Emma Frost #8

Issue Date: 
April 2004
Story Title: 
Mind Games - part 2: Lucky be a lady

Karl Bollers (writer), Carlo Pagulayan (penciler), Dennis Crisostomo (inker), Pete Pantazis (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy’s Cory Petit (letterer), Greg Horn (cover artist), Cory Sedlmeier & Stephanie Moore (assistant editors), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

At the floating casino, Troy turns out not to be the amazing poker player he thought he was and finds his money disappearing fast. He finally leaves the gaming table with less money than when he started, so he and Emma return to his apartment. He needs cash, fast, but poker doesn’t look like it’ll produce the goods. Emma offers to take his place, but Troy is sceptical about the idea. Emma decides to use some simple telepathic tricks to show that she’s not as naïve as he thinks. Troy is astonished that she can guess any card he pulls from the pack and asks how she does it. Before she answers, Milo and Stu arrive at the apartment and Emma tells Troy to run for it. They leave and make their way by train to Manok’s restaurant, where Troy has to work a shift. Once he’s inside, Emma notices the two goons arrive and heads past the maitre’d to warn him. They are inside quickly and they confront Troy. Emma needs to act quickly. She manages to telepathically freeze them in their tracks and Troy takes advantage of their immobility, by smashing them both with a frying pan. They leave the restaurant and return to the casino around midnight. This time, Emma sits in Troy’s place and, using her power to read minds, she cleans up. Troy is overjoyed that their problems appear to have been solved.

Full Summary: 

(The Royale Riverboat Casino, 1:06am)

Emma and Troy are in the middle of another game of poker. They are trying to earn enough cash to prevent Troy from being seriously messed up by Lucien’s goons, Milo and Stu. Troy’s been at it for hours but, so far, he’s lost more money than he’s won. Three other players are seated around the table, all with a lot more chips than Troy. Emma thinks that, although Troy claimed to be an amazing poker player, he’s actually an amazing bluffer. She knows exactly what’s on his mind, but she’s not sure that she knows what he’s doing. More importantly, she’s not sure if he knows what he’s doing.

Another set of cards is dealt. Troy takes a sly glance and, as he does, Emma concentrates on what he sees in his hands. He holds three sevens, a two and a five. One player drops out immediately, but the snappily dressed Mr. Jung meets the other’s twenty and raises him forty. The dealer asks Troy what he wants to do. Troy goes all in. Emma knows that Troy’s been dealt a pretty good hand, but she isn’t sure she’d have done that. The first player takes two more cards and Jung takes three. Troy also takes a couple, but only receives a queen and a two, improving his hand none. The first guy calls a pair of threes. Troy lays out his three sevens, but Mr. Jung spreads a straight flush of clubs down before him. Mr. Jung wins again.

Emma and Troy leave the table with Troy now having less cash than he started with. They lean over the side of the boat, looking a little dejected. He knows that if he doesn’t come up with Lucien’s ten grand; he’s in deep trouble.

(Troy’s apartment, Boston, the next day)

Troy sits on his bed, feeling anxious. Emma asks why not give her a shot? They can head back to the casino once he gets off work. She knows she can roll those guys. “Roll them?” inquires Troy. “Emma, you ever play poker before?” he asks. She shrugs her shoulders, but replies that she picked up a bit just from watching the table last night. Troy flops back on the bed and says that poker’s a very complex game. It takes years to get good at it, and he’s near broke as it is. He apologizes, but he can’t take the risk. Emma casts her eyes on a three of spades on the table and an idea springs to mind.

She takes the deck and hands them to Troy. He asks if this is some sort of challenge, but Emma says it’s proof that she’s as good as she says. She asks him to pull any card from the deck at random, without letting her see it, and she’ll tell him which he pulled. Troy’s game for this and shuffles the deck. He pulls out a series of cards and Emma nonchalantly guesses each one correctly. Troy’s amazed and tests her on a couple more before sitting back down on the bed. He rubs the back of his head, and says this is crazy. “How’d you say you did that again?” he asks. Before she can reply, Emma picks up voices outside the apartment using her telepathy, without even trying. She recognizes the voices as belonging to Milo and Stu, the goons Lucien sent over last time. She clutches her forehead and groans. Troy asks if she’s okay, but she tells him they must leave the apartment, now!

She makes for the window, which leads to his fire escape, and Troy follows. He has a funny feeling he should listen to her. They descend quickly, as Stu kicks open his door. They are surprised to find the place empty, having heard voices, but Stu pops his head out the window and sees them making a dash for it. Troy asks Emma how she knew but she replies that there’s no time to explain. They run straight towards the train station, where Troy leaps over the barrier. Emma stops, but Troy asks what she’s waiting for; there’s a train pulling into the station. She tells him he can’t honestly expect her to go through without paying the fare. Having little time for her moral dilemma, he urges her to jump. “Maybe we should pay off the dude who wants our legs broken before settling up with the MBTA, huh?” He helps her over the barrier. “Our legs?” asks Emma. Troy says that Milo and Stu don’t discriminate against women but, luckily, they’ve lost them for now.

(Twenty minutes later)

The young couple stand outside Manok’s restaurant. Troy says he has to work the dinner shift but, if she’s still up for going to the casino once he’s done, she can definitely take his place at the table. Sure, she replies. He heads inside and reminds her not to return to the apartment. Emma thinks that she’s got some free time on her hands, but she turns and notices a black car with Stu in the passenger seat. They followed them! She has to warn Troy, so she dashes inside, straight past Vincent, the maitre’d, who caught her con trick the last time she was in there. She rushes past the diners, followed by Milo and Stu, who have no reservations about pushing Vincent out of their way.

Emma flings open the kitchen door. Troy turns and sees her, asking what’s wrong. “All kinds of stuff Troy,” says Milo, as the two goons confront him. Emma realizes it’s up to her. If she doesn’t act, Troy’s in big trouble. She takes a deep breath and tells herself to remain calm. She then uses her mental power to freeze the two men in their tracks. They struggle to move, but find their mobility has been taken away from them. Troy doesn’t understand what’s happening and he turns to see Emma’s nose bleeding. She manages to tell him to run, but Troy has other ideas. He grabs a frying pan from the washing-up pile and smacks Milo across the forehead with it, swinging it back to knock Stu unconscious. Leaving the two guys down for the count, Troy grabs Emma’s wrist and they head for the door. “There, now we run.”

(The South Boston Piers, 11:59pm)

Emma is once again dressed in her long white dress, with Troy sporting the suit he wore the previous night. As they approach the gaming tables, he quizzes her on why her nose was bleeding. She tells him it was already bleeding when she came into the kitchen, but he asks why. She’s obviously reluctant to answer him, but he perseveres. He says it’s kinda weird how Milo and Stu froze like that, as if something was holding them back. “And you think it was me?” asks Emma. “And how did I manage that?” That’s what Troy can’t figure out. He’s also not sure how she managed to read the deck of cards at his apartment. She is a woman of mystery to him. He asks if she’s ready to kick some serious boo-tay and Emma seats herself, thankful that he’s now changed the subject.

Now, it’s time to get dirty. As the cards are dealt, with Mr. Jung once again seated at the table, Emma knows that what she lacks in experience, she’ll definitely make up for with ability. Her telepathy makes it simple for her to read her opponent’s hands and play accordingly. The appreciative crowd applauds her as she rakes in the cash. “That’s my girl,” says Troy, as he takes a glass of champagne from the waitresses’ tray. Soon, Emma has a royal flush and amounts a serious pile of chips. The other players know they’ve been outplayed. Before the night is over, Emma takes a tray full of chips to the cashier, who hands over stacks of cash. “We did it Emma! We hit the jackpot,” cries Troy. Well, Emma thinks, that wasn’t so hard…

Characters Involved: 

Emma Frost

Troy Killkelly

Casino customers including Mr. Jung

Casino employees

Milo and Stu

Boston citizens

Manok Mandok’s customers

Vincent, the maitre‘d

Kitchen and waiting staff

Story Notes: 

Emma’s blonde hair at the end of the previous issue was simply a trick of the light, but Troy’s nose sure cleared up fast

The cover features Emma in her school uniform, although she’s actually left school by this stage. Previous covers all featured Emma as an adult.

Issue Information: 
Written By: