An Emma Frost Salon
by Ken Kneisel
Welcome once again to White Queen Wednesday, gentle reader. This subject, the Hellions, has been a long time coming. Let this be an introduction to the team if you have never heard of them before, and if you have then this will act as a refresher course. Between their debut and tragic wholesale slaughter at the hands of Trevor Fitzroy and his Sentinels, the Hellions made precious few appearances in a comparative handful of stories. But today we celebrate the brief lives of Emma’s gang of menacing young punks.
It’s interesting to note that, while Emma’s Hellions and their opposite numbers among Professor X’s New Mutants were undoubtedly rivals, they also shared a lot in common as teenage mutant misfits and frequently socialized at least as much as they engaged in battle. Emma often threw school dances or parties and invited the New Mutants to fraternize with her Hellions. These interactions produced a few lasting friendships and even loves.
By contrast with Professor X’s more peaceful exhortations, Emma taught her Hellions how to dominate their would be human oppressors and exploit their individual mutant talents for their own personal gain. As the White Queen, Emma sometimes gave lip service to the concept of the Hellions as mutant pawns or merely assets of the Hellfire Club. But, in her own arbitrarily mindblasting way, Emma truly was devoted to her students and seemed to want to teach them how to not just survive but thrive in a world that hated and feared them. If Emma Frost is Lady Gaga, the Hellions were her beloved Little Monsters.
Catseye was disarmingly cute and had a particular childlike manner of speaking which might have made her seem a little slow, although she had a photographic memory and was probably one of the brightest Hellions. Emma found her as an orphaned alley kitten in the streets of New England and taught her that she was a mutant girl who could transform into a cat and not the other way around. She was probably my favorite Hellion if only for her striking pastel purple visual. I just love her look and I always wanted a little Catseye doll so I could brush her flowing violet mane like a My Little Pony.
Empath was Emma’s emotion manipulating protege, frighteningly sadistic and vindictive. His name might have been Empath but he wasn’t terribly empathetic. He could control the emotions of others, a power which he recklessly abused to often terrifying effect. Emma and Empath had a pretty screwed up relationship. It seemed that he was her prize pupil but at the same time he also harbored a treacherous streak so that Emma had to watch her back around him.
Roulette was the blonde bad girl of the Hellions. Her luck changing disks provided her target with a temporary dose of good luck or bad luck, but more often than not she chose to use her bad luck disks to cause mischief just for the sake of it. She was also not opposed to using her bad luck disks on her own teammates when she was bored simply to start trouble.
Jetstream was exceedingly proud and arrogant, always eager to test his human rocket powers against those of his rival New Mutant Cannonball. Cannonball might have been the faster of the two, but Jetstream achieved more precision thanks to his cybernetic enhancements.
Tarot was able to physically manifest images from her tarot deck for use in combat. She was also able to use her tarot cards to divine the future and seemed to base her decisions around them, which sometimes made Emma wary as it threw Tarot’s true loyalties into question.
Thunderbird II joined the Hellions to take revenge on Charles Xavier because he blamed Professor X for the death of his older brother John Proudstar AKA Thunderbird I. Like Emma, James eventually reformed and joined up with X-Force and the X-Men. I will talk a little bit more about him in his own installment of White Queen Wednesday.
We were also introduced to two brand new Hellions just before the team’s demise. Beef and Bevatron had super strength and electricity generating powers respectively, but not a lot of personality between them.
I really loved the Hellions. It must also be said that I always felt like the Hellions uniform was more than a little gay, pink and purple with a low cut V-neck and little triangle motif. I liked that too.
Thank you for joining me for this examination of the lives of Emma’s original class of mutant students, gentle reader. Do you have a favorite Hellion? If so then I would love to know what you liked about them and why, so please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.