An Emma Frost Salon
by Ken Kneisel
Salutations, gentle reader. In the first hard-hitting issue of the all-new all-different Uncanny X-Force, Psylocke has seemingly borrowed Emma Frost’s brutal take no prisoners tactics and appears deadset on reclaiming her crown as mutantdom’s reigning sexy telepath. But I have bad news for Psylocke, Emma is not ready to relinquish that crown just yet. There are several striking similarities between the two lady telepaths. But while I dearly love Psylocke, Emma is still better. Let me count the ways.
I will start with the superficial similarities between the two women. First and foremost, they both fit the mold of the sexy barely dressed team telepath, Psylocke in her classic ninja thong bathing suit and Emma in whatever scandalous scantily clad all white ensemble she chooses to rock at any given time. However, while Psylocke’s fans frequently bemoan the alterations to her character that resulted in the sweet and at times even timid British girl adopting such a sultry ninja look, Emma is and always has been right at home flouncing around in such trampy outfits. Advantage: Emma.
It cannot be ignored that both women romantically pursued Cyclops while he was already involved with Jean Grey. While Psylocke’s unsuccessful attempts to seduce Cyclops ultimately amounted to nothing of consequence, Emma’s psychic flirtations with Scott eventually blossomed into a full fledged relationship which is now the cornerstone of the entire X-Men universe. I imagine Psylocke can’t help but feel a little jealous over that fact.
But Psylocke has found love in the arms of another teammate who, like Cyclops, was also a member of the original five X-Men. In the pages of Uncanny X-Force, Archangel is undergoing a form of telepathic therapy where Psylocke is attempting to assist him with the issues surrounding his transformation at the hands of Apocalypse. This is also similar to the time Emma spent mentally counseling Cyclops before their telepathic therapy sessions turned into a full blown affair. Even Psylocke’s first date with Archangel reminds me of Emma, considering they spent it at the Hellfire Club.
Both women have undergone startling physical transformations. Emma began as a mousy flat-chested brunette and transformed herself into a buxom blonde bombshell. Psylocke started out as a blonde British girl in the shadow of her twin brother Brian and over the course of the years was altered to become a purple haired Asian ninja. The key difference in this respect is that Emma herself chose to alter her appearance, spending obscene amounts of her own money on costly cosmetic surgery. Whereas Psylocke was tortured and manipulated, brainwashed and abused by otherworldly forces beyond her control from Mojo to Spiral to the Siege Perilous.
You could argue that Psylocke has one advantage over Emma, a certain aristocratic sense of class that controversy-courting Emma frankly lacks, and you would be right. Although I think even Psylocke would agree that class alone is simply boring, which is why she abandoned her proper British nobility for an exciting life of adventure in the first place.
I do want to reiterate that I love Psylocke as well as Emma, and I will be the first to admit that Uncanny X-Force is a far more enjoyable comic book than Uncanny X-Men right now. Chiefly due to the fact that Uncanny X-Force concentrates on a small cast where you really become familiar with each individual member of the team whereas Uncanny X-Men features a bloated sprawling and ever-growing cast where X-Men mainstays are relegated to the background while characters like Namor and Doctor Nemesis receive the spotlight. Plus Uncanny X-Force has a much better sense of setting. Cavern-X might feel like little more than a mutant version of the Batcave so far, but it is at least more compelling than Utopia which looks like a giant floating space turd. On that note, I bid you adieu until next week, gentle reader.