X-Men: Black – Emma Frost #1 Review

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Revenge is a dish best served cold.  Your Major Spoilers review of X-Men: Black – Emma Frost #1 awaits!


Writer: Leah Williams
Penciler: Chris Bachalo
Inker: Faucher, Vey, Livesay, Townsend, Mendoza & Bachalo
Colorist:Antonio Fabela, Dan Brown, Carlos Lopez & Chris Bachalo
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Editor: Jordan D. White
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price:$4.99
Release Date: October 31, 2018

Previously in X-Men: Black: Before she was an X-Man, Emma Frost was White Queen of the Hellfire Club where she labored under the yolk of Sebastian Shaw, the Black King.  Now she sets her sights on the club, determined to tear down the organization that wronged her… if she can convince the X-Men to help out.


Our issue opens with Emma Frost, looking VERY alterna in boots, studded belts, and a miniskirt, meeting with Rogue on important business:  She wants to take out the remaining leadership of the Hellfire Club in one fell swoop, coordinating a multi-pronged attack that would finally defang the evil secret cabal, once and for all.  And while the various X-Men are dealing with the rank and file, Emma will take on the biggest and baddest herself, confronting Sebastian Shaw, the man who made her the White Queen so many years ago.  The plan goes off with nary a hitch, and Emma waltzes right into Shaw’s office (after brutalizing and telepathically violating hundreds and hundreds of relative innocents, including several who are probably going to die) and confronts him one on one.  Sebastian, for his part, is still immune to her telepathy, and returns the favor by beating her down, laughing about his plan to cut up her diamond shards and wear her corpse shards in victory.  Of course, that’s when Emma’s double-secret plan kicks in…


First off, this issue is designed to move Emma firmly back into the realm of the villain, showing off her ruthless side and giving us the sight of her (probably) murdering Sebastian Shaw to take his role, all the while manipulating her former mutant teammates to take out all her competition.  It’s mean-spirited, it’s dark and it’s only somewhat successful.  The second story features an impressively chunky Apocalypse in a story that is both slow and talky, as well as poorly drawn, which helps to make the art of Chris Bachalo and a virtual army of inkers and colorists look better, but the entirety of the first story feels somehow rushed, without the usual attention to contrast and detail that you get from Chris Bachalo historically.  Emma’s facial expressions are quite limited throughout the issue, which may be an intentional “poker face”, but it feels like a flaw.  Worse still, neither the lead or backup story really does much more than give the protagonist villain a little room to monologue and preen, making for an unsatisfying read.


I’ve actually been following the recent events in X-books, so I don’t even have the usual excuse of not knowing what’s been going on to offset my frustration with this issue’s plotting, and the five dollar price point just adds insult to injury.  X-Men: Black – Emma Frost #1 has some effective moments and bits of dialogue, and if you’re a fan of hardcore sociopath White Queen… Excuse me, Black King Emma, then this may be up your alley, but wobbly art and a truly puzzling backup story left me cold, earning 2 out of 5 stars overall.  If nothing else, it does give the upcoming new X-Men relaunch another big-name, impressive villain to play off.



It's a mean-spirited first feature with a mostly incomprehensible chapter of Next Big Thing crossover as a second feature, making for a a mostly unsatisfying read.

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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