POLARIS: Page 4 of 11


Shortly after Freedom Force disbanded, Valerie Cooper assembled a new government-sponsored team of mutants. She invited several former residents of Muir island to join, including Polaris, but as neither one of the new members wanted to be associated with Mystique’s group of former villains, they were christened X-Factor instead - the name now being available as the original five had rejoined Xavier’s X-Men. Polaris, Strong Guy and Multiple Man were taken to the team’s new headquarters in Washington D.C., while Cooper traveled to Genosha to recruit the new team’s leader - Havok. After all this time, Alex and Lorna were finally reunited. [X-Factor (1st series) #70-71]

While their first meeting was a bit awkward, Alex and Lorna soon talked about where they stood, and they decided to give their relationship another try. Things were complicated a bit by Wolfsbane, who had joined the team along with Havok and seemed to have a crush on him, which turned into an obsession. Sometimes, she would be sitting in the lovers’ bedroom at night, or lashing out against Lorna when she disagreed with Alex on some matter. However, when it was revealed that Rahne’s condition was an after-effect to the Genoshan mutate-bonding process, Lorna was sympathetic and reached out to her confused teammate - after all, she knew herself what it felt like to be mentally manipulated. [X-Factor (1st series) #72, 77, 82, 89-90]

In fact, though Lorna's mind and actions were now her own, her past manipulations were not completely past her. Though on the outside it seemed that Lorna was quite fine with herself and had gotten over it, X-Factor’s session with superhero psychiatrist Leonard Samson revealed that she was not. Fearing to be possessed or manipulated again, she did not want Samson to “get into her head" and tried to boycott the session by remaining silent. However, when Samson stated that Polaris should be intelligent enough to realize her own shortcomings, she freaked out. She had been dieting and losing weight for weeks, but she still felt fat, a certain sign that she had troubles with accepting herself as an attractive woman and therefore tended to repel the people close to her. Still, reaching the core of her problem, Samson helped Lorna to catalyze her anger, resulting in designing a new, very revealing costume for herself - more or less a reaction of defiance. [X-Factor (1st series) #87]

The government soon asked her to change uniform, as it was considered too provocative, and Lorna agreed. In fact, she happened to like the new suit she was given - it was a mix between X-Factor’s team look and her own design. In the weeks that followed, Polaris focused more on Xavier's dream and became the team's moral backbone. Havok once described her as being even more devoted to the dream than Xavier himself.

When she and Alex were insulted by mutant haters in a restaurant and arrested for taking part in the following riot, Lorna made a hearty, political statement upon their release from prison - against direct orders of the team’s new liaison, Forge. [X-Factor (1st series) #94]

Around the same time, the mercenary Random, whom X-Factor had previously met, was hired to try and kill her. The bounty hunter and Lorna battled all over Washington and, in the end, Random, who secretly was in love with her, let her win. The whole attack had been arranged to test the amount of Lorna’s magnetic powers, as the government wanted to use her as secret weapon against Magneto, should he ever attack the United States again. [X-Factor (1st series) #95]

Not much later, Havok and Lorna were targeted again by Malice, who was on the run from Mr. Sinister, who wanted to make her possess Polaris once more. However, the psychic entity did not want to become permanently bonded again, so she possessed Alex and tried to kill Lorna, thus eliminating the possibility of them ever merging again. However, Sinister and Nasty Boys intercepted sooner than she anticipated and quickly took control of the situation. Sinister threatened to kill Havok if Lorna didn't allow Malice to take over and, despite the long months of being controlled before, Polaris accepted. While the transfer took part, Havok realized what was happening. Not wanting his lover to be controlled by Malice again, he tried to pull the psychic entity back inside himself and, in the end, the discorporate Malice left them both in agony. Sinister was angered by his Marauder's performance and snapped her neck, thus killing her. Much to their surprise, Sinister did not want to fight Alex and Lorna, so they were free to go. [X-Factor (1st series) #104-105]

Unfortunately, their happiness didn't last. A few weeks later, Havok's powers went haywire and he was once again forced to wear his containment suit, which constantly monitored his energy output. Lorna tried her best to offer some comfort, but Alex began to withdraw into himself. When he was kidnapped by Dark Beast's agents and Fatale planted a faked note in Lorna's room in which Alex told Lorna that he needed to get away and sort out his life, she believed it to be true. [X-Factor (1st series) #118]

The break up with Havok caused somewhat of an identity crisis for Polaris. Despite her initial hostility to therapy, she sought out Doctor Samson and confessed to him she felt weak and embarrassed at how co-dependent her relationship had been with Havok. Doctor Samson however did not see it that way, stating that she was far stronger than she gave herself credit for. [Doc Samson (1st series) #1-4]

Lorna felt betrayed and abandoned and turned to her new teammate Random for a shoulder to cry on, never susepcting his involvement in her lover's departure. Random’s connection to the Dark Beast was eventually revealed during a battle between the Brotherhood and X-Factor. Lorna didn't have much time to think about Random’s lies, though, for Alex was among the Brotherhood's members, apparently under the villains’ control. Both Havok and Random were captured, and Polaris was assigned to guard over them while the rest of X-Factor pursued the remaining members of the Brother- hood. She tried to reach out to Alex, who pretended to respond, but once free of the power dampening shackles he blasted at her full force. Lorna barely survived by her magnetic shields deflecting the major brunt of the plasma burst. Still, she experienced cardiac arrest and needed to stay in hospital for a week. [X-Factor (1st series) #125-126]

X-Factor’s atmosphere changed dramatically as renowned criminals, Mystique and Sabretooth, were forced by the government to join. Lorna began to question her place on the team and finally found her suspicions to be justified after Sabretooth ran amok, almost killing the whole team. [X-Factor (1st series) #136]. With Zero Tolerance troops trying to use X-Factor’s diminished status to their advantage, Val Cooper’s only option was to hand over the wounded to Havok's Brotherhood, thinking that this was the lesser of two evils. While recovering in their care, Lorna started to act strangely out of character. Not before long, it became clear that this was not Lorna speaking, but the depixilated form of Shard, which had been magnetically drawn into her body after Sabretooth had assaulted both of them. Once the problem was discovered, it was easily corrected and Shard’s photon based lightform was pulled out of Polaris. [X-Factor (1st series) #138, 141]