Emma Frost #12
Writer: Karl Bollers
Artist: Carlo Pagulayan
Emma Frost her own solo book always seemed a dubious proposition,
to me. It’s nothing personal. I like the character.
What Grant Morrison did with her in New X-Men elevated
her from a pretty standard reformed villain to an interesting
anti-hero. But her own title?
only non-team X-book that ever really went further than
a dozen issues before was Wolverine, and that’s
been canned and restarted so many times, it’s already
on it’s third or fourth volume (depending on whether
you count the ‘82 mini-series or not).
give Emma Frost a shot? What kind of fascinating story supposedly
surrounds her life? Why should we hand over our hard earned
I had an answer for you.
second arc in the series (“Mind Games”) comes
to a close in this issue, where young Emma remains a hostage
of the creepy street criminal Lucien. After killing her
first ever boyfriend in the last issue, he relents from
disposing of Emma when her father makes a televised promise
to pay the ransom for her life.
Lucien and his gang understand the dangers of making an
exchange and plan to kill Emma as soon as they have two–thirds
of the money, but the young telepath finally decides to
exercise her powers and make the gang see things the way
she wants them to.
problem with this series… well, damn, there are a
few… but I’d say what’s hurting it so
much is that it plays out like an origin story stretched
thin. The whole thing’s told as if we’re looking
at events in the character’s past (“Nine years
earlier…”), but the book never refers to the
present, so we feel all the more anxious for events to speed
up and let move on.
first arc gave us a schoolgirl story that led up to events
in Emma’s that New X-Men readers probably
remember being told quite clearly and efficiently by Grant
Morrison. But there’s your problem: we already know
Emma Frost’s origin. In fact, White Queen fans know
it so well they can’t help but notice how different
Emma Frost is from the “canonical”
origin of Emma Frost (as if anything’s ever canon
Games” started us into Emma’s street adventures
following her escape from her parents (or, for those who
prefer her original origin, the mental institution they
put her in). It seemed like a plot that had good potential.
It seemed like an Emma story we’d never heard before.
It seemed like it might be interesting material that would
give us insight into the character. It wasn’t.
from some further exploration of her powers, this is essentially
the same Emma the series started out with. A nice, sweet
girl. A victim. An innocent. Not the icy seductress who
came between Scott Summers and Jean Grey. Not by a long
I can appreciate that they started her out as a goody two-shoes
(note to self: swallow poison for using that phrase), but
the character has to develop, dammit! What’s the point
of showing us her posh Massachusetts upbringing if none
of that contributed to her imperious manner as the White
Queen? Why would she become a Mutant Rights activist (for
lack of a better term) in her adulthood if she faced none
of that persecution in her own life? Why would she become
entangled with the Hellfire Club when she has such a natural
aversion to power-grabbing elitists?
I’m not saying I don’t see answers off on the
horizon. It just doesn’t seem like any of them are
particularly interesting. Hence, I ask again: why have an
Emma Frost solo book? The result so far hasn’t been
bad, but when I started mentally chanting “Hellfire,
Hellfire, Hellfire” after she ran out on her parents,
I felt pretty sure that there was nowhere else to go.
there isn’t, since the next arc is going to start
us on Emma’s adventures with the Hellfire Club. But
I still feel we aren’t dealing with the White Queen,
here. Don’t get me wrong; she’s a nice girl
and all, but we’re supposed to believe this is the
same woman who helps turn Phoenix into Dark Phoenix?
take some damn strong mind-control powers to make that happen.