Uncanny X-Men #19
Emma Frost and her plans are laid bare in Uncanny X-Men #19, by writer Matthew Rosenberg, artists Carlos Villa, Carlos Gomez, and Bob Quinn, inkers Juan Velasco, Adriano Di Benedetto, Michelle Delecki, Carlos Gomez, and Bob Quinn, colorist GURU-eFX, and letter Joe Caramagna. This issue shifts the focus to Emma Frost, revealing what she’s been doing while also answering a lingering question from earlier in the series.
Months ago, Emma Frost watched the X-Men tackle a Sentinel from afar. Later that night, she’s attacked by Transmode infected Strong Guy, Dani Moonstar, and Xi’an Coy Manh. They capture her and bring her to O.N.E.’s leader, General Callahan. They eventually come to a deal, and Emma is released and “working” for O.N.E. From there, Emma rebuilds the leadership of the Hellfire Club, while also doing Callahan’s bidding. After finding out Cyclops is alive, she finds Wolverine and uses her powers to make him go to Cyclops and forget she existed. In the present, Mystique, masquerading as Captain America, brings Emma Mr. Sinister, but before the Hellfire Club can figure out what to do with him, Wolverine and Revanche show up.
Matthew Rosenberg has been building O.N.E. into a more significant threat than it has ever been before, and this issue shows the lengths they will go to contain and eradicate the mutant threat. They aren’t above using mutants against themselves, as demonstrated by the Transmode infected X-Men and capturing and using Emma Frost. Emma, though, is a bit more dangerous than all that and even though she does works with them, she’s continually trying to find ways to sabotage them. The issue really captures who Emma is- a survivor. She’ll do anything to survive, but she’ll also make sure that those working against her suffer.
Readers also get to find out why Anole stole Beast’s mutant cure serum in this issue- it was at Emma’s bidding as a trade to O.N.E. for her release. It’s also interesting that she was the one who got Wolverine to go to Scott. However, it does kind of take away from their reconciliation. Mystique masquerading as Captain America is also quite intriguing because of the agreement that Cap and Scott made. The X-Men are basically working for Hellfire Club now. Emma’s role in the current affairs of the X-Men is a very nice touch.
The art in this issue is all over the place. There are three different artists, and their styles are similar enough that there are no jarring transitions, but there’s really nothing special about any of the art. It’s serviceable at best. Nothing really stands out as good, but nothing really stands out as bad either. It’s just sort of there.
Uncanny X-Men #19 adds a lot of interesting wrinkles to what’s been going on in the book. Emma, as a master manipulator who is also being manipulated, is a nice touch and seeing the lengths she’s willing to go to for survival will give new and lapsed readers a feel for who she is. The art is the book’s biggest weakness. It doesn’t do anything very bad, but it doesn’t do anything very good either. With better art, this book would have been amazing, but it’s still very good.