Xi'an Coy Manh grew up in war torn Vietnam, as her family travelled around the country where-ever her uncle, General Nguyen Ngoc Coy, was posted. She discovered her mutant power when a Viet Cong was about to kill her twin brother Tran Coy Manh. She possessed the soldier's mind, and commanded his body to move away from her brother. However, Tran realized that he shared the same mutant power and possessed the soldier after Xi'an had released him. Instead of moving the soldier away, Tran commanded the Viet Cong to smash his own head repeatedly against a wooden post, thereby killing the possessed soldier. Xi'an was appalled, and immediately refused to use her powers for personal gain like her brother. However, Tran shared this new knowledge and power with their uncle. The General vowed to protect his nephew and the two formed a dangerous partnership.
When South Vietnam fell, General Nguyen arranged the evacuation. However, only he & Tran were on the transport, leaving Xi'an with her mother, father, and the younger twins Leong & Nga. The shattered family struggled to survive and fled Vietnam. Like many hundreds and thousands of other refugees they slowly sailed across the sea to reachAmerica. Xi'an had grown accustomed to using her possessing mutant powers to aid them in their escape. However, after months of traveling and starvation, Xi'an fell ill and was too weak to use her power against pirates. She could only watch in a half-daze as her father was murdered and both she and her mother were raped. It was soon after when they were saved by the American Armed Forces, but sadly on that day Xi'an's mother passed.
Originally Xi'an and the twins were sent to live with their uncle & brother. The General approached Xi'an to work for him like Tran did, but she refused. She took the twins and found refuge with Father Bowen, who had been a soldier fighting in Vietnam & was sympathetic to their cause. He helped them find an apartment, secured employment for Xi'an and even arranged for her to start school. However, the General had the apartment ransacked and kidnapped Leong & Nga. That spurred Xi'an into action.
Karma is a Marvel character created by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller. Her first appearance was in Marvel Team-up #100.
Even when the New Mutants had newly formed, Karma could keep a calm temperament and level-head. She had already endured the Vietnam War and the tragedy of watching both her parents being murdered. Karma also quickly gained more experience of battles and using her powers when she arrived in America. So it was natural for her as the eldest and most experienced among the New Mutants to be their first field leader.
Karma usually remains calm during combat situations. When confronted with a physical attack from the mutated sentinels, Kitty Pryde told Karma to run away since her possessive abilities had no effect on the machines. Yet Karma found a crow bar in the local building site and stood her ground. Also, she remained calm and took control of the situation when her mind was stolen and planted inside the body of David Haller.
It is rare for Karma to break down and let her emotions get the better of her, but it does happen under exceptional circumstances. When Emma Frost continued to push her powers and labeled her as weak, Karma grew frustrated. She could also not deal with the loss of Kitty Pryde, which caused her to snap and lash out at Leong & Nga with her powers. Also, the prospect of being possessed by the Shadow King has reduced her to tears. She knew that she was capable of evil things, and was most likely to return to being an obese glutton.
In the years since, Karma's sexuality has become clearer as Marvel has abandoned the Comics Code Authority. This has led to Karma's unrequited love for Kitty Pryde. Her loyalty to Kitty caused Karma to pine for her several months after she had sacrificed herself to save the Earth. However, an uncharacteristic twist has shown Karma in bed with a harem of different girls.
Major Story Arcs
Twin Versus Twin
After seeing the Daily Bugle's front page about Spider-Man being a 'Public Menace', she decided to use her powers on him. She sent him across town where her Uncle was attending the same charity art sale as the Fantastic Four. There Spider-Man appeared to attempt to kidnap Leong & Nga, before the Fantastic Four intervened. Xi'an lost her hold of Spider-Man when Tran attempted to possess him. They fought to gain control of him, but as he regained his senses he was knocked unconscious by The Thing. Mr Fantastic studied Spider-Man's mind and detected that he had been 'switched off' during the possession. He made a call to Professor Xavier who confirmed that Cerebro had detected two powerful mutants who's "power is unlike anything [he'd] previously encountered, and it is considerable". The heroes used a portable Cerebro loaned from Professor Xavier and located Xi'an in a church. Spider-Man charged in attacking Father Bowen, spurring Xi'an to possess the Human Torch for protection. The fight inside the church was soon ended by the Invisible Woman's force shield, and Xi'an broke down into tears. She apologized and explained her situation and the heroes agreed to help.
On the East Side of the Brooklyn River, they ambushed a crew of Vietnamese smugglers. However, their attack was foiled when Tran knocked his sister unconscious and possessed the Fantastic Four, forcing them to attack Spider-Man. Xi'an slowly regained her consciousness and begged her brother to stop. When he refused, she used her power to possess him, and absorbed him body & soul. He physically disappeared, leaving only his green uniform. His black half of the yin-yang symbol disappeared and re-appeared on Xi'an's matching green uniform, completing the yin-yang against her white half. The Fantastic Four regained their own consciousness and re-united Xi'an with her younger siblings.
As she left Xi'an thanked them for their help and informed them that "Karma" will always be ready to help them in future.
When the X-Men were believed to have died in space at the hands of the Brood, Professor Xavier grew despondent. He swore never to recruit mutants or train them to be X-Men. However, he was introduced to Karma and took pity on her situation. He gave Karma minor employment, which helped her to care for Leong & Nga. Soon after his former lover, Moira MacTaggert, brought her young ward to him for protection. When Karma first met Wolfsbane, she demonstrated her mutant abilities by taking control of Moira MacTaggert. Seeing her adoptive mother possessed frightened Wolfsbane, and she transformed into a wolf ready to attack Karma. Despite their awkward first meeting, Karma and Wolfsbane became close friends. Wolfsbane later reflected on how Karma was her first friend, and had shown her great kindness by helping her come to terms with her own werewolf powers.
As the X-Men were believed dead, Donald Pierce of the Hellfire Club wanted revenge upon Professor Xavier in their place. He used his various resources to locate and try to kidnap young mutants. He managed to recruit Cannonball, and had Black Eagle murdered in an attempt to capture Psyche. Despite having sworn not to recruit any more X-Men, the professor could not deny the need to ensure these young mutants' safety. They banded together and led a strike against the Hellfire Club. Karma helped to distract the guards, by using her power to possess one and pretend that they were being held hostage. The ruse lasted long enough to take the enemy by surprise. They managed to save Sunspot, but were unable to protect his girlfriend Juliana who dived into the line of fire to protect him. After the rescue attempt Karma, Psyche, Sunspot & Wolfsbane agreed to stay at Xavier's School for the Gifted to learn how to use their powers. Although they gave Cannonball a chilly reception (because he was working for the enemy when they first met him) the New Mutants were finally established as a new team.
The New Mutants
To begin with Karma was a central figure in the team. They all flocked to be around her, and had fun watching Stevie Hunter give her a haircut. Unfortunately Psyche's power was still uncontrollable, and she accidentally pulled out the image of Karma's voyage to America. The attack by pirates and rape was shown before the whole team, and in a fit of rage & embarrassment Karma dived at Psyche. It was the team's first fight, and their training hadn't even begun. Stevie went to pull Karma off Psyche, but was possessed and forced to stay out of the way. Karma only let go of her hold on Stevie when Sunspot slapped her across the face. Psyche ran off, afraid that she had hurt her friend.
The argument didn't last for long. Karma received her new haircut from Stevie, and all the New Mutants lined up ready for their first training session in the Danger Room. They took turns to try and cross the room. When it was Karma's turn she expected more from herself. She had more experience than any of the others and recalled when she used her powers on Spider-Man. Immediately she used her power to possess Cannonball sending him flying into Sunspot. However, her concentration was soon broken when Wolfsbane pounced on her, licking her face. Like the others, she had failed her first lesson in the Danger Room.
Karma joined the others (except for Psyche) on a trip into Salem Centre. After a movie, they sat in an ice cream parlor and made friends with some of the local kids. Their day was interrupted when a group of men in suits seemed to want to arrest the New Mutants. Being the oldest, Karma took the lead. She agreed to go along with them peacefully to avoid any trouble and accidentally revealing their powers to the general public. The other New Mutants followed Karma's lead without question. However, when they were down in the car park they all sprang to defend themselves. It was a valiant effort, but it was short-lived as they were soon attacked by Sentinels. Karma's power meant that she was powerless against the giant machines. However, when one of the Sentinels had frozen Cannonball in mid-flight, she was able to possess his mind and re-ignite his blast field. She sent him flying through the air till the ice froze off and he was free to rejoin the fight.
With a little convincing from Michael Rossi, Karma possessed the head agent. She did not like to use her powers in order to extract a forced confession out of someone (even if they were guilty), because it reminded her of Tran's corruptive use of his powers. However, despite her own personal misgivings, she did manage to save the day. By possessing the head agent, Karma had him turn himself over the police, call of the Sentinel attack and therefore restored peace to Salem Centre Mall.
Days later, Karma met Psyche outside. Psyche had woken the whole team in the middle of the night with her screams, but decided to go for a swim in the cold winter air. Karma wrapped her friend in a towel as she was concerned for her health. However, Psyche confided in Karma that she believed there was something wrong with the Professor. Although Professor Xavier was a deeply respected & trusted man, Karma believed Psyche and therefore used her powers to gather the other New Mutants together in the boat house.
One by one, Karma possessed the other New Mutants. She summoned Wolfsbane, Sunspot and Cannonball by taking control of their bodies. One minute Cannonball was stepping out of the shower and about to shave, the next thing he knew there was a message on the bathroom mirror written in shaving foam. He was furious and demanded to know she had violated his mind. Cannonball didn't accept her apologies or the reasoning behind Karma's actions. However, he couldn't deny the mysterious alien landscape that suddenly enveloped their home.
As the New Mutants approached the mansion, they came under attack from the Brood Queen. It was successful on it's second attempt to kidnap Psyche. The other New Mutants soon caught up and a fight broke out between them and the alien in the Professor's private study. While there, Karma tried to take control of the alien's mind. However, the foul psyche overwhelmed her. Karma had been possessed by the Brood Queen and began to attack her team-mates. She was rescued by a physical attack that knocked her unconscious. By the time Karma regained consciousness, the battle had been won and the Brood Queen had disappeared.
Missing In Action
The New Mutants went to the local fair where they played many different games. They sat down to enjoy the motorcycle display by Team America, but the whole event came under attack. Karma and the others used their powers to turn the tide, but none of them could stop the Silver Samurai. In the chaos of the fight the Samurai defeated Team America's guardian angel, the Dark Rider, revealing that it was really Psyche. He then teleported away, kidnapping Psyche in the name of the Viper.
Professor Xavier wanted to include Team America in Psyche's rescue. However, Karma was angry and determined that the New Mutants should save their friend by themselves. First they traveled to San Francisco. There they confronted Karma's Uncle Nguyen. Karma easily defeated his two floozy bodyguards, and then turned her possessive power against her uncle. She marched him out to his penthouse balcony, and had him step-over the railings. Karma released his mind and threatened to make him jump unless he gave them as much information as possible on the Viper. However, her uncle was a far more corrupt and cunning individual. He knew that Karma wouldn't kill him, and therefore offered a different exchange. In return for the information they wanted, Karma would have to work for her uncle for 12 months. Despite the others' protests, Karma agreed.
They proceeded to the Viper's layer in Bug Sur. Just as the New mutants were about to sneak in, Karma was approached by a mysterious psychic being that promised it would collect her later. Karma cried out in a panic, which tipped off the guards to their presence. The others fought the Silver Samurai and rescued their team-mate. Karma battled to possess the Viper, which she successfully managed to do when the Silver Samurai teleported in and surprised his boss.
The battle was short-lived, and the New Mutants were re-united. Karma teased Psyche about how fetching the Viper's outfit looked on her, and they briefly argued about her agreement with General Nguyen. However, their victory was short-lived. Just as the Silver Samurai activated a self-destruct mechanism, the malicious psychic entity returned to collect Karma. She fell to the floor and screamed. As her friends hurried around her, the Viper's layer exploded. They all fell into the rolling sea beneath them. Despite their best efforts, Karma could not be found.
Professor Xavier was open about the possibility that Karma was dead. However, he didn't tell the New Mutants that he feared she was still alive and in the hands of a terribly psychic fiend.
The Return of Karma
There was a dangerous group of mutants in Los Angeles known as the Gladiators. They would fight each other and any strangers, quite often to the death. Nobody knew who their real boss was, but when Sunspot & Magma were kidnapped they were addressed by the holographic image of a man known as Alexander Flynn. However, Flynn was merely a facade to hide the real identity. The New Mutants had been separated; many of them had traveled to Muir Isle with Professor Xavier, leaving only Cannonball & Magik to try to rescue their friends. Their initial attempt failed, but they returned with Shadowcat, Dazzler & Rachel Summers. They managed to infiltrate the Gladiators and destroyed the system. During their escape they came face-to-face with the real boss of the Gladiators: their old friend Karma.
They couldn't understand Karma's physical & mental transformation. She was horrendously obese, wearing an oriental dress that resembled a cheongsam. Karma had grown vicious as well as fat. She delighted in seeing others suffer, and often commanded her servants to kill themselves for her pleasure. Her fight with the assorted New Mutants and X-Men was brief and she fled to Cairo. When the New Mutants tried to ambush her, she used her power to possess them and make them her personal army. At first it appeared that only Mirage & Magik had escaped, but the girls later met Warlock & the powerless X-Man Storm. Since telepaths couldn't read the minds of Magik or Warlock, they were able to resist Karma's power and therefore defeat her. By teleporting the team to Limbo, Magik broke the telepathic connection and therefore gave the New Mutants the freedom to attack Karma.
However, during the fight Mirage's power conjured up an image of war-torn Vietnam and Karma began to cry. She had reverted to hr previous kind personality. Her own power of possession had been turned against her by the Shadow King, who wanted to use the New Mutants as a weapon against Charles Xavier. When the Shadow King attempted to hide in Cypher's body, she possessed his mind and entered into a telepathic battle with him on the Astral Plane. There she was still fat, and the Shadow King taunted her by revealing her own glutinous desires for food & drink. However, Karma fought back and shattered the obese projection around her. Re-emerging as a skinny girl she punched the Shadow King's astral form and inflated him until he appeared to explode. He had fled the fight, but when Karma returned to the physical world her body was still obese. She was despondent and begged to be left to die in the burning night-club. However the New Mutants refused to let her go. Storm then offered them all a chance to relax on the Mediterranean island of Kirinos.
On the Island the New Mutants played on the beach. However, Karma remained inside, hiding in the dark. Afraid to even look at herself or eat. She wasn't allowed to feel sorry for herself for long because the New Mutants and Storm were kidnapped by the Enchantress and Loki. Trapped in Asgard, the mystical spells surrounding the Enchantress' fortress interrupted Magik's mutant ability to teleport.
The mutants were therefore scattered around Asgard, and Karma found herself alone in the desert. She gave up on the will to live, and would have lay down to die in the desert if she had not discovered a lost child. The girl reminded Karma of Leong & Nga, and therefore she found a new reason to continue living. Using her power to possess the minds of others, she would control the body of any lizards, birds or small animals that they found wandering in he desert and then use an old sword to kill the creatures. This became their only means of survival in the desert, and therefore when Karma reached Asgardian civilisation she had lost all the obese weight she had gained while under the Shadow King's possession. The child who had accompanied her across the desert had mysteriously disappeared, and Karma gained a small piece of white string tied around her index finger. It was a sign that she had been graced by the three Norns; Urd, Verdandi & Skuld.
The X-Men journeyed to Asgard to free their friends & family. However, a lot of the mutants were captured & held captive by Loki. Magik had already grown darker and more sadistic, so Loki manipulated her into working for him. In order to help free herself and the captive X-Men & New Mutants, Karma forced her will over Magik's and took possession of her mind. The liberated teams were then able to rush to the Hall of Heroes and confront Loki forcing him to free them without retribution. Just before they parted, Loki was clear that he would remove any magical spells or items from them, returning them all to normal. He clearly took delight in telling Karma that he would not be so cruel to restore her to her former obesity. Although she was angry with him for mocking her, Karma was pleased that she remained skinny.
Returning to New York, Karma rejoined the New Mutants but did not move back into the school. Instead, she found a small apartment where she lived with Leong & Nga. The twins could therefore attend a regular school, and live a relatively normal life despite the fact that their sister was a mutant.
However, during the aftermath of the Mutant Massacre in the Morlock tunnels Karma desperately tried to call home. Leong & Nga didn't answer the telephone, and Karma grew increasingly concerned. When Magik teleported into the room (briefly scaring Karma) she offered to quickly teleport them across town to check on the twins & back again before Magneto could notice they were missing. When they arrived at the apartment there was still no sign of the twins. Someone had booby trapped the apartment, because as soon as Karma flicked the light-switch it detonated an explosion.
It was a couple of hours before the other New Mutants realized that something was wrong and followed them into the city. Warlock was acting suspicious and delayed their progress by travelling underground instead of flying them all there. When they arrived, the scene was already swarming with the emergency services. Just as the New Mutants began to worry, Magik & Karma appeared behind them. They had teleported out just in time, but Karma had received worse injuries. Karma was worried for the safety of her brother & sister. The New Mutants believed that the Marauders had planted the bomb, but they were attacked before they could investigate the matter.
Warlock's father, Magus, had finally tracked down his son. He wanted to kill Warlock and the whole team of New Mutants. The team immediately teleported to Limbo for safety. However, Magus managed to track them to Limbo and began to attack again. Karma tried to posses his mind, but failed since he was a being capable of tearing planets apart.
The team teleported again, but Magik panicked and they moved through space and time. At first they appeared in Scotland to aid Robert the Bruce in his fight to defend his crown & country. However, instead of returning to the present day Magik accidentally teleported them into the future. The New Mutants had been split up, with two teams experiencing alternative futures while Magik fought to defend her leadership of Limbo. Karma landed on the site of Xavier's School for the Gifted with Magma, Sunspot & Wolfsbane. There they found a poster claiming that many of the X-Men had been slain, and that their surviving friends were wanted criminals. Suddenly they were attacked by a squad of Sentinels. Karma fell down, and was unable to use her powers against the machines. She implored Wolfsbane to leave her behind, but Wolfsbane refused and helped her flee. Suddenly adult versions of Cannonball & Mirage arrived to their rescue.
Unknowingly, the New Mutants had arrived in the Days of Future Past alternative future (Earth-811). There, the surviving New Mutants were planning on collecting as many survivors as possible and evacuating them to safety. With Lila Cheney's intergalactic teleportation, they would relocate everyone to her Dyson Sphere. The time-displaced New Mutants fought alongside their older friends with cold comfort. After saving Lila from the sentinels, they were left behind on Earth. There, Karma was powerless to help her friends as they battled more sentinels. It was many hours later when Magik and Professor Xavier teleported to their rescue.
New Mutant, No More
Upon returning to Earth, Karma's priority once more shifted to her biological family. It was clear that Leong & Nga had been kidnapped, and Karma left the team to actively search for them on her own. Her search led her around the world, and she was in Mandripoor when she was found and hunted down as part of the Gamesmaster's Child's Play agenda. The Upstarts had been sent to hunt down all the surviving members of the New Mutants and Hellions, which led to Xi'an briefly teaming up with X-Force and the New Warriors.
Karma did manage to find her long lost brother & sister. They had been kidnapped and passed from one villain to another. Eventually they landed up in Spiral's many hands. Spiral used her knowledge and resources of the Body Shoppe to experiment on the children. She vastly increased their age (the second time she had done this) and extracted mutagenic traces from their DNA to physically warp them. Karma aided the Beast to defeat Spiral. However, Leong & Nga had been left warped by Spiral's machinations. It would take a long time for them to be restored to their true age, shape & size.
After spending years searching the world for her family, Karma was determined to give them a safe and stable up-bringing to the best of her abilities. She moved to Chicago and enrolled at college. To help pay the bills she was employed as the college's librarian.
Karma enjoyed being around people her own age, who didn't know anything about her genetics or background. It gave her a chance to start life afresh. She began to make new friends and explored her own sexuality. Although still a librarian, Karma cut her hair extremely short & dyed it pink, and she began to wear more revealing and casual clothing. When she joined a couple of her friends to the Burning Man festival she accidentally bumped into many of her old New Mutants friends who were part of X-Force. Dani Moonstar was shocked to discover the changes in one of her oldest friends, but was glad to hear that she was finally happy. The two of them chatted, catching up on what changes they'd both experienced. The casual atmosphere was disturbed when Selene attacked. She was soon defeated by the combined efforts of X-Force, Cannonball and Karma.
Karma returned to college, eventually growing her hair long and washed the pink dye out. While there, she found another old friend. Kitty Pryde was also attending college in an attempt to have a normal life, and Karma sprang a surprise reunion while Kitty was still working her shift in a local bar. However, they both became the focus of anti-mutant sentiments from the local college group Purity. Karma was forced to grab the twins and run away from home in the middle of the night and sought refuge in Kitty's apartment. While sharing an apartment they grew close, and Kitty became a surrogate Aunty to Leong & Nga. Karma even surprised Kitty by revealing that she still wore her New Mutants uniform underneath her regular clothes to help keep her warm or cool as the whether demanded.
However, while struggling to cope with the struggle of anti-mutant protesters on campus, both Kitty & Karma came under attack from a new evolving breed of Sentinels. The machines looked more like waspish insects, which continued to adapt and repair themselves. Karma's mutant ability to posses living beings was powerless against the machines, but she still fought them physically with metal bars whenever she could. During one near-escape, Karma landed on top of Kitty and the two nearly kissed. However, the romantic moment was abruptly ended when the attacking sentinel repaired itself and began to attack again. Ultimately, the girls managed to defeat the new sentinel problem with the help of a Genoshan immigrant, Shola Inkosi.
While at college, Karma met a local high school student, David Alleyne. David was an exceptionally gifted and intellectual young man that he began to study at the college library. He had also become the focus of Purity's anti-mutant campaign, which brought him to the attention of Professor Xavier. The Professor sent Mirage to recruit him, but when she arrived in Chicago she found Karma too. Karma helped to recruit David when she used her power to posses a group of Purity protesters and forced them to leave peacefully. Mirage stayed in Chicago long enough to attend Karma's graduation, using the spare seat that had been left empty by Kitty's absence.
Xavier's Institute For Higher Learning
Karma, Leong & Nga all traveled with Mirage to the old site of Xavier's School for the Gifted. It had been renamed the Institute for Higher Learning and was being run by it's two new Head Masters; Cyclops & Emma Frost. Karma was offered a job that she couldn't refuse; Professor Xavier asked her to become his new librarian, giving her full control over hundreds of special & first edition rarities. While there, she formed a friendship with Anole who was still a very nervous new student. When the students were given a chance to choose their own mentor, he originally picked Karma as she was the only person he felt a connection with. Although she wasn't a teacher, she agreed to be his mentor. Unlike the teachers, Karma only had one student to mentor. However, their connection didn't last for long and Anole was soon taken under Northstar's wing instead.
Northstar was given a squadron of students to mentor, which he named the Alpha Squadron in honor of his old team, Alpha Flight. However, due to mind control problems, Wolverine attacked the school. Northstar rushed to fight Wolverine, but was killed during the attack. Although he was immediately resurrected by the Viper's forces, the staff at the Institute felt it best not to reveal the truth to his students. Although Northstar had been brought back from the dead, he also had his mind controlled and was used as a villainous weapon. Karma tried to reach out to Anole, but despite their former friendship he lashed out her claiming that she wouldn't understand how he felt. She gave him the time & space he needed to grieve. On the day of Northstar's memorial, she took Alpha Squadron to have a sneak peek at the statue of their former mentor. She then became their new mentor, and helped to teach Alpha Squadron. She remained their mentor after crippling events of M-Day, the Purifier's attack and remained with the school as the student body continued to decline.
After Bishop shot Professor Xavier in the head, Cyclops closed the school and the X-Men relocated to San Francisco. Karma and the twins moved with them.
While at Graymalkin Industries, Karma began to take telepathic lessons from Emma Frost. As her power was psionic based, Emma wanted Karma to push her abilities on a more telepathic level. However, Karma had never really pushed herself or her abilities before. She grew frustrated and angry as she was repeatedly defeated by Emma Frost with ease. Despite being warned not to let her emotions get the better of her, Karma couldn't calm down. While still angry at Emma Frost, she went home. Leong & Nga didn't know that Kitty Pryde had been trapped inside a planet sized bullet, and were running around the apartment screaming for their Aunt Kitty. Karma still missed Kitty, even though her love was unrequited. At the mention of Kitty's name she screamed in frustration and used her power on the twins. It was something she had never done before. Immediately, the room fell silent and she realized what she had done. When they were released from her possession, Leong & Nga were confused about what had happened. Karma dropped to her knees and embraced them as she begged for their forgiveness through floods of tears.
Old & New Foes
Karma still suffered from the effects of the Shadow King's influence. When Storm was called away to Wakanda to investigate the murder of the Soul Seer, it transpired that the Shadow King had orchestrated events by possessing both Nehzno and Cyclops. While Storm had managed to protect Nehzno in Africa, Cyclops was on his way back to San Francisco convinced that the X-Men were all possessed, and therefore must be killed.
Storm arrived at Graymalkin just in time to stop Cyclops. The few X-Men that had gathered were also effected by the Shadow King's presence, and Karma was left cowering on the floor. She was too scared to act against Cyclops and prayed to be spared from the Shadow King's influence. During the fight, Storm first rendered Karma and the other telepaths unconscious, to prevent the Shadow King from turning them against her. Soon after, Karma agreed to act as bait. The Hellfire Cult had begun to prey on unsuspecting and weak mutants, and had already severely beaten Pixie. Karma put on her head phones, turned the music on and pretended not to notice the Hellfire Cult thugs as they attempted to ambush her in a side-alley. Immediately she caught them off guard with her own powers, but quickly stepped aside to let Nightcrawler & Wolverine do all the fighting.Emma Frost's ruthless attitude during their one-to-one sessions had an effect on Karma. After they had caught a Hellfire Cult member, the X-Men were unable to get any kind of information out of him. As Cyclops didn't want to involve Emma, he asked for Karma's help. Sifting over the surface of his consciousness Karma was able to detect that the man had Trypanophobia; a phobia of needles. After her session with their captive, Karma walked away and casually revealed his weakness to Cyclops. She was smiling, despite knowing that the X-Men would clearly fill their victim full of needles to torture the necessary information out of him.
Although not an active member of the X-Men, Karma remained in the background as a support member. She scoured the news channels and media sources, and was therefore able to alert the X-Men when the footage of Coopersville had leaked. She knew it was imperative that they knew that the Marauders' massacre in the Alaskan town had become part of the public consciousness as it reflected badly upon mutants as a whole. Karma assumed active duty when she accompanied Emma Frost, Storm and Dazzler in an attack against the Sisterhood of Mutants.
The New Mutants' Return
Years after she had been reduced the a seven year old girl and died from the Legacy Virus, Illyana Rasputin had returned from the dead. Initially she had resisted being around her old friends and loved ones. However, one day she mysteriously teleported into the grounds of Graymalkin Industries begging for help. Cannonball called together a team of old friends whom he knew he could trust, including Sunspot, Magma & Illyana. Their mission was to save Dani Moonstar and Karma who had mysteriously gone missing. Illyana had teleported through time, giving only a few sketchy details.
When they arrived at their destination the team separated into two groups; boys & girls. Sunspot & Cannonball fought xenophobic men in a local bar. When they broke through to the back room they found Karma's unconscious body tied to a chair. Across town, Magma & Illyana broke into the family home of a missing local seven year old girl. When they broke though to the back room they found a crate. At first they recognised the voice coming from inside the box; it was Karma. Immediately they set about freeing their friend, but were confronted with a very different site. Despite hearing Karma's voice it was David Haller, Professor Xavier's son, who had been locked in the crate. Although there was no sign of David or any of his split personalities, it was clear that Karma's mind had been trapped inside of his body.
Following a tip about a possible new mutant, Dani & Karma went to visit the girl. They were denied access by the whole town, so Karma attempted to use her powers telepathically to contact Marci directly. However, when Karma arrived in the psychic environment where Marci was hiding, they were immediately chased by angry and monstrous beings. They broke down the door and began to chase Karma & Marci. Karma forced Marci to hide in an attic while she psychically fought all the Legion of personalities. The little girl was more concerned over the safety of her doll, and Karma realized why.
Whoever held on to Morrie the doll took control of David's body. Therefore, while Karma was holding on to the doll, she was able to interact inside Legion's mindscape and physically control the body of David Haller at the same time. Karma came face to face with Jack Wayne, the telekinetic personality. He didn't recognize her and revealed how he had plans to kill Wolfsbane & Moonstar. Karma fought Jack and the other personalities as long as she could, and while she held on to Morrie she told the other former New Mutants to find Moonstar and save her. Eventually passed Morrie to Marci, and the little girl began to call out to her mother for help. As her parents argued about what to do, the other personalities caught Marci and stole Morrie. One-by-one they pushed and fought each other to grab the doll, causing casualties in the physical world.
Physical & Psycological Minds
Meanwhile, Karma's unconscious body remained bound to a chair. Sunspot tried to free her, but the physical contact caused her empty body to temporarily posses him. Sunspot was forcibly powered up and out of control. After it passed, Cannonball quizzed one of Karma's 'captors'. They confessed that they were unnerved about Karma & Moonstar asking questions about a mutant, but were just as frightened of all the strange events happening in town. Although they had managed to tie Karma's body to the chair, they were unable to do anything else as every time anyone came too close to her some sort of psychic self-defense system kicked in.
Illyana realized that the only way to enter into Legion's mind was through Karma's possessed body. By approaching Karma's physical body, Illyana's mind was drawn into Legion. From there she intimidated the personalities and killed some until they took her to Karma & Marci. Illyana's unpredictable and wild personality scared the their personalities into revealing David Haller's true personality.
When Karma met David, she realized that aside from herself an Illyana, any other external personalities had entered into David's mind by being in the local area to him at the time of their death. Sadly this meant that Marci had also died. David explained that he was playing with Marci when another personality wanted dominance of his body, and therefore killed Marci. Karma didn't blame David, but wanted retribution.
Illyana later explained to Dr. Kavita Rao that she had killed the personality who was guilty of murdering Marci. However, it was really Karma who held on to the Soulsword and executed that small fraction of David's mind.
Karma and the rest of the New Mutants (except Magik) were tasked by Cyclops to attack Cameron Hodge and his Smiling Killer Robots. Karma took control of one the solders and started the attack by having him (in armor) attack the rest. Other soon followed and Karma had the controlled man give his suit to Moonstar. She then attempted to control Hodge but failed to. Hodge, in his robot form, went after her and jabbed her through the leg and then tore it off. She was saved by Cannonball and Warlock, who killed him.
Fall of the New Mutants
After Second Coming, Shan had surgery done giving her a robotic leg, since her leg was cut of by Hodge. Sam later decides to take the team out for some R R. The team drink a lot, and they slowly start going over what happened during Second Coming. Then they start swapping funny stories with Dani recounting what happened during the battle with Hodge. During this time, Shan has somewhat pulled down her pants during the drunken fun showing Bobby her lining of the robot leg and her upper thigh. They were soon interrupted by Illyana who sensed an upcoming danger through her Soulsword.
The danger comes from a squadron on marines that were abandoned is Limbo. They return to earth looking for Illyana so that they can get all the gems of her soul to create a portal that will release the elder gods and destroy the denizens of limbo.
Although they were looking for Illyana, the marines accidentally sense the soul gem that is part of Pixie's souldagger. Attacking Pixie alerts Illyana and she takes the New Mutants to face the marines. Unfortunately the marines also have a special surprise waiting for the New Mutants. They have taken the mutant children that were taken during Inferno to open a portal from earth to Limbo. These children have aged to a late teen, early 20's age due to the faster time in Limbo. Each possesses a powerful mutant gene and defeats the New Mutants quickly. Illyana escapes with Karma and returns to the X-men on Utopia to mount a force against the Marines. As the X-men prepare, Illyana takes her soulsword and hides it within Karma. Being able to do this only because she had wielded the soulsword while in Legion's mind. Karma is knocked out in the process and the X-men prepare to enter Limbo. Just at this time in Limbo, the marine and mutant children have gotten all the required soul gems to release the elder gods and they release them to break through into the world of earth. At this time Karma enters the mind of David Haller and finds the "real" Legion within. Because of her previous experience in his mind she knows where to find his base psyche. As a last resort to save the earth she releases the crazy, unpredictable Legion to battle the Elder Gods. The New Mutants were victorious thanks to Legion's help and returned to Earth. With the defeat of the Elder Gods, Illyana achieved her revenge and now possessed the Bloodstones that had been crafted from her soul years before. In the aftermath, Karma realized that Illyana had manipulated them all to achieve her own agenda. Shan decided that she had to tell the truth about her role in slaying one of Legion's corrupt personalities and reveal Magik’s plot
Following the events of the Age of X, Karma leaves the New Mutants squad to focus on rehabilitating Face. Like many other mutants, Karma leaves Utopia for Westchester after the Schism, where she joins a team of X-Men under Wolverine.
Karma joins an ad hoc team of X-Men who find themselves under attack by the Marauders. The Marauders are controlled by Susan Hatchi, a successful weapons developer who wished to test out new nanotechnology that her company had developed.
After seizing control of Karma, it is revealed that Hatchi also had ulterior personal reasons for targeting the mutant. Born Da'o Coy Manh, she is the illegitimate half-sister of Karma. Da'o's mother had sought out their father for protection and for Da'o to be recognized as his daughter. Instead, he shot and killed her mother. He then abandons Da'o to work at a sweatshop.
Da'o eventually manifested low-level telepathic powers, changed her name and began building her weapons development company. She later discovered that their father had used his influence to smuggle his legitimate family to the US, which made her resentment grow. This was further compounded when her powers were lost during M-Day.
In a later confrontation with the X-Men, Hatchi uses her nanotechnology to seize control of the team and orders them to takeover Madripoor or she will use her technology on New York and kill the population. She wants to not only demonstrate the effectiveness of her weapon but to draw out their father from hiding by publicly using Karma as bait.While she is able to locate her father in Madripoor, the X-Men are able to counteract the technology. Karma uses her own mutant abilities to forge a psychic link with her half-sister and show her the struggles she's had in her own life, despite the fact that their father acknowledged her. While the two sisters reach reconciliation, their father takes advantage of their engagement and shoots Hatchi. He is arrested by the police for her murder. After Hatchi's death, Karma inherits her company as the only eligible relative of age and effectively becomes a billionaire.
Powers and Abilities
Karma can psionically reach out to other sentient beings and possess their minds. Once she has taken possession of a person, she can control their body, and therefore force that possessed being to do or say anything. She can coax them to perform simple tasks such as standing still, or other tasks that require fine motor control of the body. Although a possessed person's movement would be more rigid than usual, Karma is capable of reproducing any kind of complex or acrobatic movement. For instance, Spider-Man was still able to perform back-flips and swing between buildings, and later she used Cannonball's body to write a message in shaving foam on his bathroom mirror.
When Mr Fantastic examined Spider-Man's mind after Karma had possessed him, he declared that it was as if Spider-Man had been 'switched off' for the duration of the possession. The consciousness and mind of the possessed victim is temporarily disconnected with their own body. However, when she relinquishes her control, that person is aware that something has happened. They are aware that they are in a different area, or in a different pose. Most of her targets would shrugs it off to being lost in a daydream, but the majority of super heroes (or villains) would be aware that something was not right and that there had been some sort of interference.
Her talents are not limited to just human beings. She has been able to take control over a variety of sentient beings, raging from Asgardian sand monsters, lizards, and even aliens. Even though it was with the help of Professor Xavier, Karma was even able to take control of Magus' mind for a limited time. However, her control at the time was limited without the aid of another telepath. Even when she was possessed by the Shadow King, she was unable to take control of Warlock's mind.
Although Karma's abilities are psionic in nature, they are not purely telepathic. For instance, both Professor Xavier and the White Queen were unable to read Magik's thoughts, despite the fact that they were both powerful telepaths. However, Karma has been seen to posses both the Darkchild and Magik while in Asgard. However, Karma was previously unable to take control of Magik while her body was host to the Shadow King. Therefore it is likely that her success in Asgard was due to help from Karnilla, Queen of the Norns, who had been plotting Loki's failure against the X-Men. Karma has also struggled to latch on to the minds of Magik's demons from Limbo.
Charles Xavier studied the readings from Karma & Tran's battle to control Spider-Man with Cerebro. He reported to Mr Fantastic that both young mutants' powers were "unlike anything [he'd] previously encountered, and it is considerable".
Karma has been seen to exert control over beings in a different area to herself. Since controlling a body in another location requires her to see through her victims eyes, she needs greater focus to control them and has sometimes appeared to be in a meditative state.
While remaining in her own body, Karma also appears to have transferred her own consciousness through to her possessed target. Previously Spider-Man communicated in Vietnamese to Leong & Nga, while Karma was stood on a window ledge across town. She has even forced her possessed victims to give forced confessions of their crimes, while sat in the back of a car at a safe distance from the crime scene. Karma even managed to assemble the New Mutants together by possessing them one a time while they were in their own bedrooms. Taking control of their bodies, she then used them to write a message inviting them to meet her & Psyche in the boathouse.
However, when combating a powerful mind, she has kept a close tail on her victim. While she possessed the Enchantress' Darkchild form of Magik in Asgard, Karma remained only a few feet away from the Darkchild. She certainly didn't let her out of her sight, and remained fixed as if there was a constant physical beam connecting them both.
A telepathic connection is established between her and her targets. Unlike her twin brother Tran, when Karma is in complete control over someone elses body she receives any negative experiences that her victim experiences. While Tran had forced the young Viet Cong soldier to rapidly hit his own head against a post until he died without suffering any cerebral trauma, Karma is not so fortunate.
When Karma's possessed victim comes under attack, she does not share the same physical injuries. For example, if someone received a broken bone while Karma possessed their mind, she would not receive the same broken bone. However, she would experience the pain of the injury as if it was her own body that was under attack.
Due to her own ethical code, Karma has never forced any of her targets to commit suicide, even though she has threatened to in the past. As she experiences the same physical pain, it is likely that she would greatly suffer as a result of a possessed body dying while under her control. Therefore she can not manipulate other human beings without fear of repercussions.
With practice, Karma's strength has improved over time. Originally she could posses one person at a time. With extra exertion she could posses two of three people at most, but would require physical support to aid her own body. When she was possessed by the Shadow King her abilities were pushed even further. She was able to take full control over several of the New Mutants and Storm without any weakening effects to her body. Without the aid of the Shadow King, she still struggled to posses anyone who had greater determination or strength of mind than her.
Her power has grown enough that when the Purity group were about to fight David Alleyne Karma was grown strong enough to easily take control of the entire group. She did not need to cling to anyone for support, or show any signs of fatigue.
Karma's powers also enable her to reproduce the super human abilities of her targets. From an early stage was able to have Spider-Man crawl up walls, and ignited Cannonball's blast field. When she was host to the Shadow King, his telepathic abilities booster her own creating a premature greater amount of control. She was able to control the entire New Mutants team (except for Magik & Warlock) and successfully reproduced their control over their mutant powers. Everything from Wolfsbane's lupine strength & agility, to Magma's ability to melt stone walls. She was unable to reproduce such a wide-spread and detailed possession without the boost of another telepathic being.
As Karma has grown a lot since, it is conceivable that she has the ability to possess and control a super-powered group. It is unclear how many beings she could manipulate before losing control over them.
As Karma's possessive psionics are based off a telepathic mind-to-mind contact, she also has a mild level of telepathy. This is an area that Emma Frost has continued to push during their one-to-one tutorials. It is an area of her powers that was previously unexplored by Professor Xavier and Magneto, as they had assumed that her power was simply to take remote control over someone elses body.
Although her telepathy is weak in comparison to Professor Xavier, his son David, Emma Frost or the Shadow King, Karma has been quick to adapt to her new additional abilities. She was able to skim the mind of the Hellfire Cult member, and therefore detect a phobia as a weakness.
It was also through this new telepathic side to her powers that Karma came into contact with the missing girl. She was able to travel into the psyche of another being, where she found the girl. However, as she was not strong enough she was pulled out of her own body and placed into David Haller's, while her own body appeared to have been possessed by another entity.
This was a facet of her power that could only be used once, and under tragic circumstances. Neither karma nor her twin brother Tran had previously attempted to turn their powers on one another. They had fought for control of Spider-Man's mind, which brought them into conflict with each other. Yet it was not a direct attempt to possess their own twin. Unlike other mutant siblings such as Cyclops & Havok, or Aurora & Northstar, Karma & Tran were apparently not immune to each others powers. The first time that she did try to possess her twin brother, resulted in Tran's death. He was killed, and Karma absorbed the remnants of his body & soul into hers.
Karma's main weakness is that her own body is left defenseless while she was in possession of another being. She has to focus more than usual to control a greater number of beings or use their super powers at the same time. Therefore her body will be left exposed to attack. Even when she first joined the school, her hold over another being was easily broken from a physical attack on her own body. While Karma was fighting Psyche, Stevie Hunter attempted to pull Karma away. She took possession of Stevie, but almost immediately Sunspot slapped Karma across the face. The impact broke her concentration and therefore Karma lost her grip over Stevie's mind.
Her telepathy is also extremely weak compared to that of a pure telepath. In the past this has led to her own power being used against her. This was how the Shadow King managed to keep such a strong hold over her, as he turned her possession against her own mind, and therefore possessed her instead. Even the alien consciousness of the Brood Queen who had inhabited Professor Xavier's body was able to turn Karma's mind against herself with relative ease. As soon as Karma's mind reached out to the Brood Queen, she was possessed by the alien's mind until she was knocked unconscious.
It is her relatively weak & unpracticed telepathy that lead to her mind being transferred into David Haller's body. This again left her body exposed, but instead of being attacked her body has in-turn been possessed by a malevolent entity. However, while trapped in a man's body, she has still proven strong enough to combat on a psychic level.
However, Karma's mind wasn't as tactical as Moonstar or as passionate as Cannonball. While Karma was in charge, she let the team be taken away by Gyrich's under cover agents. She was unsure, and concerned about their public identities. However, in her absence, Moonstar had become a tactical leader who came up with plans that best used the whole team's abilities. Meanwhile, the co-leader Cannonball became a man of action who stood up to enemies and dived straight into the thick of the action. So by the time Karma had returned to the New Mutants, it was clear that she was not the best suited to be the team's leader.
Her logical mind helped to secure her work in the college library, and it was that love of books and methodical approach to filing that led to Professor Xavier's offer for her to take over the Institute's library (and many first editions).
When Karma left the team for a second time, she had made it clear that she could not sit idly by while her brother & sister were still missing. She had already taken drastic steps to possess Tessa to use the Hellfire Club's equipment to search for them. Despite Magneto's orders that she should not pursue the matter, she decided that she needed to actively search for her family by herself. Even when Cable searched through the New Mutants records later on, he recognized that Karma was unreliable in a military unit as her instincts were to protect her family first.
Karma has continued to care for Leong & Nga as their surrogate mother. She has repeatedly sought out part-time work to provide for her small family, and often left them in the care of trusted authority figures, such as Father Bowen.
Homosexuality & The Comics Code Authority
Karma is one of the first Marvel characters who openly declared their homosexuality. It was during a time when Marvel Comics continued to publish under the Comics Code Authority, which meant that they could not directly address the subject.
However, after a long absence, Karma re-appeared in X-Force #75 sporting a drastic short bring-pink hairstyle, with her underwear on display and accompanied by a couple of college girls whom she referred to as her girlfriends. In that issue, Karma and Moonstar swap nostalgic stories about when Moonstar & Cannonball were rivals for leadership for the New Mutants. This lead to Karma raising the question if Moonstar had ever been attracted to Cannonball. When Moonstar posed the question back at Karma, she answered that he was not her type.
Yet, Karma has not always been portrayed as a lesbian. When she had returned to the New Mutants, the whole team were goofing around while watching an old western movie. It was then that Karma confessed that she had held a crush for John Wayne during her formative years.
Karma's first sexual experience was heterosexual, but it was under tragic circumstances. As her family escaped Vietnam by boat, they were attacked by pirates. Karma was struck down by a virus, and was therefore left unable to defend herself. The pirates murdered her father, raped and killed her mother, and Karma was also raped. She admitted that she let the fever from her virus over-take her so she could endure the experience and survive to protect her family in future.
Relationships in comic books rarely run smoothly. To date, Karma has not had a long-term lesbian relationship with any known character. Although she came close to sharing a kiss with Kitty Pryde, Kitty shied away from any closer involvement and remained just friends (although Leong & Nga considered her to be their Aunty). Although Zeb Wells, the current author of the New Mutants, has stated that the team members will have relationships, he has not stated whether he has specific plans for Karma's love life.
Karma is a member of Moonstar's cadre. The team seems to be a cut throat version that includes Moonstar (with powers), Cypher (with techno-organic Warlock merged), Magma, Sunspot, and Dust. They are sent on difficult missions by Magneto. Karma is possibly the only mutant with any telepathic abilities that is not kept in the brig of Fortress X by the personality in Legion's mind that is manifested as Moira Mactaggert.
Personal Assistant to Angel, Karma was second in command around his safe-house nightclub; Heaven. She used her mental abilities to help her boss get information from his club's guests and to make sure they would forget any questionable activity there.
Earth-904 : What If The X-Men Never Returned From Asgard?
The X-Men consisted of the mutants who decided to leave Asgard . The team consisted of the Angel, the Beast, Colossus, Cyclops, Iceman, Karma, Magma, Marvel Girl, Phoenix ( ean Grey), Shadowcat, and Wolverine . Their history after leaving Asgard was not much different than that of their Earth-616 counterparts.
In an alternate future Karma is a member of Excalibur along with her lover and team leader Pete Wisdom. She is very jaded and has a very dark sense of humor. She also has a near perfect mastery over her mental possession powers, able to possess an individual while still allowing them to be in full control over their own bodies. This allows her to mentally follow her team-mate Captain Britain and the rest of Excalibur on a mission to rescue Douglock, whose head was being used as a computer by the Hellfire Club. However, upon their arrival they discover that it is a trap leading Excalibur to their doom. As Karma was only their through the use of her powers, it is debatable whether she survived the ordeal, or whether the psychic feedback would have had any permanent effect.
Working for SHIELD, Karma was recruited by Nick Fury. She joined the government-sponsored team called the New Mutants to keep an eye on them.
Earth-9112 : What If the Phoenix Had Not Died & Rose Again
The lives of Karma and her fellow New Mutants were very similar to that of the mainstream counterparts with one exception: Phoenix was the primary teacher for the New Mutants rather then Professor X. The New Mutants reeled from the loss of Phoenix. In this reality she never came back to life.
Earth-41001: The End
Karma can be seen here as a member of the X-Men fighting against Warskrulls that have invaded the X-Mansions.
In this re-envisioned world of Scarlet Witch, mutants are the majority and are in power. Young burgeoning mutants now have two options for their future schools and futures and mutants: either join the New Mutant Leadership Institute (ran by Karma ) to develop into the future diplomats and leaders of the world; or join the SHIELD training program run by Sebastian Shaw to receive military training focusing on warfare and covert operations. Tag was a student at the New Mutant Leadership Institute and due to his involvement was able to save the lives of both Karma and Cypher .
- Karma makes a cameo appearance in the final episode of the "Beyond Good And Evil" storyline from X-Men: The Animated Series. She appears as one of the mutant psychics who has been held captive by Apocalypse.
- Karma was featured in the HeroClix figure game.
- Karma was featured in Diamond Select's Minimates line as part of a New York Comic-Con-exclusive New Mutants box set that also included Cannonball, Wolfsbane and Sunspot.
- The Marvel Legends Dani Moonstar figure from Hasbro came with an alternate head that allowed it to be transformed into Karma.