Emma Frost Ultimate Collection Paperback – Jun 8 2011
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About the Author
Karl Bollers has written comics for 20 years, for Marvel and Archie. His notable titles were Machine Man, Muties, Emma Frost, and Sonic the Hedgehog. Karl also has edited for Marvel comics as well.
Top Customer Reviews
If you're looking for big twists and cityscape fighting then you won't like this too much.
This comic follows Emma frost from being a teenage and developing her mutant powers until university. The writing is fantastic, mixes the problems of adolescents and early adulthood with developing mutant powers.
Not needed for any future or early stories, just a more in depth look at a good character
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Returning to comics in 2008, I discovered that there had been some MAJOR changes made to Emma Frost's character over the years. She was no longer a villain. She could turn herself into diamond. She had joined the X-Men. She replaced Charles Xavier (aka Professor X) as the X-Men's telepath. She was in a relationship with Scott Summers (aka Cyclops). She had her own 18-issue comic book series. And, last but not least, she had become this giant sex symbol.
The EMMA FROST ULTIMATE COLLECTION compiles all 18 issues of Emma Frost's solo series. The first several issues of the series (and the cover of this compilation) makes you feel like you're buying porn. It's a painted cover of Emma in a provocative pose. Ironically, the stories on the inside had nothing to do with the sexy portraits on the outside. In fact, they were about her as a young girl growing up, attending school and dealing with her wealthy family members. Something about that felt almost...pedophiliac. The covers were geared toward an older, horny, straight male audience. The interior stories were geared toward adolescent and teenage girls. I almost feel like that's where Marvel Comics went wrong. They could have used Emma Frost to try to attract a young female audience to the Emma Frost series. Instead, the series attracted the horny boy/guy by its sexy covers and then disappointed them by providing a Hannah Montana/teenage angst storyline. For this reason alone, I think the comic book failed after 18 issues.
The first sex...er, six...issues of the series takes place when Emma is a young girl in school. She gets picked on at school, she has a crush on her sympathetic teacher, and she's beginning to discover (and be frightened of) her mental abilities. We also see her in her homelife as one of the children of an affluent Massachusetts family. Her siblings have their own definite (and intriguing) personalities, her father is very controlling, and her mother is blissfully ignorant because of her prescription meds. All of this was fascinating and I was disappointed to see it end after six issues.
The next six issues were about Emma breaking free from the control of her father and living on the streets. During this period, she meets a man and they try to extort money from her father by her pretending to be kidnapped and held for ransom.
The final six, Emma has taken all of her ransom money and enrolled herself in college. She meets a fellow telepath who poses as her best friend but then secretly wants to destroy her.
The series was all wonderfully written by Karl Bollers, and I would have loved to have seen him write about 100 issues of each of those three segments of her life, continuing on into her joining the Hellfire Club and apparently having "romantic" trysts with some of Marvel's prominent male superheroes like Iron Man and Namor. What I also especially loved about Bollers' storytelling was his use of supporting characters in Emma Frost. Her family members, teachers, schoolmates, friends, etc. all had their own definite, unique personalities and I wanted to know about them as much as I wanted to know about Emma. That's the sign of great writing.
I'm sad that Emma Frost was cancelled after 18 issues. However, I still believe that there is a market out there for her stories as Bollers told them, if the series was properly geared toward the right audience. Not every comic has to be about battles and good vs. evil. Emma Frost's brilliant first six issues demonstrated that (if not for the conflicting Penthouse covers). Sometimes the writer can transport the reader away into the world of their superhero characters with just their social interactions. It's sad that Marvel Comics dropped the ball on this one.
The series starts out really bad. The first story is basically about her high school life and feels very much like a 90210 comic, as another reviewer stated, but which in my opinion is not a good thing for this character. I felt that Emma's family, particularly her father, were not believable as characters. The dad is too evil with no redeeming qualities at all. This usually makes for a bad villain. Even the galactic universe spanning villains of the Marvel Universe tend to have some flaw which make the character interesting. This guy is just a bastard.
The second storyline actually improves a lot. The plot is quite interesting, reminiscent of Pulp Fiction, but the execution, the actual dialogue and so on, could be much better. The second story surrounds an adventure Emma has with some gangsters and in this case the villain is actually pretty interesting and well developed.
The final storyline about her adventures in college is the best of the three and shows her development as a chacter. It still has the 90210 feel, but less teeny boppery, and again the antagonists are more realistic. It also has a really interesting twist at the end, BUT it seems quite obvious to me (without having any factual information at hand) that this was about the time the series was being cancelled and the writer was asked to bring it to a conclusion fast. He was going interesting places with it, and had he been given more issues it would have been even better.
Three different art teams handle the three different storylines. They are about the same level of quality, although my favourite was the middle storyline. My main problem is with the dialogue, which is decompressed. The decompression reduces as the series goes along, so the final story, the best of the lot, is much meatier than the first.
It must be said that the covers, except for one or two where there appear to be some CG fails, are pretty fantastic. So this is another reason I give this book the benefit of the doubt.
The partial glibness of my review title aside, it's not a bad way to sum up the trade. Emma is one of three daughters (plus a son) of obscenely rich Winston Frost. Hated at school because of "daddy's" riches and just another pawn to be manipulated and molded for Winston, Emma's life gets even more complicated when her mysterious headaches lead to the development of psychic abilities. We follow Emma's struggle with power, both hers and that which others would exert over her, until she's largely the woman we know as the White Queen.
If this doesn't sound at all like a "normal" action oriented X-men comic, that's because it isn't. The story is still extremely good and well told (both in plotting and art). But fair warning: it may not be what you're expecting.
The early series covers (the first of which was used as a cover for the trade) underscore the possible disconnect. They are (admittedly beautiful) pin up style portraits of "current day" Emma. Since the entire story is flashback and more "teen drama" than "superhero" genre-wise they have practically nothing to do with the contents of the book, and unfortunately may drive away some readers who would really enjoy it. See the back cover for more indicative images.
EFUC is a strong coming of age tale of tragedy, love, being different and, yes, superpowers. Not for everyone but excellent for what it is.
For those who do not know, Emma Frost is a mutant who possesses telepathic abilities, as well as a secondary mutation that allows her to transform her skin into solid diamond. Before she became a member of the X-Men, she was once the White Queen of the dreaded Hellfire Club, a secret society whose inner circle of mutants intends to conquer the world through their vast political and economic influence. Emma would eventually leave the Hellfire Club however and end up joining the X-Men after the genocide of Genosha in Grant Morrison’s NEW X-MEN. Since then she has become a highly prominent leader of the team, and has engaged in a romantic relationship with Cyclops. While Emma Frost comes from a prestigious background, wears particularly provocative clothing, and is not afraid to flaunt rude attitude towards her fellow teammates, what separated her from most “upper class, rich jerks” in my opinion was humorous personality. Emma will often make witty sarcastic remarks towards others, which help serve to flaunt her selfish ego in a manner that I find absolutely hilarious! (My favorite one-liner of Emma’s is in NEW X-MEN where Jean asks Emma what makes her such a b****, and Emma replies, “Breeding darling… Top-class breeding…” (Makes me chuckle every time)). And while Emma’s playful banter does make her come across as egotistical, she also conveys a degree of humanity that shows that she does care for her comrades, and wants to everything in her power to protect mutant kind. So while Emma can definitely come across as a b****, her sarcastic personality and subtle empathy makes her a three-dimensional character with humanity and dignity, rather than a simple bully who is motivated solely by greed. It is because of Emma’s ability to be humorous and likable despite belonging to an archetype that I often hate, that she ranks among my top 5 favorite X-Men members. To compliment the character's unique traits, in the early 2000’s, writer Karl Bollers wrote a fantastic 18-issue series that provided an in-depth exploration of Emma Frost’s past, and the decisions and situations that have made her the person she is today.
The woman who would soon become the seductive mutant telepath was originally an innocent teenage girl from a highly prestigious family in Boston. Life was hard for young Emma as while she attended private school, she struggled to maintain average grades and was the target of ridicule from more academically successful and popular students, and her home-life was no better due to having selfish siblings and a father who was focused only on business and cared little for his children’s well-being. The only anchors that help guide Emma through her struggles are her older brother Christian, who is rebellious against their neglectful father, and her teacher Ian Kendall, who believes that she has great potential and encourages her to strive towards a better future. Everything changes for Emma however when she begins to suffer a series of intense headaches that eventually result in her awakening her mutant telepathic abilities. Now able to hear the thoughts of others, Emma uses her newfound skills to pass all of her exams and become one of the best students in the class. Kendall takes notice of this and encourages her to pursue a career in teaching. But that may prove difficult for Emma as she struggles with developing feelings towards her teacher, her father’s controlling influence, and situations that will distance herself even further from her family. Desiring to forge her own path, Emma Frost will use her telepathic abilities to make life easier for herself, becoming more ruthless and unethical as she takes steps towards becoming the cunning and ambitious woman that readers know today!
As an origin story, EMMA FROST: THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION definitely succeeds in developing the past of the dreaded White Queen. Not only is the story well written, with the characters and their dilemmas immediately established, but it also has a careful handling on Emma’s personality and development. Rather than immediately writing Emma as the openly sarcastic and egocentric woman she is today, Karl Bollers makes the careful decision to start her out as shy and innocent teen. She is struggling to maintain her grades, is bullied by her fellow classmates, and has a strained relationship with her rich father and spoiled sisters. Her personality reflects this, as she is unconfident in her own abilities, is awkward and shy around her peers, and will only open herself up to individuals like her teacher and older brother, who acknowledge her worth. This allows the reader to develop sympathy towards Emma as it not only establishes the circumstances that will progress her character development later on, but grounds them in realistic situations that readers can connect and relate to. However, Emma’s behavior gradually begins to become more reckless and selfish once she awakens her telepathic powers, as she uses them to commit actions such as cheating on tests to outscore her former bullies, rebel against her father’s controlling nature, and win poker games while struggling to live on her own. The more Emma commits these actions, the more she begins to relish in the power she feels in feeling superior over the people who originally made her miserable. Essentially, rather than having her enjoy feeling superior over others right from the start, her enjoyment slowly develops over time. Because of this, Emma does not come across as a one-dimensional character who simply enjoys tormenting others for the sake of it, but as an actual human being influenced by the misuse of power. Not only does this decline in ethical behavior connect perfectly with her future status as the White Queen of the Hellfire Club, but it also allows readers to sympathize with her, as she was innocent and noble at one point.
Bollers also provides further sympathy towards Emma by having her actions be justified by unselfish intentions. Rather than being committed out of spite or a desire for dominance, Emma had originally read the minds of her students and teachers in order to improve her grades is that she could make her teacher Mr. Kendall proud. This was not only because she admired him, but also that Kendall was one of the few people to not shun Emma, and he openly acknowledged her feelings and potential skills. Emma’s disobedience against her father is also justified, as it was developed from a desire to protect her older brother Christian, and his desire for independence. While Emma had a strained relationship with her two sisters, she held a close bond with Christian, as he wanted to escape his father’s neglectful and demanding nature. Therefore, Emma was willing to help her older brother because she also held contempt towards their father. However, Emma’s actions gradually become more defiant as their father keeps interfering with Christian’s well being, and Emma retaliates by resorting to unethical methods such as blackmailing dark secrets against him. The noble intentions behind Emma’s actions help provide a human layer to her character, portraying her not as being selfish and defiant simply out of vanity, but having slowly developed those traits through her noble attempts to overcome the dilemmas of both herself and others. In essence, her actions started out as moral but became more corrupted as time progressed. This not only allows readers to connect and sympathize with Emma from a psychological perspective, even if they don’t agree with her unethical behavior, but also connects with her later becoming an X-Man, willing to sacrifice anything for the sake of her friends and fellow mutants, despite her egotistical attitude.
Overall, EMMA FROST: THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION is an intelligently crafted origin story for one of my favorite X-Men. The story is well-written, the characters and situations immediately established and made relatable by being grounded in realism, and the careful handling of Emma’s gradual ethical decline allows readers to connect and sympathize with her, rather than be turned off by her actions. Quite rarely is a character from wealthy background committing selfish actions made likable in my eyes, as the only motivations that I get from them are a simple lust for greed and power. With Emma Frost however, her character is compelling not only in her sarcastic personality, but because she does convey concern and distress for others despite being selfish and egotistical. To make a selfish character likable is indeed an incredibly difficult task, but the writers behind Emma’s character do it with such care and handling that it has made her one of my favorite members of the X-Men!
“ ‘They’re a rotten crowd’, I shouted across the lawn. ‘You’re worth the whole [darn] bunch put together.’ ”
' F. Scott Fitzgerald, THE GREAT GATSBY
However I can't recommended this book
Simply because how horrible it makes me feel
Without giving to much away there are so many characters in these stories that do terrible things and get away with them scott free
And I'm not talking super villains stealing jewels and stuff
I'm talking regular humans physically and emotionally destroying others and no bad comes to them and the wronged people just arnt seen again
So it's worth a try but il never read it again as it didn't offer the escapism that most books do it simply reminded me how horrible the real world is and I can just watch the news for that