Uncanny X-Men Annual 2009As readers of Secret Invasion: Dark Reign saw, Emma Frost, the former White Queen of the Hellfire Club, and current second in command and lover of the X-Men’s Scott Summers (she’s been on the quasi-side of the angels for a while now) was a member of the cabal of villains organized by Norman Osborn who had just usurped Tony Stark as the effective leader of the intelligence and military of the Marvel Universe.
Her presence at that table, with the likes of Dr. Doom, Loki , The Hood and Namor was off-putting to some X-Men fans who’ve seen the character of Emma slowly change from a self-serving, cold woman worthy of her former namesake to a sympathetic character, and a good match for Scott Summers. So what was she doing there?
We caught up with Uncanny X-Men writer Matt Fraction to talk about her presence at the table, as well as next month’s Uncanny X-Men Annual, which digs into Emma’s past and explains just why she’s okay sitting down to talk with a table full of villains.
Newsarama: Matt, when we spoke to Brian Bendis about the end of Secret Invasion and the inclusion of Emma, he said that the addition of Emma was your idea. What the hell man? Were you under duress?
Matt Fraction: Was it me? I thought it was him. Maybe Axel. Maybe Nick. Not sure; it's been a long year. All I know is originally Brian asked about Magneto but that didn't work with where we were going. It makes absolute sense if you know the character, if you've been reading the books and following who Emma has become since Morrison's most excellent resurrection of her... it all fits.
And then I found the old story where Osborn and Stark attended the Hellfire Club gala, and it all fell into place.
NRAMA: We’ve seen Emma working with Scott in Uncanny, and she seems to have been working for the X-Men since…heck, since Grant Morrison was on the book. Is this move something like Secret Invasion was; that is, now readers should go back and sniff out points where Emma’s words had double meaning, etc?
MF: No, no, nothing's changed for Emma. There are no double meanings, nothing hidden, no surprise twists. Her mission-- her goal-- is, was, and forever will be to protect mutantkind. It was when she was Bad Emma running around with the Hellfire Club, Teacher Emma with the Hellions and on Genosha, and as it is now as the White Queen of the X-Men. Scott has made some morally heavy, if not outright dubious, decisions in his stewardship of mutantkind. He's made a real Faustian pact to keep his people alive, and he's really starting to get crippled by a burden of guilt, and shame, and all the awful stuff we can put ourselves through.
And he's keeping all that from Emma.
So she's taking matters into her own hands to insure the safety of mutantkind. That's the deal she cuts: she keeps mutants out of Osborn's way, he keeps mutants out of H.A.M.M.E.R.'s crosshairs.
NRAMA: Brian has said that he re-wrote the Dark Reign Special to be told through Emma’s eyes. Did you pitch in with that, or was that all him?
MF: That was him. He knows where we're going, what we're up to, how and why Emma would and should and could be in the room, what she'd want, all the stuff that we're doing in Uncanny, but to use her as the lens-- that was him.
NRAMA: Let’s move on to the Annual – the solicit promises a lot of information to be spilled – so what format will it be in? Flashback city? Any teases about these relationships? She’s had a pretty mixed up past, so obviously some of them had to be when she was in the Hellfire Club, yes?
MF: There's some old stuff and some new. Like I said, once upon a time, Tony Stark and Norman Osborn attended a Hellfire Gala. So the section in the past, drawn by Daniel Acuña, follow the events of that gala-- and who Shaw's secret guest was and what conspired as a result of that night. Then the modern day bit, which starts literally the moment after the Dark Reign special. It's drawn by Mitch Breitweiser and it bridges the gap from Dark Reign to Uncanny.
The annual is Emma at her most Emma-y.
NRAMA: And finally - the promise that the X-Men are through operating outside the Marvel Universe – will this be reflected in Uncanny from March forward? What does that mean, anyway – that they’ll be playing a bigger role? That Norman will be in each issue?
MF: Oh yeah. Emma's in the Cabal, man. Who needs Norman? She's the most powerful woman in the world now.Marvel's Dark Reign Coverage
- Brian Bendis: Wrapping it All Up, and Starting Dark Reign
- Making them Mighty: Dan Slott on The Mighty Avengers
- Reunited: Jim McCann on Hawkeye and Mockingbird
- Gage: Taking The Initiative Under a Dark Reign
- Best Shots Extra: Secret Invasion: Dark Reign
- Iron Man, Hero No More: Talking to Matt Fraction
- Thunderbolts vs. Deadpool: FIGHT
- Andy Diggle: The Future of the Thunderbolts
- Jeff Parker: Mixing the Agents of Atlas into Dark Reign
- Mark Brooks: Crafting The Initiative #20 Cover