Indigenous Character Spotlight: Danielle Moonstar

Danielle Moonstar of The New Mutants

Danielle “Dani” Moonstar (Cheyenne), AKA Mirage: Member of The New Mutants

Dani Moonstar’s first appearance was in an X-Men graphic novel, Marvel Graphic Novel #4: The New Mutants (1984). The New Mutants will be in theaters later this month. Danielle was introduced to the X-Men by her grandfather, Black Eagle. This is a very shallow dive into this Indigenous Superhero. You can learn more about her in Native Americans in Comic Books by Michael Sheyahshe

Background

Danielle Moonstar was born in Boulder, Colorado. Her parents were members of the Cheyenne tribe. They would live happily for a few years until Dani had a premonition of a dark and evil spirit killing her family. Unfortunately, her premonition was not a symptom of an overactive imagination, but an indication of deeper power. Her parents were both slain by Demon Bear, a demonic spirit that would later attack Dani.

Black Eagle protected her until The Hellfire would kill him in an attempt to kidnap Dani.

This would be the start of her new life as a member of the X-Men.

Mutant Powers

When people think “telekinesis”, they usually imagine an individual with their fingertips on their temples, eyes squished shut, mouth in a grimace, moving object with their brainpower. While they wouldn’t be wrong in that imaginative asessment, Dani uses her telekinesis differently.

Dani can look into a person’s mind and see their worst fear. Originally, she could only cast an illusion of this fear to use against the subject. Over time, however, she was able to solidify these illusions into actual objects, instead of them being a holographic shell. She could also use this to different ends, such as manipulating a subject into carrying out the actions she wants them to take.

Being a powerful empath, she can effectively communicate with animals, humans, and fauna alike, making her a desirable team member for teams with human/animal hybrid mutants, such as the X-Men member Wolfsbane, and her winged horse, Brightwind.

Becoming Valkyrie Valkyrie Dani Moonstar

Valkyrie Dani Moonstar by Stephanie Hans

Finding and saving Brightwind from an Asgardian army by summoning the image of Hela, The Asgardian Goddess of death, would be the cause of Dani gaining new, Asgardian powers.

Dani was now able to see the present aura of Death.  She could see when her friends were in trouble. Not only that, but she could also see Death incarnate itself. Death portrayed itself in many forms. Sometimes as a cowboy, sometimes as an elderly woman. This added yet another layer of terror to her newfound abilities. She could even physically fight off Death using an illusory “Cheyenne Ghost Staff” to stave off human mortality for a short time.

Dani also started to employ the use of “psi arrows” in combat. These arrows affected the target’s nervous system in that it conjured things they feared most.

She lost all of these powers during the fall of Asgard but was able to get them back by making a deal with Hela. She agreed to help take down Ares – a puppet for Norman Osborne. Osborne and Ares were on a mission to take down not only the X-Men but the entire United States.

Physical Abilities

Dani is no stranger to training. Psionic abilities alone were not enough to be an X-Man.

She employed the use of several weapons aside from her bow and arrow, such as a spear, knife, sword, rifle, and her hands! Dani is a skilled equestrian, swimmer, and overall athlete.

Empathic Teaching

After retiring from the X-Men, Dani decided to become a teacher at the Xavier Institute. She would recruit and train incoming young mutants. She even took up a guardianship role for Elixr after his parents rejected him.

Sadly, this wouldn’t last long, as Emma Frost forced Dani and all other depowered mutants to leave the school.

Dani would then go on to work for the government, training young mutants for them. When she learned they were training young mutants to be weapons of the government, she found herself in an ethical pickle. She was subsequently fired from this position for conflicts of interest, as she was teaching one of her students, Trauma, anti-militaristic beliefs.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danielle_Moonstar

https://marvel.fandom.com/wiki/Danielle_Moonstar_(Earth-616)

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