Real Name: Xi'an Coy Manh
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Karma is a mutant with the ability to project a psionic energy surge that overwhelms the consciousness of another; this renders the victim unconscious, while placing her own mind in command. It allows her to alter the victim's perceptions and memories, command entranced opponents to divulge information, and/or operate their bodies as if they were an extension of her own.
Karma had also begun developing other telepathic abilities that were either latent or triggered by her use by the Shadow King. She is also able to generate a psionic deflector shield that disrupts incoming psi-signatures, protecting her from all manner of psychic assaults.
Karma is also a capable combatant with medieval weapons (particularly swords), due to the extended period of time she spent in Asgard. She is also familiar with first aid and firearms owing to her time in Vietnam.
Shan’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 Shan’s brother, Tran Coy Manh, was attacked by a Viet Cong soldier, Shan’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. Shan’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, Shan lashed out, absorbing her brother completely and taking the name "Karma". It should be noted that at this point Karma's powers doubled after this absorption, thereby making her more powerful than she was at this point in time.
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, but the team believed her dead 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 and ran a gladiatorial arena, where she came to the New Mutants’ attention when two of them (Sunspot and Magma) had been forced to participate in the high-stakes gladiatorial competition.
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 continued his voracity when using Karma's body. The New Mutants and the X-Man Storm take a vacation on a small Greece island. Karma isolates herself, not even wanting to eat, 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 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 more shapely than ever) and her hair had grown to waist-length. The child had vanished, a twist of fate manifested by the Norns.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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. Interestingly, Karma’s next appearance was a 180 degree turn. The straitlaced, devout, modest, and humble girl who formerly went to confession weekly was no more. Instead, when she happened upon X-Force at the Colossal Man Festival (a thinly veiled homage to the Burning Man Festival), she appeared scantily clad with close-cropped pink hair and a devil-may-care attitude. This appearance was extremely controversial at the time.
Later still, she moved 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.
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.
When Rahne Sinclair left the Xavier Institute due to a romance with a younger student, 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 advisor 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. Currently, she continues to reside at the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, though she is not part of an X-Men team. As of Decimation, the whereabouts of her younger brother and sister, Leong and Nga, are unclear.
Created by Chris Claremont & Frank Miller.
First Appearance: Marvel Team-Up (1972) #100
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Age Of Apocalypse (2012)
#14 All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z (2006)
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#1 Breaking Into Comics the Marvel Way! (2010)
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#8 Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Exodus (2009)
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#1 Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia (2009)
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Decimation: House of M - The Day After (2006)
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- 'Sisterhood, Part 4'#513
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- 'The Blood of Apocalypse, Part Two of Five: The Hunger'#184
- 'The Blood of Apocalypse, Part Three of Five: War--What is it Good For?'#200
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- 'Invasive Exotic Part Two'
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- 'Kill or Cure: Part 1'
X-Men: Second Coming (2010)
#1 X-Men: The 198 (2006)
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X-Men: The 198 Files (2006)
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X-Treme X-Men (2012)
#13 Xavier Institute Alumni Yearbook (1996)
- 'X-Termination, Part 4'
Alpha Squadron (Marvel)
Grey School staff (Marvel)
New Mutants (Marvel)
The 198 (Marvel)
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"I pride myself on being in constant control. Of everything around me. It's part of who I am."
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