By Marc Strom
With the release of DARK AVENGERS/UNCANNY X-MEN: UTOPIA #1 on June 24, writer Matt Fraction and legendary X-artist Marc Silvestri begin one of the most eagerly anticipated stories of the summer.
As Norman Osborn continues to extend his Dark Reign, he assembles a group of Dark X-Men loyal only to him. This week, Marvel.com presents the Dark X-Men Dossiers, bios on each of the team's members straight from Cyclops' personal files, along with writer Matt Fraction's thoughts and exclusive art from Terry Dodson.
Of Love and Betrayal
Since he began writing UNCANNY X-MEN last year with issue #500, Matt Fraction has continued to develop Emma Frost's character,
bringing her through the X-Men's move to San Francisco and her involvement in Norman Osborn's secret Cabal. Now, with Emma leading the so-called Dark X-Men in the upcoming "Utopia" crossover, Fraction will shine an even greater spotlight on the former White Queen as a number of plotlines boil to a simmer.
"I don't know if it's a culmination [to everything we've done with Emma], but it's definitely where we've been headed for a while," notes the writer. "It's definitely been on this course for a while. Everything has been leading to this in its way, and [also to] what comes next."
Since the end of writer Grant Morrison's NEW X-MEN run, Cyclops and Emma have remained the power couple of the mutant world. But according to Fraction, "Utopia" will "very profoundly" affect that relationship, pushing it to its limits.
"She's suddenly publicly standing next to Norman Osborn, leading a team of X-Men [and] denouncing Scott and his team as dangerous militants, [saying] they're not to be trusted," explains Fraction. "It's a pretty profound schism."
As the story progresses, Scott and Emma will have to face one another in the light of recent events, and Scott will not appreciate the actions Emma has taken.
"It's huge, it's not a good day," says Fraction of the tension between Emma and Scott. "These aren't the good conversations you have with your girlfriend. That's the whole thing of it all, is Scott and Emma right now. It's a pretty huge thing, you know?"
As far as Emma's motivations go, Fraction believes "Emma's mission is what Emma's mission has always been, which is to protect and educate mutants. This is the best, last chance she has to do that before things get really ugly.
"The punch line is, Osborn comes to her and says, 'Listen, our deal was your people keep quiet and I stay out of your business. Your boyfriend wasn't able to keep people quiet, so here's the plan, here's how we're going to fix this. I'm going to put a team together that's going to be the face of law and order, and you're going to lead it.' And Norman's not the kind of guy that gives you alternatives."
Since joining Osborn's Cabal in the wake of Secret Invasion, Emma has divided herself between that covert group and the X-Men. But though she will ostensibly lead the Dark X-Men, her new role doesn't represent making a bid for independence from the two teams.
"It's an expression of what it's like to be trapped between them both," Fraction muses. "I mean, Osborn is running the show. She might be the face of the team leadership, and she might be the one in the field calling the shots, but this is Osborn's dance and she knows it. She's playing the very, very difficult cards that she's been dealt."
Summing everything up, Fraction remarks that, while Emma and Scott clearly don't see eye-to-eye in this situation, neither do Emma and Osborn.
"It's a very contentious, very fractious time for all parties involved."
Cyclops' Strike File: Emma Frost
Emma's diamond-hard exterior tends to fool most people into seeing her as a heartless, uncaring woman, but her long history as a teacher points to just the opposite. Besides her first encounter with the X-Men, when she kidnapped the team while recruiting Kitty Pryde, most confrontations with the former White Queen stemmed from her attempts to recruit Professor Xavier's students for her own school.
Beginning with the Phalanx
Covenant affair, however, Emma has spent a majority of her time working in tandem with the X-Men, first as headmistress and leader of Generation X—where she helped train a new generation of X-Men alongside Banshee—and then as a member of the X-Men itself beginning with the team's first clash with Cassandra Nova.
Over time, Emma has more than redeemed herself for any past actions against the X-Men, and in this day and age has proven a valuable and capable leader of a mutant community facing a daily battle for survival. More than anything else, Emma only wants what is best for mutant kind.
Too many of the young mutants under her supervision have met with untimely ends, with her Hellions dying in a Sentinel attack coordinated by the time-traveling Fitzroy, and even more students perishing in Cassandra Nova
's annihilation of Genosha. These ghosts still haunt Emma, and I believe they drive her to insure the safety of the very few remaining mutants.
Because Emma no longer poses any type of threat to the X-Men, I am officially closing out her Strike File. Our time is best spent focusing on the very real and immediate threats currently facing us.
Thanks for joining us for the Dark X-Men Dossiers— DARK AVENGERS/UNCANNY X-MEN: UTOPIA #1 launches one of the biggest events of the summer on June 24!
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