Storm Arcana

Intuitive Visionary Coach & Founder of Arcana Academy

Tag: White Queen

White Queen Wednesday: All About Emma

An Emma Frost Salon

by Ken Kneisel

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Art by Adi Granov.

Welcome, gentle reader, to the first installment of White Queen Wednesday. Well, technically not the very first. STORM already started this tradition in September of last year. That post was what inspired me to suggest to him that I might like to submit a whole series of articles detailing Emma’s complicated relationships with her teammates and highlighting several topics important to her character, as a companion to Storm Sunday. STORM graciously agreed to allow me a series of guest posts here on his blog, so this is the first installment written by me. I hope you find my humble submissions, and Emma herself, as interesting as I do.

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Art by John Cassaday, colors by Laura Martin.

While you might already be aware that I was the one who suggested to Grant Morrison that he use Emma Frost in his X-Men, you might not know that the idea originally came to me in a dream. Shortly after I had heard that Grant Morrison would be writing X-Men, I dreamed that I ran into him on a foggy San Francisco street corner under a lamp post. He was wearing a black trench coat and I was starstruck to meet him but he remained nonchalant. I told him “Ever since I heard you would be writing X-Men, I’ve been pissing myself wondering if you have any plans for Emma Frost!” at which point the dream dissipated. Not long after that I emailed him and told him what I had said in the dream, prettied up a bit and without mentioning the dream itself. He posted my email on his website and replied “I had no plans at all for Emma Frost but now that you mention it, man…” The rest, as they say, is X-History. So the story of Emma Frost is, for me, very literally a dream come true! I later met Grant Morrison in person at San Diego Comic-Con several years ago. I explained to him about the dream and he told me Emma was his “muse”. (He also told me she was my “karma” for what happened to Flex Mentallo, but that’s a story for another time, perhaps some Flex Mentallo Friday?) It sometimes amazes me when I stop to consider how very different the entire X-Men landscape, the entire Marvel UNIVERSE, would be had I not dreamed that dream or submitted that email. But enough about me. Let’s talk about Emma Frost!

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Art by Terry & Rachel Dodson, colors by Christina Strain.

White Queen Wednesday is whatever I want to talk about regarding Miss Emma Frost. I will be exploring a variety of topics including her complicated history with many other characters, friends and foes alike including lots of her fellow X-Men on both sides of that divide, several artists who have graced us with some of the most striking and memorable depictions of Emma over the years and various other topics of interest to me on the subject of Emma Frost. Her remarkable character evolution from one of the X-Men’s most despicable villains into one of the Marvel Universe’s staunchest heroes fascinates me. Like coal into diamond, she was transformed from the wicked White Queen of the decadently corrupt Hellfire Club into a good queen, the benevolent Auntie Emma. She is the Bad Girl Gone Good, in many ways the opposite of Dark Phoenix who was the Good Girl Gone Bad. It’s inspiring that someone so wicked and evil could transform her life and station in the world so completely.

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Art by Jim Lee, colors by Paul Mounts.

But she was an unforgettable villain, exhilaratingly evil, as cruel and ruthless in the boardroom as she was in the classroom or that room where she kept the X-Men stripped down to their underwear in cages. She has also committed some truly heinous and reprehensible acts of villainy which I will not shy away from in exploring her past. She owns damn near every scene she is in with her sharp and sarcastic dry wit. She uses her sexuality like a weapon as coldly as she wields her mutant telepathic talents and brilliant mind. One thing that is often overlooked in examining Emma’s history is that she’s something of an electronics genius as well. She designed Multivac, a mutant locating computer not unlike Professor Xavier’s Cerebro, a mechanism that augmented Mastermind’s illusory powers to assist him in corrupting Jean Grey and the body-swapping gun she used to trade minds with Storm. (See next week’s White Queen Wednesday for more about that!)

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Art by Frank Quitely, colors by Hi-Fi Design.

And now, gentle reader, I bid you adieu. Until next week, when I will discuss Emma’s tumultuous history with STORM’s namesake and their eventual hard-fought friendship.

Stormwatch: Xenogenesis, Part II

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We interrupt this week’s celebration of Barry Windsor-Smith to relate this image of the upcoming cover of Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #2!  It appears, that yes, the mohawk *is* back and that yes, Emma *has* undergone some, ahem, alterations.  I think this iteration of the Astonishing crew is exciting, but there’s just one thing I cannot stomach and that is baseball caps on my heroes.  It’s one thing to wear them off-duty when you are playing the sport, but to add them to the costume is a fashion offense I cannot abide.  Super double ugh.  Otherwise, I am so ready for this comic.  Warren Ellis continues to write the X-Men in a consistent narrative voice and Kaare Andrews is obviously having fun with his part of the storytelling.  Bring on the mutant babies!

Storm Sunday: Jimenez, Cruz & Dodson

Storm by Phil Jimenez

Astonishing X-Men #31 hit last week and it is made of awesome! You can tell by the art of Phil Jimenez that he is a huge Storm fan! He’s simplified the Simone Bianchi costume while still honoring it.  I’m not sure that I really like Storm in white.  I think it washes her out since her hair is the same color as her costume but I can handle it since those awful black lines at her crotch are gone.  I’m also not missing those clunky double boots.  It’s great to see her back in her original thigh boots.  Warren Ellis writes a commanding and capable Storm and gets her into the action right off the bat!  I continue to enjoy his characterization of everyone else in this book as well.  Hands down, this is currently my favorite X-Title!  However, X-Babies #1 was also an immensely enjoyable read and definitely worth checking out!  And I would be remiss if I didn’t reference the amazing spot on characterization in Jeff Parker’s  X-Men Vs. Agents of Atlas #1.  That mini is superheroes done right!  Too bad it is only two issues!
Uncanny X-Men: First Class #5

Upcoming artwork from Uncanny X-Men: First Class #5 by Roger Cruz.  Old school fun with today’s flair.  I wish this wasn’t a mini-series.  I totally miss Banshee in current continuity.  Jean too. 

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This page is from an issue of Wizard magazine.  I thought it would be fun to share since it has some tidbits about Storm’s behind the scenes origin.  The legacy of Dave Cockrum lives on!

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Lush lines by Terry Dodson from Uncanny X-Men #505.  The interaction between Ororo and Emma is one of the most interesting aspects of the X-Men franchise these days and we don’t get nearly enough of it  I chose three pages to illustrate my fascination with these two queens.  

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Terry Dodson’s versions of Storm and Emma are among my all time favorites.  He gives both women a solid sense of strength and elegance. 

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All of those White Queen costumes are to die for.  And for some reason, this page has me recanting my earlier opinion about Storm dressing in white.  I’m totally loving it here.  

Stormwatch: Coming Attractions

There’s a lot of Storm on the horizon!  Let’s see what’s coming up!  As always, click on any image to see it larger!

Uncanny X-Men First Class #6

Uncanny X-Men: First Class has been quite the enjoyable mini-series.  One issue focused on Nightcrawler interacting with the Inhumans and another showcased Banshee (who is dead in current continuity *snif*).  These stories were so character driven and so full of excitement that they made me wish that the series was an ongoing!  Besides, this is the group of X-Men that most interests me.  However, I have much love for the original roster ( Angel, Marvel Girl, Iceman, Beast and Cyclops) and was really enjoying Jeff Parker’s take on them in the First Class comics preceding this series.  In a perfect world, we’d have both.  Speaking of First Class comics, if you are not reading Wolverine: First Class, you are missing out on some great stories told by the amazing Peter David.  The stories are meant to take place in between the back issues of  Uncanny X-Men when Kitty first joined the X-Men.  So some time has passed after the new stories of Uncanny X-Men: First Class.  I’ll leave that math to someone else who enjoys fitting stories into continuous timelines.  It’s not my thing these days, but best of luck to those who like it.  I hope you’ll share the results of your research with me here on stormantic.  The above image was drawn by Paul Pelletier and I love seeing Storm and Phoenix cutting loose!

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The cover of Nation X #1 showcases most of Marvel’s Merry Mutants ready to defend their new island home!  It seems that between Magneto, the Black Queen and the Agents of Atlas, they they will be busy indeed!  I think Dustin Weaver did a great job communicating the intensity of this new status quo for the X-Men.  You can practically smell the desperation and defiance as Cyclops strikes the Utopia flag in the ground.  I’m really looking forward to see where Simon Spurrier (writer of Nation X) and Matt Fraction (writer of Uncanny X-Men) take this storyline!

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I’ve been hearing a lot about the new Marvel Super Hero Squad Show lately.  Seems that people really find it to be amusing or revolting.  The people who found it amusing liked the cutesy squashed physiognomy (the show is based on a toy line of the same name.  You can play the game online).  The folks who don’t like it seem to mostly groan about how the Silver Surfer talks like a stereotypical surfer dude.   I haven’t seen it yet, but I’d like to see any of the episodes with Storm or the Enchantress.  Have you seen it yet? What did you think?

Astonishing X-Men #31 by Phil JimenezAstonishing X-Men #31 by Phil Jimenez

I cannot properly explain just how excited I am about the upcoming run on Astonishing X-Men by Phil Jimenez and Warren Ellis!  I have faith that Jimenez will deliver all that Ellis asked of him in the script and more!  Jimenez is a huge Storm fan and I cannot wait to see what his rendition does for her! Feast your eyes on his cover to  Astonishing X-Men #31.  I’m already happy that 1. Storm’s costume is streamlined from Simone Bianchi’s design (but keeping the white color as a nod to it), 2. Hisako has a hairstyle that differentiates her from Illyana “Magik” Rasputin (I know their color is different, but still, this is a step in the right direction for our girl Armor). 3. Beast looks ferocious again! (No more sad and dopey cat face). 4.  His renditions of Scott, Logan and Emma are spot on too, but I’m used to his versions of these characters from his run on New X-Men with Grant Morrison.

Astonishing X-Men #31 by Phil Jimenez

This is the sketch variant.  Love how the art really stands up without all the lovely color!  Strong expressive lines and an eye-straining amount of detail!  Yes!
Astonishing X-Men #31 Alternate Cover

And here’s an Astonishing X-Men #31 Variant Cover by Travis Charest.  It’s so awesome to have Angel and Nightcrawler on this cover.  How did Wolverine get so high in the air?  I would have guessed a fastball special, but Colossus is right below him.  I just hope ‘ol Logan doesn’t slip a Adamantium disc with that move.  Really, I’m just nitpicking, I think this cover has a nice clean expression to it.  Wonder if Charest will get a chance to do more alternate covers during the run?  I’d be cool with it.  As for the writing, I’m hoping that Ellis uses a lot more than just his regular cast, but I will be happy enough with lots more Storm front and center!  Also, any interaction that Ellis writes between Storm and Emma Frost is pure gold.  Those women are so different in personality and ethics that conflict always seems unavoidable.
X-Men & Agents of Atlas

Artist Carlo Pagulayan and writer Jeff Parker bring the team spirit to the 2 issue mini-series X-Men Vs. Agents of Atlas!  No, make that two teams spirit!  I cannot wait for this superteam explosion!  So much potential for amazing showdowns!
X-Men & Agents of Atlas

That quite the X-Men roster!  I hope the Agents of Atlas are prepared!  Then again, they have a dragon on their side (But since you’ve been reading Agents of Atlas, you already knew that, right?).  On a side note, I am really loving the inclusion of Cloak and Dagger to the X-Men!  Cloak, Pixie, Magik and Nightcrawler are all teleporters but none seem redundant to me as their powers do differ quite a bit.

X-Men Vs. Agents of Atlas Variant Covers

These dynamic alternate covers are by fan favorite Humberto Ramos and I hope to get my hands on copies of these beauties!  Yay Storm is on the cover (and fighting Namora)!  I love the Cyclops versus Jimmy Woo moment and how angry Colossus looks!  Go get ’em Petey!  It’s funny to say that, because no matter which team wins, we can all expect to feel like champions.  I have complete faith in the writing mastery of Jeff Parker to know that this will be a book that is talked about for a long time!  I hope it gains many more readers of the new Agents of Atlas ongoing!

Whew!  Who knew that our Windrider was going to be featured so much?!  I think the tide has turned, true believers!  It looks like Marvel is really going out of their way to give our goddess her due!

White Queen Wednesday: John Bolton

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While I was putting together this week’s Storm Sunday’s focus on John Bolton, I kept coming across his drawings of Emma Frost, also known as the White Queen of the Hellfire Club!  This post is dedicated to comicdom’s notorious fan and my friend Ken Kneisel, one of the most diehard fans of Emma I have ever met!  I hope he and you, dear reader, find some enjoyment in the images from today’s post which were originally featured in a backup story in Classic X-Men #34 and that they compel you to enter into the discussion I have proposed at the end of this post!

BoltonQueen1John Bolton certainly knows how to pare a scene down to its essentials.  In these two pages, the emotional situation is readily apparent.   Captions and word balloons are simply not necessary to know that there is an obvious power struggle going on here and the White Queen certainly has the upper hand!  I really like the strong use of design in these pages, especially the wallpaper.  The delicate swirls are in direct contrast to the severe body stance of the White Queen.

Emma used to be such a great villainess and in today’s continuity she is a heroine.  I think her character’s journey has been intriguing, but I think it is a delicate balance to maintain the snarky wit of a rather jaded woman with her desire to teach the next generation of mutant children.  Grant Morrison certainly left his mark on her when he used her for New X-Men, but he had a great template to work with from her creators (Chris Claremont and John Byrne).  Joss Whedon obviously had a lot of fun writing her in Astonishing X-Men and Warren Ellis reaps the benefits on that title now.

As far as the character has come, I would not want to see all of her development ruined by having the character return to her villainous roots.  I think it is much more interesting to read about her new life as a mutant leader with dreams of reformation (One could argue that she is, in fact, already redeemed by proof of her position in the X-Men alongside Cyclops).  Her retconned past with Namor (the Sub-Mariner) and Tony Stark (Iron Man) seemed a bit shoehorned to me at first, but these revelations have grown on me.  I find it makes her character tapestry all the richer.  Out of all of the Dark Reign tie ins, I have enjoyed Emma’s interactions with Norman Osborn the most.  I think she’s the kind of woman who could really find a way to topple his rule.  I don’t see it ever happening as I assume that Spider-Man is destined to defeat Osborn as the Green Goblin is his villain, but I hope that if and when Norman falls, that Emma is there to jab a spiked heel into his ribs.

WhitequeenboltonAbove is a scaled down version of the back cover of Classic X-Men #7.  Emma looks right at home.  At this time in her life she has no idea that she will fall in love with Scott Summers (Cyclops) and therefore make his character compelling (at least to me).   And just think, if she hadn’t been in a coma when her students (the Hellions) died, she might not have teamed up with Banshee, Jubilee and Sabretooth to save the next generation of mutants.  And then she might not have joined Generation X as headmistress, which would not have led her down the road to her redemption.

What do you think, dear reader?  Do you like reformed Emma or do you miss the evil to the bone White Queen of her Hellfire Club days?  Do you think her character arc makes sense considering how she was introduced back in the days when she was body swapping with Storm, harassing the New Mutants and trying to make Firestar into her personal weapon?  What do you like most about her and what do you think is essential to the core of the character?  There’s no denying Emma’s popularity.  I’m just curious from where it stems.

Interview: SF Weekly & the X-Men’s Relocation to San Francisco

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I totally meant to blog about this when it came out (10/28/2008), but here’s Benjamin Wachs’ article in SF Weekly examining the X-Men’s move to San Francisco.  Wachs asks what part, if any, Marvel’s mutants would play in local politics and he polls X-Men editor Nick Lowe, Marvel Spokesman Jim McCann, Amazing Fantasy comic book owner Frank McGinn, and yours truly.  Wachs has a great wit, as evidenced in his writing:

“According to Nick Lowe, X-Men editor for Marvel Comics, the team’s making itself at home. Wolverine goes to bars in the Mission; Angel has bought the Transamerica Pyramid; the “young X-Men” team is living in the belfry of Grace Cathedral (I wonder what that rents for … ); and just this month, after a fight in a local BDSM club, team leader Cyclops had telepathic sex with his girlfriend, the White Queen … except it wasn’t really her, it was his disguised ex-wife, Madelyn, secretly returned from the dead. So, you know, typical Saturday in the Castro.”

Funny, right?  There’s more.  Check out the entire article!

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For good measure, here’s an article about the X-men’s relocation in SFgate.com.  It also discusses some of the parallels between being a mutant and being gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender.

Thanks to Benjamin Wachs for interviewing me.  It’s not everyday you get a phone call to talk about the X-Men like they’re real people and it wasn’t like I needed any encouragement *grins*.  For a more timely article, you can read Benjamin Wachs’ New Year’s Resolutions.  There’s one in particular that hit me a little too close to the heart.  If you read that and my Bio, I’m sure you can figure it out, dear reader.  But hey, I’m all for some parody, satire, or whathaveyou, no matter how much it makes me want to cry.

Today’s images are from the first and second issues of X-Men: Manifest Destiny, a mini-series containing short stories about the X-Men making their way to San Francisco.  Chris Sotomayor illustrates Iceman in front of the Golden Gate Bridge with inks by Brian Reber.  Humberto Ramos draws Emma Frost with inks by Brian Reber.

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