X-Men Origins: Emma Frost #1 Review

Since the movie “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” came out, Marvel has been releasing backstories about other characters under the title “X-Men Origins.” Emma Frost’s new origin story is completely unnecessary and provides no depth to her character.

WRITER: Valerie d’Orazio
PENCILS: Karl MolineKarl Moline
INKS: Rick Magyar
Witness the birth of the White Queen! From the mousy girl from a rich New England family, to the rich and terrifying queen of a secret society to the leader of the X-Men, Emma has cut a powerful swath through the Marvel Universe. See her rise to power in this one-shot by up-and-comer Valerie D’Orazio and Karl Moline (LONERS, Buffy)! One-Shot/Rated A …$3.99
PRICE: 3.99

Anytime Emma Frost gets a special issue of hers, writers always have to make a scene about her being a stripper. And here, they show her struggling at her new job, and then having a psychic fit when the men boo at her. What’s odd is that in Grant Morrison’s “New X-Men,” Emma perfected the skills and “mesmerized the onlookers” during her first try out. So, it’s unbelievable that Emma would screw up on her first stripping job.

The setting for this issue is not much different from the wonderful “Emma Frost” series, issues #1 – #6. It’s in the home of her ruthless family where she deals with her ruthless father. A highlight in “X-Men Origins: Emma Frost” is when Emma tells her mother that “father’s been cross with me again.” We all know that we love our hilarious Emma dialogue, but this is the only time in the book where it feels like Emma Frost dialogue.

We later find out that creeper Charles Xavier tried to recruit Emma Frost to the X-Men around the time her powers manifested. This unnecessary retcon ruined the entire book for me. In “X-Men: Deadly Genesis” Xavier almost forced Emma to join his team yet again. So, he harassed Emma Frost two times in her past? The issue does not address that Xavier might have erased her mind during the first attempt — in the second attempt in Deadly Genesis, Emma Frost acted as if she had never met Xavier before. So, this could mean that part of Emma Frost’s mind was erased by Xavier not once but twice. Another glaring error is that there is no mention of Emma in college. In the “Emma Frost” series, she pursued college after she left home.

In this one-shot, Emma Frost goes straight from leaving her home to stripper who tolerates physical and mental abuse from Sebastian Shaw. After he hits her, she does mention that she’ll kill him, but she quickly falls in love with him and doesn’t know why she does. This scene is so disturbing because I look at Emma Frost as a feminist icon in comic books — and that’s how she has been portrayed in canon. And now, this scene has basically sabotaged her past (but I can also pretend this isn’t canon).

The art is solid and appropriate for the setting – especially more towards the Hellfire Club parts. However, the art feels more like a painting and less comic-like. I’ll be honest that I’m not the best at reviewing art, but I’m trying to do my part here.

Overall, “X-Men Origins: Emma Frost” does nothing to reinforce true meaning of Emma Frost’s character. It is basically a recap of Emma Frost’s past with some very unnecessary retcons, most notably with 1) the struggling stripper who accepts abuse and 2) the meeting with Xavier. I’d throw this comic somewhere in my closet and try to forget it exists.



  • neoluuj

    Yeah, this book was rather… underwhelming.

    I’m wondering if there’s any list of essential reading for Emma out there. Since I’ve only been actually reading the books for a year (when I actually broke down and started reading the source material after watching X-Men cartoons and movies since forever), my basic knowledge sort of starts with the Dark Phoenix saga where she’s introduced and basically skips to the Whedon/Cassaday Astonishing X-Men run where I fell in love with her character through the TPB collections.

  • lilacsigil

    Wow. No. I don’t think I’ll be reading this – thanks for the warning. “Fall in love with the abuser” is something that I consider highly unlikely for Emma, not to mention almost always objectionable in and of itself.

  • Aimee

    @neoluuj You know, I should write a post about essential Emma Frost reading. Thanks for saying that. I think I will some time this week. But to answer your question to the point, you gotta check out Grant Morrison’s “New X-Men.” Emma shines through and through. She’s funny, smart — oh, and it’s also when she develops that delicious affair with Cyclops. In fact, I can’t remember when I fell in love with Emma’s character…was it when I read Morrison’s or Whedon’s run? There are also single issues scattered around certain titles that are great too. Seriously, I’m totally going to check through my archives so I can make a post of good Emma Frost reading.

    @lilacsigil Yeah, this scene also ruined the book for me…but the Xavier meeting came first. Just…ugh. I don’t know what Marvel is doing to her these days. I’m seriously going to pretend that this book isn’t canon. …And maybe it isn’t?

  • neoluuj

    @Aimee Thanks for the rec, and I look forward to your essential reading list.

  • NB

    I didn’t really mind the story as such; might perhaps have been better if it had starred someone other than Emma of course :) In general, it seems to be hard to write good origin one-shots judging by the other X ones so far.

    But why don’t you read (ore review) Heralds instead? I’m sure you’ll like that much better.

  • dari

    I was really hoping this would go more in-depth with Emma’s partnership with Dark Beast, as glimpsed in Generation X. Because that’s got to be such a crucial part of her life, but we’ve barely even seen any references to it.

    Honestly, I’m going to ignore it and pretend it’s not canon. Because anything that manages to contradict not one, or two, but multiple storylines is just Bad Writing, and Marvel ought to be ashamed that they let this see print. Undoing Generation X, New X-Men, Deadly Genesis, AND the entire Emma Frost series takes real talent, I guess…