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White Queen Wednesday: Magneto

An Emma Frost Salon
by Ken Kneisel

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Welcome to White Queen Wednesday, gentle reader. This week I discuss Emma Frost’s complicated history with her one-time foe and current X-Men teammate Magneto. Although they both began as X-Men villains, Emma and Magneto originally encountered each other during a period of time when Magneto had reformed and in fact acted as headmaster of Professor Xavier’s school in his absence and instructed the New Mutants, who Emma frequently tried to enroll in her Massachusetts Academy to join her Hellions.

It was during this time that Emma, with assistance from her emotion-manipulating student Empath, exploited Magneto’s self-doubt and the general malaise of the New Mutants after the Secret Wars II crossover to trick him into transferring his young charges over to her school. She was able to accomplish this by promising to use her telepathic powers to ease their melancholy ambivalence, which was a result of their having been killed and resurrected by the omnipotent Beyonder. Magneto eventually came to his senses and understood the extent of Emma and Empath’s manipulations, at which point Emma phoned the authorities and called the Avengers down upon him.

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After the ensuing battle, Emma and Magneto worked in tandem to heal the troubled minds and souls of the New Mutants and the team willingly chose to go back with Magneto. Although Emma noted that the occasion might compel the New Mutants to view her in a more sympathetic light.

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For reasons as yet unexplained, after the dissolution of Generation X, Emma wound up on Magneto’s sovereign island nation of mutants Genosha teaching a telepathy class when the entire country was wiped out by modified Sentinels under the command of Cassandra Nova. Emma was the sole survivor of the attack thanks to the spontaneous emergence of her organic diamond secondary mutation. Everyone else was killed, apparently including Magneto himself.

Later, after it was revealed that Magneto also survived the Sentinel attack on Genosha and had infiltrated the X-Men as the mutant healer Xorn, he recruited Esme, one of Emma’s coterie of prize pupils the Stepford Cuckoos. This chain of events ultimately led to Magneto using his control over magnetism to murder Esme by driving her metal earrings into her brain and she died defiantly in Emma’s arms.

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Although Emma and Magneto are both currently members of the X-Men and both considered leaders of the team, inexplicably in Magneto’s case, I have not seen their complicated past addressed. I think this is a real wasted opportunity since their history together is so rich with potential. But I am still unsure why Magneto is even with the X-Men in the first place, so perhaps that explanation should come before any conversations with Emma about their past.

What do you think, gentle reader? Would you like to see some acknowledgment of Emma and Magneto’s shared history?

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7 Comments

  1. Although I loved a lot of elements in Morrison’s X-Men, his Magneto was ridiculously out of character and only an angry response by Morrison to how he was portrayed in the X-films. Good gawd, even the editors knew it was awful, so they retconned it during the events before House of M and it was revealed that the “Magneto” in Morrison’s run was not actually Magneto and neither Xorn, instead he was a random imposter.

    Emma and Magneto almost had a fling but Mags was able to see through her ploy and act all like WTF are you doing. But yeah, Mags and Emma are great – especially since it proves that Emma was a top notch mutant then, competing with the big boys.

    Current canon seems to have forgotten a lot of old stuff. You never hear about Emma’s Gen X days, and when Banshee died during Deadly Genesis, there was no reaction from her. Gen X tpbs are also rare and hard to find.

  2. Terence

    There was a moment in the hideous return of Kitty Pryde by that awful artist where Magneto is meditating and Emma approaches him, more or less talking to him but more to herself.

    The moment really felt like a ref to their past days, but I doubt it was intentional.

  3. Ingonyama

    Like Aimee says, the villain in Morrison’s “Planet X” wasn’t Magneto. I may not like the “Xorn/not Xorn” retcon, but it’s better than Morrison totally destroying what little good name Magneto’s been able to salvage over the years, and it did give us the 2004 Excalibur series, with some of my favorite Xavier/Magneto scenes of all time.

    I think, in a perfect world, that Emma and Erik have a lot in common, and could be great forces for good together, foring a team that does things just that little shade differently from Xavier’s squeaky-clean approach. Think something like Cable’s “X-Force,” but with more moral grey areas and fewer guns (and, I pray, better art).

  4. Harrison

    Emma was actually made part of Magneto’s Brotherhood in the Pryde of the X-Men movie/series that never was.

  5. And here I thought this would be about Kitty and totally forgot about Magneto! Guess that means I still don’t really see him as a real X-Men team member (and something tells me there will not be enough of that to change my mind either).

    One thing to add to their shared history. In the New Warriors arc “Forever Yesterday” when the world got House-of-M:ed by some Sphinx, Emma and Magneto were apparently a couple. Probably influenced by them both being members of the Inner Circle around the time this took place.

  6. Joey

    Funny when people have problem with Magneto as an X-Men. He was one of the original founders along with Xavier. Without Magneto, there would be no X-Men team. They were found by both Professor X and Magneto. They just parted ways because they had differences in protecting their people.

    I have no problem seeing Magneto with the X-men team. First Magneto was never a evil person but someone who happen to terrible mistakes of doing evil. I see Magneto as a plus to X-men. I don’t think he would betray them. They would have do something to betray him first. He gave them his word and has been saving their lives ever since. I say keep him and Frost as permenant members. They would make better team mates than enemies.

    • stormantic

      Thanks for commenting, Joey! I appreciate you taking the time to share your viewpoints about Magneto. I think the new movie will be highlighting the origins of these two men’s legacies and perhaps the comics will reflect some of that as well. Mike Carey seems to delight in bringing back the early days of these two important X-characters. On another Magneto note, what do you think of him and Rogue’s possibly burgeoning relationship?

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