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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.
This Friday I will be celebrating the birth of Spring at Swankety Swank! Artwork by yours truly will be on sale, including a new line of Doll Shaman dolls! I will also be giving tarot readings from my famed Mutant Oracle, the X-Men Tarot! Swankety Swank is an amazing store filled to bursting with beautiful handcrafted art by local San Francisco artists and designers! Please come on down for the celebration! Swankety Swank is located at 289 Divisadero (at Haight St.).
Last week I chose Captain Britain & MI-13 #10 as one of my weekly picks. I enjoy reading about this ragtag group of heroes led by Pete Wisdom and Captain Britain who work together to preserve and protect magick in the UK. There is an awesome scene this week in which Storm returns the Ebony Blade to the Black Knight. T’Challa is conspicuously missing, but it’s nice to see Ororo ruling without her husband hovering around. She comes across like a true Queen. I especially loved new team member Faiza Hussain’s reaction to the scene. I shall not spoil it for you here as I want you to pick up this issue. It’s titles like these that really need your support as it doesn’t feature the A-List super-hero marquee names. However, because it doesn’t star the big guns, change can truly happen to the characters. Who would’ve thought John the Skrull would’ve met such a tragic end or that one of their own would betray them last issue? This kind of ensemble cast leaves the reader guessing in a good way. The recent issue features Dracula and Doom on the moon, making plans to conquer the world! If that doesn’t grab you, I don’t know what will. Maybe you like Blade the vampire hunter? Give this title a shot. I think there’s something in it for everybody.
Above, a panel by Marc Silvestri featuring Storm getting a makeover as led by Dazzler, and assisted by Rogue (in her Carol Danvers persona) and Psylocke (pre-nimbo version). Storm plays the square by not truly enjoying the idea of embodying even more spectacle, but proves to be a good sport in spite of her reservations. It’s good to have girlfriends when you’ve been worshipped as a Goddess your whole life!
I gave couple’s tarot reading’s last night at the Supper Club with my X-Men tarot deck. I should clarify that. I gave readings using a playing card deck adorned with images of the X-Men from the 90s. I have worked out a system in which I can divine with the images and the Minor Arcana inherent in the playing deck. Some of you dear readers may be surprised to know that the playing card decks you’ve been using for poker and old maid actually descended from the tarot. They simply lack the Major Arcana. A lot of Supper Club patrons were interested in why I sused this deck and why my name was legally changed to Storm. I now share this answer with you, dear reader, as I did them. Simply put, Storm was the only real role model I had growing up. Her character embodied compassion, kindness and grace. I vowed to use that as my inspiration and when I use the Mutant Oracle, I put that vow into action through divination/reflection.
In this panel plucked from a classic Chris Claremont and John Byrne issue of the Uncanny X-Men, Storm’s compassion for others has overwhelmed her. Luke Cage acts as the voice of reason, reminding her that they can’t save humanity from itself. A telling moment in the early story of a Goddess come to earth.
In Uncanny X-Men #100, the All-New, All-Different X-Men fight the original five (plus perennial hangers on Havok and Polaris). As Storm states, she could easily take out the somehow weaker version of Jean Grey but decides that she cannot attack her good friend (the first one she ever really had that was a peer). Her compassion leads her to use reason to try to understand what is happening and this leaves her vulnerable to Polaris’ attack. I remember when I read this for the first time, I was impressed with Storm’s ability to sense when things were awry. She and Wolverine have this trait in common; Wolverine uses his physical senses to let him know when things don’t smell right and Storm’s empathic oneness with nature alerts her to the falseness of this situation. The Jean Grey in this fight is actually a robotic duplicate (an X-Sentinel). Of course, Storm figures this out too late. Those “EEEEE”s you see on the last panel? That’s Banshee to the rescue, dear reader.
This page is drawn by Dave Cockrum and written by Chris Claremont. The meme of X-Man versus X-Men will be trotted out again and again over the years. It’s an oldie but a goodie as far as I’m concerned. I never grow tired of seeing the good guys beat on each other. Sometimes we really are our own worst enemy.
This is one of my favorite covers because it features Nightcrawler and utilizes tarot iconography. Darick Robertson drew this image for the tenth issue of the Nightcrawler ongoing series that lasted 12 issues. I love Nightcrawler with the Soulsword because this character is alternately known for his deep spirituality and his cavalier pirate-like gymnastics. Having a mystical sword blends two distinctly different aspects of the character together in a profound way. Kurt is able to use the Soulsword due to his strong moral compass and faith, and he is able to wield a sword effectively and with flair in combat (and fiery swords simply look cool). Ultimately, the sword is Illyana Rasputin’s, but I’d love to see Kurt get his own.
Happy New Year! Today represents a new beginning as we move into 2009! I chose this Ace of Pentacles tarot card to celebrate this new cycle because Aces represent the birth of a new idea! The sacred monkey of Thoth holds the pentacle, representing earth and the material plane! All the things that exist with us in the physical realm begun anew! That newness includes our bodies which are our true homes, vessels for our individuality. May the light of enlightenment and protection shine on you and your path! May you embody wisdom just as this monkey holds the Eye of Horus in his hands! Blessings of magical brilliance are yours as you begin a new project, organize your home, or simply take a walk in the splendor or Mother Earth. Let her ground you and guide you on your new path! Blessed Be!