Bringing out the seXy

Adjectiveless X-Men is getting a proverbial kick in the pants here soon with not only a creative shuffle, but a theme shuffle as well.  And what’s that theme, you ask?

Ladies…

That’s right – Brian Wood is taking Chris Claremont’s ladies section out for a spin because…well, just because.

I recall a time when a spin-off to a series needed some kind of purpose or theme to go.  While Uncanny X-Men was going on, X-Factor existed because the original X-Men weren’t members of the team any more and they had adventures of their own to go on.  New Mutants also existed because the the students were running around the school and they had adventures of their own to go on, which needed to be followed.  Hence the titles.

But those days are gone now, and they will never return.  Now we get a splash image tossed in with whatever handful of characters get tossed out to grab a bit of attention this go-around.  Was anyone clamoring for a book featuring an all-female cast of X-Men?  Not even a little – Wolverine’s not a girl, after all.  Will this book do anything to promote a healthy example for women in today’s world or make a bold statement about the comic industry’s repeated half-assed attempt to understand the “female character”?

Absolutely not.  They’re six characters that can be drawn in sexy poses and will have adventures with as little characterization as is allowed in the current “GET IT ON THE SILVER SCREEN” comics world.  Rogue will say Sugah, Kitty will solve a brainy problem, Psylocke will do a sexy kick, Rachel will get in a huff, Jubilee will LOL, and Storm’s back to the mohawk because WOMEN ISSUES.

And we, the faithful X-Readers, will once again shill out $4 an issue to see how this one matters, ignoring that the last time they launched this adjectiveless X-Men book, they didn’t even bother to get around to using all the characters used on their promo images.

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7 comments

  1. I’m going to have to disagree with you here. First off, I think a lot of readers have long clamoured for a book with an all-female cast. More important, Wood and Coipel are both great at what they do. Brian Wood’s a great writer, and his previous short stint on X-Men was excellent. Oliver Coipel’s an A-list artist, and not one who sexualizes women. He draws them looking attractive, yes, but he also draws them looking strong and dangerous. He doesn’t typically put them in unnatural positions in order to show both their tits and ass, and he doesn’t give them body proportions that are outside the norm for comic books. In short, the creative team is one who doesn’t do exploitation. In fact, for the first time in a long, long time, Psylocke is running around in an actual uniform, rather than her usual thong. Already, from the cover alone, it’s remarkable in rejecting exploitation.

    I don’t know if you read Wood’s run on X-Men. It was solid. I had some problems with the story, but the premise was good, and the characterization was excellent. It was one of the 10 best Marvel books of last year. And Marvel had plenty of great books last year.

    This book is an amazing accomplishment, I think, and Marvel deserves a huge amount of credit for making it. Every element is right. They gave it the right name – they could’ve called it “X-Women,” but they didn’t, because as Wood has repeatedly pointed out, these characters are X-Men, and have been for a long time. The women are often the most interesting part of the X-Men. So the fact that it’s X-Men, without an adjective, is dead-on. The book has A-list talent, showing that Marvel is serious about this succeeding. It has six reasonably popular, long-time X-Men, with interesting personalities and dynamics. (In fact, they’re all Claremont characters – Claremazons, as they’re known – so they’ve got that pedigree going for them.) It’s being marketed as a serious book, rather than a gimmick.

    At this point, pre-release, every single element is right. At this point, we have absolutely no reason to expect this book to be anything less than stellar. Especially since Marvel’s been doing an excellent job lately in terms of female characters – Captain Marvel’s been excellent, Red She-Hulk’s great, Journey Into Mystery is great, the first issue of Uncanny X-Force (focused on Storm and Psylocke) was great, Kate Bishop’s been great in Hawkeye and Young Avengers, All-New X-Men’s doing great things with Jean and Kitty, Astonishing X-Men has done good work with some female characters – Marvel has been going out of its way lately to show that it’s serious about changing some of the troublesome trends regarding the treatment of female characters. Even the Avengers movie had Black Widow written extremely well, even if Johansson is a terrible actress.

    So I think your cynicism is really, really misplaced here. X-Men has me extremely excited. Almost as excited as I was for Young Avengers And that’s saying a lot.

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  2. I am also going to have to disagree. First I think the first poster said most of what I was feeling. and second I think your attitude in this post is more a part of the problem here. You start off by assuming its a gimmick to have an all female cast, assume it will just be about hot ladies being hot ladies so dudes can look at them when I think its the clear opposite. yes its an all female team but I think that’s hardly the selling point (granted, the “XX” teaser marketing was pretty gimmicky). There have been plenty of all male x-teams and this just feels like a natural progression in a universe that has a fair share of important female characters. it makes sense to me if you look at it realistically that there was bound to come a time when the team just wouldn’t have any males for some time and it doesn’t really mean anything and it looks like thats what they are saying. not sure that makes and sense but oh well.

    also I think a LOT of female x-fans have always loved the storm mohawk for their own reasons not necessarily for any plot points. I think they just like to see a main female character evolve form “sexy african queen” to something a little more relatable. I dont think it necessarily means anything its just a haircut. girls and boys cut their hair all the time.

    and my last point I want to make is…just look at the cover art! they are all in normal poses in mostly normal outfits. you could seriously replace every character with a male character in the same costume and pose and it wouldn’t look odd. I think that speaks in volumes about the state of women in the x-men universe.

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  3. Apologies for being a jaded comic fan, but I see something like this and I don’t see it for anything more than what it is being marketed as – a book that has no real purpose other than to sell to people who want to see their favorite characters do stuff. You can say all you want about “solid storytelling” but really, what are you looking for here? I saw a splash image that has a bunch of female characters on it, and I called it for what it was. Marvel is marketing to their fanbase, which is men, and having an all-female team does that. If the female fanbase feels good about it, well then good for them.

    But I am not reading comics for good statements about society as a whole. I’m not seeing them as empowering statements that can change society. If you’re seeing this as anything more than an attempt to see “girls do stuff” than you’re remarkably naive to the top companies. Indy comics go out and try to change the world. This is X-Men. X-Men is a big seller. And an X-Men book with all women is out to make people believe that “this is a game changer.”

    Think of the Northstar wedding in Astonishing X-Men. You look at the headlines and are like “Oh my god, a gay wedding coming from one of the top industries? That’s big!” You trumpet it out like it’s this revolutionary breakthrough that finally we’ve established something and it will change how fans think about comics and the place homosexual characters have in them. And then you read the comic and you realize it’s a media ploy that got shoehorned into the middle of a storyline that it doesn’t really fit into because Marjorie Liu wanted to use the Northstar/Kyle relationship and Marvel realized they could sell more books with the attention grabber that the media focus would get. And we all played into thinking that we’re taking part in something revolutionary.

    You know what? If the book turns out to be awesome, great for it. I’m going to be buying it anyway, because I love the characters. But churning them all into a book and tossing out a media spot that says “Hey look what we’re doing!” is little more than a stunt. I hope it’s good, and it probably will be. But don’t make more out of it than it is.

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  4. Oh, and as for the mohawk – you and I have differing opinions on story vs. art, and that of course comes from your focus on art against my focus on story. Storm’s mohawk was an important development for the character in which she was struggling with identity from her roots to accepting the society she had been thrust into. It was a major move in one of the most brilliantly developed characters of all time. Growing her hair back out was also a big part of the storyline, as it came with her reestablishing her bond with nature.

    Whenever Storm shows up with the mohawk, it’s not presented as anything more than “Hey, remember when Storm had a mohawk?” And, you know what, if they give it a reason like her distancing herself from the queen role she’s just abandoned, I’m all for it. But if it’s just out there for “Hey, mohawk!” I think it looks ridiculous. But I’m old. I’d say the same thing for any living woman trying to make a statement through awful hair choices.

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