With a new year comes a new wave of Dawn of X. The Dawn of X relaunch came about from the status quo set up by Jonathan Hickman’s in House of X and Powers of X, exploring whatever Hickman didn’t want to in his core X-Men book. I’m still looking at that series over in Hanging with the HiX-Men, but what about the other titles?
I have been reading them, but I was unsure about how I’d tackle them. Whether they’d be part of Hanging with the HiX-Men or even if I would cover certain series. Eventually that snowballed into me just being very, very late with Hanging with the HiX-Men and I decided that briefer looks at all of the series would be for the best.
With the second wave of Dawn of X titles about to begin with Wolverine and the first six issues of the current series having been released, now is a good time to give my thoughts on the first wave. I’ve read all currently released issues of each of these series, six each, which is a more than fair amount of issues to gauge the series’ quality and form a founded opinion. Unlike my regular reviews, this will be much more informal, but I wanted to get these thoughts out quick.
With that in mind, here are my thoughts on Excalibur, Fallen Angels, Marauders, New Mutants and X-Force.
Superheroes are all the rage these days. With the emergence of superheroes back into the mainstream, there has been an increasing push for diversity in superhero comics. While there have been non-white superheroes in the past, the quality of them tends to… vary. Asian characters especially are usually largely defined by their ethnicity; in particular their powers and visuals are heavily focused on how Asian they can be.
As an Asian-Australian reader of Chinese and Vietnamese heritage, and an avid consumer of superhero media, I have long felt that Asian representation in superhero media needs improvement. For this reason, I’m going to take a look at different Asian superheroes and judge if they are good representation for Asian people. These characters can be born anywhere and can be of any sex, gender or sexual orientation, but the key point is that they have some Asian heritage. What I discuss can range from the visibility of their heritage to how stereotypical they are, but it will all be through the lens of an Asian reader’s perception of characters meant to make me feel represented to some degree.
To kick things off, I thought I’d look at one of the first Asian characters I encountered when getting into reading comics. That is, the electric blue-haired Japanese mutant known as Surge AKA Noriko Ashida.
For those who don’t know, Iceman sort of came out as gay within the pages of All-New X-Men (volume 1). There was controversy regarding the way writer Brian Michael Bendis went about this, but it’s something that seems to be sticking with the character. Once the teen, time-displaced Iceman tells his adult counterpart that he’s gay, the adult Iceman acts relieved in what’s actually a touching scene. Sina Grace promises to delve into Iceman’s past relationships with women, which I think will be interesting (and hopefully it’s not another excuse to make Polaris crazy). Little else is known about the series, so I’m going to believe it’s a more character-driven one, especially given the statement about exploring Iceman’s past relationships.
I’m not familiar with the creative team, but I do like that a gay man is writing it. Having personal experiences comparable to that of the characters allow you to relate your experiences and always helps with authenticity, but I just hope Sina Grace doesn’t get typecast as “the gay writer” like Christopher Priest did with Black characters. I’m not familiar with Grace’s work as a writer, but I did enjoy his art on Li’l Depressed Boy (though writer Steven S. Struble’s colouring probably played a big part in that). I’m not very familiar with Alessandro Vitti’s work at all, but he did draw Charles Soule’s run on Red Lanterns, and his work there was appropriately messy, but in a controlled way. I’m not sure if that’s just his style or if he went for that look intentionally.
Iceman has a creator I like and has the potential to be a better exploration of homosexuality than many other comics, but I just do not care about Iceman, and the way he was “revealed” to be gay irks me. I’d actually be much more interested in this comic if it were a newer character, or an older one whose homosexuality had a less… controversial history. Someone like Rictor would suit a project like this (in fact, Peter David actually did tackle Rictor’s relationship with a woman after she found out he was gay), basically any gay character who dated a decent amount of people of the opposite sex before coming out as gay. But if you’re looking for a good exploration of a gay character, and don’t mind the way that Iceman was “outed”, and/or are interested in Iceman, this sounds like it will be a decent read.
Written by Christina Strain
Art by Amilcar Pinna
I repeat: what is even this cast? No, really, we have Jubilee, Bling (who I think is gay and might have a crush on Jubilee), um… the guy who checked out Magik’s ass but then was revealed to be gay (in case you didn’t know, Bendis makes things up as he goes)… he makes himself look like other people or something. Quentin Quire (why does he keep getting use?!), um… Disney Princess Girl, and I think Northstar. Oh, and Eye-Boy. I did not make up that last one.
It’s apparently going to explore the cast as a bunch of misfit outsiders within the new X-School, which is now in New York, to further connect the X-Men with the wider Marvel universe. I honestly don’t care. New X-Men: Academy X was the best version of “Hogwarts for mutants”, and it didn’t use the tired trope of the losers vs. jocks. And you just know some characters are going to be written out of character to justify this misfit band getting together.
The characters are all D-listers except Jubilee, who’s a C-lister Marvel doesn’t know what to do with. She’s a vampire now (don’t ask, it was dumb) and also a single mum because she literally stole a baby and just kept it. She also really liked dumping the baby on other characters, and was honestly just an awful parent. And yet, the future version of the kid comes back at one point and says she was a great mother! As an Education student, Jubilee’s treatment of Shogo just annoys me. Quentin Quire is an edgelord mutant teen who likes to act edgy and kicked off the horrible Schism event. He’s awful and never develops but is shilled by Jason Aaron, and I don’t get why he still gets use. The rest are boring and/or pointless which was probably intentional to fit in with this misfit idea, but that still means they’re boring and/or pointless.
I’ve read nothing by Christina Strain, but she apparently is a cover artist and did some of the Runaways covers. I’m not sure if she’s done any interior art, but I sincerely hope so, since that would at least be some storytelling experience with comics. Amilcar Pinna is also relatively obscure, but drew the first arc of the short-lived All-New Ultimates. The art was… okay. It was pretty but didn’t work for actual storytelling, everything looking a bit too stilted and too posed. Male faces resembled Steve Dillon’s to a degree, and that is not a positive in my books. There was also the problem of conveying motion… in that it was nonexistent. So the creative team seems to be inexperienced, to say the least.
I don’t get why Generation X exists. It’s got a boring cast, a boring premise and seems to exist so there’s a young mutant book on the stands. Why is it even called Generation X? The original was a bad pun, so aside from some slight brand recognition, why use that name? Aside from it maybe fitting with the whole “misfit” idea, I mean? Whatever, this series looks pointless.
(note: this was NOT published on the 6th of December like it seems to think it was. It was published on the 12th of December.)