BIOGRAPHY - Page 1
Born during a skiing holiday in Sarajewo, Monet Yvette Clarisse Maria Therese St. Croix is the second of four children of Cartier St. Croix and his wife. [Generation X (1st series) #46] Growing up, Monet had everything money could buy; she went to private schools, had friends in the high society and would regularly travel to such places as Paris or Monaco. Due to his work as ambassador, her father had not much time for his family, though he would always tried to spend his little spare time with his favorite daughter, Monet, somewhat neglecting his other children. Also gifted with the looks of a high class fashion-model, Monet considered herself “better” than those around her and she developed quite a snobbish attitude.
Tragedy struck when her older brother, Marius, manifested his mutant power to feast on other people’s bone marrow, with his own mother becoming his first victim. When he then turned into the hideous creature called Emplate, Marius left the family house. Shortly afterwards, Monet also turned out to be a mutant, though she found it to be a blessing rather than a curse. Gifted with a variety of different abilities, including strength, speed, flight, analytical skills and limited telepathy, Monet could only come to see her self as nothing less than “perfect.”
One day, Emplate returned to propose an unholy alliance; together they could rule the strange dimension in which he had been residing and, after gathering even more power, they would return to Earth and rule it as well. Monet wasn’t interested, though. She already had everything she wanted, and she began to mock her brother for even thinking that she would join his cause. When she continued to laugh at him, also making fun of his freakish looks, Monet got her brother so angry that he decided to punish her. Harnessing the power of the strange realm he was talking about, Emplate transformed his sister, trapping her in a mute body with red, razor-sharp skin that he referred to as Penance. At that point, their younger sisters, Claudette and Nicole, entered the room, having heard some noises from outside. Not recognizing their sister in her altered state, the twins assumed that the red-skinned female was an accomplice of their villainous brother. They opened a dimensional portal to banish Emplate from Earth and, as he reminded Monet that only he could undo the transformation, she had no choice but to follow him through the dimensional gate. [Generation X (1st series) #40]
For the next few months, Monet remained in Emplate’s realm as his captive and sole sustenance. In regular intervals, he would enter her prison cell to suck down some of her bone marrow. Eventually, when Emplate engaged the newly-formed Generation X in battle, Penance was left unguarded. The aborigine mutant Gateway took the chance to free the captive girl, and he teleported her to the front lawn of the Massachusetts Academy, the headquarters of Generation X. [Generation X (1st series) #1] Gateway’s reasons for doing so are quite obvious in retrospect; fearing their father’s reaction upon the discovery that his favorite daughter was missing, eight-year old Claudette and Nicole St. Croix had decided to merge together, becoming a 16 year old teenager looking exactly as Monet. Continuing Monet’s life in her stead, the twins had recently enrolled at the Massachusetts Academy and were part of Generation X under the codename M. Apparently, Gateway wanted to reunite the sisters.
When found by Banshee and Emma Frost, the startled mentors of the new team, the unconscious Penance was taken to the school’s infirmary. There, she woke up later that night, disoriented and confused by the unfamiliar surroundings. With her razor-sharp claws, she trashed the equipment of the infirmary and ran off into the nearby woods, acting on pure instinct of survival. Generation X chased after her, but all attempts to calm down or detain the rampaging Penance proved futile. Fortunately, the disfigured Chamber was able to empathize with her freakish nature more than any of the others and got the girl to trust him and stop fighting them. [Generation X (1st series) #2-3]
Following this incident, Penance took up residence in the bio-sphere, Generation X’s training ground. Always sulking around in the background, she curiously observed the team of mutant youngsters from a safe distance. Jubilee especially took a liking to the troubled new teammate, feeding her apples and giving her the nickname “Penny.” All attempts to communicate with her proved futile, though. No matter what language Generation X tried, Penance didn’t answer and the team eventually came to the realization that she was mute. Mental blocks installed by Emplate kept Penance from revealing her true identity by any other means, and they also seemed to interfere with Emma Frost’s telepathic probes her. Regardless, Penance was welcomed by Generation X, who gave her all the time she needed to adjust and soon she would even join them on several missions. [Generation X (1st series) #4-9]
While taking a bath in the school’s swimming pool together with Jubilee, Penance had a strange seizure that rendered her comatose. Possibly, this was a delayed after-effect of the long abuse by Emplate. World renowned expert on mutant physiology Moira Mac Taggert was called and, while she didn’t find the cause for Penance’s current situation, she came up with some interesting facts about her mutant power. She theorized that the girl didn’t actually have diamond-hard, razor-sharp skin, but that she had essentially contracted her skin around herself so tightly as to almost atrophy her muscles. Apparently, she was so afraid of the world around her that she had literally withdrawn inside herself. [Generation X Annual ’95]
Penance remained comatose for quite a while, but eventually recovered without any form of treatment. Shortly thereafter, Emplate and his minions attacked the school and captured next to all of the staff and the students. He then manipulated the troubled Penance, luring her back to his side. Still free, “Monet” alerted the X-Man Bishop to the team’s situation and, together, they fought Emplate and his minions, with Penance going up against M, who was too weak to fight back. It must have been strange for her to have the replica of her former self at her mercy. After hesitating whether to kill “Monet” or not, Penance eventually overcame Emplate’s influence and attacked him, forcing him to retreat to the strange dimension that now served as his home. [Generation X (1st series) #12-14]
In the weeks that followed, Penance came to see herself as one of the team. She would join them in all their outdoor activities like a picnic and followed them into their classroom. At the same time, her facial skin seemed to soften a bit, proving Moira’s theory about the nature of her powers to be correct.[Generation X (1st series) #20-21]
Some time later, Generation X was attacked by Banshee’s cousin, Black Tom Cassidy, who kidnapped all of the students save Penance, about whom he apparently forgotten. Playing mindgames with Banshee, he ordered him to either kill Emma or lose the children. Tom was lying, though, as he had no intention of returning the children and had long sent them away. It didn’t make any difference for Penance, though. Seeing her teacher in distress, she cut Black Tom’s plant form in half, getting rid of him for the moment. [Generation X (1st series) #25]
Emma and Banshee’s search for the missing students was cut short when Operation: Zero Tolerance launched their Prime Sentinels, forcing Sean, Emma and Penance into hiding. Without any resources at their hands and the X-Men not answering to their distress call, they sought refuge in one of Emma’s safe houses in South Florida. There, the two teachers were approached by Emplate, who offered them a deal - he’d provide them with the location of the others if they returned Penance to him. The red-skinned mutant didn’t understand what was going on when Banshee and Emma started to argue with each other rather than just fight Emplate, and her confusion turned to shock and fear when Emma telepathically knocked out her co-headmaster and proceeded to turn Penance over to her former captor. Yet Banshee awoke and spoiled Emma‘s plan to lure Emplate into a trap; at least that is what she later claimed to have intended. Penance, though, openly showed that she no longer trusted her. [Generation X (1st series) #29-32]