- Height- 5'4
- Weight- 119 lbs
- Eyes- Brown
- Hair- Black
Xi'an (pronounced "Shan") Coy Manh was born in the central highlands of Vietnam. Xi'an's origins are rooted in tragedy. Her father was a colonel in the South Vietnamese army, who was forced to bring his wife and four children on missions. When Xi'an's brother, Tran Coy Manh, was attacked by a Viet Cong soldier, Xi'an's power of mind possession emerged to protect him. Tran soon exhibited the identical power, and relished in using it cruelly. While Tran was rescued from the throes of war by their crime lord uncle, General Nguyen Ngoc Coy, Shan escaped on a small, cramped, boat with hundreds of others, including her parents and her younger brother and sister, Leong and Nga. Xi'an's father was killed by Thai pirates on the way to the United States; she and her mother were raped by the pirates and her mother died shortly thereafter. Arriving in New York City, a program to help Vietnamese immigrants run by the Catholic priest Father Michael Bowen (Dagger's uncle), helped Karma find work and an apartment. However, General Coy insisted she use her powers in his service, as Tran was already doing, and kidnapped Leong and Nga when she refused. "Possessing" Spider-Man, she attempted to use him to reclaim the children from a party her uncle was holding, before the Fantastic Four intervened and Tran (without realizing she was in control of Spider-Man) forced her out of Spider-Man's mind in possessing him long enough for the Thing to knock him out. With technical aid from Professor X, the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man tracked her down. After an initial misunderstanding, they agreed to help her reclaim the children, but Tran possessed the Fantastic Four and set them against Spider-Man. Finally, Xi'an lashed out, absorbing her brother completely and taking the name "Karma". Karma's powers doubled after absorbing her brother.
Reed Richards referred Karma to Professor X, and she became his first recruit for his new team of mutant teenagers, the New Mutants. Karma had been working a full-time job to support herself and her siblings, and so agreed to work as Xavier's secretary to help him run the school in return for a generous salary. Karma was the New Mutants' first leader, and along with them battled the Sentinels. Before long, however, the team believed her dead when she became separated from them after a fight with Viper and the Silver Samurai. Instead, another mutant telepath, Amahl Farouk, whose physical body was killed in a battle with Professor X on the astral plane, took Karma as a host body. Possessed by Farouk, she engaged in rampant criminal activity. She ran a gladiatorial arena, where she masterminded the Gladiators, and came to the New Mutants' attention when two of them (Sunspot and Magma) had been forced to participate in the high-stakes gladiatorial competition. Under possession of the Shadow King, she took temporary control of the minds of the X-Man Storm and most of the New Mutants. However, the Shadow King's mind fled from Karma's body, and she defeated him in psychic combat. Eventually she was rescued by the other New Mutants, but a side-effect of the possession had left her grossly obese, as Farouk was a large eater in life and had continued his voracity when using Karma's body. The New Mutants and Storm took a vacation on a small Grecian island. Karma isolated herself, not even wanting to eat and angrily berating Storm, then crying in her arms. Due to a previous defeat at the hands of the X-Men, the Asgardian Trickster God Loki sends the Enchantress to kidnap the X-Men. Thinking, because of Storm, the New Mutants were the X-Men, the team and Karma are taken. Magik attempts to teleport everyone away, but her powers interact badly with the Enchantress' spells. Everyone but Magik is tossed through space and time. Karma ends up in a desert wasteland, where she decides to lay down and die. However, she happens upon a young child being pursued by a monster native to the wasteland. She uses her powers to drive the monster away and decides she must live for her sake. Karma uses her powers to stun the wildlife, allowing them both to survive. By the time she meets up with the other New Mutants again, she had lost all the additional weight (and in fact was shapelier than ever) and her hair had grown to waist-length. The child had vanished, a twist of fate manifested by the Norns. After an encounter with — and temporary death at the hands of — the Beyonder, she and her fellow New Mutants were briefly transferred to the Massachusetts Academy, and joined the Hellions. Alongside the other New Mutants, she battled the Avengers and then returned with the New Mutants to Xavier's school. Father Bowen, Karma's confessor, cared for Leong and Nga during Karma's absence, but she resumed caring for the youths upon her return to the New Mutants. During the Mutant Massacre, though, Karma fears for her siblings' safety after witnessing many Morlock casualties at the hands of the Marauders. Leong and Nga had in fact gone missing and Karma's apartment was mysteriously bombed — in fact, she was nearly killed by the Marauders' bomb. The Xavier School’s current headmaster, Magneto, was unable to locate the missing children, even with the resources of the Hellfire Club at his disposal. Believing she must be more proactive in finding the kidnapped children, Karma left the New Mutants to return to General Coy's service to find her missing siblings.
Searching for Leong and Nga
Karma reluctantly accepted work for her uncle, General Nguyen Coy, in Madripoor in exchange for help in locating her siblings. In Madripoor, she officially opposed, but often covertly helped the X-Man Wolverine who she knew from her days at the X-Mansion. She saved Wolverine and Tyger Tiger from Roughouse and Bloodscream. General Coy strung Karma along for several months with promises of finding the children, but she eventually left him for his lack of scruples. Karma continued her search independently, and as it turned out, the children had been abducted by Shinobi Shaw and sold to Viper and Spiral, intent on sending the children through the “Body Shop”. With the aid of Cannonball and Beast, Karma finally located and freed Leong and Nga, while learning that her brother's essence was still alive, though dormant, within her. Karma reunited with the original New Mutants for a minor adventure in which they met their past selves traveling to the present. Karma evidenced expanded telepathic powers in this appearance, specifically removing the memories of the older New Mutants from the minds of the younger ones. These abilities have not been seen since. Karma later met many New Mutants friends, in the form of X-Force at a desert rave, where she had dyed hair, body piercings, and revealing clothing, a surprising difference to the image held by many of her former teammates. She soon moves to Chicago with Leong and Nga and took a job as a librarian for the University of Chicago while attending classes. There, she ran into Kitty Pryde and assisted her in her mission against the anti-mutant hate group, Purity. Around this time she publicly came out as a lesbian and confessed her undying love to Kitty. According to Shan, she had tried to speak to Kitty about her feelings, but desisted when she felt that Kitty could not reciprocate her feelings.
Teacher at Xavier's
Months afterwards, Danielle Moonstar, another ex-New Mutant, dropped by the University of Chicago while trying to recruit Prodigy to the renamed Xavier Institute. Her siblings became friends with Prodigy, even trying to run a harmless scam on him. Prodigy was not fooled, due to his powers. Ultimately, Karma decided to return to Xavier's, where she served as the librarian and mentor to the students less than fifteen years of age (thus too young to be assigned to squads). She was specifically chosen as a mentor by the younger student Anole. She had also returned to a much more modest change in both her appearance and attire to better reflect her new position. When Rahne Sinclair left the Xavier Institute due to a romance with Elixir, her position as advisor of the Paragons squad was left to Karma. Upon the (temporary) death of Northstar, Karma also became the advisor to his squad, the Alpha Squadron. Magma eventually took over duties as the advisor of the Paragons, yet that still left Karma as the librarian, French teacher, and adviser to the Lower School and Alpha Squadron.
Karma retained her powers after M-Day. The school's population was drastically reduced and the squad system was abolished. She continued to reside at the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, though she was not part of an X-Men team. As of Decimation, the whereabouts of her younger brother and sister, Leong and Nga, are unclear. She is present when Apocalypse returns and tries to stop some of the 198 from accepting his offer to join him.
Karma moves to San Francisco along with all the other X-Men. She trains with Emma Frost in the use of her powers only to disappoint Emma, who states that Karma has one of the greatest mutant abilities in the world, but is losing her edge and cannot control her emotions. Karma later reflects on this and her life and grieves over Kitty's sacrifice on the Breakworld. Later, Leong and Nga play around with a picture of "Aunt Kitty," and Karma loses control of her powers and accidentally possesses them in a fit of anger and realizes Emma's words were right. She becomes determined to become in control of her life, her emotions, and her powers. Later when Pixie shows up beaten badly by a human group known as the Hellfire Cult, Karma works with the X-Men as bait to lure them into a trap. They capture one of the members and extract the information they need. She later is seen hanging out with Sam and Dani at a bar before being called away on X-Men duty. Back at base, she informs Scott and Emma that footage of the massacre in Cooperstown, Alaska has been released to the media. When the Sisterhood perform a spell that restores Psylocke to her original body, it causes a massive psychic backlash effecting a number of psychics within the X-Men, Karma is affected.
Reforming the New Mutants
After receiving an anonymous tip in Colorado about a young mutant endangering a small town, Dani and Shan are sent to investigate and calm the locals. During their mission, Magik reappears back at the X-Men's base in San Francisco after teleporting off into the future after the events of "X-Infernus". Upon her return she informs Sam and Roberto that Shan and Dani are in trouble and it will result in their deaths. Sam assembles a team consisting of himself, Sunspot, Magma and Magik to go find them. While searching for them, Sam and Roberto come across a tied up and unconscious Shan in the back of a bar, while Magik and Magma are tricked into freeing Legion from a box. Inside Legion's mind, Shan tries to protect a little girl called Marci from Legion's other personalities. Magik comes to her aid by entering Legion's mind as well. Together, the three girls team up and find Legion and the doll that controls his body.
Karma is seen during the riots in San Francisco with Armor, Match, Angel, and Bling trying to keep calm. She tells Nekra and Frenzy to behave when Moonstone blasts the duo, taking them out. In the aftermath of Utopia, Shan goes to see Kavita Rao with Magik where they inform her of what went on in Legion's mind. When Kavita mistakes Marci for one of Legion's personalities, Shan corrects her and reveals that Marci was a real person but when she exited his mind, Legion revealed Marci doesn't have a body to return to and explains how his powers work. She then reveals that one of Legion's personalities killed her after she bought Legion water and played together when he got back from the Age of Apocalypse. Feeling angry, Illyana offers her soulsword to Shan who kills the alternate personality. However Shan lies to Kavita about what happened as does Magik, both claiming Magik killed him.
In New Mutants #12 Karma is sent with her teammates to engage The Right and Cameron Hodge at his facility. During the battle, she attempts to take psionic control of Hodge, but he proves immune to her powers and impales her through the leg with his metal projectiles. Hodge is defeated, but as a result of her injuries, Karma's left leg is amputated at the knee.
Powers and Abilities
Mind Possession: Karma is a mutant who has the psionic ability project a psionic energy surge that overwhelms her victims' consciousness while placing her mind in command, allowing her to alter their perceptions and memories, command entranced opponents to divulge information, or operate their bodies as if they were an extension of her own. She can control her subject's actions and experience what the subject's senses perceive. During the possession her subject's higher brain functions revert to diminished levels, similar to their state in a dreamless sleep, and the subject is left with no memory of the actual possession. Although Karma can possess multiple subjects simultaneously, her control over her subjects is fragmented as she shifts her attention from one to another. Possibly she will overcome this handicap as her experience in using her powers grows. When Karma first takes possession of someone, she can only move her subject's body awkwardly until she acclimates herself to her new host.
- Sensory Link: Karma may establish a partial possession and gain the feeling’s and sensations of the target.
Psionic Deflector Shield: Generates a psionic deflector shield that disrupts incoming psi-signatures, protecting her from all manner of psychic assault.
Karma possesses the normal human strength of a woman of her age, height, and build who engages in moderate regular exercise.
Subordinate Personality: If she remains in possession of a host for too long she will begin to think and act as her host would, and eventually her own personality would become subordinate to one identical to the host's.
- New Mutants
- X-Men formerly
- Alpha Squadron formerly
- X-Force formerly
- Mutant Resistance (earth-11326)
- Bratpack formerly
in other media
X-Men: Animated Series
X2: X-Men United