While I was putting together this week’s Storm Sunday’s focus on John Bolton, I kept coming across his drawings of Emma Frost, also known as the White Queen of the Hellfire Club! This post is dedicated to comicdom’s notorious fan and my friend Ken Kneisel, one of the most diehard fans of Emma I have ever met! I hope he and you, dear reader, find some enjoyment in the images from today’s post which were originally featured in a backup story in Classic X-Men #34 and that they compel you to enter into the discussion I have proposed at the end of this post!
John Bolton certainly knows how to pare a scene down to its essentials. In these two pages, the emotional situation is readily apparent. Captions and word balloons are simply not necessary to know that there is an obvious power struggle going on here and the White Queen certainly has the upper hand! I really like the strong use of design in these pages, especially the wallpaper. The delicate swirls are in direct contrast to the severe body stance of the White Queen.
Emma used to be such a great villainess and in today’s continuity she is a heroine. I think her character’s journey has been intriguing, but I think it is a delicate balance to maintain the snarky wit of a rather jaded woman with her desire to teach the next generation of mutant children. Grant Morrison certainly left his mark on her when he used her for New X-Men, but he had a great template to work with from her creators (Chris Claremont and John Byrne). Joss Whedon obviously had a lot of fun writing her in Astonishing X-Men and Warren Ellis reaps the benefits on that title now.
As far as the character has come, I would not want to see all of her development ruined by having the character return to her villainous roots. I think it is much more interesting to read about her new life as a mutant leader with dreams of reformation (One could argue that she is, in fact, already redeemed by proof of her position in the X-Men alongside Cyclops). Her retconned past with Namor (the Sub-Mariner) and Tony Stark (Iron Man) seemed a bit shoehorned to me at first, but these revelations have grown on me. I find it makes her character tapestry all the richer. Out of all of the Dark Reign tie ins, I have enjoyed Emma’s interactions with Norman Osborn the most. I think she’s the kind of woman who could really find a way to topple his rule. I don’t see it ever happening as I assume that Spider-Man is destined to defeat Osborn as the Green Goblin is his villain, but I hope that if and when Norman falls, that Emma is there to jab a spiked heel into his ribs.
Above is a scaled down version of the back cover of Classic X-Men #7. Emma looks right at home. At this time in her life she has no idea that she will fall in love with Scott Summers (Cyclops) and therefore make his character compelling (at least to me). And just think, if she hadn’t been in a coma when her students (the Hellions) died, she might not have teamed up with Banshee, Jubilee and Sabretooth to save the next generation of mutants. And then she might not have joined Generation X as headmistress, which would not have led her down the road to her redemption.
What do you think, dear reader? Do you like reformed Emma or do you miss the evil to the bone White Queen of her Hellfire Club days? Do you think her character arc makes sense considering how she was introduced back in the days when she was body swapping with Storm, harassing the New Mutants and trying to make Firestar into her personal weapon? What do you like most about her and what do you think is essential to the core of the character? There’s no denying Emma’s popularity. I’m just curious from where it stems.