I was initially very sceptical about this book, I like both Brian Wood and Olivier Coipel a lot, but the concept of an all-female X-Men comic just rubbed me the wrong way and takes me out of the story. There is almost always no compelling in-story reason (unless the villain is like a dick-vampire or can only mind-control men or something stupid like that) for it to be just women in the cast, and it becomes clear that this comic is written chiefly to play to a certain segment of comics fandom. And before you say it, I’d think the same thing about an all-male team book (even though there are no all-male teams, the closest I can think of is the Challengers Of The Unknown, and even they have June Robbins and the original Defenders, who are of course a non-team bound together by magic).
I just think that true diversity comes from people of different genders and races and sexualities and whatever mixing together and working together, not putting the women in a separate book.
But whatever, the X-Men have some of the best female characters in comics, and most of them are featured in this book, which is both well-written and well-drawn, so we’ll leave the sociology aside for now. The focus of this first issue is Jubilee, who last I heard was a Vampire, but whatever, she’s back here and for some reason she’s on the run with a baby. The X-Men come to her aid (and like I said, there’s no reason why no male X-Men are involved, the all-female cast could actually be a distraction unless they do involve a dick-vampire), and the revelation of who the villain is was hugely pleasing to me.
I love it when X-Men writers go back and pick up on the many tantalising, insane concepts that Grant Morrison left in New X-Men that were immediately dumped when he left, and in this issue Wood has only gone and brought back Sublime! And not just Sublime, but his even-worse sister, Arkea, who was hiding inside of Jubilee’s baby and has now possessed the body of Sentinel Prime, who I vaguely remember from Mike Carey’s run. I guess Arkea could be the reason why this book is ladies only, the opening page is a big spiel about how the male Sublime cast out his sister.
This was a very enjoyable issue, each of the main characters was well-utilised and Wood’s dialogue was very strong indeed. I am a huge fan of Olivier Coipel and his art was just fantastic here too. I think he’s a good choice for this title, because whilst his female characters are attractive, he varies the body types so not everyone is a big-boobed amazon. So yeah, this was a good comic in an X-Men line that is already over-stuffed with goodness. I suppose it makes sense for this book to find someway to differentiate itself from 5 other X-Men titles, but still, it being only women is slightly strange. At least it’s one X-Men book that won’t be dominated by Wolverine! What’s that? He has a female clone? Nooooooooo!