Rahne (pronounced "Rain") is a British citizen of Scottish descent (born somewhere in Ross and Cromarty) who was a ward of Moira MacTaggert. She was recruited by Professor X to become a student at his School for Gifted Youngsters, and to join the original New Mutants. She remained with that team for much of its existence. Rahne was raised as an orphan by an abusive pastor named Reverend Craig who beat religion into her from an early age. When she was revealed as a mutant, Reverend Craig led an angry mob intending to burn her at the stake. Rahne was rescued and later adopted by Moira MacTaggert. Later, when she confronted Reverend Craig as an adult, she learned that Reverend Craig was actually her biological father and that her mother had been a prostitute.
Rahne was the youngest of the New Mutants, who often operated as adventurers when not in school. Although she was a shy, emotionally repressed girl, Rahne managed to build a strong friendship with Danielle Moonstar and harbor a crush on Sam Guthrie. Danielle discovered she was able to establish a psychic link with Rahne when the latter was in wolf or wolfoid form. Rahne's strict religious upbringing often made her uncomfortable when dealing with mythological entities, her sorceress teammate Magik, or demons, as well as making her uncomfortable almost to the point of self-loathing with her superhuman power, which resembles the transformations of a werewolf. These feelings were at odds with the pure joy she found in using her powers, causing a deep emotional conflict. She was disturbed to find herself attracted to Hrimhari, a shapeshifting wolf prince while in Asgard. Rahne began a relationship with teammate Cypher, and was devastated when he was killed by the Ani-Mator. On one of her two visits to Asgard, she met the demonic Garm, a gigantic wolf who guards the entrance to the netherworld. She confesses to Rictor that Garm's face, 'that devil's face', is what she sometimes perceives when looking into the mirror. Later, she began an innocent romance with Rictor, but this proved to be short-lived.
During X-Tinction Agenda in Genosha, Rahne was mentally bonded to Havok, and was subsequently manipulated by the Shadow King; this led to her joining X-Factor as a United States government special operative. Her bond with Havok was difficult, causing her to act irrationally, sometimes threatening teammates, sometimes by flirting with them. She stayed in varying half-wolf forms for this time, as turning completely human would subsume her identity into the mutate process that the Genoshans had put her into. She went through more than one attempt to undo her bonding, with varying results. Her instability also manifested in many odd dreams, where her identity was subsumed into pop culture figures. The Genoshan damage was eventually undone by Haven. During this time she appears in Infinity War and Infinity Crusade. During the first event, she was part of the rear guard who stayed behind on Earth at the Fantastic Four headquarters. Various evil doubles attack the building and the assembled heroes. During the 'Crusade', Wolfsbane's deep religious beliefs led her to be approached by the main villain, the Goddess. Wolfsbane, along with many other religious heroes, was brainwashed as part of her army and taken to an alternate Earth on the opposite side of the sun. Another free-willed superhero army soon followed. Wolfsbane was swiftly defeated in the penultimate confrontation; later everything was restored.
Some time after her mental damage from the Genoshan bonding process was undone, she returned to MacTaggert's base on Muir Island and joined Excalibur. She matured much in her tenure in the book. She developed deep friendships with her allies, including Peter Rasputin and Kitty Pryde. She defeated her distaste of 'drinking establishments'. Though she only had non-alcoholic drinks, she still ended up can-canning on the table with several of her friends. She was then shown as having overcome much of her previous shyness, not caring if the general public of a small town saw her in a revealing uniform. Rahne also was a bridesmaid in the wedding of Captain Britain and Meggan. Following the disbanding of Excalibur, she and teammate Warlock stayed on Muir Island to assist Moira in her search for a cure for the Legacy Virus. Rahne appeared in many issues of the short-lived comic book series Warlock, which starred Warlock. She helped him and others confront various threats revolving around Warlock's assimilation powers. She even assisted the Avengers in confronting one of the larger threats that threatened to overwhelm the city of New York. The island came under attack by the Brotherhood, resulting in Moira's death, the destruction of the island, and the suppression of Rahne's mutant powers when Mystique shot her with a version of Forge's Neutralizer.
Rahne spends some time motorcycling across the United States following the loss of her powers. She adopts a new, less introverted persona. This involves the growing out of her hair from its normal short buzz-cut and the loss of her Scottish burr. Upon her return to New York, she defeats rampaging X-Man villain Avalanche with no back-up. She becomes both a teaching assistant at the Xavier Institute and a part-time employee of Jamie Madrox's detective agency, X-Factor Investigations. Prior to her joining the Institute faculty, Rahne becomes involved in a relationship with Elixir. A passionate encounter between the two caused Elixir's mutant healing abilities to restore Rahne's powers; however, Rahne's reversion to her wolf form prompts a tragic moment of savagery that left Elixir seriously wounded. Elixir is able to heal himself, and Rahne is brought back to her senses by an encounter with Danielle Moonstar on the darkened streets of Salem Center. Rahne opts to end the relationship when she is hired as a teacher for the Institute. Though Rahne is initially resistant to continuing the relationship, the two began seeing one another secretly until Rahne ended it upon learning that Elixir's classmate Wallflower is interested in him. Rahne's ending of the relationship is overheard by Wither, and he later releases the information to the whole school, in an attempt to end Elixir's budding relationship with Wallflower. In the wake of this, Rahne resigns from the school, and her formerly close friendship with Dani Moonstar, Elixir's legal guardian, becomes strained.
Rahne begins working full-time for X-Factor, reuniting her with former love interest and New Mutants teammate Rictor, now depowered. Many aspects of her previous persona return, including her close-cropped hairstyle and Scottish accent. She attends church meetings each week and her devout Presbyterian religiosity remains a central aspect of her character. She is instrumental in stopping a riot in what was known as 'Mutant Town', a section of New York once dominated by mutants. She threatens to kill anyone who attacks it. Threats were then made against the police who objected to her actions. She helps rescue new teammate Layla Miller from the orphanage where (X-Factor at least has been led to believe) she was being abused. Rahne is later distressed by a vision, implanted by Tryp of a possible future where she murders Jamie Madrox and a grown-up Layla Miller on their wedding day. She has told X-Factor psychiatrist Doc Samson that she has even considered killing herself to prevent it from happening but "Suicides go to hell... but so do murderers. So I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't". Rahne gets herself together. She is seen helping her friend Guido Carosella confront personal problems of his own that has arisen from confrontations with the evil Damian Tryp. Later in the series Rahne attempts to comfort Rictor, who is distressed about the loss of his powers again. This results in a panel of her kissing him and removing her shirt. Later she kisses Rictor again, implying somewhat of a physical relationship between them, which is terminated when she leaves X-Factor to join X-Force. She leaves Rictor a letter in an attempt to explain herself, but he burns the letter, saying "To hell with your reasons, Sinclair. And to hell with you". It is later implied that Emma Frost has blackmailed Rahne with her previous relationship with Elixir into keeping an eye on Wither.
Rahne helps Rictor infiltrate the Purifiers; she fakes being shot by Rictor. She is also a member of the new X-Force. During a battle against Lady Deathstrike and the Reavers, Rahne learns that Father Craig was in league with the Purifiers, supposedly divulging enough information about her that the Purifiers can claim to "know her well". She travels with X-Force to her former home Muir Island, now the base of the Marauders. During the climactic battle, Rahne is injured by Riptide, but her wounds, according to Professor X, are superficial and she will recover.
When Cyclops decides to reform X-Force after the events of Messiah Complex he brings Rahne along to meet with Wolverine. She determinedly accompanies him on the assault on the Purifiers' base, only to be captured by Matthew Risman who shoots her in the knee when X-23 makes a move against him. While her teammates make an attempt to rescue her, they fail and Rahne is taken to an undisclosed Purifer base where she finds out that Reverend Craig has joined the ranks of the Purifiers. The rest of X-Force manage to rescue her, but discover that she's injected with a near-lethal dose of heroin. She's immediately taken to Angel's mansion to be healed by Elixir. However, after she wakes up, she immediately attacks Worthington, rips out his wings, and takes them to Reverend Craig. Josh's name is the second word Rahne says as she awakens from her brainwashed state and finds herself in a dark room somewhere in the facility. She realizes that she can't use her powers thanks to the handcuffs she is wearing. She then remembers being brainwashed by Reverend Craig. After Reverend Craig tries to kill her, she escapes, but not before admitting that the only thing she wanted was her father's love. Rahne regroups with her teammates and they begin their assault against Bastion, the Choir, and the Purifiers. As everyone is distracted in the bloody battle, Rahne is shot by her father who follows her blood trail into the room where Angel's severed wings are held. Reverend Craig condemns Wolfsbane again, which triggers her to knock him into the ground, stating that she only wanted to save him but after everything that's happened, she doesn't care for him any longer and walks away, turning her back on him. Craig screams and prepares to shoot his daughter in the back and as he moves, Rahne turns and sees Angel's wings behind her father, giving him the appearance of an angel. Her brainwashing kicks in once again as she mutters "kill the angel" and she enters a feral state, attacking her father. Her teammates find her at the epilogue of the battle in her human form, praying and surrounded by blood and clothes but no corpse of her father is found. Her teammates hope that she will never recall the memory of apparently devouring her father which would only trigger a deeper psychological shock. Following the death of Risman, the team reconvenes at Angel's Aerie to recuperate and plan their next move. Rahne's sleeper programming is still active and she violently charges Angel when she sees him, provoking him to transform into Archangel in retaliation. X-23 calls in the Stepford Cuckoos to help undo the damage done to Wolfsbane, prevent her from attacking her teammates, and overcome the guilt of her actions. Before they can erase her memories, they are interrupted and X-Force is sent on a mission, leaving Rahne alone. While alone she notices someone outside; after running away it is revealed to be Hrimhari, the Wolf Prince from Asgard. Since then the Cuckoos began searching for her but Cerebra could not detect her, mainly because she was in her wolf form. She was at Angel's Aerie with Hrimhari, still conflicted over her experience with the Purifiers. Hrimhari states that the gods of Asgard have reunited them for a reason and if they can forgive her, then she can do the same for herself. Then suddenly, they are attacked by Frost Giants. They managed to kill the Giants together. However, Wolfsbane was mortally injured during the fight. Hrimhari brings her to the X-Men, asking for Elixir's help in saving her life. However, when they returned to the X-Men's island Utopia, Hrimhari discovered to his disappointment that Elixir is unconscious at the moment.
Rahne is among the several X-Men helping to fight off Skrulls during their invasion of San Francisco; X-Force were tasked with capturing one of the new Super Skrulls, so Beast could study it to find a weakness.
Rahne has resumed her relationship with Hrimhari the Wolf Prince from Asgard and they consummated their relationship by making love before battling and killing the Frost Giants. Rahne then fell into a coma soon afterwards and it has been revealed by Dr. Nemesis that she is pregnant with the Wolf Prince's child (a child that is neither human nor mutant) and the unborn child is threatening her health and her life.
Powers and abilitiesEdit
Lycanthropy: Much like the werewolves of folklore, Rahne can transform into a wolf. However, she is not a werewolf, and therefore is not restricted to the limitations of a creature of the night. She can transform into either a wolf or a transitional wolf-human by will, without any effect of the full moon or silver items. She can also retain full memory of herself, and therefore has her human consciousness while in her wolf and transitional forms.
As a wolf Rahne experiences all the heightened animal senses of a wolf such as hearing, sight & smell. However, it is in her transitional hybrid form that she experiences greater changes. She is essentially a human being covered with a thin layer of fur all over her body, sharp teeth and claws. She is able to stand erect on her legs and retain the use of her hands, but is also able to run & manoeuvre on all fours like a wolf. In this transitional form she experiences enhanced abilities such as:
- Enhanced Size: Proportionately greater in size than that of her human form, her hybrid wolf-human bones and muscles make Wolfsbane taller & stronger.
- Enhanced Strength: Greater strength than that of a normal male adult human, due to her enhanced muscular build.
- Enhanced Speed: Enhanced muscles are swift as a wolf but to the proportional size of a human.
- Enhanced Reflexes: Although enhanced her muscles and skeleton are also extremely flexible, giving her the agility of an animal.
- Hyperkeen Senses: Keen animal senses of sight, smell & hearing combined with human intelligence are heightened further than that of a regular wolf. She can perceive infra red, ultra violent, heat, pheromones & emotions such as fear or lust).
There are drawbacks to being a wolf. While in her lupin form Wolfsbane can not orally communicate with others. Instead she has the vocal chords of a wolf and therefore barks, growls and howls as one. Although in this form she is capable of communicating telepathically with Danielle Moonstar, she does not often work with her former New Mutants team-mate. Also, while she may retain her human consciousness, she is more prone to wild behaviour. This can sometimes dull her intelligence, or over-ride her usually up-right and moral consciousness.
Wolfsbane's lupine and transitional forms are more massive than her human form. The source of this additional mass is unknown.
Regenerative Healing Factor: Wolfsbane is capable of regenerating damaged or destroyed areas of her body with much greater speed and efficiency than an ordinary human. Injuries that result in massive tissue damage such as bullet wounds, slashes, punctures, blunt force trauma, and severe burns heal completely, without so much as a scar, in a shorter amount of time—hours or days instead of weeks or months.
In human form Wolfsbane possesses the normal human strength of a girl of her age, height, and build who engages in intensive regular exercise. In her lupine and transitional forms her strength is heightened beyond average, but not to a superhuman degree.
- When in lupine form, Rahne had an empathic link with Danielle Moonstar. It has not been revealed if this link still operates.
- Rahne was previously unable to grow her hair longer than a few inches in length. She was able to grow longer hair while locked in her transitional form after leaving Genosha, and again when she was deprived of her mutant powers.
- Rahne is a strictly religious Protestant.
- In Asgard, Rahne was temporarily under Loki's control and while wearing a Collar of Obedience, she was a monstrous wolf called Grimfang.
Rahne's Scottish TranslationsEdit
Occasionally Marvel's writers like to make Rahne say things that are more in keeping with her Scottish roots. Here are some translations to help make sense of the dialect she uses.
"Tha's na right!" --> "That's not right!" (NM #20)
"Saints ha' mercy--'tis me they're after!" --> "Saints have mercy, it's me they're after!" (NM SE #1)
"Och--Dinna fash me, tha canna be so." --> "Oh--Don't fuss over me, that can't be so."(NM SE #1)
In other mediaEdit
- Wolfsbane appears in the X-Men animated series episode "Cold Comfort" as a member of the X-Factor led by the modern-day Forge
- Wolfsbane is featured as a minor character at the Xavier Institute in X-Men: Evolution (one of the "New Mutants"). She usually transforms into a full wolf, but in one episode takes her hybrid form to scare some poachers. In that episode, she was voiced by Chantal Strand.