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Royal Reviews: X-Women #1

Written by Royal Nonesuch on Monday, July 12 2010 and posted in Reviews

An Italian master comes to American shores, and Royal Nonesuch has your review!

Comic Review Cover

Credits & Solicit Info:

WRITER: Chris Claremont
PENCILS: Milo Manara
International superstar Milo Manara joins X-Legend Chris Claremont for X-WOMEN! Go on a high-flying, death-defying, globetrotting adventure with your favorite X-Ladies. Storm, Psylocke, Shadowcat, Marvel Girl and Rogue save the world and look great doing it. Don’t miss this prestige event! One-Shot/Rated T …$4.99

PRICE: 4.99
IN STORES: July 8, 2010



The work of legendary artist Milo Manara must solicit some odd reactions from certain American fans seeing it for the first time.  Manara is known primarily as an artist of comic book erotica, but in a country where sex and sexuality in culture tend to make people blush and titter, he is probably going to be seen as an eroticist first, and a wonderful artist second. 

Certainly, there was a minor outcry amongst a certain segment of online fandom when Marvel Comics released the cover to X-WOMEN #1, Manara's new collaboration with Chris Claremont.  Some saw the book as a crass bit of exploitation by Marvel, while others were excited at the prospect of a master illustrator working on a major superhero franchise.  The debate is curious when one considers the power of "cheesecake" art in superhero comics.  There are too many examples of artists (not all of whom are American) who contort and disjoint the female form in order to sexualize women yet again.  How many times have we seen that familiar female pose where the subject with an impossible body shoves her backside into the "camera," while turning around (painfully, no doubt) at the waist at an impossible angle of rotation just to make absolutely sure that both breasts and cleavage are also in the shot. 

Manara, on the other hand, truly is an artist first, and his abilities are on full display in X-WOMEN #1.  The composition and artwork are top-notch.  Certainly, his approach to the figure work will be the subject of some debate.  The women (Storm, Psylocke, Rogue, Kitty Pryde and Rachel Summers) are sexualized, but there's more to it than that.  Manara shows that the human body is organic and lithe, and his approach to the characters is informed by the natural fluidity of movement.  Granted, there are some thongs, bikinis, halter tops and short shorts, as well as airy, provocative poses.  But it all feels somehow so natural, more playful than gratuitous.  Frankly, these look like real characters, and their bodies behave in the way bodies do.  On the other hand, though the sexy women get most of the attention here, his male characters are rendered with the same attention to detail and sense of weight as the women.

One of the hallmarks of Chris Claremont's work is the way he has always written female characters.  X-WOMEN #1 is no exception.  The plot is standard, but the character work shines.  Claremont highlights the strength of character and the spirit of cooperation inherent in these women, and illustrates their long-standing relationship with ease and economy. 

X-WOMEN #1 is a fine one-off work that serves as a great showcase for one of comicdom's greatest masters. 


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About the Author - Royal Nonesuch

As Senior Media Correspondent (which may be a made-up title), Royal Nonesuch tends to spearhead a lot of film and television content on The Outhouse. He's still a very active participant in the comic book section of the site, though. Nonesuch writes reviews of film, television, and comics, and conducts interviews for the site as well.  You can reach out to him on Twitter or with Email.


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