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White Queen Wednesday: Selene

An Emma Frost Salon
by Ken Kneisel

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Good afternoon, gentle reader. Today I direct your attention to “The Sport of Queens”, a short story from X-Men Unlimited #33 written by Will Pfeifer and illustrated by the legendary Esteban Maroto who I am primarily familiar with for having previously drawn a lot of Vampirella comics back in the Seventies. This story stars Emma Frost during her time as the White Queen of the Hellfire Club and her rival Black Queen, the immortal sorceress and psionic vampire Selene.

As the story starts, Selene has grown bored with the obscene wealth and privilege associated with Hellfire Club membership when Emma espies a brutal brawny Hellfire Club guard on the monitor screen who captures both her and Selene’s attention.

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Emma proposes a gentlewomanly wager to cure Selene’s boredom. Emma bets Selene that she can’t compel the guard to declare his love for her before Emma. The ground rules are set, no magic and no mutant powers are to be used, and the game is on!

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Emma and Selene both ask Chet, the burly Hellfire Club guard, out to dinner and take him to fancy restaurants that he could never afford. They also show him Hellfire Club secrets and give him access to some of the extraordinary conspiracies that the Club has a hand in.

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When they both discover that their competitor is playing dirty, they swear that the gloves are off and they will each do whatever it takes to win.

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Naturally this means that Selene and Emma both cheat and break the ground rules by using their sorcery and mutant telepathic powers respectively on poor unsuspecting Chet.

I love Emma’s dramatic gown in this panel, with it’s personalized crowned E and WQ logos which stand for Emma and White Queen of course.

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Speaking of lovely and dramatic gowns, I also love the formal evening wear sported by Emma and Selene in these next few panels with their matching but not identical dresses and Selene’s long black feather cape complimenting Emma’s sweeping white fur. It really gives a sense of the debauched decadence of Emma’s old Hellfire Club days.

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Emma and Selene’s rivalry has a definite Betty and Veronica kind of vibe in this story with their petty squabbling over a boy’s affection. Although I don’t recall any Betty and Veronica stories that ended with Archie’s head exploding from combined magical and telepathic backlash.

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As our tale ends, Emma cleverly asserts that she won the wager since the bet was that Selene could not convince Chet to declare his love for her first and he won’t be declaring anything to anyone in his present state. I like how Selene is at first infuriated by Emma’s temerity but that quickly gives way to a grudging respect and camaraderie between the two villainesses.

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Well that’s all for this White Queen Wednesday, gentle reader. I hope you enjoyed this look back at one of the ways Emma kept herself entertained during her tenure with the Hellfire Club. Until next week…

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3 Comments

  1. Ingonyama

    Personally, I see this as almost as bad as what happened with Firestar’s pony.

    Do I regret the death of Chet specifically, who was portrayed as the kind of thug and bully the X-Men and Avengers stomp on a regular basis? No.

    But I do think Emma was way out of line messing with him like she did. For a villainess of the brand she was cast as, and for Selene, it’s standard fare and not the kind of thing no one would bat an eyelash at.

    But it was pretty clear they wanted Emma to come off as irredeemable back then, and they did almost too good a job…if not for the tragedy of the Hellions and all the good she’s done since then, I think I’d still hate her for this.

  2. NB

    Back then? Wasn’t this story first published in 2001, when Emma had already appeared a few times in Morrison’s New X-Men? But I guess it’s possible it was an old story that never saw print until this time.

    Either way, I don’t think the writer (Will Pfeifer) of this little yarn had any thought of making her come across as irredeemable or not, seems more like a funny, not altogether serious story. (Emma and Selene pressing buttons in the HFC “control room” to steer world events and cause wars? Come on! Seems more like a parody to me.)

    The Betty and Veronica comparison is really spot on! I hadn’t noticed that before. Too bad this couldn’t happen in Archie as well. Have to go re-read it now 🙂

  3. archie

    Hey thank you for this! I love me some Selene

    http://cautwomen.blogspot.com/2011/12/selene.html

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