A major fixture of X-Men comics has quietly been controlling Marvel heroes for years – proving why they’d be a perfect MCU wild card.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Devil’s Reign: X-Men # 2, now on sale from Marvel Comics
Devil’s Reign has been a major event in the Marvel Universe, with many of Marvel’s biggest heroes even captured by Mayor Fisk’s Thunderbolts. One of the only teams to avoid this is the X-Men, in large part due to their status as an international force. But in the process of Kingpin’s crusade against them, he’s proven why his greatest mutant rival should get a bigger spotlight in other media.
Devil’s Reign: X-Men # 2 by Gerry Duggan, Phil Noto, and VC’s Clayton Cowles proves how the powerful telepath Emma Frost works as a major wildcard for the hero community – and exactly the kind of impact she’d have if she were to show up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Emma Frost’s current role as one of the most powerful mutants in the world and steadfast ally to the X-Men was not always the case. For years, Emma Frost was a villain, serving alongside the rest of the villainous Hellfire Club as something of a dark counterpoint to the likes of Jean Gray. It was during this period that she worked alongside the Kingpin, as Devil’s Reign and recent events in Marauders have retroactively revealed. While Elektra was the Kingpin’s lethal agent, he would send the telepathic Frost as a “softer” option – her mutant abilities granting her the ability to steal information, suppress secrets, or forcibly change the minds of others.
It turns out that Emma’s time in this position actually crisscrossed with multiple other heroes, who may have never realized one of Krakoa’s most important mutant figures has actively affected their lives. While reflecting on her past actions in Devil’s Reign: X-Men # 2, she briefly reflects on some of these encounters, which reveal that while she was in Kingpin’s employ, she was more than willing to target other heroes. Disguised as the Invisible Woman, Frost tricked multiple banks into giving out hundreds of millions of dollars – potentially setting up any number of financial crises that the Fantastic Four have dealt with over the years. She quietly plucked an unseen idea from Tony Stark’s head and targeted She-Hulk in court – resulting in her making a mistake that seemingly cost her a case.
Perhaps most damningly, Emma is seen confronting Nick Fury while he’s in bed and implanting a thought – that he would “need to look the other way” when a red, white, and blue weapon is deployed. Given the suggested time period, it’s highly likely this references the recruitment of Nuke in Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s Daredevil: Born Again story-arc. That decision resulted in the deaths of multiple civilians – and Fury’s involvement may have prevented Nuke’s attack from getting so out of hand. Instead, Emma may have implicitly played a part in all that destruction just by ensuring he had the chance to attack Matt Murdock. It’s the kind of villainous turns that would make Emma such a dangerous figure within a continuity like the MCU, serving as a secret weapon against almost every hero.
But there are still hints throughout of the softer person inside Emma. She breaks orders to help Elektra save a little girl who witnessed their work together, and when she telepathically controls Spider-Man and sees his motivations, she quietly moved by his heroism and gives him an affectionate kiss on the cheek. She even uses her powers to ensure Spider-Man saves the lives of the men Elektra is fighting at the time, allowing him to remain a hero. It’s a good hint of how Emma would eventually become a far more committed teacher than villain, as seen here when she wonders aloud why she’s so committed to helping an orphan. It’s the perfect summation of Emma’s original character – a villain who seeks control of her situation, who finds herself becoming a genuine mentor.
This is the kind of unique position that Emma Frost could play in the MCU, even outside of her connection to the X-Men. A beautiful and ruthless telepath who nevertheless proves to have a heart under her diamond-covered exterior, Emma’s perfectly in-character working with Kingpin and trying to save lives from him. She’d be an ideal introduction to what mutants are and how they can be already moving around the scenes of the established universe. Then, she’d be a perfect character to expand upon and explore in the MCU version of the mutant team, offering a dark point-of-view in contrast to many of the more overtly heroic team members. Devil’s Reign: X-Men proves Emma might be a perfect character for the film universe.
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