Art by AKATheZgrr
- Name: Rahne Sinclair
- Code Names: Wolfsbane
- First Appearance: Marvel Graphic Novel #4: New Mutants (Nov ’82)
- Powers: Werewolf ones
- Teams Affiliation: New Mutants, X-Factor, X-Force
Religion is a beautiful thing. It can bring communities together, take care of the downtrodden, and give people a sense of purpose in a chaotic universe. Religion is a horrible thing. It can tear families apart, punish the disenfranchised, and treat good people like they are the scum of the Earth. I was raised in the church, went to religious private school, played guitar in a worship band through out college, and I am still a practicing Christian (I am also technically an ordained reverend but that’s a different story). Those experiences have let me meet some of the most caring people in the world, alongside some of the most hateful, all of them wearing a cross around their neck. The X-Men have not shied away from the multifaceted nature of religion. One of the most iconic stories, God Loves, Man Kills, is a battle between a man whose religion hardened his heart and a young girl whose religion drove her compassion. That struggle defined Rahne Sinclaire, a young mutant for whom region had given both purpose and pain.
Rahne was the product of a triste between Reverend Craig and a lady of the evening, one that the Reverend desired to keep hidden. He raised Rahne like she was some orphan he took in. Craig drilled his twisted, abusive brand of Presbyterian Christianity into the girl and made her terrified that anything she did could damn her to an eternity in hell. When Rahne’s mutant abilities first appeared, the Reverend saw only one solution to the abomination he had created. He rallied the congregation to burn the wolf girl at the stake. She was 14 years old.
Art by Bob McLeod and Glynis Wein
Moira MacTaggert stood between the fanatics and the young girl, disgusted that her countrymen would agree to the murder of a child. She adopted Rahne and soon took the mutant to the foremost expert in mutants, Charles Xavier. Xavier was accepting new mutants into his School for Gifted Youngsters and Rahne was both excited and nervous to meet more of her kind. She formed a sisterly bond with Dani Moonstar, harbored a crush on Cannonball, and was fearful of the demonic Magik. These New Mutants were pulled into superhuman adventures as far away as the mystic land of Asgard. In the realm of the gods Rahne met Hrimhari, the wolf prince, and felt a deep bond with someone who could finally relate to her. She was tempted to remain with him but bid a bittersweet goodbye to join her friends on Earth.
Art by Art Adams, Terry Austin, and Christie Scheele
Having tasted love, Rahne broke some of the reservations that Reverend Craig beat into her. She started an innocent romance with Cypher and was horrified when he died saving her from the Ani-Mator. She even swallowed her distaste for Illyana’s black magic and rescued her soul in the events of Inferno. It seemed that she had broken from the subjugation that had so long defined her, but a trip to Genosha would make short work of that freedom. Captured by the mutant-hating Magistrates, Wolfsbane was experimented on, transformed into a mindless mutate slave and psionically bonded to Havok. By transforming into her lupine form, Rahne was able to retain control but she was still drawn to Alex Summers and stayed with him to rebuild Genosha after the X-Tinction Agenda.
Art by Jon Bogdanove, Al Milgrom, and Glynis Oliver
Rahne joined Alex as a member of the government-sponsored X-Factor and became close with teammates Jamie Madrox and Strong Guy. She was cured of the Genoshian manipulation and, after her closest friends were incapacitated, returned home to Muir Island and its local team Excalibur. Moira had been helping the mutants battle the Legacy Virus and was the first human to be infected. Rahne helped her mother battle the illness, forming a close connection to her teammate Douglock. She stayed behind when Excalibur disbanded but was struck with grief when Mystique’s Brotherhood attacked the island, killing Moira and depowering Rahne.
Without the wolf inside of her, Rahne was aimless. She changed her entire look, hid her accent, and started being reckless, wandering the State on a motorcycle. She came back to the Xavier Institute and found her former classmates were now the teachers and advisors to the next generation of mutants. Rahne was resistant to join their ranks, but a student named Elixir had become enamored with her. She flirted with him and Rahne reciprocated. When he told her that he could use his healing powers to restore her mutant abilities, Rahne was intrigued. She wanted to let the wolf out again. They kissed but Josh didn’t know his own strength. Rahne got her powers back, yes, but time had eroded her ability to control the beast. Wolfsbane was horrified of what she had become and worked with Dani Moonstar to better control it while teaching at the school. She made the mistake of continuing her relationship with the underaged Elixir and when it finally came to light Rahne left the school in shame.
Art by Carlo Barberi, Wayne Faucher, and Ian Hannin
Rahne began to seek some balance in her life. She gave up the bike and embraced her heritage, but she knew that she wasn’t cut out to be an X-Man. Her old friend Jamie started a private investigation office in the wake of M-Day and invited Rahne to join. There she rekindled a romance with her New Mutants teammate Rictor and started attending church again. When the first mutant baby was born after the Decimation, Rahne was recruited to track the Purifiers and prevent the child from falling into their laps. She discovered that her father, Reverend Craig, had joined their ranks and something clicked inside Wolfsbane. She wasn’t going to let that man’s hate, his perverted sense of righteousness, ruin any more lives. After the dust cleared she eagerly joined Cyclops’s X-Force to sure the Purifiers were taken care of. Permanently.
Art by Billy Tan,Danny Miki, and Frank D’Armata
Wolfsbane didn’t wait for the rest of the squad, tried to take on the Purifier by herself, and ended up captured. The zealots beat her, drugged her, and shot her in front of X-Force before they were able to stage a rescue. They took her to their base to be healed by Elixir and when she awoke and saw Angel, something changed in her. She was feral, obsessed with killing him and ripping off his wings. The Purifiers had brainwashed her as one of their holy agents and she returned to them, wings in tow. You see, the Purifiers had enlisted Reverend Craig in a plan to create an army of angelic soldiers using Rahne, and he had one request. He wanted to be the one to kill his daughter. Imprisoned by the Purifiers again, Wolfsbane was confronted by her father. Craig told her how disgusted he was with her and she let him know how little she thought of him. Rahne escaped her restraints before he was able to pull the trigger and disarmed him. She told him she wasn’t going to stoop to his level, to be a murderer, and turned to walk away. Unfortunately for the both of them, Craig stood back up between the Angel wings and Rahne’s programming kick in. Kill the angel, she thought. When X-Force found her, bloody and savage, there wasn’t enough of the reverend left to even identify.
Art by Clayton Crain
The events left a scar on Rahne’s psyche. She stayed at X-Force’s base to recover but the weight of what she had done was almost too much for her. There, Hrimhari the wolf prince found her again. He was reborn after Ragnarok and spent his new life searching for Rahne. They quickly bonded and threw gasoline on the long-burning embers of their attraction. Not soon after, Rahne fell very ill and a diagnosis from Dr. Nemesis showed that she was with child, but the strain of carrying a demi-god proved to be too much for her. Hrimhari bargained with Hela, goddess of Hel, the life of Wolfsbane and their child for his soul. Alone again and facing a new life she returned to X-Factor.
Art by Mike Choi and Sonia Oback
As the child rapidly approached birth, Rahne was accosted by mythological beasts who wanted to acquire the child. She ran, hid, and vomited her son into the world, but could not accept him. He was the symbol of her unrighteousness. The result of a depraved night with a pagan deity and she couldn’t accept him. The Werewolf By Night, Jack Russel (yes that is his real name), took the boy and whisked him off into the night as the guilt set in. Was this not what her father had done to her? Morose, she met with John Maddox, one of Jamie’s dupes who had become a Presbyterian priest and opened up about what she had done and how she should be damned because of it. John helped Rahne forgive herself and move past her guilt. Renewed, she dedicated her life to making right what she had made so wrong.
Art by Emanuela Lupacchino, Guillermo Ortego, and Rachelle Rosenberg
Rahne was able to find her son, Tier, and was surprised to see how quickly he had grown. In months he had grown to about an 8 or 10-year-old, she had missed so much. The family reunion was short lived as the Lords of Hell had a wager on the boy’s life, and they were ready to hunt. Wolfsbane tried to protect her boy and enlisted the help of her friends from X-Factor, but it wasn’t enough. They were betrayed by Strong Guy who skewered the child on a pitchfork. Lost, she found herself once again at the parish of John Maddox and he gave her guidance. The church had recently lost their deacon and needed someone committed to the cause. After fighting it for so long, Rahne returned to the God she once loved, content with her new lot in life.
Art by Carmen Carnero, Jay Leistein, and Matt Milla
Rahne has been a character for a long time, but her focal stories haven’t been the strongest. She has been a supporting character in most of her appearances and the appearances where she has been more in the spotlight haven’t been her best. The opening arc in X-Force is good but Rahne doesn’t have much agency in it and all the stuff with Tier is easily my least favorite part of X-Factor. A good read featuring her though really is X-Factor #258. In it, Rahne and John Maddox talk about everything that happened to her over the last few years and writer Peter David really delves into this character he had been writing longer than anyone. Find it on Marvel Unlimited and just jump in.
Art by David Yardin
The New Mutants are a team with a handful of characters that I absolutely love and a bunch that I don’t really care about. Wolfsbane falls into the latter. She has a power set that is pretty uninspired and a personality that has been in flux for years. The lowest New Mutant on this list is Cypher and I think Rahne is more interesting than he is but less interesting than Warlock who is a few spots up. Armor between those two and I would be more excited to see Hisako again than Rahne, but I could go for more Wolfsbane instead of Omega Red. That places her firmly as the new 32 in the Xavier Files.
Wolfsbane was requested by /u/dmull387 from Reddit and Burashi from Tumblr. Thanks for the request. If you have a request just submit it at the bottom of this article and I will add it to the list that currently stretches into June 2018! If you want to cut to the front of the line, we have a Patreon if you want to support it and get a line cutting reward for just a $1 pledge. We just hit our first goal and just need $7 for me to start reviewing every X-Book each week. Oh and we also have exclusive physical items so check those out!
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— Xavier Files (@XavierFiles) December 15, 2016