Lessons In Misguided (And Sincere) Love From An X-men Comic

Emma Frost

In general, I don’t always write these posts with a sense of timing in mind. My brain just doesn’t work that way. Usually, I get an idea, either through inspiration or just something that comes to me in the shower, and I just go with it. I find that to be the most effective means of exploring sexy and non-sexy issues alike on this blog.

Every now and then, I get lucky and fall ass-backwards into a perfectly timed topic. Sometimes, I even get obscenely lucky because that topic can relate to comics, which I love tying into sexy topics on this blog every chance I get. Well, whether by luck or outright fluke, I have a chance to link an issue I’ve been discussing lately directly to a comic book.

Trust me, I didn’t plan it. I didn’t expect it. I’m just going to run with it because it’s so relevant to the recent issues I’ve been exploring. It also involves X-men, which I go out of my way to talk about every chance I get, and a very particular character that I’ve mentioned before named Emma Frost. In case you need a reminder, this is Emma Frost.

I’m assuming I have your attention now, especially if you’re a heterosexual man or a homosexual woman with functioning genitals. I swear that pic isn’t some juvenile fan art, like the ones that drew big tits on Flintstones characters. That’s how Emma Frost actually dresses in the X-men comics. Can you now see why I’m so fond of them?

Sadly, I’m not writing this to talk about Emma Frost’s overtly sexy costumes. I’m writing this because recent events in the X-men comics tie directly into what I’ve been discussing with respect to conditioning our brains for love. While it’s an issue we’ll probably have to address once we start hacking our brain’s wiring, it’s something that comic book characters deal with regularly.

I’ve already mentioned how Carol “Captain Marvel” Danvers dealt with it during her early history. I’ve also cited past stories involving mind control, including one infamous story in Action Comics where Superman was brainwashed into making a porno tape with Big Barda. It’s one of those odd, but disturbing kinks that’s unique to worlds filled with psychics, aliens, and talking raccoons with machine guns.

However, this is one instance where a story about the mental manipulation of emotions and/or horniness isn’t quite as disturbing. If anything, it’s tragic in that reveals a lot about what some people are willing to do in the name of love.

To understand that tragedy, it’s necessary to understand the comic in question and the context behind it. The story unfolds in the pages of “X-men Blue #9” by Cullen Bunn, which is one of several ongoing X-men titles. This one focuses on the exploits of the time-displaced original five X-men, who are currently stuck in the future due to some time travel shenanigans that began back in 2012.

I’ll skip the part where I make a bunch of “Back To The Future” jokes and make clear that X-men Blue has much higher stakes compared to other X-men comics. That’s because what happens to these five time-displaced X-men, who also happen to be teenagers, could potentially affect the entire history of the X-men, which has already been subject to the kinds of time travel upheavals that would make Doc Brown’s head explode.

That’s where Emma Frost comes in. She knows, as well as any X-men regular who has encountered time travelers, that influencing these time-displaced teenagers could alter how things play out in their future. That’s important to her because she has a good, albeit tragic, reason to want to change that outcome.

Shortly before the events of this issue, Emma Frost endured a terrible loss. In an ominously-named event called “Death of X,” her former lover, Cyclops, died in her arms. To make matters even worse, it was one of those rare situations where there was nothing she could’ve done to stop it.

This isn’t akin to Spider-Man not stopping the Green Goblin in time or Superman not being able to save Lois Lane. This is basically someone being in the wrong place at the wrong time for the right reasons. In a sense, it’s a lot more realistic than the deaths most superheroes endure. It comes out of nowhere and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it.

However, Emma Frost isn’t the kind of person to just accept that kind of tragedy and move on. This is a woman who once watched an entire classroom of her students die in an outright mutant genocide. When tragedy hits her, she hits back and looks damn sexy while doing it.

Granted, she does tend hit harder than she needs to or ought to. It has made her a lot of enemies, even alienating some of her former allies. However, Emma Frost isn’t one of those characters who does what she does out of malice. She’s not the Red Skull, Thanos, or even Dr. Doom.

She does see herself as a hero. She carries herself as a hero and has been on the front lines of some major Marvel conflicts. She’s also not a sociopath. She is capable of great love, both for her students and for lovers like Cyclops. So when Cyclops died, it hit her very hard.

When hit with a loss that hard, who wouldn’t jump at the chance to undo it? Even if it means crossing certain lines and hurting others, isn’t that worth getting back the person you love?

That’s a question that a lot of heroes and non-hero’s alike might debate in a philosophy class or a message board. However, there’s no debate for Emma Frost. She sees an opportunity to get her lover back and she takes it. Specifically, she sets her sights on the time-displaced, teenage Cyclops who has yet to grow into the man she fell in love with.

Finally, in X-men Blue #9, she’s in a position to get what she wants. As part of an ongoing event called “Secret Empire,” an event that’s hitting every major Marvel series, she abducts the time-displaced X-men and singles Cyclops out for some special treatment. Trust me, it’s nowhere near as sexy as it sounds.

XMBLUE-3

Emma basically does exactly what I described in my post about managing the future of brain hacking. She tires to twist and contort young Cyclops’ mind into being the man she once loved. She knows it may ruin the timeline. I’m sure Doc Brown would scream at the top of his lungs to get her to stop. It would still do no good.

That’s because Emma wants her lover back. She wants the man who has helped save the mutant race on more than one occasion. She’s willing to risk a time paradox and undermining the free will of someone who made clear in the issue that he doesn’t care for her. She’s just that desperate to get the man she loves back.

I won’t spoil how the book ends. I’d much rather people go out and read X-men Blue #9 because it’s a great comic that’s worth supporting. I’ll just say that the tragedy surrounding Emma Frost and her misguided efforts to subvert that tragedy really strike a chord.

It’s a tragic, but potentially prophetic story that may become more relevant over time. There’s no doubt that Emma Frost’s love for Cyclops in X-men Blue #9 is sincere. It’s not part of an agenda or some elaborate trick. It’s real, honest love that got destroyed through forces nobody could’ve foreseen.

Who’s to say that someone wouldn’t do something similar if they were in her position? I’ve said before in other posts that love is a powerful drug. It’s medically proven that love affects our brains like a drug. Compared to love, crack is watered-down diet soda.

Emma Frost is a powerful telepath, one of the most powerful in the Marvel universe, in fact. That means she can manipulate minds, twist thoughts, and conjure emotions in others. It does have limits, but it’s not that different from the kind of brain hacking that is in development as we speak.

What happens in the future when someone loses a loved one and refuses to accept it? What happens when someone just can’t stand the idea that someone they once loved no longer loves them? If there exists technology that could conjure or recapture that feeling, who wouldn’t be tempted to exploit it?

Our desire to love and be loved is a core, emotional need that every non-sociopath human feels. We don’t have the technology of Neuralink or the telepathy of Emma Frost to force it when we can’t have it. However, once it becomes possible, how long will it be before someone tries it?

Emma Frost didn’t need much temptation in X-men Blue #9. She just needed an opportunity and a plan. Again, it’s wrong to call it an evil plan. She was just trying to get back the man she loved and was willing to cross lines to do it. Love makes us do a lot of crazy, stupid things. What Emma Frost does in this comic is as much a lesson as it is a warning, albeit the sexy kind.

5 Comments

Filed under Comic Books, Jack Fisher, Superheroes, Marriage and Relationships

5 responses to “Lessons In Misguided (And Sincere) Love From An X-men Comic

  1. Well written article here. I agree that Emma Frost’s actions in Blue 9 stemmed from her grief. That being said, she still definitely crossed a line here trying to take away one’s free will. I would argue that she crossed the line years ago with the psychic affair she started with Cyclops. She took advantage of his PTSD and I still believe she did this partly because she sees Jean Grey as a rival. The fact she ends up falling for him afterwards doesn’t absolve her of her morally skewed actions. This is what makes her a lousy hero, in my opinion. She’s demonstrated time and again that right and wrong can go by the way side if the outcome serves her in some way. I for one can’t find it in myself to feel one bit sorry for her right now. She planted the seeds of karma long ago.

    • I don’t doubt that Emma crossed a line by trying to warp Cyclops’s mind. I’m not trying to make excuses for that, but I do think there’s a context to her actions. And I’ve seen a lot of other X-men fans, especially Emma fans, decry her actions as outright evil. I don’t think that’s the case. Even going back to the psychic affair, I don’t think her actions were outright malicious, even if they did cross lines. I don’t think that makes what Emma Frost felt for Cyclops any less genuine. She really did love him and that’s part of what makes her such a great, balanced character. She feels so strongly for him and her willingness to cross lines often works against her. She’s still a hero, but a very flawed hero, more so than most. Other recent events in Secret Empire nicely reflect that side to her. And I hope we see more of that moving forward.

      Thanks a bunch for the comment!

  2. Pingback: Rick Sanchez: Hero Of Generation Z? | Jack Fisher's Official Publishing Blog

  3. Pingback: What “The Gifted” Reveals (And Warns Us) About Ourselves | Jack Fisher's Official Publishing Blog

  4. It was your old blog that got me back into X-men. I didn’t realize that you’d moved to a new one, so seeing your name here got me excited 🙂

    I haven’t bought an issue of X-men since Cyclops died. I was so devastated by Death of X, and so disappointed by the rest of the X-men (especially Storm and Wolverine) that I couldn’t buy another issue. I have tried to keep up via reviews, so a lot of my opinions on current X-men are probably ill-informed.

    As for Emma, however, I will say this. As a female, I think that Emma Frost is the single most empowering woman in comics. Granted, I may not like the way she dresses, but this is a woman who didn’t need a cosmic fire bird to make her important, nor did she need godly ancestry – she simply needed her wits, her cunning, and a sense of duty that rivaled her boyfriend’s. Emma’s smart, independent, and like her dead boyfriend, makes the choices that no one else is willing to make.

    As for the sincerity of Emma’s love for Scott – I agree that it was sincere, and in many ways, I think it was more sincere than Jean’s. Jean was the good girl, the 60’s icon that never seemed to grow with the times. Whether it be her romantic pairings or her possession by the Phoenix Force, Jean never got much of a personality beyond the girl next door. Unlike her male counterparts, she never got faults – which always bothered me. She was perfect – or at least perfect in that 60’s icon sense. That is, until Morrison came along, and like Cyke, Jean lost that perfect sheen, and to me, it worked.

    After the events of The Twelve, and Cykocalypse, Scotty-boy was pretty messed up. I mean, when Wolverine feels the need to comment on how cracked in the head you are, you know something’s wrong. The stoic, rigid boyscout had become an emotional, reckless creature that hugged babies and showed off his uncontrollable powers.

    Then came Morrison’s run, and the end of Scott and Jean – at least the physical end. Unlike some, I don’t think Emma’s seduction of the boyscout was about getting back at Jean, I think it was about something deeper – conviction, redemption, and wanting direction and focus – who better to go to for those things than Scott Summers? While Xavier gets all the credit for leading the X-men in their formative years, people seem to forget that whenever Xavier disappeared, it was Scott who took the reins. He’d not only helped to make the O5 into a fighting force, but he’d also tamed the Wolverine and given the goddess the confidence and know-how to lead. So, why not go to him?

    But, he wasn’t that guy anymore – Apocalypse had destroyed that guy, and his wife didn’t seem to care. There’s an oft-overlooked panel in Morrison’s run that I think is important here – for both Emma and Scott. Jean’s on the bed doing work and Scott’s trying to talk to her about Apocalypse. After a few words, she stops him, tells him that he’s not the first person to ever be possessed by an evil spirit and that the bad thoughts will go away. This, to me, was the end of Scott and Jean – not Emma’s meddling or the panels with Wolverine – but that panel right there. During that run, Jean was far more compassionate towards Beast and Xavier than she was Scott. As Beast put together a broken Emma, Jean had a lot of well-crafted words of empathy; but when it came to a broken Cyclops, all she could manage was that the bad thoughts would go away.

    Had Cyke said that to her during any of her Phoenix possessions, he’d have been dropped in lava, but she says it and no one bats an eyelash. Had anyone brushed off her concerns about being possessed by the Phoenix Force, then they would have had hell to pay. Yet, Cassandra Nova expresses more emotion about the after effects of his possession than any of the X-men put together. But, that’s how it always was, wasn’t it? All the stuff with Sinister, Maddie, Alex and Nathan, even getting a bomb put in his stomach – the X-men, as a whole, never really paid that much attention to all of the crap that he went through while leading them. They worried over Wolverine’s missing memories for years; stuck by Rogue during all of her drama with Gambit and Ms. Marvel; welcomed Jean back with open arms after she ate a solar system; and even agonized about Kitty being able to enjoy her childhood. But Cyclops? Barely a mention. Heck, even after Jean died, Kurt was more worried about Cyke’s use of his codename than he was about his mental health. It was laughable, almost – he took more crap than anyone else on the team, yet no one really cared. Goodness, after getting freed from Apocalypse (Which was a feat of fortitude, if you think about it. None of the Horsemen ever really recovered, yet Cyclops got possessed by the big guy himself and never once became Cykocalypse again!) he got a weekend off with his dad before being shipped out to Genosha.

    Enter Emma. Yes, her seduction seemed skeevy at the outset – from her entrance in Hong Kong to her re-enactments of the Phoenix costumes, but considering that she’d just watched her students die, and not one person in the world had sympathy for her – her position becomes a tad more understandable. Scott was the control-guy, the focus-guy, the beating teams into shape-guy, and that guy was unduly suffering the results of Apocalyptic possession and not a soul was helping him. In many ways, they both suffered the destruction of their places in the world – the death of her students and the death of his soul. While Jean was supported during all of her world-eating craziness, both Scott and Emma were cast to the curb.

    To me, it’s obvious that Emma had an effect on Scott- and he on her. Scott became a leader again, with Emma at his side. Unlike Jean, she didn’t play arm candy – she played his cohort, his confidant, and sometimes his nemesis. She didn’t play the submissive little housewife, nor did she play the all-American-stereotype. She didn’t always agree with him, nor did she always support him. They didn’t have a psychic bond, but even without that, their relationship was built on trust, knowledge, and faith (The dark X-men saga – Scott still trusted Emma throughout it all). She gave him a reason to keep on going; he gave her the focus she’d always needed. They accepted each other’s imperfections, faults, and thoughts without question. So, yeah, I think that love affair was quite sincere. While on the surface it often appeared coy and evasive, considering that they both recovered from some pretty heavy experiences, it was a pretty deep connection. They cared about each other when the rest of the world had tossed them aside. Even after he stole her Phoenix powers, they continued to lean on one another – he trusted her and she forgave him – which, to me, showed just how powerful their connection actually was.

    As for X-men Blue #9 – I haven’t read it, but I’ll say this – while I wouldn’t condone messing with a kid’s head, I can see her point. Scott died in disgrace – which he shouldn’t have. Scott Summers gave more to the X-men and his species than any other mutant alive or dead – save for herself – and yet, his species, the team he led for most of his life, called him a murderer and a tyrant – none of which he deserved. So, yeah, she wants her Scott back – not a diddly teen who can’t decide between Teen Jean and X-23 – her Scott – the one that she saved, the one with the heart and backbone that kept the mutants alive, the one who deserves 3,000 apologies from the jerks who turned their backs on him. She needs her cohort, her confidant, and her nemesis back because, well, unlike other X-woman – she’s actually well-written. She’s not a loner with a piss-off attitude. Like real, actual people, she wants to be loved, and Scott was the only person to ever give her that.

    Yes, she crossed a line by trying to mess with a kid’s head, but so did Xavier (through pretty much all of Scott’s teen years) and Jean (All New X-men, Torn) and they’re still considered saints. The only difference between them is that Emma has faults that she owns up to. Hopefully, she owned up to this, too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s