Characters Appearing: Banshee, Black Bishop (Harry Leland), Dark Beast, White Queen (Emma Frost)
Generation X #-1
Issue(s): Generation X #-1
An adolescent Emma Frost has been living on the streets since her parents disinherited her (we don't learn why). She's latched onto a scheme to attend society parties and use her burgeoning mental powers to scan the room for good financial tips so that she can build her own fortune.
While at the party, she runs into Harry Leland, of the Hellfire Club.
However, the strain of using her mental powers gives her a migraine, and when she recovers, he's gone. Instead she gets into trouble with some of the bodyguards at the party, and winds up getting chased into an alley. Sean Cassidy is oddly working as a New York police detective, investigating Leland, and he sees Emma in trouble...
...but Emma is actually rescued by someone else.
He's the Dark Beast, from the Age of Apocalypse. He's been watching Emma on the street for some time and has decided to be her protector.
He's actually got amnesia now, and there's a cute bit (i guess it's actually pretty macabre but it seems i have the same sense of humor as the creators) where he admits that he's been chopping people up out of habit; he no longer has memories of the Age of Apocalypse universe but he vaguely remembers that this is the sort of thing he used to do.
Sean Cassidy belatedly arrives, using his powers and getting into a fight with the Dark Beast....
...but Emma uses her powers to stop the Beast from killing Banshee. Then Banshee's apparently corrupt partner shows up with Harry Leland, but Emma uses her powers to send them away, with instructions to take Sean to the hospital.
The issue ends with Emma and the Dark Beast forming an alliance.
Seeing Banshee as a normal looking guy, and a good guy, is a bit odd considering his first appearance (i know he was working under duress for Factor 3 but even so he was stealing paintings and such), but his history as an agent of Interpol (although not a New York police detective) has already been established by the Classic X-Men back-ups so it's not the fault of these issues.
As for Emma, well... apparently this issue was ignored in the more recent Emma Frost series (see Michael's comments below for more details on the challenges presented by this issue and that series). I'll note two things relevant to that discussion (which in part hinges on when Emma first became aware of mutants). First, in the first panel above with Leland, Emma speculates that "perhaps there are others like me -- others born with abilities beyond those of ordinary people." The word "mutant" isn't used, but the general idea is clear enough. Although why she would necessarily jump to that conclusion is a little baffling. Second, the Dark Beast is completely amnesiac at this time, so he's not going to be revealing much. More generally, i haven't yet read the surrounding issues of Generation X so i won't know exactly how this issue ties in with that series, but Emma Frost worked really well in Claremont's X-Men as a privileged upper class snob. Establishing that she actually spent some of her adolescence homeless, hanging out with a monster, and building up her own fortune doesn't seem to fit too well with that. But it doesn't directly contradict anything.
Establishing that Emma had an alliance with the Dark Beast that produced no apparent results all through her pre-1997 appearances seems a bit of a stretch.
I guess this issue makes better use of the Flashback concept than many of the participating books in the sense that it really does use the opportunity to lay some groundwork for plots in the series, instead of just doing an origin recap or going through the motions on a pointless story.
As an actual story, this is fine and decently written but there's not much too it. Bachalo's art is nice enough.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: My policy on these Flashback issues is if there's any kind of framing sequence that takes place in modern times, i place the issue there. If the issue takes place purely in the past, i place it in the past. This one's a bit iffy. All issues have a goofy introduction by "Stan Lee", and in this one, he's reviewing a videotape of events that take place in the present (between issues #28-29).
I'm ruling that since "Stan Lee" isn't in continuity, the events on his videotape don't count either. As for the specific placement, Sean Cassidy is working as a New York police detective. His partner tells him at one point, "This isn't Interpol!", indicating that Sean's stint as a New York cop takes place after his time at Interpol. That would place this after both of Banshee's appearances in the Classic X-Men back-ups (issues #16 and #26), but before he was roped into working for Factor Three in his first printed appearance in Uncanny X-Men #28. Emma Frost is sixteen years old. I'm going to assume that Emma is approximately the same age as the original X-Men (maybe a little younger?). The only other hint is when Emma is scanning the room at the debutant ball, here are some of the tips she hears:
The Helicarrier debuted in Strange Tales #135 (Aug 65), but it could have been years in the making. The Wakandan trade agreement rumors might have been fueled by the fact that T'Challa was selling vibranium prior to his first appearance in Fantastic Four #52. Everything else is vague enough that it doesn't need to affect placement (it's possible that the original intention was for this issue to take place prior to FF #1, but it's not necessary to interpret things that way and it would cause some havoc with Emma's age vs the X-Men, even if there weren't other dependencies). See Michael's comment and link below for more dependencies from other books. Based on all of that, i'm placing this soon after Uncanny X-Men #8.
Continuity Insert? Y
My Reprint: N/A
The question of where to place this issue was complicated by later stories. Emma Frost 1-6 told the story of how Emma's powers first manifested themselves. In Emma Frost 6, the X-Men appear on TV in their individual, post-Uncanny X-Men 39 costumes. The announcer seems to think their powers might be special effects. Now, if Emma Frost 6 takes place after Uncanny X-Men 39, then this issue would also have to take place after Uncanny X-Men 39. We had a huge discussion about this at the MCP:
Posted by: Michael | February 6, 2012 11:44 PM
Thanks, Michael. Placing this after UX #8 should work fine; it's still before the SHIELD helicarrier debuts, for example. Placing it after UX #39 would be a serious headache, so i'm glad the MCP decided the costumes in Emma Frost #6 were an art error.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 7, 2012 4:26 PM
Some sound reasoning there, guys.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 30, 2016 6:35 PM
The thing is, Michael, that all that is complicated (and sometimes contradicted) by the background that Morrison gave her when she was added to the X-Men, with later storytellers writing Emma flashbacks picking from one of the three past histories created for her at their own whims and confusing everyone (Marvel's current lax relationship with continuity compounding matters.)
Another issue? One of the reasons why Emma finds Dark Beast in the sewer is that I think at that point they were trying to establish that AOA Beast actually created the Morlocks (which of course contradicts the orgins given to them several years ago. Of course THIS revelation may have been subjected to a "soft retcon" in itself. See, confusing.)
Posted by: Jon Dubya | October 31, 2016 1:19 AM
I think it's worth mentioning, because it confused the hell out of me when I first came across this entry, that Dark Beast is here not only out of space, but also out of time. At the end of the Age of Apocalypse he escaped via the M'Kraan Crystal (?) and also went back in time. So I guess this evil super-genius is just hanging out underground for the next decade (Marvel time) doing basically nothing. It's very odd that this post has been up for five years, and Dark Beast has yet to make a second appearance.
Posted by: Andrew | March 15, 2017 8:42 PM
Normal aircraft carriers take decades to build, I would assume flying ones take longer. That is, a newly-finished aircraft carrier that first set out on the opens seas yesterday probably still uses Windows 98. A flying helicarrier probably doesn't even have televisions, much less wi-fi.
Just trying to frustrate fnord and the sliding timescale. I'm just helpful that way. :)
Posted by: ChrisW | March 15, 2017 10:32 PM
Stuff like this is the reason I'm not a fan of attempts to sit latter-day flashback comics in amongst the issues they're flashing back to. This isn't *supposed* to inform or be read alongside the earlier stories, it's supposed to be read alongside and inform the storylines of Generation X circa 1997. It would be just as confusing to a readthrough of the 60s as it would be to 1997 readers who miss out on this issue as a result of it being misguidedly pushed back.
Which I realise is not how your *particular* project works but it still kind of drives me crazy.
Posted by: Greg T | March 15, 2017 11:14 PM
There's mention of it in the linked MCP thread - one of the back-ups in Deadly Genesis shows Xavier's first meeting with Emma. It establishes that while she's still only a dancer at the Hellfire Club, Xavier tries to recruit her and tells her that the inner circle are mutants, like her. It seems like it's probably the first time she's heard the term 'mutant' - she says "Stop using that word".
Posted by: Dave | March 22, 2017 4:50 AM
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