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Tarot of the Hellions (New Mutants character) (Marvel Comics)

Tarot

(Marie-Ange Colbert)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Tarot is a minor but intriguing Marvel character, who appeared in 1984.

Before reading this entry you should read our general profile for the original Hellions, which explains all the context and major events for Tarot’s early career.


Background

  • Real Name: Marie-Ange Colbert.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Marie-Ange (last name unknown, grandmother, deceased).
  • Group Affiliation: Hellions (Massachusetts Academy), New Hellions (Aaronson’s).
  • Base Of Operations: Massachusetts Academy.
  • Height: 5’6” Weight: 110 lbs.
  • Eyes: Green Hair: Red


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Powers and Abilities

Tarot is a superhuman mutant with magical powers. She was detected and trained as a homo superior mutant, but her conjurations are apparently sorcerous. For instance, the Soulsword of Magik (Illyana Rasputin) always could affect Tarot’s summonings.

Colbert can actually predict the future through cartomancy. She routinely did so as a Hellion, but the results were general and metaphorical and she only did readings for herself.

It would seem that the Massachusetts Academy and Emma Frost never realised that Colbert’s readings were paranormal. Apparently, they just thought that she was fixated on her cards and psychologically dependent on them.

As far as Frost and her staff were concerned, Tarot’s mutant power was to animate the art on her cards and turn them into fully material creatures obeying her. See the les Arcanes section below for these.

Tarot was reportedly depowered during the 2005 Decimation. What was the impact on her is unclear given the twin nature of her abilities.

The game stats assume that Colbert was in good physical shape due to Hellion training. But even then Tarot never seemed to be a physical person — and often seemed underweight.


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Aujourd’hui je suis de retour

In addition to her animations and cartomancy, Marie-Ange Colbert appears to be immortal via serial reincarnation.

The only information we have about this is her own account : “Death claimed me that day, just as it did Roulette, Jetstream and Catseye. But unlike them, I am cursed to live my life again and again until I atone for the sins of my past. To die as I did was horrific. To return to life was even more terrible. You can’t even imagine what it was like.”

This doesn’t appear to be traditional reincarnation – as in being reborn without memories as a newborn. Colbert was a bit older than at the time of her death, which makes it chronologically impossible for her to have been reborn. Even going by publication time, it was only eight years between her death and her reapperance.

Furthermore, she clearly remembered her previous life in detail.

Tarot further stated that “after my death at the hands of a Sentinel proved transient, [King Bedlam] found me and nursed me back to health.” She still seemed in poor health, which overall gave the impression that Tarot regrew an entire body from scratch — presumably through mystical means.

Tarot’s later appearance as one of Selene’s techno-organic revenants raises further questions as to how it works. See the History section.

Ma mémoire est restée dans l’ombre

Given the magical nature of her abilities, it is possible that Tarot isn’t a superhuman mutant per se, but part of a category of mutants once mentioned in Daredevil. This type of mutant doesn’t quite have powers, but have an exceptional talent in the arts.

Tarot (Marie-Ange Colbert) produces the Death arcana

In this hypothesis Tarot’s gift would be in tarot-based magic, which other occultists could practice like Colbert’s grandmother might have.

Speculatively, Tarot’s mutant/magical nature has lots of precedents, and not just in the Daredevil sense above. Lots of mutants have overlapping magical/mutant abilities. The Scarlet Witch is an obvious example.

Illyana herself is one — her mutant gift with Limbo’s teleport disk allows her to control a *magical* phenomenon. It’s probably what brought her to Belasco’s attention in the first place.

Then there’s Storm, who has a long mystical heritage, and I’d guess that some of her abilities — her affinity with plant life, her occasional heightened senses — are manifestations of magical, not mutant, talents.

Early Danielle Moonstar seems to be another case — some of her early images clearly had prophetic overtones. Plus she’s the granddaughter of a Cheyenne medicine man and a target of the Adversary — the magical being who was Forge’s enemy (himself a Cheyenne medicine man as well as mutant), and the force behind the Demon Bear.

I suspect that Dani’s rapport with animals (like Storm’s rapport with plants) is again indicative of her magical potential.

Tarot’s colleague Catseye, was another mutant with mystical properties.


Les Arcanes

Tarot always carries a full deck. These cards often seem oversized, but this is likely artistic exaggeration so they can be clearly seen. In the comics, Tarot’s cards seemed to be drawn from the Rider-Waite deck . While this deck is quite popular in the US, her grandmother presumably used an older French deck.

The most common French deck is the tarot de Marseille , but a more appropriate variant would be the cards designed by Swiss occultist Oswald Wirth, which are based on the traditional Marseille cards.

Colbert uses different deck designs, and once explicitly used the tarot of the cat people  (which in the Marvel Universe may indeed have been created by the Cat People). All of her creations are considered magical creatures, and many seemed sapient and capable of talking — they might all be shape-changing demons or somesuch.

  • Arcane XV – le Diable. Her most recurrent conjuration is the Devil : DEX 06 STR 05 BODY 06, Stretching: 01, Charisma (Intimidation): 07. This version of the Devil wields a chain whose touch will turn people into demons, changing the body part that gets struck into something demonic. This doesn’t seem to do much, physically, and the alterations are reversed when the Devil goes away. But getting turned into a demon bit by bit is a psychological shock (Intimidation). A close variant had the traditional pitchfork instead of the enchanted chain.
    When she manifested a Devil arcana again, her team was in need of a means of aerial transportation, and the manifestation had the same stats as the Lover, below.
    Yet another version of that arcana showed up which had DEX 06 STR 04 BODY 06 Flight: 02, Flame project (no range): 07 (+1 AP allowed in exchange for the No Range Limitation) – a red, winged devil with a burning torch.
    The two versions of the Devil with Charisma (Intimidation) had a strong psychological impact on onlookers, most of whom were irrationally convinced that it was the Biblical Devil in person. Believers in one of the major Abrahamic faiths may suffer a -1CS to their OV/RV vs. the Intimidation — as if the creature had the Mystique Advantage.

Tarot (Marie-Ange Colbert) summons a devil wielding a chain

Tarot (Marie-Ange Colbert) conjures the Devil arcana

  • Arcane XIII – l’arcane sans nom. Death is her second most frequent conjuration. DEX 06 STR 03 BODY 05 Claws: 10. It appears as the classic robed skeleton with scythe. Note that Tarot would probably not call this card “Death” – in most French tarot decks this card doesn’t have a written name (and the Fool doesn’t have a number).

Tarot sends the Death arcana after Cyclops and Domino

  • Cavalier d’épées (the Knight of Swords) : DEX 09 STR 04 BODY 06, Running: 05. A mounted fighter on a savage horse, the Knight is the figure of the compleat warrior. Another manifestation had a flying horse. A pair also appeared as dismounted knights each wielding a large axe.
  • Arcane VI – l’Amoureux. DEX 05 STR 03 BODY 04, Flight: 06, Growth: 06 (STR is 09, physical RV is 10). The Lover is a giant, winged humanoid that can carry the entire Hellions team on his shoulders. Another version was a large winged man with an arrow-shaped spear.

Tarot (Marie-Ange Colbert) conjures the Lover arcana

  • Valet de bâton (the Jack of Clubs) : DEX 07 STR 09 BODY 08. A hulking brute.

Tarot (Marie-Ange Colbert) conjures the Knight of Wands against Night Thrasher

  • Cavalier de coupes (the Knight of Wands) : DEX 08 STR 08 BODY 08. A warrior in light armor with a mace.

History

Marie-Ange Colbert was a young French mutant and a student in a convent school in Lyon . She discovered that she could see fragments of the future in her grandmother’s tarot deck. She later learned to manifest full-sized, three-dimensional representations of the cards’ illustrations and place them under her mental control.

When she was 15 or 16, Colbert was recruited by the White Queen to become part of her team of young mutants, the Hellions. See our Hellions (Massachusetts Academy) team profile for more.

Colbert thus moved to the US and became a student there, learning more about the language and the cultures, as well as her mutant abilities.

Et bientôt vous verrez mon œuvre

Before she moved Marie-Ange knew she would meet a young American man named Christopher Aaronson, with whom she would develop a relationship. Aaronson being a superhuman mutant, Colbert apparently arranged a meeting with Headmistress Frost for a recruitment pitch. But as Colbert knew he would, Aaronson turned Frost down as she was too manipulative for his tastes.

Though they couldn’t be together as Colbert’s destiny was to stay, Aaronson promised they would be reunited. He later adopted the nom de guerre King Bedlam.

Tarot is also hinted to have developed a crush over one of the New Mutants during the months when the Hellions and the New Mutants were merged. Furthermore, she once drew the Lover card when seeing what the New Mutants would mean to her. It was presumably Doug Ramsey, as her toxic teammates Empath and Roulette later sabotaged her attempt to approach him during a dance.

Colbert was among the Hellions slain by Trevor Fitzroy in 1991.

Et voici le temps de la douleur

Tarot was resurrected through unclear paranormal means. However, the process was reportedly horrific and she seemed very sick.

Her paramour, King Bedlam, somehow found her and nursed her back to health. By 1999, Tarot joined his New Hellions. Although she despised King Bedlam’s dangerous plans and brutal ambition, she was truly in love with him and could not consider leaving his side.

In Aaronson’s view, war had been declared on mutants years ago, and he was going to end it. In 1999 his New Hellions (Paradigm, Magma, Feral and Switch, plus Tarot and himself) recovered the Armageddon Man. This was an uncontrollably destructive mutant who had been kept on ice since the 1950s to serve as a doomsday weapon.

Vous avez raison d’avoir peur

Tarot foretold disaster and decided to oppose her lover, though she couldn’t bring herself to do it directly. Instead, she helped Aaronson’s younger brother Jesse, who was then a member of X-Force, to decide whether he would oppose King Bedlam.

When Jesse made his move the powerful Paradigm was taken out through mental contact with Tarot, which freed the rest of X-Force who had been captured by the New Hellions.

Tarot (Marie-Ange Colbert) as Death

Though King Bedlam was about to hit Tarot in anger, he was bodyblocked by his brother. The New Hellions fell apart as X-Force was trying to contain the Armageddon Man, but King Bedlam and Tarot stuck with each other. Feral and Switch followed them as they left.

In 2005, the Decimation depowered the vast majority of homo superior on Earth. King Bedlam and Feral were depowered, and it seems very likely that Tarot was. She’s not clearly listed, but her face appears on a screen during a scan of the Collective’s energy signature.

Échappée du bûcher en flammes, je quittais cette nuit de drame

In 2009 the Black Queen (Selene) used necromancy to create a new strain of techno-organic virus. Selene used this to reanimate an army of deceased superhuman mutants to serve her, and the slain Hellions were among her main servants. Tarot’s corpse was fully reanimated and repaired, still wearing her Hellions uniform and summoning animations from her cards.

Furthermore it was demonstrated that the consciousness of the deceased was still present in the Black Queen’s techno-magical revenants. Multiple subjects briefly rebelled against their techno-organic consciousness, and it was possible to telepathically beat back this consciousness to have the ante-mortem consciousness resume control for a bit.

Danielle Moonstar, using her Valkryie abilities, also indicated that she could free the souls of the revenants by destroying them.

The two main hypotheses are :

  • Colbert was killed again between 1999 and 2009, stayed dead this time (despite her immortality seeming more mystical than mutation-derived), was equipped with her old uniform, and was somehow repowered with the old version of her powers. Which seems a smidgen convoluted.
  • The revenant was reanimated from Tarot’s 1991 corpse and some remnant of her soul in it. This did not impact the reborn Tarot first seen in 1999. This is less convoluted, but there’s the matter of having one soul in the corpse and one in the reborn Marie-Ange.

How did we end up in Egypt ?

A possible explanation is that Colbert’s essence is multi-layered. Part of her soul remained in the corpse reanimated by Selene’s necromancy, and most of it rebuilt a new body somewhere else. This is reminiscent of, say, Ancient Egyptian beliefs were there are several concepts akin to the soul in a single person (Ba, Ka, Akh) which had different roles upon death.

Since the XIXth and XXth century occult mish-mash around tarot included various references to Ancient Egyptian mysticism, Tarot’s reincarnation might be something very close to the trials in the Book of the Dead funerary manuscripts.

Since the Ancient Egyptian afterlife described in the Book was once visited by the Thing (Benjamin Grimm), there’s little obstacle to this in the Marvel Universe.


Description

Tarot was about 16 during much of her Hellions career. After her resurrection, she was clad in black hooded robes, though she kept the hood pulled back most of the time. She was also unusually pale. Colbert now has a generally Gothic look, though without adornments or makeup.

Officially Colbert is 5’7” and 115 – these values were lowered slightly in this entry to reflect the way she’s commonly drawn. In fact 110 lbs. is on the high side given the art.


Personality

Marie-Ange was a shy, awkward, repressed teenager. She saw her powers as a curse, and felt that her own wishes were overridden by the path of destiny she saw in the cards. This fatalism made her meek toward figures of authority – or lovers.

Being insecure, she was always fiddling with a tarot deck, and would draw a card to perform a reading whenever she had to take even a minor decision. Colbert seemed disoriented when she did not have her cards.

Tarot summons the Lover, the Devil, the lion from the Strength, the Knight of Swords

The Lover, the Devil, the lion from the Strength, the Knight of Swords.

Tarot considers that any card she draws is significant. Though this was interpreted by Emma Frost as pathological uncertainty and superstition, Tarot apparently considered that any drawing gave her insight into the future — even if that was not her intent.

During the second half of the 1980s Tarot became more assertive, even sarcastic, toward her team-mates. This may simply due to growing fluency in English and experience with the Hellions, and/or feeling more secure because she was now in a relationship with King Bedlam.

It is also possible that she may have draw a card such as La Force (Strength) when looking for advice about her behaviour.

Je fuis dans un désert de sel, et ils m’appelèrent l’infidèle

In her post-mortem appearances Colbert was a shy, austere, physically fragile young woman – and looked about 18. She was trapped in her curse of precognition, weakened, speaking the cryptic language of les lames — the tarot cards — and lost in a foreign land. There was a strong tragic, fatalistic, mysterious, Gothic vibe about her.

She considered her love for the arrogant, self-centered, grandiose, highly dangerous King Bedlam her inevitable destiny and a natural fact. She thus faithfully stuck with him no matter what, even as she sabotaged his plans as they became too dangerous.

She knew that he was destined to fail and cause a catastrophe, but King Bedlam’s burning ambition meant that he kept ignoring his lover’s prescience.

This dysfunctional love was genuinely reciprocated, however. King Bedlam always forgave her despite his boiling anger and always accepted her in his life, even as she repeatedly wrecked his all-consuming ambitions.

As to the Tarot resurrected by Selene’s necromantic-TO virus, she seemed to be in charge of the dead Hellions and to be cold, hateful and bitter.


Quotes

Tarot (original)

Mademoiselle Frost — forgive my interruption…”

“Empath ?!  Cochon – how DARE you !?”

Bonjour, monsieur Ramsey. Perhaps you do not remember, I am Marie-Ange Colbert… The orchestra, it is playing a waltz. I have not danced in ages. Perhaps — forgive me for being so forward — you would share it with me ?”

“The cards are generous, Thunderbird — our prospects bright.”

“Does my death card’s dark touch frighten you, Marvel Boy ?”

“No ! My cards !”

Tarot (reincarnated)

(To King Bedlam) “I am sorry, chéri. I cannot come with you. Fate brought me here. I must remain. It is my destiny.”

Tarot: “I didn’t mean to frighten you, James Proudstar. I was gathering the courage to speak to you. It has been such a very long time since we were students at the Academy… since we were Hellions.”
Proudstar: “Tarot ? But you’re… you’re dead ! How— ?”
Tarot: “Some things I cannot explain, mon vieil ami. Please no question. Ecoutes-moi — listen to me. The Emperor attempts to wake the sleeping Giant, and le jour du Jugement — the day of Reckoning — draws closer. You and your friends are in great peril, from without and within. One of your own will soon betray you.”
Proudstar: “Marie, you’re not making any sense…”
Tarot: “I have taken a great risk by telling you anything. To attempt to change one future, often insures that future. I’ve said too much already. I must go.” (Her prediction becomes perfectly true mere days later).

“Do you know about le Mat, Jesse Bedlam ? In the tarot, the Fool represent lack of thought and reckless action that leads to destruction.”

King Bedlam: “Marie-Ange, after all I’ve done for you — given you a new life — given you my heart — you once again betray me to my enemies !”
Tarot: “I owe you my life, not theirs. Your greed has endangered the lives of millions. I do not want their deaths on my conscience.”
King Bedlam: “If you want to die a martyr with the rest of them, go ahead. Hellions, follow me.”
Tarot: “ Attends, Christopher. You know I cannot live without you.”
(King Bedlam pauses, then extends his hand to her)


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Tarot (Classic)

Dex: 02 Str: 02 Bod: 03 Motivation: Fatalist
Int: 03 Wil: 03 Min: 03 Occupation: Student
Inf: 03 Aur: 03 Spi: 03 Resources {or Wealth}: 002
Init: 008 HP: 020

Powers:
Animate image (ML): 24, Precognition: 11, Split: 04

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Animate image only seems to work with tarot cards depicting arcana (-1).
  • Animate Image cannot allocate more than 10 APs to any single Attribute, Power or Skill for an animation based on les honneurs (royal arcana, or court cards/face cards), or more than 12 APs for an animation based on les arcanes majeures (major arcana).
  • Animated creatures disappear if the corresponding card is destroyed (-1).
  • Precognition requires a full card reading.
  • Precognition cannot gain full RAPs – vision are always fuzzy and tricky to interpret (-1, – 25 BC) and are couched in tarot symbolism terms.
  • Split is a Minor Marginal Power and can only be used on her Animate Image Power.
  • Tarot Splits her image animation Power, not a given animated image. Thus her Animate Image Combined with Split will produce several different figures (one for each card she Splits her Animate Image on), each with their own different stats and abilities – but all these figures will have their APs diminished as per normal Split rules.

Skills:
Artist (Dancer): 02

Advantages:
Expertise (Tarot), Familiarity (Catholic liturgy), Language (French), Rich friend (Hellfire Club).

Connections:
Hellions (Low), White Queen (Emma Frost, Low).

Drawbacks:
MIA toward Shyness, Magician’s Code, Uncertainty (only if she doesn’t have tarot cards, 5 pts).

Equipment:
A deck of tarot cards [BODY 01] and a UNIFORM w/PSI-SCREEN [BODY 03, Mind blank: 02, Iron will: 02].


Post-mortem Tarot

The stats below are highly speculative since little was seen of Tarot in this incarnation. She may have since lost her powers, though as noted below it is unclear what is mystical and what is mutant power.

Dex: 02 Str: 02 Bod: 02 Motivation: Fatalist/Uphold Good
Int: 04 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Student
Inf: 06 Aur: 06 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 002
Init: 010 HP: 030

Powers:
Precognition: 14, Self-Manipulation: 12

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Precognition requires a full card reading.
  • Self-Manipulation is limited to emulating tarot arcana – but can duplicate Mental and Mystical Powers without difficulty within this limitation.

Skills:
Artist (Dancer): 02

Advantages:
Expertise (Tarot), Familiarity (Catholic liturgy), Language (French), Rich friend (Hellfire Club).

Connections:
King Bedlam (Low).

Drawbacks:
MIA toward Shyness, Magician’s Code, MPR and the equivalent of Age (Old) (poor health and fainting spells), SIA toward King Bedlam.

Equipment:
A deck of tarot cards [BODY 01].

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Mostly X-comics.

Helper(s): Marcello, Chris Cottingham, Roy Cowan, Darci.

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