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Gerry Duggan (writer), Matteo Lolli and Klaus Jansen (artists), Rain Beredo (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Tom Muller (Design), Russell Dautermann & Matthew Wilson (cover artists), Gerald Parel (alternate cover), Nick Russell (production), Jonathan Hickman (Head of X), Annalisa Bissa (assistant editor), Jordan D. White (editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
After the Hellfire Gala, Shaw is restored to full health. He has an outlandish but actually feasible plan to effect the resurrection of his dead fiancée, Lourdes Chantel. Xavier tells Emma to come clean with him or he will. Emma reveals to Shaw what really happened at that Hellfire Gala years ago. Lourdes wanted out, because Shaw was abusive to her. When they fought the Sentinel, Emma telepathically made Shaw and Leland believe that Lourdes had sacrificed her life for Shaw. Shen then took Lourdes to her sometime ally, the Kingpin of crime, to give her a new life in exchange for work. Fisk, however, made it clear that he wasn’t interested in Lourdes’ teleportation power but demanded Emma continue to work for him in exchange for his help. Angrily, Emma agreed. In the present, Emma tells Shaw that she despises him but he is necessary for their society. Elsewhere, the Cuckoos return from the afterparty on Mars to find a devastated Wilhelmina Kensington on the beach. After having her sanity restored, she now cannot live with her guilt. The Cuckoos promise to help her.
The day after the Hellfire Gala, a news show reports about the mutant takeover of Mars and the shockwaves it sent across the globe. Aerospace stocks have taken a hit, especially those of eccentric industrialist Feilong, who sank his fortune into conquering Mars, only to see his dream dashed overnight.
Great Britain no longer recognizes Krakoa, leading to confusion and chaos in Ireland where the price for Krakoan meds has quadrupled.
The morning after the gala: Emma Frost is recovering. She sends to the Stepford Cuckoos that they didn’t make it back last night.
The Cuckoos return from the afterparty on Mars to Mykines. Once there, they sense something wrong.
They find Wilhelmina Kensington sitting on the beach with glazed eyes, holding a dead puffin. One of the Cuckoos announces she thought they’d fixed her. A sister retorts why don’t they ask the dead puffin if she is fixed. Wilhelmina moans she found it like this.
At the Quiet Council’s meeting place, Shaw, hale and heathy once more, is first, expecting Emma. He is sorry about the trouble with the United Kingdom. He did try to warn her… A matter for later, she replies. There will be no trial of the White Queen, but she pleads guilty to her first carbs in months. She points out he is up early. That was their agreement, he reminds her. That he could address the physical rebuke after the first Gala… he is glad to be back at full strength. There is quite a bit of clean-up to do… Wouldn’t be a Hellfire Gala without collateral damage, Emma mutters.
Xavier enters and telepathically asks her for a word in private. He telepathically informs her that, before they lost the day to the Scarlet Witch situation, a matter arose with Sebastian at Arbor Magna this morning. He had a complicated plan to resurrect a mutant named… Lourdes Chantel, Emma finishes the thought somberly. Xavier continues that he was not familiar with her but was surprised when he looked into the matter. The question is does he tell Sebastian or does she?
At the Gala, the Cuckoos looked into Wilhelmina Kensington’s mind and found her radiating anger and despair. They flipped some switches in her to fix her. Something terrible had happened to her and she couldn’t help but pass the damage on - her first victim was her mother, who she threw out of a high-rise window. Later, she turned to torturing animals. And now, fixed, she is feeling the weight of those actions for the first time. They force her to remember how she was raped by her father as a child.
The Cuckoos locate the man in London and offer to accompany Wilhelmina there. She asks why they helped her. They reply that their mum taught them to look out for other women when men take advantage.
After a Quiet Council meeting, Emma asks Sebastian to stay behind. She repeats his plan to send a Cerebro unit back in time to save his dead fiancée Lourdes Chantel and tells him they can’t do it. Shaw blusters. Emma continues that she never died. Shaw looks at her in disbelief, then sinks down to his knees. Emma continues, noting that he saw what Emma wanted him to see. She corrects herself: What Lourdes wanted him to see. She begins to tell him the real story of what happened at that Hellfire Gala, then they will never speak of it again.
Emma’s narration:Shortly before the Gala:Emma’s busy getting dressed. She greets Lourdes, who enters her room and asks Emma for help. She takes off her headdress revealing a black eye. If she’s here for advice, teleport faster, Emma suggests. Lourdes replies she doesn’t trust the humans in the Hellfire Club and she is scared of the Black King. She just wants to get out!
Doing her make-up, Emma observes that’s a bit harder than getting in. She suggests Sebastian will be more relaxed after the gala. And she will have a talk with him. She uses her make-up to cover Lourdes’ bruise.
Lourdes muses he was so charming when they first met. She has hopes that Sebastian returns at the Gala.
Emma glosses over the following events. How she and Leland were attacked by a Sentinel in the Hamptons. Lourdes teleported herself, Shaw and Tessa there, further than she had ever teleported before, and he almost throttled her, but this is where Emma changed the script. She made Leland and Shaw see Lourdes sacrifice herself for Shaw.
Emma instructs the real Lourdes to stay here while the others return to the Gala to deal with Ned Buckman and the other humans in the Hellfire Club’s Inner Circle.
The rest of the evening went as Shaw recalled. They completed the hostile takeover of the Hellfire Club Lourdes had pushed for. Afterward, Emma showers and then meets Lourdes. Emma tells Lourdes she needs to run. If Shaw finds out, he will kill them both. Emma offers to help once more but warns her that Lourdes Chantel has to stay dead. She has a client of sorts who could use her talents. He will give her a new identity in return for a few favors. Lourdes doesn’t want to trade Sebastian in for someone worse. Is this man nice? Emma smiles and assures her he is a very sweet man and very well rounded.
And so, Emma brokers a meeting between Lourdes and Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of crime. Fisk greets Lourdes but announces he has no use for common thieves, whereas he would have great need of Frost’s talents. In return for extending Lourdes with an identify and some finances, he asks her to extend the contract Emma already has with him. Emma swears and makes her demands clear. Now who does he need fixed? All in good time, Fisk replies.
Present:Emma hints that the price was high, but eventually she worked off her debt as the Kingpin’s fixer, and that is all she will ever say about those days.
It’s all a lie, Shaw mutters. He made money playing both sides… then she died, and it made him choose a side. And he won, Emma reminds him. They took over the Hellfire Club, they took over an island, a world and this morning a solar system. She despises him but she doesn’t know if they could have pulled off everything as fast without him. She puts on her sunglasses and walks away, remarking in the end Krakoa is worth almost any sacrifice.
Emma Frost, Professor X, Sebastian Shaw (all Quiet Council)Stepford Cuckoos
In the news:Feilong
Emma’s narration / the past:Emma FrostLourdes Chantel
Harry Leland, Sebastian ShawKingpin
X-Force protocol on Wilhelmina Kensington.
Letter from Bishop to the Quiet Council regarding Nimrod and suggesting among other things the resurrection of Harry Leland, who was instrumental in beating Nimrod years ago
Further notes:First mention of Feilong, who will become a thorn in the heroes’ sides in X-Men (6th series).
The story of Lourdes’ “death” was told in Classic X-Men #7, which was reprinted last issue.
The “Scarlet Witch situation” refers to X-Men: the Trial of Magneto.
More of Emma frost’s relationship with the Kingpin of Crime is told in the X-Men: Devil’s Reign series.