With the roll call of Fox's New Mutants confirmed, I'm running through a series exploring the comic book history of the characters. You can check out my previous posts on Magik and Cannonball, but today it's time to look at one of the #XMen's most fascinating characters - Danielle Moonstar!
The Origin of Danielle Moonstar
One of the original New Mutants, Dani Moonstar is a Native American mutant who's seen dramatic changes in her character and powers as the years have gone by. She had powerful psionic abilities; she could reach into the minds of others and create heartwrenching illusions that displayed their deepest fears. On top of that, she had the ability to communicate with and control animals, and had some basic mystical abilities too. Her powers first manifested to give her a vision of her parents being killed at the hands of a Demon Bear, and the Hellfire Club soon came looking for this powerful young mutant.
Thankfully, her grandfather had already called Professor Xavier, and the X-Men came to Dani's rescue. Dani became a member of the New Mutants, and soon became joint-leader along with Cannonball.
Dani's Time with the New Mutants
Haunted by the Demon Bear once again, Dani came close to suicide. The New Mutants were drawn into another dimension by the creature, where Magik's sorcery overpowered the Demon Bear; her Soulsword cut the beast down. Dani was reunited with her parents, but chose to stay with the New Mutants.
Those early adventures of the New Mutants were fantastical, often taking them to other realms and dimensions. One of those adventures took the team to Asgard, where — in a shocking twist — Dani became a Valkyrie! She rode a winged horse and could perceive death itself. She was even able to challenge Death Incarnate, battling to save a life should she choose.
Moonstar's powers continued to grow; in a battle with insane scientist the High Evolutionary, she was plunged into a machine intended to strip mutants of their powers. Instead, it enhanced her mutation, increasing her powers. She was now able to make her telepathic illusions a solid reality, and began manifesting a "ghost spear" that she used to deadly effect against her foes.
Asgard and S.H.I.E.L.D.
Hela, the Asgardian goddess of death, launched a complex plan to take Odin's throne. Hela's magic began to drive Dani mad, and the New Mutants were forced to restrain her; it took Doctor Strange's help to hold her in check. The New Mutants soon unearthed Hela's plan, and worked with the wolf prince Hrimhari to defeat her. The battle cost Dani the winged horse that she had gained as a Valkyrie.
Finally returning to Earth, Dani joined S.H.I.E.L.D. and became an undercover agent in the terrorist Mutant Liberation Front. She learned to further refine her powers, projecting deadly psychic arrows. She had been given another Valkyrie winged horse, but that too was killed when her treachery was uncovered.
Although Dani's undercover mission brought her into conflict with X-Men groups — including the New Mutants, who now worked under the name 'X-Force' — she sought their help against the dark elf Malekith. X-Force helped extract her when anti-mutant forces successfully captured the Mutant Liberation Front.
Return to the X-Men
Dani's time apart from Asgard led to her Valkyrie powers diminishing, and she committed to life as a mutant once again. She became one of the teachers at Xavier's School, often serving in the field with the X-Men, while proving to be a much-loved teacher. Unfortunately, tragedy struck; the Scarlet Witch unleashed a spell that de-powered the majority of the world's mutants, Dani included. Cyclops chose to cast her out of Xavier's School, believing she'd become a target. That didn't stop Dani continuing her teaching career, and she briefly worked at the Avengers Academy; her desire to train the young superhero Trauma in controlling his fear-based powers led to conflict with the Government, who aimed to use Trauma as a weapon.
When Cyclops moved the X-Men to San Francisco, he chose to bring Dani back in the fold as a teacher. With the X-Men struggling against ever-greater threats, Cyclops had Dani approach Hela and regain her Valkyrie abilities. She rejoined the New Mutants, and ultimately took Cannonball's place as team leader for a time. The New Mutants are currently disbanded, and Dani's status is unknown.
- Roll Call: Meet the Superheroes of Fox's New Mutants!
- Meet the New Mutants: The Comic Book History of Magik!
- Meet the New Mutants: The Comic Book History of Cannonball!
As you can see, Dani is probably one of the most fascinating New Mutants. Her history weaves through the entire Marvel Universe, but that sadly leaves Fox with a very real challenge. Fox won't be able to tell the majority of Dani's most iconic stories - they involve Asgard, after all, and Fox don't have the license for that! It's going to be fascinating to see how Fox adapt the character for the big screen...
Are you looking forward to seeing Dani on the big screen? Let me know in the comments!