Emma Frost has changed over the years - from villain to hero, and then something in between; but now writer Leah Williams (an admitted Emma super-fan) looks to bring it all together for what's next.
This week's X-Men Black: Emma Frost by Williams and Chris Bachalo finds the former White Queen revisiting the Hellfire Club, not to reunite but to burn to the ground.
This one-shot is part of a series of five X-Men Black one-shots profiling individual X-Men villains ahead of the big "X-Men Dissassembled" releaunch November 14 with Uncanny X-Men #1.
Williams spoke with Newsarama about her Emma Frost fandom, reining that in (or not) to write this X-Men Black one-shot, and blending together the various portrayals of Emma into one cohesive story.
Newsarama: This week's X-Men Black: Emma Frost feels like you are coming into your own. How'd it all come together from your perspective?
Leah Williams: Like something beyond a dream come true - something I couldn’t believe was happening.
The opportunity to write Emma in a way that I’ve always dreamed of seeing her just from the perspective of being an Emma Frost fan, let alone who I’d be working with while writing her.
Nrama: How did you land on Emma Frost being the character you wanted to write about in this one-shot?
Williams: I was asked to write the Emma one-shot for the X-Men Black event. I think they already had the “villains” they wanted for this, and chose writers accordingly.
Nrama: Emma has been out of sorts of bits since the "Death of X" event. How would you describe this time period for her?
Nrama: But in this one-shot, she's coming back around to snuff out the Hellfire Club - the organization from which she rose to fame (for comic fans, at least). Why is she doing this here and now?
Williams: In X-Men: Blue by Cullen Bunn, Magneto recently launched an all-out attack on the Hellfire Club just trying to find her - in his search he destroyed different club chapters and killed many, many members.
Nrama: For those not keeping up on the status of the Hellfire Club, what is their core membership at this point?
Williams: They’ve just been weakened from the attack by Magneto, and membership is down.
Nrama: Can you say who, specifically, are in the Inner Circle at this point?
Williams: Hmmm I’m not sure I can say, actually. It’s kind of the big reveal in the issue. Shrewd folks that read X-men Blue will know what’s up, though.
Nrama: In the solicitation it says Emma will ask the X-Men to help her - what is she asking for specifically from them?
Williams: She’s cunning - she’s spotted the opportunity to finally take care of the Hellfire Club once and for all. She just needs a little help to do it.
Nrama: This seems like a lot of story for one issue. Could you see yourself doing more with this in a follow-up one-shot, limited series, or say... something bigger?
Williams: Oh, absolutely. 100% yes.
This was a glorious, transcendent opportunity for me but it was also the first time I ever felt how being a fan could be a liability - because I have too many ideas, so much so that I was effectively e-mailing my poor editor Jordan D. White 600 words of fanfiction of ideas. I was just so excited about what we could do! It was a struggle for me to reign that in, and like, chill. I have no emotional distance from her character and I still have a million and one ideas of where I’d want to see her go next.
I love Emma Frost and I love her brutal heart. She’s radically compassionate and imagining the ways that can manifest is of endless fascination to me.
Nrama: For this you're working with Chris Bachalo, who has been drawing the X-Men - and Emma Frost - on and off for the last 20+ years or so. You've worked with several artists, but is this different for you? Should it be?
Williams: It was very different specifically because Chris Bachalo’s work in X-Men is so formative to me - Generation X in particular, along with the way he drew her in Bendis’ Uncanny run.
Once I knew I’d be working with him the whole script came alive in my mind, with his style. I had been working on the outline up until that point, but it clicked for me in that moment. It felt unreal to me and still does - to be working with Emma, and to be doing so like this with Chris Bachalo doing the art.
Nrama: What are your big goals with the X-Men Black: Emma Frost one-shot?
Williams: My biggest goal, hands-down, was to bridge Emma’s recent actions with the Emma we know and love; and just get her to a place where she can pivot.