Review: X-Women #1

X-Women


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Marvel just came out with the one-shot X-Women, which sounds cool at first glance, since it’s a one-shot dedicated to the women of the X-Men Universe. The artist commissioned for it is erotic artist Milo Manara. The comic is worse than I expected when I first heard about it. It is a wall-to-wall objectification of women as sexual objects. Marvel women are usually scantily clad, but this one takes it to a new level, showing more pointless angles of women’s body parts than in a year of a usual Marvel series. Throughout the comic, women (and occasionally men) are in various stages of undress well beyond what fits the story. Or a PG-13 rating. The women’s faces are all homogonized to a point you can only tell them apart by their clothes and hairstyles. They are frequently shown with their faces in poses that are clearly sexual in nature. They are in bondage, gagged, in “catfights,” and, most egregiously, apparently always on the verge of having sex with each other. There are no fewer than 28 shots of women embracing or caressing each other — all of the the familiar X-women characters who are not lesbians and from whom the behavior makes no sense in any context. Some of the embraces are almost explicitly sexual, including a shot of Kitty’s head moving between Rogue’s legs and Kitty and Storm embracing in a position usually designated with a number just under 70.

You can see some of the worst images here.

I think maybe the worst part of this is that the characters involved here are some of the strongest and most well-written women characters in superhero comic books. Storm and Kitty are among my all-time favorite characters. Storm is literally a Queen at this point. And Kitty is probably one of the characters that has had the greatest growth arcs of any character I’ve ever read, starting out as an awkward teenager with one of the weakest power-sets of any character growing to one of the smartest and powerful characters in the X-books. Seems like it was just a few months ago that Kitty single-handedly saved the Earth in Astonishing X-men and now she’s nothing more than another interchangeable woman filling out the perceived fantasies of adolescent boys.
And extra shame on Chris Claremont for being a part of this. He’s really fallen in my esteem. He wrote some of the greatest super-hero stories ever in the late 70s, early 80s, but his recent stuff has been horrible. In X-Men Forever, he betrayed everything he put into the character of Storm by making her inexplicably evil, then replacing her with a child version of herself. Literal infantilization of women (and notably the only black woman in his series).

It’s amazing that there is some really good work going on at Marvel and, at the same time, this horrible crap.

Plot: It’s not a horrible plot, as Claremont still has the ability to write good stories, but this is closer to the bottom in terms of quality Claremont stories than th etop. Rating: 4

Art: The art isn’t terrible and parts of it are quite good, but it is significantly sexist and treats women as identical, regardless of race. Rating: 2

Overall: Nothing here really works, even as erotica, this is a wasted opportunity for Marvel to highlight the women of the X-Men comics. Overall rating: 3

Recommendation: Do not buy