Marvel Makes a Big Change to X-Men's Emma Frost

Emma Frost has been on the outs with the X-Men for some time, but she just made a major power play that will redefine her relationship to all mutants for the foreseeable future.

SPOILERS for X-Men Black: Emma Frost #1 by Leah Williams and Chris Bachalo follow.

There was a time when Emma Frost was co-headmaster at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters and romantically involved with the X-Men’s leader, Cyclops. Then the war between the Avengers and the X-Men happened. She and Cyclops both became possessed by the Phoenix Force and after the dust settled she joined Cyclops as a member of his outlaw, revolutionary team of X-Men.

Just when the schism within the X-Men seemed to be closing, the M-Pox hit. It was discovered that the Terrigen Mists circling the globe that activated new Inhumans were actually toxic to mutants. Cyclops was among the group that first discovered the M-Pox and was among its first victims.

After Cyclops died, Emma psychically projected his image and used it to lead a mission to destroy the Terrigen Mists clouds. She was half-successful, destroying one of the two clouds, but ruined Cyclops’ name in the process.

The world was led to believe that Cyclops had died and Emma faded into the background. She reemerged when the mutants were on the brink of extinction. Beast discovered that the Terrigen Mists were influencing Earth’s atmosphere to the point that the planet would soon be entirely uninhabitable for mutants.

Emma used this fear to stoke tensions between the X-Men and the Inhumans, leading to open battle between the two groups. Ultimately, the Inhumans agreed to destroy the remaining Terrigen cloud so that the mutants could live, but that wasn’t good enough for Emma. She murdered scores of Inhumans before escaping the battle and fading back into the shadows.

She’s reemerged a couple of times since then. She was the hidden power behind the government of New Tian, the mutant nation created during Hydra’s takeover of the United States. She later emerged to help the Hellfire Club implement Mothervine, a biological agent from another reality that would turn people around the world into mutant weapons. She ultimately turned on the Hellfire Club, realizing the error of her ways, and helped the X-Men stop Mothervine, though Magneto held a grudge.

That brings us to X-Men Black. Emma reaches out to the X-Men with a plan to take down the Hellfire Club once and for all. In their weakened state, she surmises that it should be simple enough for the X-Men to launch coordinated strikes to take down the remaining Hellfire Club leadership in their various locations while Emma delivers the killing blow by taking down the man at the top of the organization, the Black King, Sebastian Shaw.

Emma uses her mutant gifts to walk into Hellfire Club headquarters without much resistance. She makes her way to Shaw’s penthouse, where he’s still recovering from his most recent encounter with the X-Men. Emma slips him a paralytic, ending the fight pretty decisively. As she stands over Shaw, she changes our outfit, trading the garments of the White Queen for the darker garb of the Black King.

Emma Frost Black King
(Photo: Chris Bachalo, Leah Williams, Marvel Entertainment)

Note that she is the Black King and not the Black Queen. While the Inner Circle has always been the core of the Hellfire Club with its four cardinal lords - the Black King, White King, Black Queen, and White Queen - the Black King is the one in charge and wielding the most power. By taking on Shaw’s former mantle, Emma is letting it be known that she is second to no one and that the Hellfire Club is officially under new management.

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X-Men Black: Emma Frost #1 is on sale now.