The rise to power of an ancient goddess and her modus operandi show striking similarities to a classic member of the X-Men’s Marauders from the past.

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for X Factor # 7 by Leah Williams, David Baldeon, Israel Silva and Joe Caramagna of VC, out now.

When it comes to mutants, one would not expect the gods to get involved in their affairs. That space belongs to Thor and the Avengers, right? Unfortunately, this is not the truth regarding one particular mutant: Siryn. She has long been the newest host to the goddess Morrigan. But what had once been a subtle influence on her mind has now completely overruled Siryn. And with Morrigan now in control, she has used her powers in ways that draw parallels between herself and the classic X-Men villain Malice.

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Malice debuted in Chris Claremont and John Romita Jr.’s Uncanny X-Men # 210. She was a psychic entity who acted as a mercenary. She was hired by Mister Sinister to join his Marauders and bring the X-Men out of hiding. Malice proved to be not only a powerful enemy, but also smart. He manipulated Dazzler by taking advantage of his need to be loved, knowing that Dazzler would reveal himself to the X-Men and expose his goals. Once Dazzler played his unintentional role, Malice owned not one, but three of his best hitters. So right away it’s obvious how Malice and Morrigan can be seen as similar.

However, Morrigan is still a goddess. He has inhabited the body of each new Morrigan incarnation for thousands of years and is not as young as Malice. Although she is just as malevolent and manipulative. Theresa Rourke, aka Siryn, is the latest presenter for her. She was desperate for the Morrigan’s power and the ancient goddess used this to push Siryn to murder the last host, claiming it was the only way to transfer power. And there is another similarity between the two: they are both incredibly manipulative and their machinations are not discovered until it is too late.

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They have even had the same victims. Malice once possessed Polaris herself, forming an almost permanent bond with the young woman, and later developed an obsession to retrieve Polaris’s body. And in recent editions of X Factor, Morrigan used Siryn’s own hypnotic voice to force Polaris to cover up Morrigan’s murders for her, as Polaris was the one investigating Siryn, unaware that her friend had been lost to the deity within her. It’s not exactly possession in the strictest sense, but it certainly follows the guidelines of forcing someone to act against their own will.

And Malice didn’t stop with Polaris. He has owned heroes like Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, and even Susan Richards from the Fantastic Four. Both Morrigan and Malice have the same drive to do and take whatever they want, no matter the cost to those around them. It would be admirable if it weren’t so destructive. But their shared cruelty has certainly made it possible for them to survive all this time. After all, Morrigan has always managed to find a host for her spirit and Malice always finds one way or another to reform herself and rain misery on her enemies.

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