanna made her decision without his counsel. Her eventual acceptance of this more understanding, humane, and noble incarnation of the Acolytes’ Lord represented a significant shift in worldview for Cargill. Shortly after she reached this conclusion, Joseph ordered the Acolytes to disperse and find their own paths to achieving his goal of a better future for mutantkind. [Magneto #1-4]

Cargill was one of a handful of Acolytes who remained with Exodus and Cortez. She dutifully aided them in their schemes until the true Magneto surfaced once more. He bid the Acolyte Amelia Voght to gather the most loyal of his followers and Cargill was among those that Voght selected. They broke away from Cortez and Exodus and joined Magneto in his efforts. This brought them into conflict with the X-Men once more. Despite her devotion to Magneto, Cargill found herself “going soft” on the X-Men and regretting that they were on opposing sides ever since Cyclops had saved their lives in Australia. Though Joanna and her fellow Acolytes were defeated during this battle, Magneto ultimately emerged victorious. Not only did he “defeat” Joseph and prove himself once and for all the true Master of Magnetism, he achieved his ultimate goal – forcing the United Nations to cede leadership of the island nation of Genosha to him. [X-Men: Magneto War Crossover]

Cargill and other Acolytes loyal to Magneto joined him in Genosha to help him rebuild the nation and secure his reign there. At first, Cargill served in the Genoshan militia which brought her into conflict with the renegade members of the Acolytes being manipulated by Fabian Cortez and with the Avengers. [Magneto: Dark Seduction #1-4] Despite internal conflicts and intrigues and pressure from groups like the Avengers, Magneto secured his position in Genosha and as a fearsome presence among world leaders. Cargill was soon appointed as the Genoshan ambassador, putting her intellect and passion to use as a spokesperson for the new Genoshan government. In this role, Cargill made a pronouncement of war against humanity on behalf of Magneto and was then “detained” by US officials at the Pentagon. Despite threats of death, she refused to betray her savior, Magneto.

Much to her surprise, Joanna was extracted from the Pentagon by Jean Grey. Magneto had abducted Charles Xavier, whose death would be used as a symbol to rally his followers and the masses of Genosha as they prepared for war. Phoenix used her telepathy to force Cargill to serve on her desperately assembled team of X-Men. Joanna’s intimate knowledge of Genosha and Magneto’s plans were essential in Jean’s plans to save the Professor and prevent all-out war between Genosha and humanity. Magneto was surprised to see one of his most loyal Acolytes fighting against him but soon realized that Cargill was under Phoenix’s mental control. [X-Men (2nd series) #111-113, Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #392-393]

Following Magneto’s defeat by the X-Men, Cargill disappeared for a while. Genosha was in shambles, Magneto was believed dead and the Acolytes were no more. Given her actions against Magneto (though not of her free will), Cargill was probably unwelcome in Genosha and was not present when it was devastated by Sentinels. Shortly after this tragedy, mutantkind was nearly wiped out on M-Day. Fortunately, Frenzy was part of the small percentage of mutants who retained their powers. She eventually resurfaced as part of a new team of Acolytes assembled by Exodus. She had by this time stopped wearing her Acolyte uniform though she still espoused belief in Magneto and his inevitable return. Exodus’ group had allied themselves with Mr. Sinister and the Marauders in a joint effort to claim the prophesied “Mutant Messiah” who they believed would help restore mutantkind. This led Joanna once more into direct combat with the X-Men and their allies. In the war for the mutant child, Frenzy and her allies lost but their effort was not without some reward. In the aftermath, the Acolytes left with the body of Charles Xavier, who had been fatally wounded in the battle’s climax. [X-Men Messiah Complex crossover]

Xavier’s mind was shattered by the bullet that nearly claimed his life and Exodus set about to rebuild it. Frenzy questioned this decision, asserting that Xavier had always been the enemy of Magneto and had opposed his efforts to elevate mutantkind and ensure its survival and dominance. When Magneto, now depowered after M-Day, arrived and took over Xavier’s rehabilitation Cargill openly opposed her former “savior”. She had decided that Magneto’s edict, despite what he himself now claimed, demanded that their enemy die for his affronts. Joanna attempted to kill Xavier but was stopped by Magneto himself. Using a surgical laser, he burned through her eye and directly into her brain. [X-Men Legacy (1st series) #208-209]

Joanna was in a deep sleep for quite some time, Exodus’ way of punishing her for defying him. She was eventually awakened by Xavier himself and had apparently recovered without any signs of permanent damage. Xavier challenged the Acolytes to rethink their path now that most of Earth’s mutants were gone. Exodus decided to go on a pilgrimage in search of a new purpose while most of the remaining Acolytes decided to accept Cyclops’ offer of sanctuary at the X-Men’s new headquarters outside San Francisco. Though she was still angry at how the Acolytes had fallen apart, Cargill followed the others to California. But life among the X-Men in no way affected Joanna’s passionate response to mutant oppression. When a legislative proposal to limit mutant reproductive rights was introduced, Frenzy and the like-minded Nekra took to the streets and helped to instigate a riot alongside more peaceful protests to the measure. She was forcibly stopped by Norman Osborne’s Avengers team. [X-Men Legacy (1st series) #225, Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia #1]

Despite having found a new home among the mutants of Utopia, Joanna was still angry and without direction. She and Nekra attacked the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco to protest an art installation they thought was exploitative. Their escapades were stopped by Dazzler and Northstar and the two were arrested following a public defeat. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #528]