Valiant Femmes: Kay McHenry
Welcome to the first edition of the Valiant Femmes Spotlight, where we take a look at some of the amazing female characters that have been coming out of Valiant over the years. With last week’s end to The Valiant, we felt it appropriate to begin this series by talking about Kay McHenry, the latest Geomancer.
The Warrior, the Ninja, and the White Knight
Fought valiantly with all their might
To keep the persistent demon at bay
And spare from its wrath poor little Kay
The Geomancer who finally found her inner strength
To stand against darkness and go to any length
Despite all of her strife
The Immortal Enemy still took her life.
Kay McHenry was the Geomancer, speaker for and guardian of the earth. She received this legacy upon the death of the geomancer Buck McHenry, a distant relative of Kay.
Having only recently come into her geomancer powers, Kay was resistant to the idea and doubted her own worthiness and effectiveness. Ultimately, she resolved to use her abilities to help, choosing to start by targeting an area blighted by Zorn Industries.
This well-intentioned effort would be amongst her last.
Kay McHenry died by the hand of the Immortal Enemy at the conclusion of The Valiant miniseries. Although she did help to save the world in Archer and Armstrong, her most gracious act was that of removing the nanites from Bloodshot during her final breaths, granting him a natural life. Kay accepted her death gracefully, expressing that she believed Bloodshot was sent to her not to save her, but for her to save him.
Kay was introduced to us in Archer & Armstrong #6. The Kay we meet is a pill-popper and drinker, self-absorbed to the extent that she is angry at her potted plant begging her for water. It was in this series that we learn Kay has regrets about her hollow lifestyle and wondered what else life might hold for her. She was starting to question her own sanity after “hearing” plants talking to her. Unbeknownst to Kay, this was occurring because Buck McHenry had died, and the powers of the Geomancer had passed to her.
An employee of Zorn Industries, Kay was marked for death by Zorn after she stumbled upon his affiliation with the One Percent. Left for dead by the sect, the spirit of the earth intervened and offered her the “job” of Geomancer. Using her newfound powers, Kay rescued herself and put an end to the battle between the Eternal Warrior and Archer & Armstrong, calling upon the Eternal Warrior to serve the new Geomancer.
Aided by Archer, Armstrong, and the Eternal Warrior, she used her abilities, including seeing the “code” makeup of all things, to defeat a sect called the Null from erasing all of existence. Injured in the process and unable to speak, her predecessors reach out in aid and help her realize her true potential. Geomancers speak for and through the earth. They are the key to being. Kay was able to rewrite the code of the earth, saving it from oblivion.
Kay was not featured in a title again until The Valiant. In this miniseries, Kay has evolved. Though still unsure of herself in the role of Geomancer, she was much more personable than her first appearance. Gone were the constant pills and alcohol, though the self-deprecating humor remained. Most geomancers are trained by their predecessor, but with the untimely death of Buck, Kay had no one to guide her other than the Eternal Warrior, who admitted that he knows little of how her power works. Crippled by her own apprehension and self-doubt, Kay had done little at this point in her role as Geomancer. Recognizing that needed to change, Kay leapt into the field, not realizing that she was being baited by the Immortal Enemy.
Kay held great potential but was cut short. I felt she was just emerging from her shell when the unfortunate events of The Valiant occurred. Her swan song was doing what no other geomancer had done – stand up and use her powers to directly fight the Immortal Enemy. I was hoping that would be enough, earth power against earth power, but an untrained and untested geomancer was not strong enough against an experienced foe.
Rest in peace, Kay. I was proud of the woman you became.