Dani Moonstar is one of the most well-rounded, experienced, and interesting X-Men characters.
Here are 7 reasons why…
Danielle Moonstar, of New Mutant and X-Force fame, is quite possibly one of the most ambitious works of Chris Claremont. Seeing as the man that literally wrote more than half of the X-Men universe, that is quite the compliment. In the comics, Dani’s strong personality and strength aided her as she shared leadership duties with her teammate and pseudo-love interest Cannonball. If her onscreen persona is anything like her comic book interpretations, Dani will probably be the one calling the shots. With her deep comic connections with the movies’ antagonist, The Demon Bear, she’ll most likely play a pivotal part in the plot. Sadly, if you’re not familiar with the original 80’s run of the New Mutants or the 90’s X-Force, chances are you’ve only seen her in background art or in small parts here and there. With that said, here are some facts about Moonstar to get you up to speed!
While her alias, Moonstar, is simply a cool sounding birth-given name, her second codename, Mirage, describes her base mutant abilities fairly well. When Dani’s powers first manifested, she was able to psionically project images people’s fears. But she initially possessed no control over it. With help from Professor-X, she was able to learn to harness her abilities and molded their usage to the form of a bow and arrow with some telepathic ability. After being affected by the High Evolutionary’s de-powering machine, Dani gained the ability to turn an image into a tangible object, something she could only maintain one at a time. While this object could be just about anything, it would normally be seen worn as a necklace. Like many mutants, Dani fell victim to M-Day and lost access to her powers, though she seems to have retained at least a measure of telepathy.
Moonstar may have lost the abilities she was born with, but she retained some awesome powers obtained on Asgard. When she and the other New Mutants were taken to Asgard, Dani ended up in Valhalla. While there, she rescued a Pegasus (a winged horse) from hunters. The good deed, combined with Dani’s natural connection to nature, resulted in her and the mythical beast bonding. The horse was one of Odin’s herd and ridden by the Valkyries who are warriors that led spirits of the honored dead to the sweet hereafter. Successfully bonding to the Pegasus endowed Dani with the ability to see the coming of Death. In her Valkyrie form, she also possesses superhuman strength and a mystically empowered sword. Her access to these abilities vary from time to time but usually include the will of the Asgardian goddess of death Hela.
More than the sum of her powers
Even without the aid of her mutant abilities, Dani has continued to be an impactful member of both the New Mutants and the X-Men. After M-Day, her former co-leader Cannonball reassembled the New Mutants to pursue Legion, Professor-X’s disturbed, god-like son. To ensure she could still be of use, Cannonball battled her and even with his amazing abilities, Dani held her own. Dani, like most X-Men trained adventurers, is well versed in hand-to-hand combat. However, thanks to her Cheyenne upbringing, training under the likes of Cable, and her Valkyrie influences, she is also skilled in the usage of a bow and arrow, various firearms (small and large), and bladed weapons.
Family, Heritage, and her relation to the Demon Bear
Moonstar’s powers, skills, abilities, and even her worst enemy are deeply connected to her family and upbringing. When Dani’s powers first emerged, bringing the fears of the people around her to life, the only people from her community that stood by her were her family — her parents, William and Peg and her tribe’s shaman/chief/ grandfather Black Eagle. She and her family are members of the Cheyenne Nation with a strong connection to the land and the beings that inhabit it, including those of the spiritual world. In fact, William and Peg’s spirits were somehow corrupted and the two were transformed into the Demon Bear.
Having every intention of doing the same to Dani, Black Eagle mystically shielded his granddaughter from the evil spirit. Familiar with Professor-X after serving in the ARMY together, Black Eagle arranged for Dani to attend his school for training in her abilities, and possibly for protection. However, Black Eagle is killed at the hands of Hellfire Club member, Donald Pierce. With Black Eagle dead, the protections he placed on Dani failed and the Demon Bear came after her. It stalked her back to Westchester and nearly killed her. Luckily, with the help her friends, namely Magik and her Soulsword, the Demon Bear was defeated. As a result, her parents were also restored to their normal selves.
She’s kind of Elixir’s mom
Following the success of the X-Men movies in the early 2000s, the Xavier Institute became more of a school than it was in the past. The student body boomed from a couple X-Men teams and Generation-X to having more than a hundred schoolboys and girls. Many active X-Men took on their own squads to teach and train, including Dani. Elixir, a young, powerful healer was one of her charges. He came to the Institute after his parents had kicked him out once his powers, and subsequently, his golden skin emerged. Not long afterward, they agreed to sign guardianship over to Dani.
Her connection to Wolfsbane
Outside of being an original member of the New Mutants team, Dani and Rahne Sinclair, better known as Wolfsbane, share a bond that transcends comradery. Raised to be in tune with nature and the beings of the lands, this connection extends to Wolfsbane while she’s in her wolf-form. There have been several occasions when Dani was the only one able to calm Rahne down during one of her animalistic rages. However, their relationship was severely damaged when Rahne, also a teacher, entered into a relationship with Elixir.
A Fearless Defender
Dani has made a name for herself outside of the X-Men by joining the all-female team of Fearless Defenders alongside Misty Knight and Hippolyta (Warrior Woman). Like some of the best teams out there, the Defenders came together exclusively through happenstance. Caroline le Fey, who was interested in obtaining Valkyrie powers, hired mercenaries to kidnap Dani with the intent to use her in a ritual. They also battle Misty Knight and steal several ancient Asgardian relics. The activity attracts the attention of Brunnhilde (called Valkyrie) who joins Misty in tracking down the mercs. Hela, also alerted by the Asgardian activity, dispatched Hippolyta to aide in the fight. With their combined strength, Dani is rescued. The team is eventually rounded out with Frankie Raye (Nova), Elsa Bloodstone, Annabelle Riggs, Ren Kimura, and Clea.
Not among the most famous X-Men characters, but Dani is definitely worth reading up on! So what do you think about Moonstar? Let us know below!