New Mutants (1st series) #16
unnamed grandmother (presumed deceased)
formerly Hellions I, II
• Summon animated constructs of psychoplasmic energy
patterned after existing images in her environment,
channels her power using the tarot cards to create
various figures from her deck such as knights, demons,
grim reapers, etc.
• Displays a natural talent for the tarot, giving her intuitive
feelings about people and events which she channels
through the cards to divine readings about the present and future
Named after her grandmother, the person who taught her that the future could be seen in a deck of cards, Marie-Ange Colbert was blessed, or perhaps cursed, with the ability to see fragments of the future as one of her mutant powers. Good natured, she was raised at a convent school in Lyons, France. Due to her ability to foretell the future, she knew that one day Emma Frost, the White Queen of the Hellfire Club, would come to take to her to America.
She also knew that she would become inextricably bound to Christopher Aaronson, whom she soon met while at Emma Frost's Massachusetts Academy. Even though she had apparently not known him for long, Marie-Ange was incredibly saddened when she had to say goodbye to this young man five months later. Unfortunately for her, Aaronson had refused to accept Emma Frost's offer for him to become one of her “Hellions” and he thus no longer had any place among her students. Marie-Ange told Christopher that she had known he would not stay, but that she had hoped he would. Christopher tried to convince Marie-Ange to leave with him, but she told him it was her destiny to remain. Christopher promised Marie-Ange that he would return for her. [X-Force (1st series) #87]
Like the other Hellions, Marie-Ange was to use a codename and, based on the nature of her powers, took the name of Tarot. Shortly thereafter, she and her teammates would meet the team of young mutants called the New Mutants, who would become their natural rivals. Though students of the Massachusetts Academy, the Hellions were in fact the wards of the Hellfire Club, a group of wealthy mutants who had already had many altercations with the heroic X-Men, of whom the New Mutants were wards. Their first encounter between the two groups occurred when the New Mutants snuck into the Hellfire Club to rescue Kitty Pryde, whom the White Queen was holding prisoner.
During the battle, Tarot displayed her ability to animate images from her tarot cards and command them to do her biding, as when she used the devil card against Mirage and summoned an actual demon. To her surprise, however, the devil was destroyed when Magik used her Soulsword to cut through it. Already startled by the move, Marie-Ange became afraid as Magik then lunged for her, so she responded by summoning the knight of swords. The battle came to an end when Magik teleported herself and Mirage away. [New Mutants (1st series) #16]
Summoned to a meeting with the rest of the Hellions afterwards, Tarot was thinking of the New Mutants when the lover card fell from her tarot deck. Seeing this, the White Queen grew concerned, knowing how Tarot ran her life by her cards. Worried that the cards would affect Tarot's loyalty to the Hellions, the White Queen decided to keep a watch on her young charge. The concern was possibly not without merit. Already kinder than some of her teammates, Marie-Ange hung back from the subsequent confrontation with the New Mutants. [New Mutants (1st series) #17]
When the New Mutants were killed and resurrected by the Beyonder, the White Queen had Tarot's teammate, the cruel Empath, manipulate the emotions of the New Mutants' headmaster, Magneto, into enrolling the Hellions' rivals into the Massachusetts Academy. Under this manipulation, Magneto came to believe that Emma Frosts' telepathic abilities could help the New Mutants deal with the traumatic experience. However, Tarot's cards told her that there was more to the New Mutants' arrival at the Massachusetts Academy than she and her teammates were told. Indeed, the ruse was eventually discovered by Magneto and the New Mutants returned to the Xavier School. [New Mutants (1st series) #39-40]
After the Hellfire Club and the X-Men began an uneasy alliance, the New Mutants and Hellions found themselves in contact again when the New Mutants attended a ball at the Hellfire Club. Tarot found Cypher looking uncomfortable and approached him, asking him if he wanted to dance. Thinking that she was put up to this by the White Queen. Cypher responded rudely to Tarot, who walked away clearly upset by his comments.
Marie-Ange kept to herself throughout the remainder of the party while some of her teammates and the New Mutants caused a bit of trouble. At the center of the argument were Cypher and Roulette, who were quite intoxicated, and each team blamed the other for influencing their own teammate. Rather than face the wrath of Magneto and the White Queen, the two teams agreed to settle the score via a contest in which each team would track down the crook who had sold the Hellfire Club a forged statue. Tarot consulted her cards and learned that the Hellions' prospects were favorable. Indeed, the Hellions did win the competition against the New Mutants. [New Mutants (1st series) #53-54]
The Hellions were having a weekend away at the Hellfire Club in New York when they learned of the mysterious creature dubbed the Bird-Boy. When the Hellions discovered the New Mutants were going to find Bird Boy, the Hellions wanted to find him as well. By this time, many of the Hellions, including Tarot, had become somewhat fed up with the teammate Empath's attitude. Tarot listened in on his conversation with the White Queen, in which she told Empath that he had better get “the prize” for her. Tarot misunderstood what the White Queen meant – she was referring to the New Mutant Magma, in whom Empath happened to have developed an interest. When Tarot told Empath that he was unlikeable, he used his power over emotions to manipulate her, until their teammate Thunderbird interrupted and warned Marie-Ange to stop baiting Empath. Needing transport to start hunting down the Bird-Boy, Tarot produced the lover card and conjured up a projection of the lover to carry them across the city.
When the Hellions and New Mutants caught up with each other on their scavenger hunt for the Bird-Boy, Tarot set several projections against the New Mutants to distract the rival team. However, when Magma burned Tarot's cards, all of the projections she had generated with them, including the lover, faded away and the Hellions plummeted towards the city below. Fortunately, one card was restored by Roulette's luck power and Tarot conjured up a projection of the devil, to which the team was able to cling for safety. Unfortunately for the Hellions, this one remaining card was later destroyed by Magma as well. As the two teams clashed, Thunderbird was manipulated by Empath into taking Mirage as a hostage, while Empath attempted to use his power on Magma. To his surprise, Magma was able to shake off his emotional manipulation and responded by starting an earthquake and demanding that Mirage be freed. When the outmatched Empath was forced by Thunderbird to hand Mirage over, Tarot pointed out that it was Empath who had lost the battle for them. To this, Empath hinted at there being more at stake here than Marie-Ange was aware and then asked Tarot what she would give him when she saw how he had won. [New Mutants (1st series) #56]
When Magma transferred to the Massachusetts Academy to be closer to Empath, she joined the Hellions. Tarot initially appeared to dislike the new member of the team and, during a training session, baited Empath about Magma being his girlfriend. Empath accused Tarot of being jealous, as he believed that it was Tarot herself who wanted to be his girlfriend, and even used his power to manipulate her. Despite her previous animosity towards her, Magma came to Tarot's defense. However this was not the end and Empath later told the White Queen that Tarot was weak. [New Mutants (1st series) #62]
When the White Queen discovered someone had accessed her personal files on Firestar, she traced the hack to the headquarters of the New Warriors. Tarot and the Hellions accompanied their headmistress, who negotiated with the New Warriors' housekeeper into a wager that whichever team won the battle would lay claim to Firestar. As the New Warriors and Hellions battled, Tarot found herself up against the telekinetic Marvel Boy. Marie-Ange conjured several projections at once and kept her opponent busy, but Marvel Boy eventually overpowered them all. When Tarot responded by producing the death card, Marvel Boy used a powerful psychokinetic blast to knock Marie-Ange out. Ironically, Marvel Boy himself was suffering from an earlier injury and the use of his power knocked himself out as well, leading to a draw between the two. In the end, the Hellions lost the overall battle and departed without Firestar, though the White Queen warned the New Warriors to stay out of her way. [New Warriors (1st series) #9-10]
When it became clear to her that she was being targeted for assassination, the White Queen invited the X-Men to a party to discuss. Tarot and her teammates were present when the White Queen brought in the latest would-be assassin and used her telepathy to cruelly interrogate the individual before the X-Men. When Storm moved to intervene, unwilling to watch what she deemed torture, the Hellions advanced to defend their headmistress and a skirmish broke out between the two teams. Ultimately, it was Jean Grey who stopped the battle, suggesting that the two teams should work together instead of leaving themselves open to attack.
That attack came sooner than expected, beginning with the arrival of Trevor Fitzroy, a member of a team of homicidal mutants called the Upstarts, who had targeted the Hellfire Club and were ultimately behind the assassination attempts. Fitzroy had already taken out two of Tarot's teammates when the danger intensified with the arrival of Donald Pierce, who was being chased by several of Fitzroy’s Sentinels. Though she found herself one of their first targets, Tarot was saved when the X-Man Colossus came to her aid. However, Colossus too fell to the Sentinels and Tarot only had time to conjure a witch from the few cards she had not dropped in the confusion. Unfortunately for her, a Sentinels fired a blast that passed effortlessly through the witch and struck Tarot, who screamed as she was struck.
Though Fitzroy was ultimately defeated, the victory was not without its cost. The Hellions were decimated not only by the Sentinels but by Fitzroy himself, who drained the life-force of several Hellions, including Tarot. The death of Tarot and her other students haunted the White Queen in the years that followed, the tragedy shaping her psyche and actions as much as anything before. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #281-282]
Despite her death, this was not the end for Marie-Ange Colbert, but a transition to a new life. Though unknown means, Tarot was returned to the living. Though to most this might seem a miracle, Tarot described herself as being cursed, forced to live her life again and again until she atoned for her past sins. To die as she did was horrific, she would later say, then adding that her return to life was even more terrible. Curiously Tarot’s powers had also changed during her rebirth. While she had previously only possessed the ability to project the imagery of the Tarot Arcana, she was now able to assume the mantle of the card’s totems and their abilities. Whether this was the result of her resurrection of a normal evolution of her abilities was unclear.
In whatever manner she returned, Tarot credited her continued survival to her old friend, Christopher Aaronson, who found her in those early days and nursed her back to health. Once recovered, Tarot not only felt she owed her life to Christopher, but she was now deeply in love with him. Still, Tarot was conflicted. Christopher had changed much during their separation and he now had dreams of wealth and power, much like those of the Hellfire Club, which he had rejected so long ago. Still, Tarot remained by Christopher’s side as he took on the name of King Bedlam and formed his “New Hellions.” King Bedlam’s plan started to come together when he learned of the Armageddon Man, an early mutant who possessed the power to generate natural disasters but lacked the ability to control them himself. When King Bedlam set upon a plan to awaken this Armageddon Man from the decades-long slumber into which the US government had sentenced him, all in an attempt to blackmail the country, Tarot knew that she had to intervene.
Much to his surprise, Tarot appeared before one of the surviving Hellions, James Proudstar, who was now a member of X-Force. Quite enigmatically, Marie-Ange warned her former teammate about an impending doom and told him that he and his friends were in peril from both without and within. Without further explanation, she mysteriously vanished, despite Proudstar offering to help her. By happenstance, King Bedlam’s younger brother Jesse, known simply as Bedlam, was also a member of X-Force and had been searching for his brother, a search which soon brought X-Force to the New Hellions’ headquarters. [X-Force (1st series) #87] Rather than be upset, King Bedlam was happy at the possibility of new recruits and, after explaining in general terms his philosophy, left them to discuss whether they were interested in accepting his offer.
Though still loyal to her lover, Tarot risked a secret meeting with John. She explained that she had hoped that her warning would have prevented X-Force’s involvement in what was to come but refused to give any hints as to what it might be. Worse, speaking as if all were preordained, she made it clear that she would stand with King Bedlam to the end, as well as against John and X-Force. [X-Force (1st series) #88]
Indeed, when X-Force decided to stand against King Bedlam, Tarot remained by his side and watched as Paradigm, one of the New Hellions, not only defeated the mutant heroes but brainwashed them into serving King Bedlam’s cause. Tarot watched in horror, however, as her lover enacted his plan, recovering the slumbering Armageddon Man and inserting him into the core of a nuclear power plant to re-animate him. Feeling the need to act, she spoke with King Bedlam's brother, Jesse, and warned him that the two of them would pay dearly if King Bedlam was allowed to continue in his mad scheme.
When Jesse made it clear that he would not betray his brother, Tarot felt her hand was forced. Risking her life, she entering the reactor building during its operations to interfere with Paradigm, who was attempting to revive the Armageddon Man. Though her manipulation of him was subtle, it allowed X-Force to shake off Paradigm’s control and escape. When King Bedlam learned of what had happened, Tarot did not hesitate to admit her responsibility. Explaining that she saw the future, she informed King Bedlam that his plan would not bring them wealth, only misfortune, and that she did not want the blood of innocents on her hands. Already weakened by the radiation from the reactor, Tarot would have been unable to withstand King Bedlam’s rage, had his brother Jesse not intervened. Unfortunately, Tarot’s actions and that of X-Force was not enough and, in the chaos that followed, the Armageddon Man indeed woke. [X-Force (3rd series) #89]
Despite her warnings regarding his plan and her betrayal, when the ensuing conflict pit the New Hellions against X-Force, Tarot continued to stand by King Bedlam’s side and protect him against attack. Nevertheless, when it became clear that the Armageddon Man was out of control, Tarot provided X-Force with the clues they needed to stop it. Realizing that their cause was lost, King Bedlam ordered the New Hellions to flee. At first, King Bedlam seemed sure that Tarot would remain with the heroes to stop the Armageddon Man, but Tarot told her lover that she could not live without him. She joined him and the New Hellions, while X-Force stayed and defeated the threat that the New Hellions had created. [X-Force (1st series) #90]
What happened to Tarot and the other New Hellions afterwards is unknown, but they never appeared together again as a team and at least a few soon went their separate way. Additionally, whatever King Bedlam hoped to accomplish as a leader of mutants also proved moot when both he and Tarot were confirmed as being rendered powerless when the “decimation” struck on M-Day. [New Avengers (1st series) #18]
Just as mysterious as her resurrection had been, so too was Tarot’s apparent second death. Given the unclear connection between her return and King Bedlam’s involvement in her return to health, the loss of his mutant bio-electric power could have been responsible. Whether this was the case or not, Tarot was no longer among the living when she and the rest of the deceased, original Hellions found themselves resurrected by Selene, who was using an enhanced version of the T/O Virus in an attempt to ascend to godhood. As part of her plan, Selene bid the undead Hellions to attack the X-Men’s island fortress of Utopia, led by the newly resurrected former New Mutant known as Cypher, who was likewise under Selene’s thrall. Upon arrival, the Hellions confronted the White Queen, who had since allied with the X-Men, and blamed her for letting them die. [X-Necrosha #1] The Hellions later found themselves up against their old rivals the New Mutants and at first seemed a match against them. However, when the New Mutant Warlock deployed military ordinance against them, they were seemingly annihilated. [New Mutants (3rd series) #7-8]
Not truly having been alive, Tarot and the Hellions were in the same sense not truly dead. Rather, they were merely inert, techno-organic matter which lay dormant under the waves off of Utopia Island. As such, they were easily reassembled and reanimated by another techno-organic being called the “True Friend.” In a convoluted series of events, Cypher of the New Mutants had been possessed by an extra-dimensional entity that would eventually transform him into the genocidal and tyrannical True Friend decades from now. When Cypher learned of this horrific future, he was moved to commit suicide, only to find himself prevented by the techno-organic Hellions, who had been reanimated by the future True Friend to ensure his own existence.
As the New Mutants arrived to face their old foes, Cypher’s future, evil self began to transform Cypher into True Friend now, rather than decades later. As he rewrote his own history, True Friend ordered Tarot and the Hellions to occupy the New Mutants long enough for him to complete his transformation. In the end, the New Mutants were victorious and the extra-dimensional entity was exorcised from Cypher, preventing his evil destiny from ever taking place. Curiously, the Hellions vanished in the process, leaving the ultimate fate of Tarot and her teammates unknown. [New Mutants (3rd series) #48-49]