If you follow comics at all, you will know that Marvel has recently released a new, all female X-Men title featuring Storm, Rogue, Jubilee, Kitty Pryde, Rachel Grey and Psylocke. Although I haven’t read it yet I personally like this idea and think it has a lot of potential. I have always had a fondness for Jubilee from reading the old Wolverine issues back in the 80′s and 90′s and Psylocke is awesome (not to take away from the other characters). It’s a really strong cast of solid characters but rather then have me weighing in on it, I thought it would better to get a females perspective. Fanboy Comics Senior Contributor Kristine Chester was kind enough to do an interview. Here are her thoughts.
1. What do you think of an all female X-men (why do they still call them men?) Is this good for advancing female characters or too gimmicky?
Kristine Chester: I’ve always felt more of an affinity with the women of the X-Men and not just because of their gender. These are some of the best characters to grace the pages of X-Men, Marvel, and superhero comics as a whole. This book is not trying to be a “gimmick,” it’s trying (and succeeding in my opinion) to be a solid X-Men story. If Wood had changed the title to X-Women it would have set the series up to be only a gimmick and would belittle these women’s roles as A-list members of the X-Men. The name may be a little outdated sure, but despite what the MC2 comics say, let’s face it, no one’s going to buy a comic called X-People.
As for whether it’s advancing female characters, I’d say so. Any comic that manages to have a strong women in the main cast is a good thing and X-Men has six! These six are all fantastic characters and as this first issue aptly demonstrates, their gender is merely one part of their identity. Were it an all male team I don’t think there would be any discussion of it as a gimmick or even anything worth mentioning. Why can’t we have an all women team that’s treated the same?
2. What did you think of the first issue?
KC: I liked it but there’s some room to improve. The cast is strong, it didn’t turn the all-women team into a joke or give it a contrived set-up, and the reveal at the end was great! This first issue drew on some aspects of X-Men history I wasn’t initially familiar with and required me to do a little bit of extra research, but I also kind of like that it’s being an X-Men books without apologies. This first issue is still largely setting up the story and some of the cast plays a minimal role. I think issue #2 is where we’re going to really see what this creative team and these characters are capable of.
3. Are their any females characters you would add or subtract from this group.
KC: Honestly the team is pretty much perfect how it is. I’ve had a fondness for each of these characters at one point or another. There is a great selection of X-Men throughout the years with someone who is going to appeal to just about everyone. I will admit that at some point I’d love to see X-23 come on for an arc. The character evolved beyond being a female Wolverine clone and I think she’s a fascinating character who can hold her own with this group.
4. It is hard to image any X-men title survive without Wolverine. X-23 got canceled and She-Hulk will be. So will this succeed? If so why? If not why not?
KC: Not that Wolverine is hurting for appearances in Marvel Comics. I think there’s a real hunger for strong, women characters in our comics, the problem’s been a dearth of women that have that universal appeal and can bring in those sales numbers. DC’s been all over the map on this, but Marvel is starting to make some real strides. I’m also a big fan of the ongoing Captain Marvel series, which has been doing fairly well, but as much as I love Carol Danvers, characters like Storm, Rogue, and Kitty Pryde are way more recognizable and have the best shot at hitting the sales numbers Marvel would like to hit. Whether it will succeed or not, I admit to being torn on the odds. I think the names X-Men and Brian Wood carry a lot of weight but I’ve had plenty of conversations with male comic book readers who are being turned away by the all female cast. How much this is hurting the sales numbers, I don’t know, but I really want it to succeed and I will be buying an issue every month to ensure it sticks around.
5. Personal favorite characters?
KC: I love it when we get to see aggressive female characters and Rogue’s sass, up-frontness, and her ability to punch things really hard have always appealed to me. I first got started with the X-Men watching the old FOX 90s Saturday morning cartoon so even though she’s changed a lot over the years, becoming all vampirey and all, I’ll always have a fondness for Jubilee. Seeing that character more mature and being forced to be in charge of another life is particularly interesting and a focus I hope the book continues with. And of course there’s Storm, who is the perfect leader of this team, mohawk or not.
6. Anything else you want to add?
KC: I’d just like to say if you’d like to see more strong women characters in the lead in your Marvel comics, buy this book or if you’d like to read a solid, X-Men story without any of the larger universe plots interfering, buy this book. Though it’s still a ways away I will be writing up a review of the first six issues of X-Men after #6 releases, so if you’d like to see more of my thoughts regarding the series, check back in a few months to fanboycomics.net.
So there you have it. Good thoughts from Kristine Chester. Thanks for the interview and everyone check out Fanboy. You can follow Kristine on Twitter @12thKnight and Fanboy @FanboyComix