By Matt Skipworth
The state of mutant affairs is currently the most divided and fractious it has ever been. Even the X-men, while operating under the ‘united’ banner of their name, have become increasingly separate in their approaches to cultivating peaceful relations with the wider world. With at least four teams in operation at once, the tenets of Xavier’s dream of coexistence have essentially ‘mutated’ into a spectrum of ideologies, with a number of these teams operating at cross-purposes.
Emma Frost, former headmistress of the X-men herself, has grown weary and frustrated with the disunity and infighting demonstrated by her fellow mutants. After her own brush with a return to do-called ‘villainy’, during the War with the Inhumans, Emma has lost patience with the lack of proactive action in establishing the foothold of the mutant nation. Equally irked by the abandonment and labelling of her by her peers as a renegade, Emma has begun to play into the elements of radicalism she has long been accused of. Perhaps it is now, during the opportunity to seize upon this environment of internal chaos, that she should become the revolutionary she has been so often painted as?
Seizing upon her vast connections in the corporate world as well as the darker corners of her past, Emma has begun to re-establish the Frost portfolio to fund her potential team and bring about change with immediacy. Her view being: if her previous teammates will not support her position, perhaps it is her adversaries to whom she should be aligning. Of course, Emma is not so naive to believe it will be as simple as just asking for their allegiance, but her mutant gifts empower her with the ability to influence those less willing into acquiescence.
And so, the Sisterhood rises…
While her time as a villain of Xavier’s team is now almost a distant memory, Emma Frost has always been as cunning and manipulative as she is resilient and courageous. Believing that a forceful path to mutant protection must be forged, Emma has covertly assembled a team of women to assist her in combating threats to mutancy and initiate radical change in the current landscape. Following in the memory of her deceased lover Cyclops’ revolutionary agenda, Emma has acted upon her grief and fortified her conviction to protect her species at all costs.
Utilizing her advanced abilities as a telepath and ‘psychic surgeon’, the White Queen has assembled a Sisterhood of vast and fearsome potential. Although it is Emma’s intention to actively safeguard mutant lives, Emma is well aware that it won’t be long before she and her team collide with the X-men. She is certain, however, that her new allies are up to the task of negating the ‘X’ interference, having carefully selected individuals with potent legacies with the mutant heroes. Ensuring that her team’s individual agendas align to fuel her overall goals, Emma is ready to face down the world and any who dare cross the path to her endgame.
Perhaps the most dangerous and unpredictable of Emma’s operatives is Madylene Pryor. A woman practically forged by betrayal and loss at the hands of the X-men, the Red Queen, as she has become known, is an addition to the Sisterhood that Emma admits could equally lead to its success or further destructive chaos.
With extraordinary abilities that have, as yet, displayed no upper limit, Madylene is certainly a force to be reckoned with and Emma is all too aware of this. In light of this, she has bequeathed to Madylene the role of ‘silent’ partner at the head of the Sisterhood; a position of co-leadership, but one working within the shadows of the team. Tasked with carrying out the more covert operations out of the public sphere, Madylene utilizes her considerable mutant and magical capabilities in cohort with fellow ‘sisters’, Spiral and Revanche to silence the most dangerous of threats quickly and quietly.
However, due to her formidable psychic shielding, Emma is unable to exert the same influence over the Red Queen that she has over the other members of the team. To do so would ensure detection. As such, Emma must be as subtle in her manipulations as she is able, in order to keep Madylene on the tentative leash she currently holds. While both women are working toward the same end currently, Emma is increasingly aware of the delicate balance of their partnership and feels she must soon obtain a greater source of leverage if she is to keep the Red Queen away from a path of total devastation.
Another operative as damaged as she is deadly is the secretive Japanese assassin known only as Kwannon. Formerly in the employ of Lord Nyoirin and lover of Matsuo Tsurayaba, Kwannon’s existence was forever changed when she crossed paths with the X-man, Psylocke. In a bizarre and tragic course of events, the two women’s psyches exchanged physical bodies, resulting in Kwannon permanently inhabiting Psylocke’s Caucasian form. Damaging enough as this event was, Kwannon was fated with an even darker end as her body was struck down with the terminal Legacy Virus, to which she fatally succumbed. That is, until recently.
Having sensed her potential during previous experiences, the Red Queen decided to restore Kwannon to a physical form from the psychic plane, albeit in the body she died in. Assuming a role in the Sisterhood at the Red Queen’s behest, Kwannon has once again taken up the codename of ‘Revanche’; a name all too familiar to the X-men. A deadly martial artist and swordswoman, Revanche also has the mutant ability to generate psionic blades. These manifestations of psychic energy are a residual trait of her entanglement with Psylocke and therefore genetically bound to her physical form.
Still deeply resentful of the manipulations she endured and grieving the loss of her original body and love, Matsuo, Revanche is determined to wreak vengeance on Elizabeth Braddock and her allies and she considers the Sisterhood the perfect means to do so.
Angelica Jones is a young woman who has suffered a great deal since developing her mutant powers. Often afraid of losing control when her ability to absorb and emit microwave radiation manifested in her teens, Jones has struggled to find equilibrium throughout her career as Firestar: Avenger, New Warrior and most recently, X-man.
In recent months, Angelica’s powers have grown in potency and had a damaging effect on her mental state; as increasingly volatile as her powers become, her psyche has become equally unpredictable. While loathe to do so, due to their adversarial history, Angelica has turned to Emma Frost in a plea for help. Knowing Emma could well be the only answer to her current instability, she hopes that the White Queen’s experience as an omega telepath will allow her to install mental fortifications to temper her power levels and mind.
Emma, while determined to help Angelica, could not pass up the opportunity to insert her into the Sisterhood. Realising the terrifying potential of the upper levels of Angelica’s powers, Emma began to psychically condition her to be her ‘big gun’; a dark reflection of their previous history as mentor and student.
Outfitted with a new uniform designed by Deathstrike to dampen and channel her fiery radiation, Angelica also acted upon Emma’s mental suggestion to adopt a new codename; one designed to both disguise her previous identity as Firestar and intimidate opposition. Thus, in a flare of cosmic flame, ‘Scornfyre’ is born…
Spiral is perhaps the operative of Emma’s team with the most connections to the group’s uncanny pasts. A product of genetic and mystical modification herself, Spiral has played an active role in both Revanche and Deathstrike’s lives, contributing to the events that have shaped both women into the deadly weapons they are today.
Like both Deathstrike and the Red Queen, Spiral’s skulls lie in the somewhat opposing disciplines of biotechnology and the mystic arts. Team these aptitudes with her abilities as a physical combatant and weapons master and Spiral proves that six arms truly are better than two! Emma quickly acknowledged this diverse range of talents and approached Spiral with Deathstrike in tow to convince her to join her cause. Having a twisted affinity for her ‘creations’, Spiral agreed to join the team based on Yuriko and Kwannon’s involvement as well as gaining the opportunity to gain further mystical knowledge from Madelyne Pryor.
Doubling as an extremely convenient source of teleportation, Spiral often assumes the role of ‘getaway driver’ for the team, magically generating portals into the very heart of their target locations and ensuring a swift escape. Always mysterious but apparently loyal, Spiral brings not only vast power to the all-female squad but a deadly sense of efficiency: ensuring that before the authorities can realize what has hit them, the Sisterhood has seemingly winked out of existence…
Enigmatic and elusive, the young woman Carmella Unuscione has been a quietly consistent force in the fight for mutant rights for years. As a former devout follower of Magneto as a member of his ‘Acolytes’, Unuscione is no stranger to using force to carry her beliefs. As such, she is unwilling to compromise her convictions to establish not just equal rights for the mutant populace, but force the world to acknowledge the true power of ‘homo superior’. In the eyes of Frost, Carmella’s dogmatic attitude and sense of loyalty makes her a valuable asset and, with a power set of intimidating scope, ideal as one of her enforcers/
Able to psionically generate an adaptive forcefield of pure energy, Unuscione is practically untouchable on the battlefield. Her self-named ‘exo-skeleton’ shifts and adapts to her every whim; instantly transforming from defensive barricade to an offensive onslaught of psionic constructs. Opponents snared by these constructs are then also susceptible to a pulse of debilitating psionic feedback generated by Carmella herself, the severity of which depending entirely on how merciful she feels toward her foe…
There is no argument: Joanna Cargill is a powerhouse. Nigh on invulnerable and astonishingly strong, Frenzy is the heavy lifter of Emma’s operation. Since joining the X-men in San Francisco and enduring the reality shift brought about by David Haller, Jo has been in two minds regarding her stance on mutant affairs.
Her Acolyte past and fiery temperament have always directed her fists, but the possibility of living in peace without further conflict is equally attractive to her. Following a meeting with Frost, Jo feels compelled to re-adhere to the hardline of battle, happy to reunite with a former colleague, Carmella Unuscione once again. While Emma provided the telepathic nudge to Jo’s conflicted thoughts to join the Sisterhood, Jo felt her fight far from over.
A spirited fighter and practically indestructible, Frenzy has re-assumed her role as mutant revolutionary with vigor. As long as the possibility of a better future exists, she is willing to place herself on the frontline. Of course, when the confrontation finally occurs between the Sisterhood and the X-men, Emma’s power of suggestion is going to have to hold against Jo’s wilful mentality in order to combat enemies who had become friends.
A woman who needed little incentive to join Emma’s crusade is Yuriko Oyama, aka ‘Deathstrike’. Having a long and antagonistic history with the X-men (Wolverine in particular), Yuriko has been a member of various terrorist groups in the past including The Reavers and Weapon X, but has primarily demonstrated that she is proficiently deadly when operating alone. Vengeful and mercantile in nature as well as calculating and incredibly adept with biomechanical technology, Deathstrike brings an eclectic range of skills to the Sisterhood and a strong working partnership with her fellow ‘Sister’, Spiral.
Equipped with her own cybernetic enhancements as well as a highly efficient healing factor, Deathstrike has proven to be a resistant enemy. Using her intellect as well as her advanced combat training, she has become Emma’s technical expert and a central combatant. In fact, with her retractable adamantium talons, there are few who could endure her wrath in a straight on assault. While the overall position of mutants in society means little to her own agenda, Deathstrike has been amenable to Emma’s goals with ample payment and access to the most advanced technologies in existence. Of course, the added bonus of one day eviscerating Logan’s ‘daughter’, Laura Kinney and repaying some of the pain he has dealt her over the years is nigh incentive enough to secure her ongoing involvement with Emma’s Sisterhood.
It cannot be denied that Regan Wyngarde certainly comes from a pedigree of mutant villainy. Daughter of the late Jason Wyngarde (the original Mastermind and founding member of the Brotherhood), there appears an element of d sting at work in Regan’s current position in Emma Frost’s operation.
With a personality as slippery and elusive as her powers of illusion and misdirection, Regan has made quite the criminal career for herself. Having been allied first to the Hellfire Club and later The Marauders, she seems to revel in the chaos she orchestrates. Caustic and often cruel, Regan is not the most reliable team player, but she does tend to go where the power lies so after learning the Red and White Queens were building the new iteration of the Sisterhood, she decided it would be advantageous to keep them on side.
Powerful in her own right, Regan inherited her illusory abilities from her father but has demonstrated that her psychic projections are of greater intensity and influence than those of her father. Even when unconscious her powers can still be in full effect and maintain a vivid illusion. So vivid in fact that Regan has killed using her hallucinations; convincing her target so completely that their bodies react in real time to the events playing out in their mind.
Seeing her powers as an incredible tactical asset, Emma was keen to bring Regan into the fold, aiming to use her gifts for cloaking the majority of the Sisterhood’s activities and influence potential targets. While there is little love lost between them, Emma could not deny that Regan had her uses in the field and felt that her recent exposure to the Terrigen-created M-Pox strain would ensure Regan’s desire for retribution and her allegiance.
Emma Frost is tired. The world she had hoped for with Cyclops and their Uncanny X-men still has not manifested and the hope of equality has been scattered to the wind. The progress of mutant relations with humanity and the wider world has ground to a halt in the wake of seemingly never-ending conflict and global chaos within the superhuman community. Civil Wars, Secret Wars and Infinity Wars have eroded the need to recognize the plight of the mutant population of late. Emma has become as angry as she is weary of her position on the side-lines. She did not, after all, drag her way back from the fracturing of her powers by the Phoenix and the death of her beloved to still be an afterthought.
Considered a radical by many of her peers after the Inhuman fiasco, Emma has decided to recapture her status as a corporate heavyweight; securing her assets of her namesake and reacquiring the fortune she once had to form her new venture. The Sisterhood. Unwilling to accept the status quo of mutants; many still imprisoned by the Inhumans and mutant detention facilities have never needed her help more.
Under the company guise of DIAMOND INCORPORATED, Emma draws together some of the most powerful and deadly female mutants and operatives she has ever encountered; some more challenging to reign in than she would admit. Summoning dangerous contacts and testing the limits of trust, Emma gathers eight recruits to her cause, occasionally leaning on telepathic suggestion to determine their involvement. That tactic notwithstanding, she has secured the operatives targeted and with a wealth of funding behind her, Emma has secured her first target: The Garland Detention Centre. A dark front for mutant imprisonment.
With a defensive grid of Sentinels at their disposal, the mutant detention center is an intimidating target, but the Sisterhood is confident that their collective power is more than enough to overcome the facility and liberate their genetic kin, with a view to recruit more members to their cause.
However, unknown to Frost, Elizabeth Braddock has been psychically tracking the echoes of Emma’s activities. Since battling the Shadow King and connecting to the psychic plane uninhibited, Elizabeth has found it difficult to ignore the activities of mutants with psychic gifts. Notifying Ororo and an elite team of X-men veterans (including Rogue, Polaris, Moonstar, Jean Grey, Tempus, and Dazzler), Psylocke and Storm deploy to counter the Sisterhood, but unknowing of the severity of the threat.
From Emma’s point of view, her odds are second to none. The more iconic the severity of the mutant response, the better; nothing more suitable to sear the path of mutancy in the minds of the world. As Emma told her Sisterhood: ‘Terror has never looked so good.’