X-Men #26 Review – Emma Frost & Tony Stark Get Engaged!

The impact of the 2023 Hellfire Gala has gone beyond just the X-Men. It has changed the landscape of the Marvel Universe with even he Avengers and other heroes dealing with the ramifications of the Hellfire Gala fallout. With most of the X-Men having gone underground there is one mutant that is hiding in plain sight. That mutant is none other than Emma Frost, who through an agreement with Tony Stark, has taken on a new identity without being caught. Through this new status quo Emma and Tony have formed a bond of sorts which Marvel is teasing will lead them to get married. How will the marriage of Emma Frost and Tony Stark go down? Let’s find out with X-Men #2


Writer: Gerry Duggan

Artists: Jim Towe and Javier Pina

Colorist: Marte Gracia

Letterer: Clayton Cowles


In the aftermath of the Hellfire Gala, Emma Frost helps Wilson Fisk and Tony Stark become the new White King and Black King, respectively, of the Hellfire Club while she hides in plain sight as Tony’s assistant, Hazel Kendal. Taking Tony aside Emma warns Tony that if Firestar is truly his mole in Orchis to warn her that Shadowcat is coming for her.

Meanwhile Kamala Khan saves someone from being attack by college students because they thought the woman was a mutant due to her different look.

At Orchis’ Bloom space station Shadowcat breaks in. Not wasting any time Shadowcat quickly finds and corners Firestar. While defending herself Firestar reveals everything about Jean Grey’s plan to make Stasis and Orchis believe she was a double agent. Hearing the explanation Shadowcat knows that is a plan only Jean would come up with and agrees to keep it secret between them to keep Firestar’s cover going.

Tony Stark and Wilson Fisk in the Hellfire Club
Emma Frost helps make Wilson Fisk and Tony Stark become the new White King and Black King of the Hellfire Club in X-Men #26. Credit: Marvel

Later, Shadowcat meets up with Emma to talk about how she is getting close to finding Scott Summers. Hearing this Emma decides she has done enough to help Tony Stark and Wilson Fisk so she can join Shadowcat.

When she goes to tell Tony and Fisk this Emma is blinded by rage when she sees Feilong in the Hellfire Club.

Tony quickly grabs Emma before she drops her “Hazel Kendal” disguise and takes her to a room. Tony tries to talk Emma out of dropping her disguise as he is close to getting the designs he needs but this just earns him a knee to the midsection. Feilong enters the room and Tony quickly acts like he proposing to Hazel.

Emma quickly contacts Shadowcat that something came up. End of issue.


As expected the core selling point of this mini-crossover between Gerry Duggan’s X-Men and Invincible Iron Man titles is one that comes from desperation rather than love. With very little history together, the scenario in Fall Of X direction was honestly the only way Emma Frost and Tony Stark would get married. Give how rushed this major aspect of X-Men #26 it was a good thing that it was balanced out by the stronger and more interesting thing going on with Shadowcat.

There is no doubt that the way Duggan is having Emma and Tony get married is one that will viewed as messy. There was no natural progression to this story. The way Tony’s entire new connection to the X-Men franchise has been rushed along during Duggan’s run on Invincible Iron Man. At the same time, because of the nature of Fall Of X the messy nature of the progression of this development plays into what is going on with the X-Men franchise.

The surviving X-Men left to fight back against Orchis can only do so much while protecting their fellow mutants and themselves. Emma working with both Tony Stark and Wilson Fisk is the biggest example of this. Emma has no love for either men but her connection with them is important to stay alive in the new world order Orchis has created for mutants.

Wilso Fisk towering over Emma was a great visual representation of the spot she has found herself in. She had no choice but to help him and Tony become the new White King and Black King of the Hellfire Club. This development does make Wilson Fisk role in Fall Of X and beyond one to watch. Without Typhoid Mary around Fisk has no one that can keep him in check from returning to his Kingpin ways. Being the leader of the Hellfire Club appears to be a way to get him back to that status quo.

On the Emma and Tony side of the story, Duggan does get credit for not hiding the fact this is a forced move both have to make. Emma understandably, after weeks of controlling herself, couldn’t hold back the feeling of wanting to get revenge on Feilong any longer. The opportunity became to great to pass up. Which made Tony’s last minute save one that is provided logic as by attacking Feilong all Emma would’ve accomplished was throw away all of her work to bring down Orchis. Which leads into how getting engaged and married is a move Emma and Tony have no other choice to do. Its that or risk Feilong finding out what is going already. So in terms of logic, while messy getting there, the presentation works into the direction Fall of X has taken.

On a better note, Kitty Pryde’s return to being Shadowcat once again steals the show as the best development in the Fall of X direction. Duggan, Jim Towe, and Javier Pina do an excellent job presenting Shadowcat as the biggest badass character in the Marvel Universe. The combination of her powers and skills create a smooth fighting style that makes Shadowcat an unstoppable force. The way she just mowed down all of Orchis’ forces inside the Bloom space station and dominated the fight with Firestar was impressive.

Shadowcat vs Firestar - X-Men #26
Firestar reveals the truth before Shadowcat kills her in X-Men #26. Credit: Marvel Comics

Shadowcat’s ruthlessness made Firestar desperately revealing Jean Grey’s plan one you understand. Nothing else would’ve save Firestar from dying by Shadowcat’s blade. It is that desperation that made Firestar speak the truth about Jean’s plan in such an honest way that Shadowcat had to believe it. If she didn’t Shadowcat would’ve crossed the line would make her a completely different character. Shadowcat saying that what Firestar said is exactly a Jean Grey plan is how her character should react. Kitty has to much history with Jean and other X-Men to know when one of her teammates comes up with the plan Firestar agreed to.

While Shadowcat is now in on Firestar and Jean’s ploy it is good that it is being kept secret. Shadowcat knows that the more people with knowledge of Firestar actually being a triple agent would cause everything to fall apart. For Firestar to be successful in playing a key role in how the X-Men bring down Orchis the less people that know the truth the better. And her still being seen as the enemy of mutants will help her as long as she can continue to mentally take playing this role. Which all adds a greater dimension to Firestar’s arc.

With this revelation made it was great that Shadowcat did not stay still to simply rejoin the other X-Men. Instead, we see her already working on a second mission, that of finding and rescuing Cyclops. We know that Doctor Stasis has Scott Summers locked up with his eyes surgically shut. Shadowcat working to find the X-Men’s leader helps add urgency to this sub-plot so it is the next immediate thing that is addressed.

The short Ms. Marvel scene in X-Men #26 accomplished what it set out to do. This scene was a shorter version of what Kamala Khan experienced in her Ms. Marvel: New Mutant mini-series. For those that aren’t reading that series this gives Kamala some more development in experiencing what its like to be a mutant. While needed for Ms. Marvel’s integration into the franchise I do hope her development doesn’t overshadow and take the time to showcase what Synch and the other X-Men that are underground are doing.


The engagement of Emma Frost and Tony Stark was as messy as one would expect as to how it would happen. The development does work into the sense of desperation seen throughout the Fall Of X direction. Though that does not mean Gerry Duggan and company don’t have a lot of work ahead of them to sell this Emma and Tony relationship. Luckily X-Men #26 has the incredible scenes involving Shadowcat that lifts up the quality of this story. Shadowcat’s scenes alone make X-Men #26 worth checking out.

Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10