This past Wednesday, the female-lead X-Men #1 by Brian Wood and Olivier Coipel hit the stands. The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive and I’m happy to report that it’s well worth a buy.
The series’ all-woman cast has led to a lively Internet discussion with many questioning the appropriateness of the comic’s gendered title. At first, I thought there might be some validity to the criticism, but the more I reflect on Marvel’s decision, the more I think that they made the right call.
When asked about the comic’s title, Wood explained the decision on Twitter stating that the title “is suited to the team. They’re classic X-Men. They’ve never been anything but.” Series editor Jeanine Schaefer offered further explanation as to why they specifically didn’t change the title in an interview with Bitch Magazine:
“I really felt like that would be ostracizing it from the line. These women are X-Men. They have been since they were created, and this book is an X-Men book. No one would think twice about an all-male team, making sure it had the word “men” in the title, so why do that here?”
I agree. I would never advocate retitling a series the “Lady Avengers” or the “Fantastic Four Females” so I can’t get behind the idea of “X-Women.” Adding that “wo” to a preexisting team name would act like a huge disclaimer and undermine what the series is about – a group of A-list X-Men who all happen to be women.
Even the non-gendered “X-People” is problematic. It would diminish the series’ validity by distancing it from the comic’s legacy and the other five ongoing series with “X-Men” in the title. It would scream “hey, those other guys are the real X-Men; we’re the X-People!”
If Marvel were to introduce a non-gendered team name such as “X-People” (which is what the team is called in the MC2 alternate future timeline), it really needs to be in a co-ed book. I want to see Wolverine proudly proclaiming himself an X-Person before the “lady” X-Men are called anything other than X-Men.