Sunday, May 27, 2018 • Morning Edition • "Where keepin' it real goes wrong."

Your Top Marvel Heroes part 57

Written by Chris Mitchell on Thursday, May 06 2010 and posted in Features
An interesting batch here.. {nomultithumb}

82. Magik (36 points)

magik.jpg"Innocent girl forced to live in a demonic world, literally. She was always out of place (much like Captain America) and trying to fit in while trying to balance who she was with how she was raised. There have been times where she has given into the evil in her but still would end up doing the right thing. Great chemistry with my other favorites just makes her that more appealing to me. My favorite image of her was drawn by Dave Cockrum with her talking to Xavier at the breakfast table. Her bangs cast a shadow over her eyes and it captured the evil in a young "innocent" girl perfectly."

Illyana Nikolievna Rasputin, the indomitable mutant known as Magik, is both a super-humanly powerful mutant with the mutant power of teleportation and an unbelievably powerful sorceress at the same time with a potential that has yet to be reached. In her short life she has seen and been through and experienced many things. From being kidnapped at a very young age by the evil Belasco to live in a "Hell" dimension named Limbo for 7 years and exploited for her gifts, corrupted and tainting her soul to become evil, to her death from the Legacy Virus and an eventual resurrection.

Illyana has two very distinctive powers, one is her mutant power to generate spatial/temporal warps in the form of stepping discs, the other is her magic, learned while she was in Limbo. As more and more of her soul was removed, it was replaced and filled with Black Magic granting vast mystical abilities. The two powers will be described separately below.

Illyana Rasputin has the mutant ability to create and control teleportation energies in the form of "stepping disc's". These yellow rings of glowing light, once created, provide the ability to teleport. Not only just herself but a group of individuals as well, to a multitude of different places including through both time and space. The only limitation to her teleportation power is that she much use Limbo as her stopping point prior to her final destination, where-ever that may be. Magik can also teleport herself or others into her domain, Limbo or "Hell" dimension or out of it. As Limbo is her domain, Illyana is able to mentally scan Limbo, while on Earth in order to locate whomever she wishes to teleport to Earth from it.

Magik has succeeded in teleporting herself and another person across a continent on one occasion, and across centuries in time on another. However, Magik has not yet mastered her teleportation ability. The greater the distance over which she teleports, the greater the possible margin of error in terms of her arriving at the point in time she desires. Hence, when she once teleported herself and a friend from New York to California, hoping to arrive within seconds of the time she left, Magik and her friend instead arrived one week later, having accidentally traveled into the future. Magik is continuously practicing the use of her teleportation power in order to master it. Although already quite adept in the use of the mutant powers she still has a lot to learn especially considering how new she is to them.

In terms of potential Illyana's is nearly limitless. She was once told by Dr. Strange that she had the potential for great feats of manipulating time on a very wide scale. Never one to accept the status quo, Illyana continuously and regularly practices the use of her mutant powers in order to master them and have them grow in strength.

As a result of the time Illyana was forced to spend in Limbo, she was permanently changed both physically and mentally. She would spend a total of 6 years in Limbo during which she would learn valuable skills and abilities taught to her by different teachers that would help her in becoming the future Sorceress Supreme and Ruler of Limbo, that she was destined to become.

...As a pupil of Ororo

During her first year in Limbo, Illyana was an apprentice to an alternate reality version of Storm. One who unfortunately was stuck in Limbo and lost the ability to control the weather instead becoming a powerful magician highly skilled in the use of white magic. So skilled was she, that she was nearly able to best Belasco in their very first battle faltering in the very end. During Illyana's time with the now elderly Ororo, she was taught in the uses and practices of white magic. Different from black magic, white magic usually helped rather then hurt when used. She was also taught about life, the creation of it and astral projection. It would be during the time that she would spend with the elderly Ororo that Illyana would learn, much later master, the ability to mystically heal herself. She would spend an entire year apprenticing under the tutelage of the elderly Ororo.

...As a pupil of Cat

Following Illyana's first year with Ororo, Illyana then was trained by Cat. Cat was an alternate reality version of Kitty Pryde. No longer fully human in appearance, due to an interaction with Belasco, she had been transformed into a cat-like hybrid making her more animal in nature. As a result of the magical transformation forced on Cat, she had a hate for magic and wanted Illyana to have nothing to do with it. Illyana would train with Cat for 2 years, during which she would be taught how to fight, specifically, unarmed combat and in the effective use of bladed weapons. Initially Cat taught Illyana how to use a dagger then moved on to that of swords. Illyana would become quite comfortable in the use of both weapons; comfortable and VERY effective. It was during her time with Cat that she was also taught valuable survival skills allowing her to thrive in the most unlikely places. Illyana would grow to become best friends with Cat and look at her like family, willing to do anything to protect her.

...As a pupil of Belasco

It would be during her time with Limbo's, then, ruler Belasco that Illyana would learn and be changed the most. It was Balesco's goal to transform all 5 parts of Illyana's soul in Bloodstones. This was for two very different reasons. Firstly, with the 5 Bloodstones, Belasco could complete the magical Beatrice Medallion thus allowing him the ability to traverse to and from Limbo. An ability he had lost when he was exiled to Limbo by his masters the Elder Gods, for failing them. As a result of her soul being removed, it would be filled completely with black magic and would permanently make her a tool of both his, Belasco, and that of his evil masters the Elder Gods. This would make her a being of pure evil and thus helping the Elder Gods take of the Earth dimension.

Belasco would be unsuccessful in his ploy to remove all 5 parts of Illyana's soul. In the 3 years that she would learn under his tutelage, he would only manage to take 3/5 of her soul. This would still permanently taint her soul and as a result give her a partial demonic soul instead. It would be during her time as a pupil of Balesco's that he would teach her the darkest of the dark arts and the blackest of black magic. While at his palace she, too, had full access to Balesco's library of books of magic, that he had collected through this long, unnatural life. Belasco taught the young Illyana everything he knew. As a result of this, Illyana could produce virtually any and all spells that Belasco could and would be able to manipulate the forces of magic for a variety of effects.

81. Polaris (36 points)

polaris.jpg"As written by PAD during his original X-Factor run, Lorna became a favorite of mine, and not just because she was the love interest to Alex. Lorna was strong and self-assured, and never needed a man to be certain of her own worth, both as a person and a member of the X-Family. I'm glad to see this interpretation of the character returned, and along with Havok and the rest of the Starjammers, hope to see more of her in the near future."

Lorna was a mutant, born with green hair and magnetic abilities that developed during puberty. Her parents died in a plane crash when she was an infant. She was adopted, but grew up thinking her foster parents were her aunt and uncle until she was informed of the truth when she was almost twenty years old. Her foster parents hid the truth, fearing it was cause Lorna extreme stress and trauma.

Iceman met the young Lorna Dane after she was identified as a mutant by Cerebro. Iceman discovered that she had green hair after Lorna stepped out of the shower.

Lorna's magnetic powers emerged when she was controlled by Mesmero and subjected to a 'mutant energy stimulator' device. She and Magneto were convinced that they were father and daughter, due to the similar natures of their powers, although that was quickly disproved, and the Magneto Mesmero was working for was revealed to be a robot double.

Iceman provided evidence that convinced Lorna that her true parents had died in a plane crash years earlier. She then turned against the fake Magneto and joined the X-Men. When Lorna first encountered the real Magneto in the Savage Land, she was surprised that he did not know who she was.

For a while, Iceman had a crush on her but Lorna didn't truly reciprocate the feelings. She did however, fall in love with her teammate Havok, the brother of Cyclops. Lorna Dane's first "code name" was Magnetrix, but she quickly decided that was a bad idea. This did not keep Havok from continuing to use that name as a way to annoy and flirt with her.

When the old and new X-Men together fought the island Krakoa, Lorna displayed her major power potential for the first time as she disrupted the Earth's magnetic field, flinging Krakoa into deep space. Afterwards Havok and Lorna left the X-Men to pursue their mutual interest in geophysics. They moved to the Diablo mountain range in California.

Lorna received her Shi'ar design costume when her mind came under the domination of the Shi'ar Intelligence agent Davan Shakari, also known as Erik the Red. It was he who gave Lorna the codename Polaris. At the time Shakari served D'Ken, the emperor of the Shi'ar Galaxy, later deposed in favor of his sister Lilandra. Shakari kidnapped Alex Summers and Lorna Dane and subjected them to a powerful form of mind control: they were turned against the X-Men and attempted to assassinate Xavier. A massive battle ensued at Kennedy International Airport with the duo battling the X-Men. Polaris was defeated by Storm but Shakari managed to escape with both her and Alex. Eventually, Charles Xavier finally freed her from Shakari's control.

Lorna and Alex returned from time to time to assist the team. They led a happy civilian life for a number of years. They settled down in New Mexico and completed their degrees until the Marauders ambushed her and Havok around the time of the Mutant Massacre. Lorna's mind was overtaken by an evil being known as Malice. Malice's energy matrix was very compatible with Lorna's powers and the two became grafted together, apparently inseparable.

Lorna was then asked to join the newly formed Government X-Factor by Valerie Cooper and, tired of hiding out on Muir Island, she accepted. Lorna and Alex were set as its leaders. Joining X-Factor offered her the chance to reunite with Alex, but their relationship remained largely unresolved. Since this time X-Factor had changed dramatically, and so had Polaris, growing stronger and more sure of herself, and more independent from Alex. They tried to maintain the relationship but they broke up and reconciled multiple times. Polaris became a mainstay of X-Factor and became the government's secret weapon against a possible attack from Magneto.

Malice returned to bother her once more but Havok and Polaris, out of their love for each other, each tried to absorb her, preventing the other from being possessed. In the end, Malice perished at the hands of Mister Sinister.

X-Factor's atmosphere changed as criminals Mystique and Sabretooth were forced by the government to join the group. 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. When Havok finally revealed that his "terrorist" activities had been a front for his true undercover work, Lorna forgave him although she rejected him romantically. She also rejoined X-Factor only to watch as Havok was seemingly killed in the explosion of a faulty time machine constructed by the mutant from the future, Greystone. Lorna left X-Factor to grieve and the group disbanded.

As Malice, Lorna led the Marauders for a few months. After Mister Sinister was seemingly killed, Malice's hold over Polaris weakened and Lorna was able to place a phone call to the X-Men in Australia for help, but they arrived too late. Lorna was with her alleged half-sister Zaladane, a priestess for the Savage Land's Sun People. The X-Men arrived in time to witness Zaladane's getaway, but Havok managed to infiltrate her army in disguise while the X-Men followed. There the X-Men found that Zaladane had amassed an army of Savage Land natives who were being mentally controlled for her by Worm, one of the Savage Land Mutates. Zaladane revealed that she was in fact Lorna's sister and, using the High Evolutionary's machinery, stripped Polaris of her magnetic powers and took them as her own. The process also managed to finally separate Lorna and Malice. Zaladane and her forces clashed with Ka-Zar and the X-Men who were trying to free Lorna.

During the encounter, Polaris' Secondary Mutation kicked in. She grew in height (towering over Alex Summers), was invulnerable and had superhuman strength. Zaladane's army was released from Worm's control, and Lorna regained her freedom.

Having nowhere else to go, Lorna headed for Muir Island. On her way there her secondary mutation kicked in again (as was evidenced by her increased size). She discovered that her new mutation also affected those around her, amplifying negative emotions such as anger and hate. Upon examination even Moira MacTaggert was at a loss to explain Lorna's new mutation, although she did confirm that the only way Zaladane could have taken her powers away was if she were a biological sibling. Lorna was on hand to help Moira and Banshee defend Muir Island from the attacking Reavers (who were there looking for Wolverine).

At the time it was not clear that she drew her strength from being a nexus for negative emotional energies. Lorna's new status as a nexus however was perceived by the villainous Shadow King. The Shadow King used Polaris as a gateway to allow him access to the mortal realm from the astral plane, causing a world-wide increase in anger, hatred and violence in the process. Lorna was freed of his influence with the help of X-Factor and the X-Men[3] Upon the defeat of the Shadow King, Lorna's powers returned due to a combination of Zaladane's death a short time before and the neural-disruptive psionic blade of the X-Man Psylocke leaving no trace of her increased size, strength or emotion control powers.

So much more has happen, so I will jump to her current situation. After being rescued from an anti-Apocalypse cult by a new team of X-Men, Polaris agreed to join Professor X, Darwin, Havok, Marvel Girl, Nightcrawler, and Warpath on their mission to stop Vulcan from attacking the Shi'ar Empire.

At first, Apocalypse's adjustment to Lorna appeared more dangerous and difficult to control compared to her natural abilities. Throughout the journey through space, Lorna learned to master these adjustments as if they were her own. During various battles with Vulcan's forces, Polaris managed to stop Gladiator to a stand-still, though he ended up being too powerful to be contained by metallic bonding. During the final battle with all the X-Men and Vulcan's forces, Corsair was killed. Darwin saved Xavier from the M'Krann Crystal (which had the effect of re-powering his lost X-Gene). Nightcrawler took them back to their ship, and Lilandra did not wait for Polaris, Havok, or Marvel Girl to send Xavier, Nightcrawler, Darwin, Warpath, and Hepzibah back to Earth by teleportation. Meanwhile, Polaris had successfully caused major damage to Vulcan by crushing him with his own metallic armor, but it wasn't enough to win the battle.

Polaris, Havok, and Marvel Girl joined the ranks of the Starjammers, as did Korvus, Marvel Girl's romantic interest. Although Havok made it the Starjammer's only interest to kill Vulcan and end his rule as Emperor of the Shi'ar Empire, a new arrival, the Scy'ar Tal added new pressure. They arrived, claiming the Shi'ar ejected them from their home world. The Starjammers and Vulcan's forces temporarily united to deal with the impending threat, one so great it managed to destroy an entire planet in Shi'ar space that Rachel was unable to stop.

After the battle with the Scy'ar Tal, Vulcan betrayed Havok by flinging him into the vacuum of space, where Havok crashed into a star. Unbeknownst to Vulcan, Havok's ability allowed him to absorb some of the star, giving him a massive temporary power boost. Meanwhile, Polaris led the rest of the Starjammers, first against the Scy'ar Tal, and then against the Shi'ar Warbirds ten-times the size of the Starjammers. When they lost contact with Havok, Polaris unleashed and began destroying whole Shi'ar Warbirds.

Vulcan sent his entire Imperial Guard for Polaris and the Starjammers, and Polaris sent Rachel and Korvus after a tracking device sent by Vulcan that would lead a star to destroy the M'Krann crystal. Gladiator attacked them before anything could be done to stop the tracking device. Polaris led the team remaining on the Starjammer (Raza and Ch'od) against the Imperial Guard, and although they were able to hold their own for some time, the trio were eventually overcome by the sheer numbers of the Guard. Ch'od gave Havok Polaris' message that 'this can only end one way." Havok destroyed the Finality, the device using stars as planet destroying bombs, and was captured himself.

At the end of the battle, Vulcan had won, and planned to expand the Shi'ar Empire while keeping Havok, Ch'od, and Raza as prisoners. Marvel Girl, Korvus, and Lilandra all escaped. Polaris and the others were tortured in a prison under water on an oceanus planet. Despite ploys such as telling Havok that his teammates were dead and it was all Alex's fault, Havok remained defiant. Alex had at least some power left. He allowed some time to go by, with moments of exposure continuing, before killing his guards and escaping. Alex then liberated his teammates from captivity. As he rescued Polaris, she gave him a thank-you kiss. Havok surprised his team as he informed them of his true plan. Instead of running they would wait, Gabriel would be coming to them to defeat them, and Havok planned to kill him when he did. This caused her to be worried about Alex's safety and well-being.

Pursued by a Shi'ar super destroyer after escaping, Lorna used the fact that she was Crystal's sister in law to allow the Starjammers through the Kree's defensive shield. After the Shi'ar Imperial Guard's attack on Crystal and Ronan's wedding, Lorna played a minor but pivotal role in regaining Kree popular support for the Inhumans by making sure that Crystal's humanitarian acts towards the injured Kree civilians were broadcast all over the Kree networks. After this, she once again joined the Starjammers on their mission to rescue Lilandra. They promptly commandeered a Shi'ar Ironclad (which she helped capture by magnetizing the Starjammer to its hull) which they then used to join the main Shi'ar fleet until their cover was blown when they rescued Rocket Raccoon and his Guardians of the Galaxy.

80. Union Jack (36 points - 2 first place slots)

unionjack.jpg"The British Captain America with fantastic costume and had already been around since WW1. I liked the original, despite his being knocked off shortly after being introduced, but his son wasn't at all bad. The third and present Jack is terrific for having been put through so much and still not running away. A great take on patriotic super heroes, he's not an extreme sort."

"Great costume and the original Union Jack, James Falsworth, died of old age and not in battle. That's the only hero I can think of who's died of purely natural causes."

Joey Chapman is the son of a Liverpudlian dock worker who always preached the value of an honest day's labor explaining that "it would be nice to be rich" but while "people like that may run the world, it's people like us who make it run." Following his interests, Joey went on to University to study art, where he met Kenneth Crichton. Kenneth and Joey became fast friends despite the fact that they were from totally different worlds. Joey's father was a deckhand and Kenneth was the son of Lord and Lady Crichton and grandson of Montgomery, Lord Falsworth.

As it would soon be discovered, Kenneth was a direct descendant of the original Union Jack, Montgomery. During World War I, Montgomery had created the mantle to battle his brother, Baron Blood, who had become a German agent and vampire. In World War II Montgomery's son Brian again took up the mantle and teamed up with Captain America before being killed.

On a holiday visit to Falsworth Manor, Kenneth's ancestral home, Joey met Kenneth's mother, grandfather and he was also introduced to Steve Rogers, Captain America, whom Montgomery had called. The original Union Jack believed that Baron Blood had returned, and Captain America's investigation confirmed these suspicions. Soon after this, Baron Blood entered Falsworth Manor, intending to turn Montgomery into one of the undead. Unfortunately for Baron Blood, he encountered Union Jack (who he assumed was Kenneth) and Captain America. Blood was decapitated, and Union Jack removed his mask to reveal Joey. Kenneth, whose health had always been poor, had not been strong enough to survive the fight, so Joey had taken his place. The Falsworth's decided to allow Joey to continue to on as the newest Union Jack.

Recruited by The Green Knight as a Knight of the Pendragon, Joey was given superhuman strength and endurance. When the Knights disbanded, Joey joined the Invaders to defeat Kenneth who was transformed into the new Baron Blood by one of the original Baron's protégés. After defeating the new Baron Blood, Joey started a relationship with Spitfire, Kenneth's aunt who had been rejuvenated.

Recently, Joey and the Invaders parted company and he ended his relationship with Spitfire on amicable terms. He was recruited by Deputy Director Gavin of MI5 to help stop a terrorist attack by R.A.I.D. (Radically Advanced Ideas in Destruction). Helping Union Jack was S.H.I.E.L.D. liaison Contessa Valentina Allegro De Fontaine, Israeli Super-Agent Sabra, and Navid Hashim, the New Arabian Knight from Saudi Arabia. After the terrorist threat was stopped, Union Jack realized that Gavin had manipulated the situation to force the resignation of the Director General of MI5 and take over. Over Gavin's objections that this revelation would scar the national psyche, Union Jack slugged Gavin in the face and brought him before the press to answer for the unnecessary deaths of over two hundred people saying, "If this disaster's shown me anything, it's that most of the people you claim to protect don't have a voice, They don't have anyone lookin' out for ‘em. Well, now they do. As of this moment, I answer to no one but them."


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