Far across the galaxy is the Coconut Grove. There the inhabitants are glamourous, with a penchant for bright and exotic fashion, and have mysterious powers that can be inherited down the family line. Although they are a naturally friendly race of beings who greet their guests with an instant make-over, they have evolved to their pinnacle. They were not satisfied to have reached the top of their evolutionary ladder and therefore they plotted to find mutations in other alien beings.
Ariel had already inherited her family gift of teleportation, and was therefore sent across the galaxy to Earth. There she settled in New York where there was a high concentration of super powered beings; particularly mutants. Her mission was to gather as many mutants from as many races as possible, then lure them back home to the Coconut Grove where they would be studied internally by their scientists who would find a way to further mutate their own race.
In New York, Ariel found a small group of teenage runaways who called themselves the Fallen Angels based in the Beat Street Club. They were mostly pick-pockets and thieves, but their leader was a grown man known as the Vanisher, a mutant teleporter who often used his powers to steal for his own gain. There she met Chance, a young feisty Korean refugee and they formed a tight friendship. She shared her plans with Chance, and the two then began to find mutants to bring them in to the Fallen Angels.
Ariel was created by Mary Jo Duffy and Kerry Gammill and first appeared in Fallen Angels issue 1(1987).
Major Story Arcs
The Fallen Angels
Ariel did not limit her search for mutants to just those in New York; or those who were human. With Chance's help they had already recruited Gomi, a young boy with cybernetic implants who had befriended two cyborg lobsters Bill & Don (the latter of whom was blue, and therefore classified as a mutant lobster). They later enlisted Sunspot who was accompanied by the technarch mutant Warlock. They were soon joined by Boom-Boom, Multiple Man and Siryn. Using her teleporting abilities to travel to another world, Ariel also recruited Devil Dinosaur, Moon Boy. All the Fallen Angels who Ariel recruited (apart from Gomi & Bill) were mutants, and therefore perfect for her plans.
However, Ariel enjoyed being on Earth and did not whisk the team away as soon as she had brought them all together. She enjoyed spending time hanging around Chance, and would use any opportunity to tease her human tomboy friend about her growing feelings for Sunspot. As well, she relished any chance to demonstrate her ability to bend space to create a teleportation portal through any closed doorway. So she let them remain on Earth, where the Vanisher would send them out onto the streets to steal food. Unfortunately, one such occasion led to the untimely death of Don, as he was accidentally crushed under foot by Devil Dinosaur. It was soon after this that she explained that it would be safer for the team if they found a new place to live, and everyone agreed to follow her. She had successfully completed her mission, but had not expected for the tables to be turned on her too.
Multiple Man had been carrying a portable version of Cerebro, which he had obtained from Magneto (who was then the headmaster of Xavier's School for the Gifted) in order to track Sunspot & Warlock; the two runaway New Mutants. Strangely all the mutants had been experiencing unexplained surges and complete loss of their powers. Multiple Man had explained when these strange occurrences that he had been receiving mutant signals on the portable Cerebro from Chance and Ariel. Chance would vehemently deny being a mutant, while Ariel convinced them that she couldn't be one. She explained that her ability to bend space through doorways was an old family ability that had been inherited down the generations. That she was descended from her namesake, Ariel from the Tempest, who also had the same ability which is why in the play she had been imprisoned in a pine tree.
However, when the team had travelled to the Coconut Grove, Multiple Man's confirmation that there were two clear signals from both Chance and Ariel was overheard by Coconut Grove guards. Therefore when the Fallen Angels were attacked & kidnapped, Unipar ordered them to seize Chance as well. Ariel attempted to convince them not to take Chance as well, but they refused to listen. She gave up and went to walk away when they took her prisoner as well. Having overheard Ariel's story, they knew that she was a mutant, and that the only way to keep her prisoner was to trap her in a force-field pillar; a Coconut Grove equivalent of the traditional pine tree that had held her ancestor captive centuries previously.
Only one of the Fallen Angels had remain undetected by the Coconut Grove guards, and therefore remained free. Bill the lobster was still angry from Don's tragic death, and now that his friends had been taken away the little green cyborg lobster fought his way through the Coconut Grove to free the Fallen Angels. When Bill liberated the Angels, they all ran out of the cell and were tempted to leave Ariel behind. She had betrayed their trust, and was left alone & remorseful trapped inside the energy pillar. However, the Fallen Angels took pity on her and freed her too.
Having discovered that Ariel was a mutant, it did not take them long to discover what her mutant ability was. She began to sparkle and sweetly explained to Unipar (the leader of the Coconut Grove's forces) that they did not want to detain the Fallen Angels or follow them. It worked like the Jedi Mind Trick, and (with a little excessive brute force from Devil Dinosaur) Unipar agreed to leave them alone in future. It was then pointed out to the citizens of the Coconut Grove that as Ariel was one of their own kind who had managed to further evolve without scientific interference, then it was assured that the rest of the population would soon start to mutate as well.
Ariel took her friends back to the Beat Street Club, but parted from her home planet claiming that she would not return. Although some of the other members went their separate ways, Ariel remained with chance and the others in New York.
After an absence of about 20 years, Ariel has re-appeared. Still wearing glamorous clothes, sparkling ear-rings, sunglasses and short hair, she up-dated her look to fit in with the San Francisco crowd. When Norman Osborne's Dark Avengers were sent to attack and divide the X-Men, Rogue, Gambit & Danger appeared in San Francisco to help Cyclops defend mutants. Trance had been tasered and was left lying helpless in an alleyway. Gambit had saved her, and moments later a doorway behind him began to glow. Ariel appeared accompanied by Onyx. Since he didn't recognise her, Gambit questioned Ariel whether she was an X-Men. Ariel answered that her membership was in her genetics.
However, when Ariel & Onyx returned through the teleportational doorway Trance had disappeared. This confused Ariel, who didn't want to be blamed for the accidental loss of Trance. Ariel also displayed a disregard (or ignorance) towards the Stepford Cuckoo Mindee who she called Candy.
Even though she's an alien, Ariel had accepted her mutant genetics and continued to use her mutant ability to sweet talk others. It was with her gift that allowed her membership into the X-Men.
While living on Utopia, Ariel was willing to assist in the X-Club's scientific experiments to bend space & break through dimensional walls. It transpired that it was Trance's powers that interfered with Ariel's spacial-bending, and Ariel therefore acted as a disinterested guinea pig when the X-Men were desperately looking for a means to enter Emplate's dimension & save Bling! The X-Club warped Ariel's space-bending, causing her to open a door that opened behind her. When faced with her own rear, Ariel appeared more interested in the appearance of her jacket than in aiding the X-Men.
A year after the birth of Hope Summers, Cable & Hope returned to the present day. The X-Men scrambled to meet & protect their friends, but Bastion's forces were ahead of them every step of the way. When both Magik & Nightcrawler were disabled in combat, Cyclops sent Ariel as the replacement prime teleporter.
She teleported from Utopia across America, delivering Rogue to the rest of the strike team who were in pursuit of Cable. Rogue used her bond with Hope to hone in on Cable while Nightcrawler provided them both with instant transportation across state lines. However, since Ariel's powers were reliant on using doorways to bend space around, she couldn't teleport through fields like Nightcrawler could. Therefore, she was unable to provide an instant gateway for the other X-Men to follow through.
Unable to teleport, Ariel was forced to travel in a car with Wolverine & X-23. She enjoyed the journey until they realised that they had come under attack while en route. Bastion's forces had fired a missile that swerved through the other travelling X-Men. Ariel looked out the window and saw the missile headed towards them.
The car was instantly blown off the road. The door flew open, and the burning mass of metal rolled and tumbled to a standstill. They had purposefully been targeted, to eliminate the last long-range teleporter the X-Men had in the field. Although both Wolverine & X-23 would survive & quickly heal from the burns, they reported that Ariel had instantly been killed. Back on Utopia, Emma Frost confirmed the news to Cyclops who was angered by the tragic loss of another mutant.
Regenesis and Resurrection?
The X-Men believed an alien presence followed Rogue's team back from space. Rogue used her powers and the help of all of the others that came from space, to determine what the presence is. They soon realize that the presence isn't that of someone or something they don't know, but that it is of Ariel.
Rogue explains to everyone how she believes Ariel escaped her death during the attack from Bastion. She believed that Ariel used the explosion of the car she was in, when the door beside her opened or was blasted off, that she stepped out of time and space. That Ariel never opened a door that would bring her back, because she was already on fire when she went through. Leaving Ariel in limbo for several months.
Rogue using Ariels power to open a door in the air, as she takes a team in to save Ariel. Rogue takes Hellion, Pixie, Frenzy, and Rachel through the door. Once in they realize that in this limbo dimension Ariel's size is much more than their's. Pixie teleports the team back to Utopia and the teleport brings Ariel back to regular size, then Hellion using his powers to separate the heat and shockwave of the missile explosion from Ariel's cells. Hellion was able to accomplish it and the X-Club then got Ariel into a trauma pod. Once in there and having Dr. Rao and Doctor Nemesis working on her she made a full recovery. She was then seen being the main transportation for Rogue, teleporting her to the future site of the Jean Grey Institute for Higher Learning.
Ariel is a typical example of anyone from the Coconut Grove; she is flamboyant and glamourous. Preferring to wear figure hugging skimpy clothes, she has a natural sparkle about her. Even her eyes contain flower like sparkles. Usually Ariel is an optimistic person, but it seemed to be when she was the centre of attention, or in control of the situation. When she lost her verbal influence over the others and was trapped inside the energy pillar, Ariel became withdrawn, pallid and learnt to be sympathetic.
Although Ariel appeared to be light-hearted and sweet, she was secretly conniving and inconsiderate. She relished the chance to use her space bending powers to humiliate Sunspot & Warlock (by sending them into the YWCA swimming pool), and enjoyed teasing Chance every time her best friend started to show signs of interest in Sunspot. Ultimately she was willing to hand over her friends to be scientifically experimented on, and did not learn to consider other's feelings until she was forced to suffer like they did.
Powers and abilities
Although human in appearance, Ariel is still an alien being. The only physical sign that she is not human is in her eyes. When she finally removes her sunglasses, her starry eyes are plain for everyone to see. Instead of having a plain coloured iris, she has a flower patterned sparkle which matches her usual sparkling personality.
Ariel has two forms of powers. One was deriving from her natural Alien biology. The other caused by a genetic mutation.
As an alien, Ariel has inherited the ability to teleport. However, unlike the Vanisher or Illyana Rasputin she can not instantly dematerialise and rematerialise. Instead, she can create a portal in any doorway. By mentally focussing on a closed door, she can then imagine the other side of the door to be anywhere else. When she opens the door she can then enter the location she had been concentrating on. This means of teleportation temporarily bends space around the doorway involved, and it is not restricted by distance. Ariel demonstrated to the Fallen Angels on two occasions that she could just as easily take them across the galaxy as she did when she connected to X-Factor's headquarters across town.
However, Ariel's teleportation does have it's limits. Ariel must use an established doorway through which to create her portal. She can not bend space without a door that will open and close. Likewise, if a door is left open, even just a little, then she can not use it as her destination. Although it has not been clearly demonstrated, Ariel must have some way around this, as the jungle forest planet where she found Devil Dinosaur & Moon Boy did not have any building of any kind, let alone a doorway which could open or close.
Ultimately there was one great flaw to Ariel's teleportation/space bending ability; she could be trapped inside a construction that had no doors. Ariel explained that she was descended from the Ariel who appeared in Shakespeare's play The Tempest and that she had inherited this power from her ancestor. The original Ariel had been trapped by the Sycorax inside a tree, and likewise this Ariel could be trapped inside a doorless pillar constructed out of a force-field. By depriving her of a doorway through which to bend space, Ariel was held prisoner.
Voice Based Manipulation
As a mutant of her alien species, Ariel developed a second power; that to convince others to do whatever she told them. She had used this ability many times without realising that she was doing it. By just speaking to her intended target, she could suggest something (whether it be a perfectly normal suggestion, or something outrageously out of the ordinary) and they would accept it without question. In a similar way to the Jedi Mind Trick, her chosen targets will accept what is said to them, but unlike the Jedi Mind Trick they do not appear to be in a trance. Instead, they begin to see the logic in her suggestion and offer up more reasons why she is right.
For a long time Ariel was not aware that she had this power to use it. She thought that people simply agreed with her. When Chance's own mutant powers began to cancel out the mutations of everyone around her, Ariel was surprised and disheartened when the others wouldn't listen to her or challenged what she was saying. However, when Chance later gained control of her ability to double the strength of other mutants' powers, Ariel found that she had a hypnotic charm when she spoke that was simply irresistible.
There is also a visual sign to when Ariel is using her sweet talking abilities. She appeared to be unaware of it, but whenever Ariel would verbally coax someone to her will, she began to sparkle.
Like her space bending powers, Ariel seems to have perfect control over her voice based manipulation abilities. She knows how to single out an individual or to target an entire group. It seems that so long as her intended target can hear her voice, then she can bend them to her will. Therefore it is beneficial that she had associated with the Fallen Angels, instead of a less scrupulous team of super powered beings. Although she had used her power to charm local market vendors into giving her free food, if she did not have the other Angels' good influence then she could have become an incredibly strong and corrupt being.
Mutant vs Alien
Despite not appearing for 20 years since the Fallen Angels' last trans-galactic adventure, it seems that Ariel has retained her mutant ability to manipulate others with her voice. Although the Scarlet Witch's hex was powerful enough to effect all of the Earth's population, then it stands to reason that it would have been strong enough to effect an alien lifeform who was on Earth at the time. Yet, Ariel has been accepted by the X-Men onto Utopia and she spoke strangely to Gambit to convince him that she was also a mutant which seems to suggest that she was using her mutant power at the time. Since Ariel can also teleport it is possible that she was off-world during the events of M-Day and free from the effected area of the hex, or simply that she was one of the few hundred mutants who retained their powers. Another thing that is not taken into account by many is the fact that she was mutated by genetic manipulation and not by the X-factor gene, therefore she would be no more affected than any genetically engineered livestock. Classifying her as an alien designated mutate would be more appropriate.