And as if that wasn’t enough to get me excited about the book, Wood recently told USA Today that X-Men will star Jubilee. I’ll be honest; I’m a sucker for anything with a well-written Jubliee. Throw in Storm, Kitty Pryde, Rogue, Rachel Grey, and Psylocke, and it’s a who’s who of my favorite X-Men.
The announcement has been pretty well received, but there has been a bit of criticism regarding the series’ name. I can understand where this is coming from. But, as much as I’d love to add a book called X-Women to my pull list, I have decided to view the situation as female characters taking over the adjective-less X-Men title, rather than those characters being shoe-horned into a book whose title refuses to acknowledge the protagonists’ gender.
I don’t mean to minimize the criticism; I think it’s a valid point. However, I’m much more concerned with the treatment of the female characters than I am with the name of the series. And I must say, on that front things are looking pretty good. In an interview for Wired, Wood had this to say about the way he’s approaching the female cast:
“There’s too much cheesecake out there that is sold, or at least marketed, as a ‘strong female’ character or book when it’s anything but, it just reinforces the worst opinions of the most sexist fans, and we gain no new ground. We probably lose ground. I’m not approaching this new X-Men as a ‘female book,’ but I’m writing it as a high action X-Men comic, and with some luck that will nullify some of these poisonous critics who go looking for something to feel angry/uncomfortable/threatened by.”
I must say, Coipe’s cover looks amazing and overall features some of the most reasonable superheroine costumes I’ve seen in a while. This is thanks, in part, to the Kris Anka’s redesign of Psylocke for Uncanny X-Force (another upcoming book featuring lots of kickass superheroines that I’m very much looking forward to).
To top it off, in the aforementioned USA Today piece, Wood expressed this desire to use the title to combat the double standard regarding male and female sexuality. “If Kitty or Rogue has basic human bodily urges, tough luck (to those opposed),” he said.
So what we have here is an all-female team of some of the X-Men’s best characters, written by someone who wants to challenge sexism and slut-shaming in comics, and illustrated by a solid artist who doesn’t contort the female form to cram T&A onto the same cover.
Between X-Men, The Fearless Defenders, Captain Marvel, Journey into Mystery, and Red She-Hulk, it looks like Marvel NOW! may actually be adding a little bit of gender diversity to Marvel’s lineup.