POLARIS: Page 7 of 11


Lorna was neverthless determined to get her power back and even had a plan how to achieve just that. Though she couldn’t say how she knew it, Lorna sensed that whatever it was that she had seen in space was about to land on Earth and that it would be able to restore her powers. [X-Men (2nd series) #177-179] Not willing to lose her, Iceman wanted to accompany Lorna, but his own powers had been sent into a flux. While he was now able to change back to flesh and blood, he needed to re-learn controlling his abilities or else he might have killed his lover with a mere touch at sub-zero temperatures. Instead, Havok decided to join Polaris on her quest.

For several weeks, the pair traveled through Central America, as Lorna was convinced that this was where “it” would land. What she didn’t know, though, was that they were tracked by some members of the Sapiens League, a group of mutant haters, using the de-powering to their advantage. By the time that the League’s leader, the Leper Queen, caught up with Alex and Lorna, they had just reached the crash-site of a giant green blob - it was this creature that Lorna had seen in space. The alien spoke in a gibberish tongue, but somehow Lorna was able to understand it and fully trusted it. However, when the Leper Queen attacked and Apocalypse’s ship materialized close by, the green alien suddenly turned on her, swallowing both Lorna and the Leper Queen and taking them to Apocalypse’s craft. Left behind, Alex could do nothing but return to the X-Men. [X-Men (2nd series) #180-181]

Apocalypse had captured several other people as well, looking for candidates to become his new Horsemen. Some of his prisoners had to duel each other for certain positions but, when it came to Lorna and the Leper Queen, Apocalypse reached a decision without having them fight each other. He considered the leper Queen too driven and determined to follow his orders without question, which is why he chose Polaris to serve him as the new Pestilence. Giving her no actual choice in the matter, Apocalypse had Lorna’s body altered with Celestial technology, scientifically recreating not only her magnetic abilities but also giving her new powers that matched the position of Pestilence. Apparently, the process also involved some sort of brain washing.

Following her master’s commands, Lorna broke into the laboratories of the World Health Organization, where she used her newly given powers to assimilate samples of SARS, cholera, anthrax, bubonic plague and other fatal diseases into her body. In Africa, she absorbed even more deadly viruses, combining all these pathogens into a meta-plague. While his other Horsemen battled the X-Men, Apocalypse then appeared in front of the United Nations, where he demanded from baseline humanity to cull 90% of their number to even out the scales between them and mutants, or else Pestilence would release the meta-plague. Polaris showed no remorse and even suggested releasing the fatal illness before Apocalypse’s deadline of one week had run out. [X-Men (2nd series) #182-185]

Eventually, the X-Men invaded Apocalypse’s stronghold, defeating the Horsemen and forcing their master into retreat. The mutants almost didn’t recognize Lorna in her Pestilence armor but, once Wolverine cut it open, they found her on the brink of death, with germs crawling all over her disease-ridden body. Havok didn’t hesitate, though, and applied mouth to mouth breathing, saving Lorna’s life.

Polaris was taken to the Xavier Institute, where her health stabilized. Running numerous tests on her, the X-Men found that the electro-magnetic powers that Apocalypse’s technology had hardwired into her body were on par with her lost mutant powers. Even better, the entire experience proved to be beneficially cathartic, as Polaris was finally willing to struggle with her inner demons. When her fellow Horsemen Famine and Death, aka Sunfire and Gambit, came to pick her up, Lorna ended the conflict by stating that she didn’t belong to anyone but herself. She didn’t want to take part in the Horsemen’s activities, and she also quit the X-Men, effectively ending the remains of her relationship with Iceman and not choosing Havok either. [X-Men (2nd series) #186-187]

To make a fresh new start, Polaris wanted to find out why Apocalypse had given her these new powers. She started looking for answers in Egypt and soon found herself targeted by the members of an anti-Apocalypse cult. Having yet to fully master her new abilities, Polaris didn’t want to risk permanently injure or kill any of her followers, which is why she tried to run rather than fight. Once again, the X-Men came to her aid, and Professor Xavier offered her to accompany him and a group of hand-selected X-Men into the Shi'ar Galaxy, where her hunters couldn’t follow her. During their travels through space, Polaris had more than enough time to practice using her new magnetic abilities, gaining the same sort of fine motor control that she used to have before.

As the Shi'ar Empire split in two, the X-Men allied themselves with the deposed Empress Lilandra and the Starjammers in opposing the revived Emperor D'Ken and his royal entourage: Lady Deathbird and her new consort, Vulcan, Havok’s long-lost brother. In between their fights with opposing forces, Lorna did her best to get Alex’s mind off the troublesome subject of their mission. She even passionately kissed him and, when Alex protested, she explained that it didn’t have to mean anything. For now, they were just two people in the middle of a war, not knowing whether they would make it through the day or not. When the rivaling sides met in battle at Vulcan's wedding, however, Vulcan turned against D'Ken and murdered him, claiming the throne of the Shi'ar Empire for his own.

During the final battle, Xavier was injured, and Lilandra forcibly triggered the X-Men's jumpship to send her lover back to safety on Earth, leaving half of the X-Men, including Polaris and Havok, trapped in Shi'ar space. With Corsair dead and the civil war between the Shi'ar starting to rage, the couple became part of the new Starjammers, guiding the revolution against Emperor Vulcan and the Shi’ar forces under his command. [Uncanny X-Men (2nd series) #475-486]