Emma Frost #5

Issue Date: 
January 2004
Story Title: 
Higher Learning - part 5

Karl Bollers (writer), Randy Green (penciler), Rick Ketcham (inker), Pete Pantazis (colorist), Cory Petit (letterer), Greg Horn (cover artist), Cory Sedlmeier (assistant editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

The Frost family arrive back from their holiday in France and Christian insists that he is not returning to the family home. Winston is unhappy about it but Christian leaves anyway. Later, Emma gets into an argument with her mother about what happened in France and inadvertently passes on her memories of the event to her mother, who collapses from the strain. The doctor checks her out and assures them she’ll be fine, though he tells Winston that, if she doesn’t improve, she may need a specialist. Christian calls Emma and tells her that their father has fired him so she visits him at his townhouse and finds him locked out, and with no money after his accounts were frozen also. Furious, she visits her father at work and informs him that Christian now has somewhere else to live. Her mother’s condition improves but Emma is sad that she can’t admit the truth about what she now knows. After trying to locate Mr. Kendall, Emma visits Christian at Dante’s apartment when the door is kicked in by police and they are all arrested. Winston visits them at jail and Emma reveals that he set everything up, resulting in Dante’s deportation back to Cuba. Christian is upset and, two weeks later, after Adrienne confesses setting her brother up for the fall, Emma has a nightmare about Christian and rushes to his room, discovering him hanging from the ceiling.

Full Summary: 

(Logan International Airport, Boston, Massachusetts, 11.26pm)

The Frost family vacation is over; a bona fide disaster, according to Emma. As the family waits for their bags to be brought to them, Christian announces that he is leaving, but his father, Winston, tells him that he will not return to ‘the lifestyle’ on his watch; he will return home with them where he belongs. Christian makes an impassioned speech, declining his father’s request. This is the life he has chosen and he has only one life to live, so no amount of strong-arming is going to change either of those facts. He says good night and departs, with Emma looking on with admiration.

(Frost House, Boston, Massachusetts, 2.14am)

Dressed in her nightgown, Emma wanders downstairs and finds her mother reading; unable to sleep and looking over the old family album. Emma ponders over her words before letting her mother know that she never meant for her camera, or the pictures of her father and his mistress, to be found. Hazel says she has too vivid an imagination and the photographs don’t prove anything, other than the fact that Winston was entertaining a business contact. Emma becomes annoyed and they become involved in an argument over just what the photographs show. Hazel says that the alleged fondling photograph was cropped at the wrist and Emma asks if she is the type who shoots pictures of random men’s hands on French women’s butts.

Hazel stands up, not appreciating Emma’s language, and tells her that she came down there to be alone but Emma isn’t finished yet, claiming that maybe she should be honest, a rare commodity around here. Hazel tells Emma she has heard enough and doesn’t have to listen to her accusations. Emma believes she was only trying to help but Hazel asks if she hasn’t ‘helped’ enough already. Emma wonders why she’s taking Winston’s side and making her out to be the bad guy here. She has to make her see the truth and she reaches out to her mother’s shoulder to try and stop her leaving, but this has wholly unexpected results.

As her hand makes contact, her mother is shocked by a flood of images coming directly from Emma’s mind of the night she followed her father and the French woman, with every detail as clear as day. She stumbles to the floor and blood begins to seep from her mouth. “I…I can see him…her, together. Please make it stop…” Emma looks around and calls for help, wondering what she did. Winston, Adrienne and Cordelia appear at the doorway and Winston asks what’s wrong with her but Emma replies that she doesn’t know. The photo album lies on the floor nearby, the page opened at Hazel and Winston’s wedding day.


As the three daughters wait for news on their mother’s condition, Emma thinks about what happened. When she touched her, instead of experiencing her mother’s memories, she accidentally made Hazel experience hers. Now she could be seriously hurt and it’s all her fault. She’s dangerous, she thinks; maybe she should tell someone. Suddenly, the door opens and Winston steps out with Dr. Upjohn, reassuring his daughters that there is no cause for alarm. Dr. Upjohn informs them that Hazel suffered a mild seizure but hospitalization won’t be necessary. However, it has left her in a state of temporary shock and he asks Emma is she has any idea what led to her collapse. No, Emma replies, she found her that way. Dr. Upjohn is led away by Winston and informs him that if his wife’s condition doesn’t improve, he might consider contacting a specialist. Adrienne gives Emma a peculiar look.

(The next morning)

Emma appears to have slept beside her mother and is woken by the maid, Violet, who hands her a telephone. On the other end is Christian, who has some bad news; his father has fired him. Emma says she’s so sorry; it must have been humiliating. He asks her to come over but she says that their mother is ill. It appears Christian hasn’t been informed of this, so Emma tells him that she’ll have Bryce drive her over, but she can’t stay very long.

Soon, she arrives at Christian’s townhouse and finds him sitting on the steps. She asks him what he’s doing and he replies that Winston has gone ultra-Machiavellian. He’s had the locks to the house changed while simultaneously freezing his bank accounts. Now he has no money, no job and no place to live. He asks about their mother and Emma informs him that the doctor isn’t sure what really happened, and with everything that’s going on, maybe he should come back with her to the mansion. Christian is reluctant, however, as it would mean Winston has won again and Emma realizes he’s right, and there’s no way she’ll let him back down now. She has an idea.

(Frost Technologies, later)

Emma storms into a meeting, which Winston is chairing, and, in a resigned manner, he adjourns the meeting for five minutes while he talks with his daughter. She orders him to leave Christian alone. He should have guessed. It was too much to expect her to be dropping by to pay the old man a cordial visit. He asks how she got past security and she replies, “Hot air balloon.” Fabulous, he replies, and asks her to leave. She says she’s serious about Christian but her replies that so is he, and insists he is not her enemy; they are on the same side. He only wants what’s best for her brother but he knew he’d never come home unless circumstances forced him to do so. He just wants him to learn some traditional family values. He puts his arm on her shoulder and asks where Christian is right now. “At Frost House,” Emma replies. He smiles and tells her that he made the right decision. She fixes him a sideways glance, and tells him that he just doesn’t get it. Christian is only there visiting his mother. He’s found someplace else to stay.

(That evening)

Emma sits cross-legged on her bed, speaking with Christian on the phone. She regales him with the story of her encounter with their father and he wishes she’d brought her camera for that Kodak moment. As Dante prepares a meal for them, Christian asks her about their mother and Emma tells him that Dr. Upjohn is with her now and she’ll update him when she comes by Dante’s. As she ends the call, Violet appears and tells her that her mother is awake, so she heads for her bedroom where she finds the rest of the family and Dr. Upjohn standing beside her bed. The doctor asks if she remembers anything about last night; anything out of the ordinary. She rubs her forehead as the images return. “Not a thing,” she replies. Emma looks on in a resigned manner, knowing her mother remembers everything.

(Boston’s Somerville, one week later)

The Rolls Royce is parked up and Emma, wearing casuals, goes over to speak with a young girl sitting on the steps of her house. She asks what her name is, but then says she’ll guess. A quick mind scan later and she tells her it’s Kelly. The girl is impressed. Emma asks if Mr. Kendall lives here and Kelly replies that he’s gone. He built her a snowman once, and showed her the big dipper but then he moved away in the spring. She misses him. Emma departs.

(Boston’s Roxbury)

Despite already reading the answer from Dante’s mind, Emma asks him where he and Christian first met. Her telepathy appears to be almost second nature now and she doesn’t question its use as much as she once did. “At this little jazz bar on the south side. Butter on your popcorn Emma?” Dante replies. “Saturate me,” is her response. As Christian checks out a video tape, Emma senses trouble outside and, as she looks over to the door, it is kicked off its hinges and three heavily armed officers storm into the room, ordering the three of them up against the wall.

(Precinct 7, five hours later)

Emma clutches the bars of their cell as her father arrives, looking more than a little smug. “Why am I not surprised to see you here?” she asks rhetorically. He says that he came as soon as he got the call and tells Christian that it’s a good thing his name wasn’t on that apartment’s lease, otherwise he would have been charged with illegal firearms and narcotics possession, like his drug dealer pal. Christian snarls that Dante isn’t a drug dealer, but his father replies that it’s funny, because the police say otherwise. They claim to have found enough heroin in his sock drawer to charge him with intent to distribute. “That’s a lie,” Christian says.

“A half truth at best,” adds Emma. She says her father set Dante up; paid some dirty cops to plant the so-called evidence. Her father dismisses her allegation, asking if she’s going to scapegoat him with every bad thing that happens on the eastern seaboard. Emma uses her telepathy, figuring the whole story out. Dante has several prior drug convictions and that’s why Winston did it. A simple background check revealed Dante was on probation. He knew that if he got one more conviction then that would be it. “If what’s it?” asks Christian. Emma continues to inform him that Dante is from Cuba. The police gave him the choice of confessing to the charges or being deported, so he chose Cuba instead of prison, “Right daddy?” Winston looks shocked at the amount of knowledge Emma has in her possession and leaves without replying. Christian puts his head in his hands, clearly upset.

(Two weeks later)

Emma wanders through Frost House with something to eat and Violet asks her how Christian is doing. She replies that he’s still barely eating. Adrienne then appears and asks if Dante’s inferno has cooled off. She tells Emma that it’s such a tragedy, but with a loving sister like her holding his hand, she’s sure he’ll pull through. She adds that it’s a shame about his boyfriend though. He was one hot tamale. Emma wonders how Adrienne knows what Dante looks like; they’ve never met as far as she knows. She wonders if Adrienne can read thoughts too. She can’t read hers but she always seems to hint at knowing more that she actually lets on.

Emma realizes that Adrienne must have had something to do with it and asks if that’s the case. Adrienne tells her she had darn near everything to do with it. She got the ball rolling when she told daddy where Dante lived. Emma asks how she found out but Adrienne won’t offer her an answer. “Should I even bother asking why?” says Emma. Adrienne says that maybe she wanted to prove her loyalty to her daddy but Emma replies that she’s only loyal to her own interests. “Consider it payback for derailing my modelling career,” Adrienne adds. Emma enters her bedroom, unable to stand much more of this. She feels so alone and tired. As she slips into unconsciousness, she has a dream.

(Emma’s dream)

Christian is facing away from her in a park, playing the piano. Emma asks him what he’s doing and why he is out here by himself. She places her hand on his shoulder and asks why he won’t answer. Suddenly, Christian turns to reveal himself to be almost skeletal.


Emma wakes with a start and rushes to Christian’s room, telling herself it was just a dream; just a dream. She flings open Christian’s door, only to find him hanging from the ceiling with a chair beneath him kicked to the floor.

Characters Involved: 

Emma Frost

Hazel and Winston Frost

Adrienne, Christian and Cordelia Frost

Airport staff and travellers

Dr. Upjohn

Violet (the Frost House maid)

Frost Technologies staff

Dante Ortega


Police officers

(in Emma’s memories)

Winston Frost

Winston’s ‘business associate’

Robert (the doorman)

Nightclub revellers

(in photograph)

Hazel and Winston Frost

(in Hazel’s memories)

Winston Frost

Winston’s ‘business associate’

(in Emma’s dream)

Emma Frost (with blonde hair)

Christian Frost

Story Notes: 

Emma dreams of herself with blonde hair. This could be an art error, but it’s possibly how she would like her appearance to be, maybe more like her glamorous older sister, Adrienne.

Issue Information: 
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