by Nick Davies
Marvel is rebooting its X-Men comics with a new take on the superhero team — the new series will feature an all-female cast when it comes out in the spring. It’s actually the fourth X-Men series to relaunch recently; last year’s Marvel NOW! initiative set out to reset the universe of many of its characters, and it includes All New X-Men, X-Men Legacy, and Uncanny X-Men.
The new X-Men is being written by Brian Wood, who tells USA Today that he comes to the franchise without being fully immersed in it, something he says influenced him to stick to the basic, classic elements of the series. He explains, “I’m definitely an X-Men fan, but I’m not deep into the world … I’m not a writer who’s been writing it forever, so my natural instinct is to go basic and simple and to its core.” And for him, part of getting to the heart of the series is an emphasis on the badass female characters: “I feel like as far as the X-Men go, the women are the X-Men. Cyclops and Wolverine are big names, but taken as a whole, the women kind of rule the franchise.”
The rebooted series centers on Jubilee, a teenager who can shoot “sparkles” of explosive plasma out of her hands. Incidentally, I highly recommend reading Wikipedia pages for comic book characters with whom you’re not familiar, if only for gems like this: “Jubilee is one of the depowered mutant characters who later reappeared using technology-based powers in the New Warriors comic series. She has since been turned into a vampire and lost her mutant ability, but gained vampire like powers.” Genius, is what that is.
While Jubilee provides a point of focus, the new X-Men will be an ensemble story, also featuring Storm, Rogue, Kitty Pryde, Rachel Grey, and Psylocke. They’ll all get prominent storylines and character arcs, as Wood promises, “I don’t want to make it the ‘Jubilee and friends book.’ They’re all A-list characters — I’ve got to make them all shine.” He particularly credits editor Jeanine Schaefer with helping him juggle a large cast and get a bead on the various characters. “I’ve never met a bigger X-men fan than her. She’s hyperactive about this stuff,” he enthuses.
The new X-Men is set to debut this April.
Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.