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Pull list for November 30 2016; Thoughts On X-Men Blue and Gold

November 29, 2016

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I’m off tomorrow, woot.

I’ll go to the store for: Ghost Rider #1, by Felipe Smith, Danilo Beyruth, Tradd Moore, Jesus Aburtov and Val Staples; Ms. Marvel #13, by G. Willow Wilson, Mirka Andolfo and Ian Herring; New Avengers #18, by Al Ewing, Carlo Barberi and Jesus Aburtov.

I’ll also review: Extraordinary X-Men #16, by Jeff Lemire, Victor Ibanez and Jay David Ramos; Inhumans vs. X-Men #0, by Charles Soule, Kenneth Rocafort and Dan Brown; Old Man Logan #14, by Jeff Lemire, Filipe Andrade and Jordie Bellaire.

So that’s 3 comics I’m picking up, and 3 additional reviews. A very light week.

But great stuff! Ghost Rider is back! Felipe Smith and Robbie Reyes and Gabe! I loved All-New Ghost Rider. I was really disappointed when it ended. And I am so excited for it to be back. And I’m thrilled to see Robbie and Gabe. I loved their relationship. They’re the best brothers. It’s sweet. Ms. Marvel is always a delight, of course, and this issue looks like it’s getting political, and given how pretty the last issue was, I’m happy for more Andolfo. As for New Avengers: I read the preview, and it had me laughing my ass off. So, yeah, it’s gonna be good.

So, yesterday, we got the creative teams and line-ups for X-Men Blue and X-Men Gold. Blue will be by Cullen Bunn and Jorge Molina, and it’ll be about the Original 5, with Magneto as their new teacher. Because Bunn got a lot of praise for how he wrote Magneto, so now he’s milking that for all its worth. It’s an OK idea, I suppose. The kids who still think of Magneto as a straight-up villain now working with him for some reason. There’s something there. But it doesn’t really grab me. Gold will be by Marc Guggenheim and Ardian Syaf. It’ll have Kitty leading a team that consists of Storm, Rachel, Nightcrawler, Colossus and Old Man Logan. The intent seems for it to be more a superhero book, not focusing exclusively on mutant stuff.

So, basically, what we’re getting is a throwback. Gold, in particular, is playing very, very heavily on nostalgia for Claremont’s era. The team is the mid-’80s line-up, minus Rogue. Previous articles have already mentioned softball. And now, Guggenheim’s described it as “very much a team superhero book.” So, yeah, this is definitely a throw-back to the mid-’80s X-Men comics. Which is a big part of why I’m so disappointed.

See, Claremont’s run was very, very white. And X-Men Blue and Gold? Also very, very white. Out of 12 characters, there’s one Person of Colour. And one canonically queer character. There are two Jewish characters, but Jews, in North America, generally don’t face the same systemic injustices that people of colour do. To a degree, they have “passing privilege.” So a Jewish character’s presence doesn’t really mean the same as a Latinx character’s presence does, or a First Nations character’s presence does, or an Asian character’s presence does. And here, the X-Men flagship titles are simply omitting POCs. And that pisses me off.

Mutants have long been understood to be a metaphor for marginalized groups. But they fill that metaphor with white people. And have straight white guys write the stories. The X-Men is a franchise where straight white guys write about pretty straight white people complaining about being oppressed. And that’s just insulting. It’s always been that way, and that shit is just not OK any more, and it hasn’t been OK for a long time, but they won’t stop pulling this shit. It’s even worse now. Marvel’s making a real effort to promote diversity, with both characters and creators, and the X-office is running away from that and becoming even less diverse than usual.

I find it so frustrating. I love the X-Men. I love what they stand for. And I wish the people in charge would actually put in the effort needed to truly stand for the same things. I want them to have diverse casts in all the X-titles, especially the flagships. And I want them to bring in some writers from marginalized groups, including on the flagships. And I just don’t get how a franchise built around being a metaphor for marginalized groups can be so frigging awful at representation.

Yeah, Generation X will be diverse. The youth books always are. New Mutants had a diverse cast. Generation X had a diverse cast. New X-Men had a diverse cast. And the characters always get relegated to tertiary books or limbo. Of the New Mutants, Cannonball and Illyana became official X-Men, and joined the casts of flagship X-titles. The rest were kept in X-Force or X-Factor, at best. Generation X was arguably the most successful. Husk and Chamber both became official X-Men in flagship titles . . . that no one actually remembers. And Monet, bucking the trend, has become a young POC in a flagship, by joining Uncanny X-Men . . . which is a villain book. Of the New X-Men, basically none of them have actually amounted to anything. Laura, of course. Pixie became an official X-Man in a flagship title for a little while. Anole’s part of the supporting cast of EXM, but he’s still an X-Man in training, and he’s not a major part of the book. But for the most part, the New X-Men characters don’t matter. This happens over and over. We get a book of X-Men-in-training, and once their book ends, they get tossed into the background, because they’re not allowed to actually become X-Men, because the same goddamn straight white people get all the focus. Dani’s not allowed to be an X-Man, because they need a slot for Nightcrawler, instead.

It just frustrates me, so much, how few shits the X-office actually gives about diversity and representation. They don’t give a shit. They don’t. They don’t care enough to have diverse casts. They sure as hell don’t care enough to have diverse creators. They just. Don’t. Care. And I’m fed up with it. I am done with this shit. I’m not buying Blue or Gold. I have limited funds each month, and quite frankly, I’d rather put my money towards something new. I’d rather support progress, and the X-Men office has made it crystal clear that they don’t want progress. So screw ’em. If Taylor continues to write Laura as Wolverine, I’ll keep buying that. If they bring in a writer who isn’t a straight white guy on any of the remaining books, I’ll get that book. But a straight white guy on a book about a bunch of straight white people? No. To hell with you, X-office. Get your shit together. What you’re doing is not OK.

ALL THAT SAID! If Guggenheim finally has Kitty and Rachel get together as an official couple, that I will support. (Not that there’s the slimmest chance in hell of that happening, of course. They have Iceman, so why would they ever need to have other openly LGBT characters, right? So, despite all the blatant subtext, Kitty, Rachel and Storm will all remain canonically straight. I’m guessing there’ll be ship-teasing between Kitty and Peter, and probably between Storm and Logan, and maybe between Rachel and Kurt. Not a one of them will ever be allowed to be anything other than straight. Because the X-office Just Doesn’t Care.)

My schedule for the week: 12-8:30 Friday, 2:30-10:45 Sunday, 1:45-10:15 Monday. So posts Thursday, Saturday and Tuesday.

And that’s all I’ve got for this week.

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