Uncanny X-Men Revolution

The Uncanny X-Men Revolution: Emma Frost

Brian Bendis prepares a nightmare for the former White Queen to attempt to rise above!

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By Brett White

With mutantkind bouncing back from the brink of extinction, one man has shown the willingness to do whatever it takes to ensure their survival.

That man? Scott Summers, aka Cyclops, the former figurehead of the mutant race whose recent actions have taken him from messiah to pariah. Now the self-appointed leader of a revolution, Cyclops has gathered a team of X-Men with one purpose: recruit the next generation first.

UNCANNY X-MEN, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Chris Bachalo, marks the return of the long-running, flagship X-Men series, just in time to chart the course of mutantkind’s future.

Uncanny X-Men #1 cover by Chris Bachalo

After spending years as the second-in-command of the X-Men and as Cyclops’ lover, Emma Frost now faces the most dramatic changes in her life since the traumatic incidents that caused her to join the X-Men a decade ago. Her powers have changed; the authorities want her and her relationship has come to an end.

Brian Michael Bendis hints at what the future holds for the former White Queen.

Marvel.com: Emma Frost has been through almost as much catastrophe as Cyclops in recent years. What’s it like writing her?

Brian Michael Bendis: The Emma Frost thing is very interesting. This is the most controversial character amongst all X-fans. This is really fascinating. Avengers fans never did this to me, but every X-Men fan does. When they want to show me something about a character, they come at me with a visual aid. They cut out a panel or a page and either e-mail it to me or post it on my Twitter. It’s like they’re a lawyer with evidence. You would think that Daredevil fans would do this but it’s X-Men fans. I’ve only been the X-Men writer for three months and this must have happened about 50 times. They’re always trying to show me something about Emma. “Emma did this; Emma said that. Emma’s a b-word because she did this. Emma’s the best hero in the world because she did this.” It’s all true, but what it adds up to is that she’s a very fascinating, contradictory character, much like the people we meet in real life. Emma, the most controversial, bigger than life X-Men character who has been on both sides of the fence, has had the rug pulled out from under her in the worst way.

Marvel.com: Where does she stand with Cyclops at the start of UNCANNY X-MEN?

Brian Michael Bendis: She’s lost the romantic relationship with Scott Summers, but needs him spiritually. It’s a very fascinating place, and a place where a lot of people have been. Maybe we can still be friends, or we still have to be friends. Or we still have to work together. If you hook up at work and break up, you still have to work together. It’s sometimes funny, sometimes ugly. They’re the X-Men version of that. A lot of people ask why Emma doesn’t just go away. Why doesn’t she just tell Scott to hit the road? She really doesn’t have anywhere to go. At the same time, they’re both on the same page with this. She was compromising some stuff when she was at the Xavier School. This is her chance to take some stuff out for a spin. I had Scott talk about this in the second issue, but she’s a great teacher. She’s equal parts tough and honest, and he’d be blind not to see this. If they’re really going to make a go at this, why not have her?

The question is, what kind of school is this school? Is it a military camp where they’re training revolutionaries or is it a school school? That’s a question that will be going forward as UNCANNY X-MEN unfolds.

Uncanny X-Men #1 preview art by Chris Bachalo

Marvel.com: Is that why Emma is essential to Cyclops’ cause, because of her history as a teacher more so than her powers as a mutant?

Brian Michael Bendis: Her powers are broken. They’re a disaster for her right now. It creates a great thing that you’ll see in the second issue, where she sometimes projects her thoughts without realizing that she’s doing it. On top of not being able to read other people’s thoughts, every once in a while she projects her own thoughts out without knowing about it until she’s done it. What a punishment for her. Everyone who feels that Emma deserves to get taken down a peg or two, this is hell for her.

Marvel.com: This is a character that has always been an exhibitionist physically, but guarded emotionally and mentally. This has to be a nightmare for her.

Brian Michael Bendis: It is a nightmare. Imagine that you’re projecting your thoughts out and you’re almost always by your ex-boyfriend. All of that will be dealt with in the second issue.

Marvel.com: Is Emma the sole teacher at the school?

Brian Michael Bendis: Emma, Magik, Cyclops, and Magneto will all be teaching. There will also be some other characters coming into the fray. We’re having a very big thing happening in the later issues. There’s some crossover between UNCANNY X-MEN and ALL-NEW X-MEN, where the Uncanny X-Men are going to literally show up on the front lawn of the Jean Grey School. Cyclops is going to put it out there and say, “We have a school too. It’s going to be different from this. It’s fine what you’re doing. In my opinion, we’re going to need a larger, harder edge for these kids to survive. Whoever wants to come join me, come on. Let’s go.”

There will be some exoduses coming from the Jean Grey School to the Uncanny X-Men, and possibly vice versa.

Marvel.com: The whole setup right now with the Charles Xavier and the Jean Grey Schools is very similar to the status quo that Emma Frost had when she first appeared with her Massachusetts Academy. Is this her going back to her roots in a way, with poaching students from another school?

Emma Frost by Chris Bachalo

Brian Michael Bendis: This is more Cyclops’ doing than her doing. The spark for having these two schools was from the movie “Reds,” where all these people wanted to be in charge during the Russian Revolution. There were all these packs of people who said they were the official American voice of the Russian Revolution. Where I live in Portland, there was a lot of this. These packs of people all wanted to be in charge of the revolution but were fighting with each other instead of making the revolution.

With this new pile of mutants comes this idea of the new mutant revolution. Nobody’s fighting to be in charge of it, but everyone has an idea of how they should be in charge of it. These two schools are going to give all of these mutants a choice. Before, when there was one school, they either went to Charles Xavier’s school or they didn’t. They either joined or they probably got killed. Now there’s going to be a couple of choices. There’s going to be some things happening in the Marvel Universe over the next year that is going to make some of these mutants second-guess their choices.

Pre-order UNCANNY X-MEN #1 now and be back here tomorrow as Brian Bendis talks Magneto!

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