FROM THE Phoenix Saga to the movie-inspiring Days of Future Past, women have played major roles in some of the greatest moments in the history of the X-Men universe. So it should come as no surprise that an all-female team would be assembled for another X-Men comic book.
“X-Men” — not uncanny, not all-new, just “X-Men,” which debuted a year ago as written by Brian Wood, with art from Oliver Coipel, David Lopez, Terry Dodson and Kris Anka — is an all-star team of some of Marvel’s top mutants. There’s master weather-manipulator Ororo Munroe/Storm. Former X-Men young gun-turned-seasoned veteran Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat. Super-strong Southern belle Rogue. Psi-blade wielding Psylocke. Former kid member/human light show/vampire Jubilee and Rachel Grey (with new members M and Kymera arriving recently).
“X-Men” editor Daniel Ketchum says that an-all female X-team was inevitable, given the X-Men franchise’s “long-standing tradition of empowered, beautifully realized, complex female characters.”
Ketchum was not responsible for “X-Men’s” roster selections, a process that he said came on the watch of Wood and the first editor of “X-Men,” Jeanine Schaefer. But had he been editing the book from the beginning, Ketchum said, he would have put together a similar group.
Despite what could be viewed as an attempt to create a title aimed largely at female comic-book fans, Ketchum says that was not the initial intent when putting this team together.
“I don’t think any Marvel comic is exclusively for one audience or another, and we certainly haven’t tried to make ‘X-Men’ the exception to that rule,” Ketchum told The Post’s Comic Riffs via email. “The goal is always to make characters interesting and relatable, and to send them on adventures that excite and inspire, regardless of who’s receiving them.
“But hey, if you have a particular affinity for mohawks or vampires, ‘X-Men’ might be especially for you.”
Given the historic makeup of this particular X-team, Ketchum appreciates that some fans would like to see a female writer/editor in charge of “X-Men’s” direction.
“I understand why the argument that women are best qualified to write female characters is made, but isn’t that dangerous?” Ketchum asked rhetorically. “Because by extension, does that mean women are somehow less qualified to write male characters than male writers? In reality, it comes down to talent and aptitude — finding creators who can bring to life the distinct vision of a given book. That’s it.”
There is, he continues, “no pressure from Marvel to do anything other than that—making the books as entertaining and clear and successful as possible. I wouldn’t shy away from a male writer who has an awesome idea for an all-female X-Men team story, and I wouldn’t shy away from a female writer who has an awesome idea for a Spider-Man story.”
As for what lies ahead for “X-Men,” it was announced that “Arrow” executive producer Marc Guggenheim will take over writing duties on “X-Men” in August, with Issue No. 18. And Ketchum says that Guggenheim’s tale will be a horror/space adventure.
“I’m very excited about how the story is taking shape,” said Ketchum, adding that Guggenheim’s story “will really test the mettle of our characters and take readers for a ride.”
You can follow David Betancourt on Twitter: @adcfanboy.