The all-female X-Men started off full of promise. The first issue had a solid premise and was graced with Olivier Coipel’s stellar lines. The first arc laid the groundwork for a variety of female characterizations we rarely get to see in superhero comics like single-motherhood and alpha-female postulating. But Coipel didn’t stick around for long and as soon as the fifth issue, the small bit of momentum X-Men had gained was interrupted by the Battle of the Atom.
You know when you read an issue and have utterly no idea what’s going on? It starts in the middle of another story that happened in another issue of another title and you have not read those other issues – so now you are completely lost and the issue is a bust. I am certainly NOT going back to the comic shop. I am also not going to be ham-fisted into buying comics I would otherwise never read. I am obviously talking about a crossover … and I hate them.
You know what I hate even more? Crossovers that don’t layer well into the existing story of a book. At least make it so your story continues along its path. Then, reading other titles in the crossover gives you a broader, more complete story. Don’t make it so you have to read a bunch of different books to barely understand the one story in your comic that will be abandoned as soon as the event is through. Anyway, Battle of the Atom monopolized two issues of X-Men. I endured it. Erika didn’t make it to the other side and she dropped the book.
That’s a big deal, right? We were salivating at the idea of an all-female X-Men, yet it takes one crossover to shake a reader. You’d think the Big Two would get a clue and realize short-term gain could lead to a long-term loss.
My crossover dismay was mitigated when Marvel solicited that the Dodsons (that’s Terry and Rachel) would be on art duties for issue #7 and Lady Deathstrike (awesome villain) would lead the new arc, Muertas. The issue proved to be pretty fantastic. Terry Dodson beautifully designed the monumental character appearances in the issue and Wood set the stage for cracking open the female characterization on the title for better, worse and potentially ugly.
I mean that ugly bit in a good way. Sure, we need more female characters to balance the scales. But once we have them, then it’s important they get treated like free-range characters representing the spectrum of human emotion and behavior. Besides, what’s more fun than a complex female villain? Lady Shiva, anyone?
At the close of issue #7, X-Men had embraced its potential. With upwards of ten female characters in any given issue – think of the possibilities! My hopes were up, and issue #8 built on that hope when they added Amora the Enchantress to the villain camp. It also featured two small, yet really great, moments.
This one …
And this one.
After sticking it out through the end of the crossover, I finally felt like this story was going somewhere interesting. But issue #9 proved to be too ambitious … or lazy, depending on how you view the story choices. Either way, it flitted rapidly between power players and put too many pieces on the board. By the close of the issue, vague new plot threads had been created and not enough attention was being given to the existing. My hope dwindled.
Then last week, the tenth issue hit a wall. With wasted potential and palpable disappointment, a few fun panels spread across a few previous issues cannot make up for it. Read my full review of #10.NOW HERE.
Ultimately, I am baffled. Marvel is proving innovative in some of its other titles, namely Young Avengers, Ms. Marvel and Hawkeye. Why would Marvel waste this golden opportunity to wreck the status quo of superhero comics with the X-Women? That sort of thing is trendy now, oh … and THE RIGHT THING TO DO. This line-up of X-Men could make a huge mark in the superhero genre and lead the way for more books with all-female teams.
Storm, Rogue, Kitty Pryde, Rachel Grey, Jubilee, Psylocke, Karima Shapandar, Monet St. Croix, Lady Deathstrike, Typhoid Mary and Amora the Enchantress.
I mean, c’mon!
How, after almost a year, has no real progress or evolution been made in story or character? Who do I get to blame for shoving a crossover down its throat and convoluting the shit of these characters? Where can I yell that someone will hear that it’s super-hard to make Psylocke boring, yet this book did! You’ve got a team of three strange and powerful antagonists and you rely on revenge as a key motivator!? You’re not allowed to rely on lame tropes.
Headlines blazed a year ago with news of an all-girl X-Men, and I need someone to walk the walk. So, do better, editors – Tom and Jeanine. Do better, Brian. Do better, Marvel.