On a mission of vengeance after the events involving the Mothervine, Magneto has set his sights on his first target – Emma Frost, the White Queen! Only one group stands in his way, but can even the original five X-Men stop Magneto as he turns back to the dark side?
X-Men: Blue #31 – ‘Kings and Queens Part One’
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Jorge Molina
Color Artist: Matt Milla
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: R.B. Silva & Rain Beredo
What You Need to Know:
Many months ago, before Jean Grey and Magneto became allies, they had a secret meeting where Jean telepathically looked into his mind, read his memories, and saw something that changed her opinion about him. A lot has happened to Magneto since that meeting and pushed to the edge, he has vowed to advance his mutant agenda in any way he can. His first target? Emma Grace Frost, the White Queen.
What You’ll Find Out:
We open on a secret meeting between Jean and Magneto, which happened a few months ago. Magneto has just offered to let Jean read his mind, which she does, flashing back to his memories as a child at a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. Max – Magneto as a child – tells Jean that he failed, and when Jean asks how, he doesn’t answer but asks if Jean can help him. Jean tells him that she’s not sure she can do anything – they’re in the past, after all – and Max then asks her to help the others around him, if she can’t help him. Jean tries to explain that she’s unable to when a uniformed man tells her that this is a memory that Magneto relives every day. The Nazi explains to Jean that though he was only in Max’s life for a fraction of a second, he is the face of all of Max’s hatred and fears. Max starts saying that someone is coming back, and Jean stands between Max and the Nazi officer, thinking that he’s talking about him. That’s when the officer tells Jean that he’s not talking about him, but rather Magneto. The real Magneto. He explains to Jean that the real Magneto always returns sooner and later and that a person can only deny their true nature for so long. Jean realizes that the reason Magneto let her in was to see this – to see him fighting back the darkness – so that she could help him, which she agrees to do, though Magneto knows that the other original five X-Men don’t trust him – and he’s aware that they probably shouldn’t.
Back in the present, Alex Summers sits on a bench at the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, where Lorna Dane meets him. They have a brief little discussion where Lorna checks in on him to see how he’s doing now that he’s in his own mind again. Alex feels as though he owes everyone an apology, and Lorna explains that he literally was not in his right mind, but Alex explains that he wasn’t brainwashed or being mind-controlled, it was simply a part of him who wanted to do the terrible things he did because he felt it was the right thing to do. Alex worries that Magneto is coming after him, but Lorna reassures him that though she doesn’t know what Magneto is planning, he’s most focusing on people who were in total control of their senses when doing bad things.
From there, the action shifts to a Hellfire Club party in Manhattan, replete with people in Victorian and pseudo-Victorian garb gossiping, eating, drinking, making plans, while masked, scantily clad women dance in cages suspended from the ceiling. It is, for members of the Hellfire Club, a pleasant party, but one that doesn’t stay pleasant for long because there’s Magneto, ready to disrupt the proceedings. He’s searching for Emma Frost – the White Queen – but no one there has heard from her in some time. Angry that he can’t find her, he tells them that the next time she reaches out to them, there won’t be anyone there to answer her call.
The next morning, the X-Men appear at the site of the Hellfire Club gathering, only to find the building nearly destroyed. They speak to the authorities there, one of whom doesn’t seem too pleased to see them there, but Jean promises that they want to help. As they start to go through the mess that was made, Scott wonders if Magneto was really behind the mess, and Jean (having scanned the minds of the detectives and gathered eyewitness reports from the survivors of the party) confirms that it was. Jean explains that everything that happened while they were gone – the Mothervine attacks and everything – probably set him off, and Bloodstorm confirms that Magneto had gone through a lot in their absence. Scott points out that this is why they need to go back to their own time so that they can stop him, though Jean reminds him that they need to stop him in the now as well. After all, they signed up with him in the first place so they could be there if or when he snapped.
From Manhattan, the X-Men go to Malibu, California and meet with Briar Raleigh, Magneto’s ally, who tells them that she’s been guiding him and isn’t really in a mood to stop him. She suggests that they sit this adventure out and let Magneto do his thing, get it all out of his system. He’ll get better, the Hellfire Club will be demolished, all will be well, especially once Magneto finds who he is looking for. Jean correctly guesses that Briar knows where Emma Frost is hiding, and Briar confirms that she has her suspicions. Because she likes this particular set of X-Men, she points them in the direction of Paris, France, with the warning that them being there will only cause things to escalate.
In Paris itself, tucked away in one of her many homes, Emma guides a couple of men to hurry and pack – Paris has grown tiresome and she’d much rather be on her someplace else within the hour. She’s aware that Magneto’s on her trail, and she wants to be anywhere but there – but of course, the X-Men have caught on to her. Emma, as she is wont to do, snarks at the X-Men, but Jean tries to reassure her that they’re there to help protect her from Magneto and that they’re going to stop him. Emma finds this amusing and tells them that she doesn’t need their help, she can handle Magneto just fine on her own. Angel, looking out the window, tells her that he hopes she’s right about that because he can see Magneto outside, a bunch of cars swirling around him, ready to take Emma down himself.
What Just Happened?:
X-Men: Blue has been an interesting book in that it’s had some high arcs and some low arcs. When mired down in all of the Poison stuff, the book tends to lag, but when the book focuses more on characters like Magneto, Emma, and Polaris, the book tends to shine, and this particular arc seems to be heading for a high point rather than a low point. The scene between Jean and Magneto is a powerful one, especially because this is a Jean who is not as familiar with Magneto as her older counterpart may be. Regardless, she’s ready to help him as best as she can, especially when she finds out that she’s there to keep him from slipping into darkness. Knowing what she knows about her own future self and having experienced everything she has since coming to the present, it’s a wonderful scene. Jean tends to shine when she’s in a leadership role, and that’s evident in how Bunn writes her here, where she’s constantly cogent of everything going on around her, and she’s savvy enough to figure things out without having to be spoon-fed information.
Bunn diving deeper into Magneto’s psyche is shaping up to be an interesting development. Magneto is one of those characters – much like Emma Frost – who has always sort of vacillated between being an out and out villain, a heroic figure, or standing somewhere in between. On numerous occasions, he has faced off against the X-Men as much as he has worked with them, even having been Headmaster of Xavier’s for a spell and guiding the New Mutants. Much like his experience with the New Mutants, though, his experience with the original five X-Men here hasn’t always been smooth – just as the New Mutants would run off on their own adventures, so did this group of X-Men, leaving Magneto to deal with some difficult stuff on his own. It’s not exactly clear where Bunn is taking Magneto on his journey, but it seems to be the sort of thing that might pair well with the issues that Lorna herself has dealt with off and on over the years, and indeed could be something that could bring father and daughter closer. Lorna’s always had her own demons to deal with, and now we’re getting a closer look at Magneto’s own demons, and that’s always an interesting place to go to.
Bunn has perhaps written the best Emma Frost in a very long while. Though she was well-written in both Grant Morrison’s run and Joss Whedon’s run, afterward, writers seemed to falter with the character, getting her voice wrong or her past wrong, never quite really getting what made the character who she was. It was that unfortunate sort of unevenness that led to Emma’s bizarre turn to villainy in the Avengers vs X-Men story, but here Bunn seems to bring her back to the Emma many readers have known, loved, and missed. While it’s a little uncomfortable seeing her chide Cyclops the way she does, there is a history there – one which she misses, one which he is all too aware of and hasn’t yet experienced. She’s always a fun character when written well and seeing her clash against Magneto will be very interesting indeed, especially as it seems as though she has a contingency plan or two ready to face him off. After all, she’s been in his orbit a very long time, as enemies and as allies, and Emma undoubtedly has something ready to fight him with.
Jorge Molina is always a welcome artist in the pages of X-Men: Blue, he does some very solid, classic comic book storytelling with clean, easy to follow layouts, great linework, and he’s wonderfully expressive. He did some incredibly strong work with Jean in the very first few pages of this issue, and the one page he gets to spend with Lorna and Alex is beautiful – his Lorna is powerful, self-assured, and well-dressed. If there’s one complaint, it’s that his Cyclops sometimes seems to be in his early twenties instead of his late teens, but it’s a small complaint when put against some of the work he puts in. Matt Milla does some wonderful colorwork in this issue – bleak when Jean is in Magneto’s mind, bright and lush when showing Lorna and Alex in Golden Gate Park, and appropriately moody throughout the issue. They’re a solid art team for the book and really help pull it all together.
Final Thoughts: As the book is heading towards its final few issues, Bunn, Molina, and Milla are putting out a fun, satisfying arc with some great character beats and exciting action. This book comes highly recommended.
Subscribe to us on YouTube, Follow us on Twitter, and Like us on Facebook!
Join our Age of Social Media Network consisting of X-Men, Marvel, DC, Superhero and Action Movies, Anime, Indie Comics, and numerous fan pages. Interested in becoming a member? Join us by clicking here and pick your favorite group!
User Review( votes)