Storm Arcana

Heroic Tarot & Arcana Academy

White Queen Wednesday Extra: Superheroes

An Emma Frost Salon
by Ken Kneisel

Superheroes Emma Frost file
Hello again, gentle reader. For this edition of White Queen Wednesday Extra, I would like to spotlight Emma’s file card from last week’s Heroic Age: Superheroes. Composed by former Captain America Steve Rogers in a peyote-induced haze, this represents the view of the current “top cop” of the Marvel Universe and director of all things Avengers on Emma Frost and her place as a hero in the Marvel Universe.

In marked contrast to some of the unkind things Steve said in this issue about other heroes (and heroines in particular), his profile of Emma is surprisingly flattering. I’m really glad that he didn’t dwell on her history as a villain when she was the White Queen of the Hellfire Club. That seems to be something many of her fellow X-Men have had a hard time getting past, although perhaps it isn’t as much of an issue for Steve Rogers since he never faced her in battle when she was with the Hellfire Club as far as I am aware.

In fact, Steve goes so far as to suggest that Emma might have a future as an Avenger. This is intriguing, although not entirely without precedent since Emma has assisted the New Avengers on a couple of noteworthy occasions, once when the leading minds of the Marvel Universe had no idea how to resolve the Sentry/Void situation and again when they were at a loss as for what to do with Wanda Maximoff during House of M.

Her power grid ratings are also noticeably high, with especially strong showings in the categories of wisdom, courage, determination and free will. I have no argument with this.

However, I must take issue with the way Steve characterizes Emma’s loyalty to mutants as a drawback. There is a troubling whiff of underlying racism to that statement, the perception that minorities will always stick together no matter what and at the expense of any other concerns. While Emma is fiercely protective of her mutant students and teammates, I do not believe that this must be seen as a negative trait or in any way suggest that she does not think humans are equally worthy of her protection.

Although sometimes puzzling, like the seemingly arbitrary power grid rankings which are entirely open to interpretation, Heroic Age: Superheroes is definitely entertaining. What could have been a collection of dry handbook entries is livened up by Steve’s opinionated drug-fueled rambling, often saying more about Steve and his frequently outdated attitudes towards certain topics than they do about his subjects.

I hope you enjoyed this glance at Emma’s place in the larger Marvel Universe, gentle reader. Until next week…

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6 Comments

  1. Lovely

    Hello! Can you please please scan Psylocke’s entry? I’m a big fan and I couldn’t find this book anywhere. :/

    • Hi there, Lovely!

      I will see what we can do. I think it is more than fair to ask such an X-centric site as us to post some X-Women file cards! Keep your eyes peeled and we’ll work it out!

      Cheers!
      STORM

  2. Ingonyama

    I have to defend Rogers in this one, for the simple reason that he’s not (normally) a bigot so much as he’s a lifelong patriot, which has its own drawbacks. You can’t wear a flag on your head and not be considered at least a little nuts for the US.

    His first priority, as has been shown numerous times, is his view of America. Not necessarily the laws or the government (as Civil War showed), but the ideals of the nation, or his personal views of them at least. Ever since Civil War, my opinion of him as a character has skyrocketed, and while he may be unrealistic in his loyalties to a dream of the idealized United States, it’s not that different from Charles Xavier’s dedication to peaceful coexistence between humanity and mutantkind, the same dream which held the X-Men together from their inception until his departure.

    Of course, him being on whatever drug they’re having him take makes him say exactly what’s on his mind without the usual filters, and I challenge anyone to not come off as at least a little bit of an ass going through that.

    Scott and Emma, by contrast, have become increasingly ‘mutants-only’ since Decimation and the founding of Utopia. After Decimation, Emma threw every student who no longer possessed mutant abilities out of the school, regardless of whether or not the public would consider the ‘ex’ part of ‘ex-mutant’ important. Then when Utopia was founded in the wake of the whole Dark Avengers deal, Scott (and Emma with him) gradually narrowed down the field of the X-Men’s ‘interests’ to staying alive and bringing more surviving mutants to Utopia, to the point where they’ve all but isolated the island from the outside world.

    This only serves to reinforce one of my biggest problems with the Xavier Institute: it works like a cloistered monastery more often than not. When the X-Men weren’t on missions to stop the Supervillain Of The Week, they were at home living out their own internal soap operas and pretending the world outside the mansion didn’t exist. Scott has taken that unofficial stand of negligence and made it their SOP. That seems to be what Rogers would be protesting, were he sober. And were he sober, I’d agree with him.

    My problem with this series of profiles is the portrayal of Steve as still being a man from the 1940s, despite having been thawed and living in the modern Marvel Universe for many years already. I’d like to think he would, were he in his right mind, be judging by the content of a hero’s character rather than their affiliations. But the dossiers I read were surprisingly fair…in both Emma’s and Northstar’s, Steve mentioned he would love to see the man join the Avengers.

    So to sum up, what Steve seems to be saying about Emma, and most of the mutants he covers, is that he would like to see them try harder to integrate mutantkind into the rest of the world again. And I kind of agree.

    • It’s hard to argue against the points you make, Ingonyama. In fact, you’ve swayed me to your thinking completely. I wish Xavier would bring up this point of view to Cyclops. It’s time for a showdown, me thinks and I would love to see the philosophical differences that you mention brought up in the pages of the X-books. And as much as I love the idea of Emma and Northstar joining the Avengers, my secret dream of Storm and T’Challa on the team needs to be fulfilled first. *smiles*

      • Ingonyama

        I’d pay to see that showdown! (Preferably written by someone who wasn’t drinking Matt Fraction’s “ZOMG CYCLOPS IS THE GREATEST SUPERHERO EVAR” Kool-Aid.)

        As for Storm and T’Challa, I also think they’d be great Avengers (again, in the Panther’s case). But I think the X-Men really need Ororo on their side right now, for her strong moral center and compassion if nothing else.

  3. Dave

    The comment, which you called “underlying racism”, comes from her unwillingness to help during Civil War, she was specifically asked to help and declined by keeping the mutants out of it. Plus as already mentioned how the X-Men have moved further from humans since Decimation and especially with Utopia. That shows an allegance towards mutants over humans. So him having doubts about if her loyalty extends to humans is indeed spot on, especially when she keeps things secret all the time even from her teammates. He doesn’t say that she will not help humans, just that he has doubts about her loyalty extending to humans due to her past actions.

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