Before I get into this story, I just have to say that this is going to be VERY confusing for those who don’t read comics or who don’t know about Monet St. Croix.
Part of what makes Penance/Hollow so confusing to some is the fact that virtually her entire back story has, at some point, been retconned(meaning the common situation in fiction where a new story “reveals” things about events in previous stories, usually leaving the “facts” the same (thus preserving continuity) while completely changing their interpretation.). This shouldn’t stop you guys from being interested in what is still an interesting character. You can go back to the post about Monet by following this link if you have no idea what is going on: Monet
This post describes the huge retcon in Hollow’s past.
Instead, according to Larry Hama in “The Truth About Penance” in Generation X #40, she’s supposedly (“supposedly” because she obviously hasn’t said anything to confirm or deny it yet) a magical/mutant prison created by Emplate to imprison his sister M. M was later freed from the Penance body. The Penance body was mute but not deaf throughout the later (non-Lobdell) issues of Generation X series, but could speak as of the 2007 miniseries called The Loners.
As part of the retcon, M was said to have been incidentally born in Bosnia (it was known fact that her father is a foreign ambassador, after all) and, as part of her full name, “Yvette” is one of M’s numerous middle names. However, M was sixteen when Penance was said to be fourteen, at the time that the Generation X series started.
Penance’s official entry in the All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #8 Nekra to Quoi includes the fact that Penance’s origins are a mystery and that Emplate claims to have from Penance for years prior to imprisoning his sister in the Penance form and feeding off of Penance/Monet for months. Unfortunately, this is updated in the 2008 hardcover edition and simplified as Emplate fed off of Monet for years, having been banished by his twin sisters to that hellish dimension of his for years. As it is in the official handbook, so it is the new canon.
Regardless of the retcon, the reader should know that Hollow’s true origins remain a mystery, even by the end of the 2007 Loners’ mini-series, and we’ll just have to wait and see what comes next.
Penance, as Hollow was referred to as during her time with Generation X, first appeared unconscious on the lawn outside of the Massachusetts Academy for Gifted Youngsters in the Berkshire Mountains in Snow Valley, Massachusetts. Gateway, floating nearby in the pouring rain, spoke but a single word, christening her “Penance,” before disappearing as mysteriously as he and the red-skinned girl had appeared. His spoken word was actually referring to this being his penance for his part in the deaths of the original Hellions.
When Banshee tried to pick the girl up off the ground and carry her into the building, he learned his first painful lesson about Penance: her skin was completely razor-sharp. He and Emma Frost soon figured out that the young girl was immune to psi-scans and that the straps of black material wrapped around her were restraints Marius St. Croix (Emplate) had used to secure her. This mysterious, frightened girl woke up, clawed her way out of the medical ward, and ran into the woods. Generation X was soon in hot pursuit of the potentially dangerous mutant.
Determined never to be imprisoned again, no matter the cost to herself or anyone else, Penance fought Generation X fiercely. Her first fight with Generation X was short but intense against Synch and Jubilee, before Penance ran off again. Synch and Jubilee only managed to survive as Synch tapped into Penance’s mutant power to create a force field around himself and Jubilee equally durable as Penance’s skin.
Elsewhere, Banshee and Husk were following Penance’s trail until it mysteriously vanished. The pair was puzzled at first, but then the truth dawned upon Banshee: they weren’t tracking her as much as she was tracking them. Banshee’s moment of enlightenment would come a moment too late.Upon realizing she was being followed, Penance had burrowed underground so that she could ambush her pursuers. She reached up through the ground and pulled Husk down into the mud faster than she could scream and did the same to Banshee, sticking her finger in his open mouth before he could use his powers.
While Penance was distracted, Husk regained her bearings, husked into a stone form, and attacked Penance. When a confident Husk got the upper hand, holding Penance down in the mud, Penance reached up and stuck her pointy feet into a surprised Husk’s back, causing her great injury. Penance further demonstrated her resourcefulness and creativity in using her powers when, after Banshee used his sonic scream, she used the momentum generated by the scream itself to help her make her escape. Banshee was impressed.
Next, she took a wrong turn and ran into Emma Frost and Monet St. Croix (M), who promptly knocked her out with a single punch, stating how ambushes were rude. Then Emma, confident in her own abilities, did an intensive psi-scan on the unconscious Penance, only to receive psionic backlash for her trouble. Penance was inadvertedly stirred by the psi-scan, still held by Monet, who at the time had no idea Penance was regaining consciousness. Emma reported that there was nothing remotely recognizable in Penance’s head.
At that moment Banshee appeared, holding a wounded Husk, having managed to follow Penance. Seeing that Penance was awake, he used his sonic scream to create an opportunity for Penance to make her getaway. When Monet questioned this, Banshee explained that Penance would have injured her and then escaped anyway. Monet saw Banshee’s logic immediately and promptly backed off.
Luckily, no one was fatally wounded or maimed in the rain-soaked, vicious frays before Chamber was able to calm Penance down. He spoke to her, explaining how he felt they were kindred spirits. After all, their mutant abilities had made them both just one step away from being monsters. After a tense, silent stand-off between the two, Penance lowered her guard and allowed Generation X to lead her back to the school for “gifted youngsters.”
*Its really just SO much that I’d rather you look all this up yourselves. If you want to know more, just Wiki, google, what-have-you her.
This is a really good breakdown of Penance. I love her so much as a character, but she was so misused in Generation X. It’s like they tried to make the whole plot of the comic revolve around Penance, Monet, Nicole and Claudette, and Emplate, when all they did was make the whole story revolving around the St. Croix family all the more confusing in the long-run.
Instead of focusing on the characters with long-term potential (Skin, Synch, Chamber, Husk, and Jubilee), they wasted their time with overblown “FINALLY! THE TRUTH ABOUT PENANCE REVEALED!” plotlines that did little more than disappoint.