Uncanny X-Men #314
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men #314
...but characters who don't know better continue to refer to them as a male.
They even somehow still recognize them as Iceman.
Frost is downright obsessed with the safety of her Hellions beyond what we ever saw from her before.
The story seems to acknowledge that she's re-writing history in her head.
Frost doesn't believe the X-Men that the Hellions are dead, so she's been fleeing them to look up her students. In keeping with the goal of setting up Generation X, Storm and Archangel are told to give up their pursuit so that Professor X and Banshee can go after her alone. Xavier and Banshee catch up with her after she's confirmed that the Hellions are really dead and she's ready to let herself get killed because of it. She's wracked with guilt.
Banshee convinces her to join him in training the next generation of mutants.
At the very end, Xavier also apologizes to the Hellions and swears he'll never let something like that happen again.
I like the inclusion of "factions" in the apology since it reflects reality.
One thing this story does is reinforce the idea first put forth by Colossus' brother in Uncanny X-Men #292 that Iceman has been vastly underutilizing his powers.
Despite saying that she's not used to physical powers, Frost (ha ha) easily masters Iceman's powers and uses them creatively.
I know a lot of people understandably dislike how Iceman was depicted in the 90s, with claws and the like, but i think it's true that he could use his powers a lot more creatively. Thinking back to the X-Factor days when each member seemed to get a power upgrade, something like this would have made more sense than giving him the power belt. And it's actually kind of interesting to see it depicted as a personal failing on his part (as opposed to the writers and artists), since it kind of gives him a classic Marvel Flaw.
This is also a fairly credible way to do a face turn for Emma Frost. However callously she might have used the Hellions in the past, being faced with their deaths is a good way to have her reevaluate her life. It also makes lemonade out of the pretty terrible story where they died. I would have preferred to see a little less melodrama at the end. Frost has always had a strong personality, and she could have come to these realizations without falling into sobbing despair. But by the standards of the time period, it isn't bad.
Also in this issue, we meet a hologram version of Bishop's sister, Shard. She was created with Danger Room tech.
Shard, who is programmed entirely with Bishop's memories of his sister, tells Jubilee that a lot of the mysterious hints that Bishop dropped when he first appeared don't have much substance behind them.
This version of Shard will continue to appear as a regular character, and she'll even become a member of X-Factor.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This begins a half hour after the end of last issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (7): show
I'm not sure I like this new development for Frost. I haven't read that many of her 80s appearances, but based on the story that introduced her, she was supposed to be truly evil. Having her break down because of Hellions' deaths seems a bit forced...
I also *hated* her continuous de-aging. Initially, she was supposed to be at least of Storm's age and a serious woman... but, in the end, she ended up young and very sexy. Hmmm.
Posted by: Piotr W | October 19, 2017 4:56 PM
@Piotr W- Emma was always supposed to be young. For example, in X-Men 152, Emma switches bodies with Storm, she thinks her body is destroyed and Shaw tells her that Storm's body is young and beautiful like her own. The Official Handbook described her as young and Generation X -1 had her as 16 around the time Reed patented unstable molecules (circa FF 1). Storm was supposed to be young, too- in X-Men 102, which was published in 1976, she was 5 at the time of the 1956 Suez war, making her 25. As for the artists drawing Emma young and sexy- did you see how Bagley drew her in New Warriors 5-10?
Posted by: Michael | October 19, 2017 9:11 PM
We saw Carol Danvers confront Rogue as soon as Rogue reformed. But we never saw a confrontation between Firestar and Emma until Generation X 59, 5 years from now, and that scene trivialized the magnitude of what Emma did to Angel. Emma's past was just swept under the rug. This issue, at least, acknowledges that Emma's motives for forming the Hellions were selfish but later stories will act like she had only their best interests at heart.
Posted by: Michael | October 19, 2017 9:32 PM
Emma reforming is apparently heresy but I'm sure you all loved when Claremont did it with Magneto.
Posted by: AF | October 20, 2017 3:06 PM
Also, with regards to the Firestar confrontation - don't forget, New Warriors #10 had "resolved" their relationship only recently and Warpath would go on to confront the reformed Emma in X-Force #44. And both X-Force and New Warriors were written by Fabian Nicieza, so he probably didn't feel the need to retell a story that would be a combination of those two issues.
Posted by: AF | October 20, 2017 3:32 PM
@AF Who thinks it's heresy for Emma to reform? The other comments are from people who dislike this direction for the character, but nobody's going that far in their sentiments.
Personally, I think she was more interesting as a villain and Magneto was more interesting when he was in that grey zone between hero and villain. But that's just personal preference,and I'd never suggest that somebody who disagrees is wrong.
There is, however, a difference between the way the two heel-face turns were handled. Magneto gradually became a more sympathetic character over a period of several years before his official reformation. Emma reforms within the space of a couple of months worth of books. Her shock over the deaths of the Hellions is akin to the point where Magneto realises he almost killed Kitty. But she goes over to being an X-Men ally almost immediately, whilst Magneto took multiple story arcs (and many temporary alliances) before he got to that point. And even then, his reformation caused considerable friction with existing X-characters in a way that Emma's mostly didn't (or at least not at the time).
Posted by: Stevie G | October 20, 2017 6:05 PM
Plus, given that the Hellfire Club is now controlled by Shinobi, there's probably not a whole lot Emma could have done as a villain. Since she is portrayed as a pragmatist, it makes sense that she'd have less lag time before going over to the other side - at that point, there was no choice.
I don't know if Emma ever reverts to her old White Queen ways, other than making moves on Scott during Morrison's run, but given that she didn't commit Mr. Sinister-level atrocities and that the X-Men comics were so chaotic at the time, being mentally abusive and killing several of her own minions might actually be overlookable.
Posted by: iLegion | October 20, 2017 7:35 PM
Emma's reformation can be seen as early as the New Mutants joining the Hellions. She was still evil, but in a much more three-dimensional way than almost any comic book supervillain. She was concerned for her charges and their well-being. It can be argued that this was pragmatic on her part, but do you think Magneto ever drank himself into a stupor over failing to prevent Mastermind from becoming a block of stone?
And then a few months later she invites Xaviers' students to a party at the Hellfire Club where they are free to enjoy themselves with no villainy in sight. Even if she'd never become "good," Emma makes a lot of sense as someone who can't be automatically categorized as "evil."
[I was going to add that Emma didn't like Empath messing with the other students, but there's plenty of evidence to the contrary, and it's just a subject we should all agree to avoid. :) ]
Posted by: ChrisW | October 20, 2017 7:54 PM
Regarding Firestar, her confrontation with Emma at the end of issue 10 pretty much consisted of Emma asking Angel to rejoin her and Angel refusing. That would be VASTLY different than Angel confronting a supposedly repentant Emma. As for Warpath, I don't think anyone ever told him that Emma telepathically intensified his hatred of Xavier- his grudge against her was a result of thinking it was her and not Stryfe that killed his tribe.
Posted by: Michael | October 20, 2017 7:58 PM
Michael, I'm sure there's an in-continuity reason you're calling her "Angel," but it's like a knife in my heart. Her name's Angelica, dammit!!!!!!!!!
Posted by: ChrisW | October 20, 2017 8:08 PM
@iLegion- Emma recently became a villain again, after adult Scott died.
Posted by: Michael | October 20, 2017 8:10 PM
Until I saw Chris' comment I thought Michael had been talking about something Emma had done to Warren Worthington, in addition to Firestar...
Posted by: Morgan Wick | October 21, 2017 5:25 AM
At this point, Emma has been through being mentally destroyed by Phoenix, crushed and buried by a collapsing headquarters, multiple assassination attempts from Selene and then the Upstarts, seeing 95% of her students massacred in front of her and then being in a coma for months. She will go on to suffer more and more - even suffer a little bit in the next batch of issues.
Magneto, a strong outspoken character with a rigid belief system who has proposed almost total planetary genocide plenty of times, almost killing Kitty Pryde one time is enough for him to do a total 180 to irrational levels. But tragedy on the other hand apparently doesn't justify a vain and petty character's change of attitude like that?
Posted by: AF | October 21, 2017 7:16 AM
@AF When Magneto almost killed Kitty he didn't do an immediate 180, He began questioning his methods at that point, but it took many years (realtime) of gradual evolution of the character before he began to be more on the side of the X-Men than against them. He only really reaches that point during Secret Wars II.
Emma's reform feels more abrupt. As far as I could see, there is no indication in any of the stories before the Hellions' deaths that she is in the process of becoming less villainous (if I've missed anything, please do point it out). That means that her reform looks like it's coming entirely in this issue and perhaps the next batch running up to Phalanx Covenant. Add in that Lobdell is a less talented writer than Claremont at his height and it's no wonder that a lot of people find Emma's change of heart less convincing than Magneto's.
I simply don't see how your view that Emma's reformation is convincing whilst Magneto's is not is supported in the "text" of the relevant comics. I don't deny your right to hold that interpretation, I simply don't see how you get there without reading some personal preferences into the text.
Posted by: Stevie G | October 21, 2017 6:58 PM
I think the whole debate on White Queen reforming misses an elephant in the room - the Hellfire Club were basically irrelevant villains after the Phoenix Saga. Apart from a few storylines where they forcibly recruited the New Mutants, they spent the 80's as a background element and posed very little menace.
Jim Lee and Portacio probably saw as much when they had the Upstarts killing off (or attempting to) the Inner Circle. Did anyone else think this was done slightly better as Mutant Massacre? There's no reason the Marauders couldn't have taken out Shaw (say hello to Scrambler) and the Hellions.
Posted by: iLegion | October 22, 2017 12:46 AM
From my experience of reading mid-80s X-men and New Mutants, the Hellfire Club came across as the major ongoing enemy, often appearing or being discussed to a greater level than anyone else. Aside from all the sub-plot stuff, they had the four part kidnap of Kitty and the New Mutants story, instigated the issue where Rogue attacked the SHIELD helicarrier, were the villains in the 4 part Firestar series, were behind the multi-part Gladiators story with Dazzler, and there was the issue with Rachel and Magma infiltrating the club and the Hellions vs X-men in Cheyenne Mountain story. I don't know how badly they fell away later, but up to 1986 at least I'd say they were a major and consistent threat and it's sad to throw them away.
I also find Emma Frost's sudden reformation wildly unconvincing and find it hard to believe that she'd be accepted so readily by the X characters, given how much of a terrifyingly dangerous, ruthless, sadistic, abusive, self-serving, cold-hearted monster she was previously.
Posted by: Benway | November 5, 2017 6:10 PM
My reading of Claremont's use of the Hellfire Club was that he wanted to use them as a background element and not as direct antagonists against the X-Men. They were a tool to justify plots involving the Sentinels, Sunspot's dad, weird mystical stuff via Selene, and sponsorship of the Hellions. They served that purpose adequately but at the cost of seeming like a real menace.
Once the X-Men "died" in Dallas and began the Outback period, the Hellfire Club became irrelevant to them, and we saw them solely how they related to the New Mutants, primarily through Magneto's alliance with them and their rivalry with their Hellions. This contributed further to their decline as a menace.
However, that could easily be changed at any time. The core concept of the Hellfire Club made them one of the major villains of the Marvel Universe in that they were secretly subverting the American (and likely world) government and business. They were every conspiracy theorist's nightmare. They were just waiting for someone to treat them seriously again as their own group instead of a narrative device to justify other plots.
I thought Emma's turn was also unconvincing, and was one (but certainly not the only) sign that the X-Men no longer seemed like real heroes, but instead simply another faction within the mutant civil war - a much nicer band of thugs than the others, but with less and less distinction from the others as time went on. But it was no less absurd than Magneto's.
Posted by: Chris | November 5, 2017 6:59 PM
tbh, I also agree Emma wasn't that convincing as a good guy given her time as White Queen. Her actions in the Firestar mini (which I read during this discussion) aren't the sort of thing such a person can suddenly swear off. She should have reverted to character at some point during Generation X, but from what I can tell she displays flashes of arrogance (referring to ordinary people as "the herd" in the first issue, for one). A good symptom of that might be the introduction of her sisters Cordelia and Adrian who only possess the traits she used to display until 1991.
Emma's turn, like someone said above, was done more convincingly with Magneto. And his turn back was also handled more gradually - at least he had some impetus with Doug's murder at the hands of the Right and his abandonment by the New Mutants.
Posted by: iLegion | December 23, 2017 11:10 PM
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