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Women’s History Month: Emma Frost

Trace the evolution of the former White Queen to X-Man and beyond!

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This March, we celebrate Women’s History Month by spotlighting some of the most iconic characters and creators from the Marvel Universe.

Created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne in the pages of 1980’s UNCANNY X-MEN #129, Emma Frost first entered the Marvel Universe as the Hellfire Club’s telepathic powerhouse, The White Queen. At the time, the nefarious group intended to bring the X-Men to their knees, even going so far as to put a tap on Cerebro.

With information stolen from Professor X’s machine, Ms. Frost headed to Deerfield, Illinois to meet a young woman also making her first appearance: Kitty Pryde! There under the pretense of offering Ms. Pryde a place at a school in Massachusetts, Frost happened to be there when Kitty manifested her mutant phasing powers. However, the child didn’t seem convinced, which left Emma in a bad spot as Professor X, Storm, Colossus, and Wolverine appeared for their own recruitment drive.

While Kitty grabbed a malt with the students, Frost sent armored goons in to rough them up. Though the X-Men easily handled these intruders, they remained unprepared for White Queen’s telepathic force bolt which left them unconscious. However, in the fray, Kitty phased out of the building, but stowed away on the fleeing ship to save her eventual teammates.

Kitty figured out how to contact the other X-Men and they made their way to the place where Frost held their teammates as well as Professor Xavier. During the ensuing battle, Emma fought Jean Grey and her Phoenix Force for the first time, seemingly dying in the process, but really surviving to fight another day.

For years after, Emma Frost battled the X-Men as part of the Hellfire Club. She also really did run a Massachusetts school for gifted youngsters, training them and building them into a group called the Hellions. The destruction of this young team came as a result of Trevor Fitzroy unleashing the Sentinels on them. Feeling intense guilt as the only surviving member of her squad, Frost soon teamed up with Sean Cassidy to save a group of new mutants who would eventually star in GENERATION X. Emma stuck around as the team’s mentor, but murdering her own sister, a murderer herself, didn’t sit well with the kids and the team disbanded.

However, that did not directly lead back to a life of crime with the Hellfire Club. Instead, she moved to Genosha where she taught young mutants how to use their powers. That is until another Sentinel attack left her the only survivor on the entire island nation. During the NEW X-MEN series, she not only became an important member of the main mutant team, but also started a relationship with Scott Summers, aka Cyclops, that continued up to his death.

While Scott seemingly died at the hands of Black Bolt as the X-Men tried to destroy one of the mutant-killing Terrigen mists, he actually perished earlier upon exposure to the cloud. The version seen on the battle field turned out to be an illusion that Emma cast in an effort to fulfill Cyclops’ last wishes. This, of course, led directly into the pages of INHUMANS VS. X-MEN. In that series, Frost made a number of moves that have many wondering if the intensity of the past few months has left her teetering between good and evil. Only time will tell.

Over the years, Emma Frost’s unparalleled power, whip-smart wit, and incredible fortitude have allowed her to make the transition from a hated enemy to a fan-favorite X-Man, a feat that few others have actually accomplished.

The Women of Marvel

Emma Frost survived the Sentinel attack on Genosha because she exhibited one of the first known examples of secondary mutation. In her case, she turned into a being of pure diamond. In this form, she cannot use her telepathic powers, but does become almost completely impervious to harm, temperature, psychic attacks, and even the need to breathe. This alternate form also allowed for super strength, the ability to never tire, and even a numbness to emotions and pain.