Monday, August 6, 2012

The Massachusetts Mind Control Movement Part II: Free Will? Free Will Who?

When we last left our heroes, the New Mutants tried and failed to rescue Kitty Pryde from the clutches of Emma Frost and her Hellions. Only Magik and Mirage managed to escape thanks to Illyana's teleportation power. After resting up in Limbo, the two returned to Earth, ready to free their fellow New Mutants.

Unfortunately, Magik doesn't simply teleport through space, she inadvertently warps through time as well. So, instead of arriving a few hours after their initial confrontation with the Hellions, Dani and Illyana popped back in a full year after those events. By that time, the New Mutants had been effortlessly integrated into the Massachusetts Academy, no doubt with some mental nudging.

The two girls quickly turned back to Limbo to tryagain. But, lets focus a little on how freely Emma Frost and the student body employ mind control.

That's classy, trying to mind control your own teammate to have him BEG your forgiveness. The Hellion Empath was bound to be trouble, as future posts will show. Still, I suppose he only learned from the best.

Here's Emma playing a little psychological warfare with Kitty and the captured New Mutants. Emma's trying to break them up as a team by claiming she's already controlling Kitty's mind. Not only does this make the New Mutants doubt everything Kitty says or does, she's also starting to doubt her own actions. Its a subtle way of torturing your enemies until they eventually give in.

Claremont makes it abundantly clear how Emma's methods differ from Xavier's. While Charles is usually extremely hesitant when it comes to using his telepathy, Emma seems most eager to consider controlling, wiping or otherwise rearranging minds as she sees fit. But she's not doing it impulsively...

Its scenes like these that started Emma's slow evolution from a cardboard cut out bad guy to an actual person who cared about the people under her tutelage.

Still, that didn't mean Emma couldn't revert to type whenever the situation called for it... For instance, when she discovered Mirage and Magik were trying to free their former teammates.

Right before the White Queen could snatch them, Dani and Illyana teleported away. Locating their friends, they managed to reunite just as the Hellions arrived to bring them in. In a bizarre twist that would have made perfect sense in the Silver Age... The Hellions agreed to let the New Mutants go free. If, that is, they were able to defeat them.

Needless to say, before long a fierce fight erupts in the Academy's equivalent of the Danger Room. Realising how foolish and pointless this is, Kitty intervenes by phasing herself through the room's circuitry, causing the ersatz Danger Room to go haywire. Capitalising on the confusion, Illyana 'ports the team back home.

And thus endeth the New Mutants' first encounter with the White Queen. But two dozen issues or so later, Emma was actually essential in getting them back on their feet. After being utterly destroyed and brought back to life by the Beyonder during Secret Wars II, the New Mutants were demoralised and depressed. But because Beyonder had wiped their memories of the events, no one knew what was wrong. 

Usually, Charles Xavier would have examined the problem, but by then he was in space with Lilandra and the Starjammers. That's why acting headmaster Magneto was forced to seek out Emma's aid.

Judging from her inner monologue, the White Queen had grown as a person by then and truly had the New Mutants' best interest at heart. From this moment on, Emma was put on the path of redemption that led her from losing her Hellions to shepherding Generation X and finally as Cyclops' right hand aid in the difficult years after the decimation.

And ow yeah, she gave up smoking too. Cos she's good and all.

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