||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (January 2016)|
Dani Moonstar on the variant cover for Fearless Defenders #4.
|First appearance||Marvel Graphic Novel #4: The New Mutants (1982)|
|Created by||Chris Claremont (writer)
Bob McLeod (artist)
|Full name||Danielle "Dani" Moonstar|
|Species||Depowered Human Mutant|
Mutant Liberation Front
|Notable aliases||Psyche, Mirage, Moonstar, Spellbinder, Dark Rider|
Danielle "Dani" Moonstar, originally codenamed Psyche and later Mirage, is a fictional Cheyenne superheroine appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is usually depicted as associated with the X-Men.
A mutant, Moonstar originally possessed the psionic/psychic ability to telepathically create illusions of her opponents' fears or wishes. She later developed a wide range of psionic and energy manipulation powers. She also developed some magical abilities after a series of adventures in Asgard. She was a member of the X-Men's 1980s junior team the New Mutants and, after a long absence, its reincarnation X-Force.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Fictional character biography
- 3 Powers and abilities
- 4 Other versions
- 5 In other media
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Created by writer Chris Claremont and artist Bob McLeod, Mirage first appeared in Marvel Graphic Novel #4: The New Mutants (1982), and appeared as a feature character in New Mutants (1983), New Mutants Vol. 2 (2003), Young X-Men (2008) and New Mutants Vol. 3 (2009). She appeared for a portion of the initial run of X-Force (1991), first as an infiltrator to the Mutant Liberation Front and later as a regular X-Force team member. She was also briefly a supporting character in Avengers: The Initiative (2007) and can be seen sporadically as a background character in Uncanny X-Men and related X-Men titles. Moonstar appears as a regular team member in the all-female 2013 series Fearless Defenders by Cullen Bunn and Will Sliney.
Fictional character biography
Danielle Moonstar is a Native American (specifically, Cheyenne), and was born in Boulder, Colorado. As with most mutants, Dani's mutant powers manifested during puberty. One of her first manifestations is a vision of her parents' death, killed by a demonic bear. Shortly afterwards, her parents disappear and Dani is taken in by her grandfather, Black Eagle. The Hellfire Club attempt to capture her, and in the melee, her grandfather is killed. He has already contacted Professor X to take care of Dani. Xavier, who had been a close friend of Moonstar's father, offers to teach Dani control over her powers. She joins his group of students called the New Mutants, and shortly afterwards becomes the co-leader of the group, together with Cannonball.[volume & issue needed] There, she develops a deep friendship with Wolfsbane.
While with the New Mutants, Moonstar starts to have nightmares again about the Demon Bear, who until then had been kept from her due to Black Eagle's protective spells. Her fear over the entity causes her to contemplate suicide. One night, she attacks the entity and is taken to the hospital. The other New Mutants wait for her in the hospital and are tracked down by the Bear. Its magics affect the team, drawing them into another dimension. The New Mutant Magik pierces the Demon Bear with her magical sword, and it reverts to its original form: William and Peg Lonestar. Dani is reunited with her parents, but decides to stay at Xavier's school. They develop an intense rivalry with the Hellions, a super-powered team of young mutants led by the White Queen. This rivalry is later somewhat cooled when Danielle bonds with the Hellions's leader, Thunderbird, over similar Native American heritage.[volume & issue needed]
While stranded in the Asgardian realm, Danielle finds a winged horse trapped in mud and barbed wire. She frees the animal and names it Brightwind, not realizing the creature's nature. Selected by Brightwind as her rider, Danielle inadvertently becomes a Valkyrie. This allows Danielle to see premonitions of death.
The Power Pack call the New Mutants to help against a group of demonic creatures. The Pack's mother is gravely ill and Danielle fights off Death outside her hospital window, gaining the mother a new lease on life. Later, on a trip back home to see her parents, she encounters an old childhood friend. This friend has become racist and mentally ill during the time she was gone. He was also a diabetic and when he fails to take his medicine, he crashes and dies.
She and the other New Mutants attempt to save former teammate Magma from the High Evolutionary. During the fight, Moonstar is thrown into a machine intended to strip mutants of their powers. Instead, the machine (which had been reset by two other victims of the Evolutionary's plan) enhances her mutation; it gives her the ability to make the telepathic images manifest in reality. This ability is limited only in that Danielle can only sustain one wish or fear at a time. As a technique for dispelling previous manifestations, she takes up the habit of summoning a spear.
For a time, the team is taken care of by X-Factor. The group is seemingly settled into Ship, a sentient flying headquarters. Danielle gets worse and worse headaches, which causes concern with the team but all this is interrupted by many things, including X-Factor being drawn away in battle.[volume & issue needed]
Hela, the death goddess of Asgard, creates a plan to take over the realm and kill the Allfather Odin, who is in a healing sleep at the time. Hela's magics drive Danielle mad and she has to be restrained by her friends, allies, and the unseen help of Doctor Strange. The battle is soon moved to Asgard. The New Mutants, along with the wolf-prince Hrimhari and the Valkyrie Krista (aka Mist), who resist Hela, ultimately triumph. Danielle seemingly loses her winged horse Brightwind in the battle, which concludes in Odin's very bedroom.
In the end, she chooses to stay behind in Asgard. This angers Hotamitanio, one of her Cheyenne deities, who comes to Asgard itself to bring her back. Danielle ultimately persuades him to leave her to her own devices by promising to eventually return to her tribe.
When she does return, she joins S.H.I.E.L.D., unbeknownst to her former friends in X-Force, and infiltrates the Mutant Liberation Front. At this point, she refines her psychic ability so that she could cast "psychic arrows", which incapacitate their targets, and rides Darkwind, a dark version of her former steed Brightwind. Her assignment brings her into many conflicts with old allies, mostly X-Force (a continuation of her old team the New Mutants), but also Excalibur and Moira MacTaggert. Despite the Front's malicious motives, Dani secretly works against them, working with Cable to turn Feral over to law enforcement authorities for past crimes, sabotaging a mission in China, and harboring a resentment towards members of the Front, aside from Forearm, with whom she develops a genuine friendship. Her Asgardian white winged steed, Brightwind (who later became the black bat-winged Darkwind when Danielle was stripped of Valkyrie abilities[volume & issue needed]), was killed by Reignfire.
Later, she seeks X-Force's help with a foray into Asgard to help stamp out a take-over attempt by the dark elf Malekith. When most of the MLF is apprehended during Operation: Zero Tolerance, Dani is able to extricate herself with X-Force's aid. She joins X-Force for an extensive road-trip. After an encounter with the mysterious Arcadia Deville, she gains the ability to manipulate quantum energy as concussive blasts for a short time, but this power disappears shortly thereafter. She leaves X-Force when they contact Pete Wisdom and take on a more proactive direction.
After a short time as part-time X-Man, Moonstar becomes the mentor of a new New Mutants squad at the Xavier Institute (and the legal guardian of Elixir), as well as the Institute's American History teacher.[volume & issue needed] During this time she enjoys a reunion with Karma and then later, Wolfsbane. She helps Wolfsbane deal with the traumatic return of her lycanthropic powers, but an ill-thought romantic liaison between Wolfsbane and Elixir drives a deep wedge between the two women.[volume & issue needed]
She also appears alongside Polaris and Iceman when Northstar is killed by Wolverine. She is quickly taken out by Hand ninjas along with Polaris.
During her appearances in New Mutants (vol. 2) and New X-Men (vol. 2) the bulk of Danielle's powers appear to have reverted to their original form. She still retains some of her Valkyrie abilities, namely the ability to sense the dead, but they are not as strong as they once were.
In the wake of the House of M crossover, the Scarlet Witch causes many mutants to lose their powers. Moonstar is one of the many who lose their powers, and is fired by Emma Frost who feels that as a human, she is no longer safe nor has any right to remain at the school. She briefly reappears in Generation M #5, in which she revealed she has not dreamt since M-Day.
Following the events of the superhuman Civil War, Dani is recruited by the Initiative program to serve as an instructor to the next generation of superheroes, alongside her former colleague, Beast. She is the person brought in to train Trauma in the use of powers, which like hers, are fear based. He does transform into the shape of the 'Demon Bear' but Dani is not fazed and talks Trauma into a calmer state. However, due to her belief that Trauma could and should use his powers in a therapeutic nature, Henry Peter Gyrich, who intends to use Trauma as a weapon for the Initiative, is quick to dismiss her from Camp Hammond once she provides Trauma with enough training in his powers.
Danielle later becomes a member of the latest incarnation of the Hellfire Club brought together by Sunspot. Blindfold and Ink, deceived by Donald Pierce in the guise of Cyclops, are put in charge of capturing her. Ink betrays Blindfold and knocks her out and delivers both of them to Donald Pierce. After the Young X-Men defeat Pierce, Danielle moves to San Francisco along with the rest of the X-Men and is told by Cyclops that she and Sunspot will train the Young X-Men. She persuades an apprehensive Anole to join the Young X-Men and move to San Francisco.
Reforming the New Mutants
After receiving an anonymous tip in Colorado about a young mutant endangering a small town, Dani and Xi'an are sent to investigate and calm the locals. During their mission Magik—having teleported off into the future after the events of "X-Infernus"—reappears at the X-Men's base in San Francisco. Magik informs Sam and Roberto that Xi'an and Dani are going to die soon, prompting Sam to assemble a team consisting of himself, Sunspot, Magma and Magik to rescue the pair. Sam and Roberto come across a tied up and unconscious Xi'an in the back of a bar after a brief search, while Magik and Magma are tricked into freeing Legion from a box. The personalities in Legion's mind want to kill Dani because she can help Legion get those personalities under control. Legion uses mental projection to try to kill Dani, but she is saved at the last second. Dani punches Sam for his willingness to leave her behind because she lacks powers; she acquires guns in order to pursue Legion. Again, Sam tries to drive her away, saying guns won't help. Despite Dani defeating Legion, he maintains this attitude and she leaves.
Moonstar also assists Cyclops as he prepares his strategy against Norman Osborn's forces. Cyclops sends her to Las Vegas where she approaches the Norse death goddess Hela for a boon. Hela warns her that the price of the boon is a heavy one, but Dani accepts, requesting "a new ride home and a big ol' sword." Later she arrives for the final battle with her powers as a Valkyrie fully restored and she takes on Ares, defeating him after a brutal battle.
In the aftermath of Utopia Dani is grooming the newly resurrected Brightwind when Cyclops approaches her, congratulates her on her battle with Ares, and asks her to resume her previous teaching position with the X-Men. Dani is more interested in joining Sam's team, but is informed by Cyclops that Sam submitted a request for a permanent roster and didn't include Dani. Dani challenges Sam to a duel in the Danger Room and the two come to an understanding during their battle; Sam then allows Dani to rejoin his team and vows to treat her as an equal. Dani became romantically involved with Sam, and after he resigned from the position of leader of the New Mutants, Dani took his place.[volume & issue needed]
Hela summons Danielle Moonstar and calls in her favor: to gather the spirits of the Asgardians that fell in battle with Norman Osborn's forces. This time, due to the specific nature of her task, her sword cannot touch Asgardian living flesh, but instead proves deadly against the Disir, who have come to feast on the spirits while they are helpless.[volume & issue needed]
Powers and abilities
Mirage was born a mutant who formerly had empathic psi abilities to communicate with animals and to create three-dimensional images of visual concepts from within the minds of herself and others. Her most developed ability allowed her to manifest people's fears or desires as realistic illusions.
Her ability began as manifesting people's worst fears, many times in an uncontrollable fashion, against the will of both involved. Soon she gained the ability to control this and to alternatively manifest a person's "deepest desire", or something or someone the person respects. She can also project images of objects of fear or desire from the minds of vertebrate animals and certain insects, but only the animal from which she derives the image will be able to see it.
She can even create illusions by channeling residual thought and emotional impressions in an area (such as showing Wolverine a battle scene between Mister Sinister and unknown assailants, simply by entering the area where the battle had recently taken place). At first, Mirage could not control her image projecting powers and would draw and project images without consciously willing to do so. She has since gained control through training and maturity.
Mirage also had a quasi-telepathic talent that allowed her to form a rapport with animals, including her winged horse, Brightwind, primates, canines, lupines, felines, and avians. She can sense their feelings, consciously perceive images in their minds, and even see through their eyes. This enables her to communicate with Wolfsbane in her transitional half-lupine form or transformed into her full wolf form. She has also been able to exist peacefully with wild animals.
She also had for a time the ability to make the telepathic images manifest as psionic energy, becoming tangible entities of solid psionic force. This ability was limited in that Mirage could only sustain one illusion at a time. She often carried around a "dream spear", in order to destroy previous illusions. Many times, her powers caused her to experience sharp, blinding headaches.
Dani later gained the ability to focus her psionic powers into energy arrows which could stun an opponent by disrupting their central nervous system, or force them to relive a traumatic memory.
When Mirage rescued Brightwind, she became a valkyrie, and became endowed with the Valkyrie power to perceive and sense the coming of Death. As such, Mirage could perceive a "deathglow" surrounding a person in serious danger of dying, a dark cloud or graphic visual image over people who were in mortal peril. She could also perceive Death incarnate and even do physical battle with Death itself. She has created an illusory "Cheyenne ghost-staff" drawing upon an image in her own mind and has successfully wielded it as a weapon against Death and the Asgardian death-goddess Hela.
Because of the Scarlet Witch's powers and actions, Moonstar lost her mutant powers. In addition, she lost her Valkyrie powers due to the fall of Asgard but has since regained them after making a deal with the reborn Hela.
Moonstar also appears to have gained a substantial degree of superhuman strength from Hela as she was able to knock Ares off his feet. She also wields a powerful supernatural sword, with unknown powers. Matt Fraction has confirmed that since Danielle's restored Valkyrie powers come directly from Hela herself, they are much greater than they were previously, referring to her as a "Valkyrie Plus". It has been mentioned that she was specifically designed to take down a god. New Mutants writer Zeb Wells has confirmed that her recent power boost was temporary and that she is depowered again. However, she still owes her services to Hela as a Valkyrie. As such, Brightwind remained with Danielle as a reminder of this pact, and Danielle still possesses her Valkyrie powers, but they are apparently only active when Hela herself wills them to be.
Due to her training at Xavier's and her time as a Valkyrie in Asgard, and her natural athleticism growing up in the Rocky Mountains, Dani is physically fit and an excellent hand-to-hand combatant. In addition, she is experienced in the use of several primitive weapons, especially the bow and arrow, spear, knife and sword, which she carried as a Valkyrie. She is a skilled equestrian and swimmer, a good marksman with a rifle, and an excellent archer.
Age of Apocalypse
In the Age of Apocalypse, Moonstar became one of Apocalypse's followers and a member of the Pale Riders, one of the Dark Lord's team of assassins. She earned the position due to her sadism and ruthlessness. Due to her origins, she was capable of infiltrating John Proudstar's Ghost Dance, learning that Nightcrawler was seeking a way to reach Avalon.
Apocalypse sent the Pale Riders to follow Nightcrawler and destroy Avalon, however, during the journey, the sadistic Moonstar began to torture Dead Man Wade for fun, as his healing factor would regenerate any kind of wound. This angered Damask, the Pale Riders leader, who killed Moonstar after she refused to stop.
House of M
Dani is an instructor for S.H.I.E.L.D., training the next generation of soldiers. She finds herself at odds with Xi’an Coy Manh, headmistress of the New Mutant Leadership Institute. She works closely with her squad and has lost her left eye to anti-mutant terrorists. She helps her charges and the runaway mutants from the New Mutant Leadership Institute take down Project Genesis.
In the Marvel Mangaverse, Mirage is a mutant sorceress and a member of the X-Men along with Wolverine, Storm, Jean Grey, Cyclops, and formerly Rogue. In this universe, she apparently has the ability to summon small monsters, and is from India instead of being Native American.
X-Men: The End
In the alternate future depicted in X-Men: The End, Dani was imprisoned in Neverland, a concentration camp for mutants. Upon sensing Rahne's death, Dani chants a mixture of Norse and Cheyenne words and Mister Sinister decides to have her terminated, which is initially shown to successfully take place. Later it is shown that she transcended death. After killing her tormentor she says the powers of the ancient Cheyenne gods and the Asgardian gods live on in her. She leaves with the intention of rebuilding the rainbow bridge to see where it will take her.
In "What If? the X-Men Had Stayed In Asgard?", Danielle is one of the X-Men and New Mutants who decides to remain in the Realm Eternal. In the course of events evoked by Loki's machinations, Danielle eventually replaces Hela, who is destroyed during the ensuing conflict, as the ruler of Hel, with her teammate Magik serving as a liaison between the underworld and Asgard afterwards.
In other media
- Danielle Moonstar appears in the X-Men: Evolution episode "Ghost of a Chance", voiced by Tabitha St. Germain. In this incarnation, Danielle's abilities are slightly altered so that they are more of a telepathic induction type, enabling her to project dreams (or nightmares) directly into her victims' minds. At the time the ability emerged, it was out of control, alienating most people of her home village and driving them away, leaving the place a ghost town. While on a hike in the mountains, Danielle was buried alive in a cave for two years, and unable to escape, her body went into suspended animation due to her mutant abilities. When Shadowcat passes nearby, Danielle inadvertently telepathically contacts her and projects a dream in which Kitty introduced her to the X-Men, which was in fact not really happening. After realizing that Danielle really exists and is in danger, Kitty goes great lengths to rescue her, despite the initial scepticism of her teammates. Even though they have not personally met before the actual rescue, the shared telepathic mind-link has made Danielle and Kitty close friends.
- Danielle Moonstar appears in Marvel Heroes.
- In the novelization of X-Men 3, Moonstar is recruited as a future X-Man, alongside Cannonball, Sage, Gambit, and others.
- Ching, Albert (8 November 2012). "Marvel NOW! Gets an All-Female Team of FEARLESS DEFENDERS". Newsarama. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
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