‘All New X-men’ and the “Old” Views on Women

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The “All New X-Men” series by Brian M. Bendis involves the original 5 x-men from the 60s time traveling forward to the modern day marvel age, confronted with their future .  The series has been hailed by many critics as life changing for the x-men and as a new twist on the original story.  However, there are many flaws within this series, especially on the writing of young Jean Grey and recently with Laura Kinney aka x-23.

Jean Grey as a teen was always portrayed as a independent teen whom, all the boys of the X-Men loved, some as a sister (Hank, Bobby) while others more romantically (Warren, Scott). Later, it was revealed even Xavier had fallen for this bright young teen.  Her abilities, like Susan Storm of the Fantastic Four at the same time, was non-combative and  used as a protective powers, ie; keeping walls from falling down and/or moving debris.  Often she would faint because her telekinetic powers would be ‘too much’ and would have to be rescued by one of the male x-men team members, falling into the damsel in distress trope. Later, as comics and the times progressed, she was given a more active role in the battle with using her powers to lift people stopping bullets/other objects from hitting the X-Men. It would eventually lead to Jean sacrificing herself for the team and gaining the Phoenix’s powers.

In the current “All New X-Men” run, Jean  and the others are transported to the modern age, where the original X-Men must learn to adjust to the current cultural clime.  Jean, toward the beginning, was still have issues with her telekinesis, having breakdowns and fainting spells, but eventually in the series she learns to control her powers. Unfortunately, in this development, she is paired with almost every male member on the team.

all new x-men 15 cover
All New X-Men 15 cover

Her knowledge of her and Scott not being together in the future leads Jean to first date Warren to spite Scott, – despite that her as a person would never do this – flirt with Bobby, and then have a short fling with Hank. All of these motives of course, are not just to explore what Jean wants, but to hurt Scott. Jean, from  the past and current comic evidence, point out that Jean is an extremely forgiving and passionate person who would never intentionally hurt someone. Bendis, however, writes her as a vindictive teen using only her emotions. That is more of the Phoenix, whom wouldn’t posses Jean for another 20 years in the original “X-Men” timeline. Instead, she is just paired with the males of the team to spite Scott Summers.

Jean is not the only one who is suffering from Bendis-Strong-Female-Character-Syndrome. Laura Kinney, the clone of Wolverine who has been mentally and physically abused most of her life, including forced prostitution, is also a victim.

all new x-men 20 cover

Not only is she shown kissing a young Scott on issue 20, but later in issue 30 she is shown kissing Warren.

This is very out of character for Laura, whom it took a year to get into a relationship with Julian Keller aka Hellion.  She is a very closed off person since of her experiences of being in relationships with others, always feeling like she would eventually hurt them with extreme PTSD about her experiences. Of course, these covers are just made to sell the comic. Laura does not even kiss either of the young x-men, instead just hugs them. However, she is still used like Jean as a selling point for the “All New X-Men series”. When asked about Laura’s situation, Bendis stated that he wished to make her more like Wolverine, which is odd because Logan only had been in love with Jean on the team, but never pursued her since she was in love with Scott and has only been in a relation with Ororo Munroe aka Storm.

In conclusion, “All New X-Men” is falling into the same trap that the old comics of the 60s did, only using these powerful beautiful women as sex appeal and nothing more.  They are there to mellow out the testosterone on the “boys” team. But instead of having their own motives and actions, it must always be motivated by a male’s action whether because they want to make them angry or because they are lonely. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be in a relationship as these teens do, but both of these young women have been through tragic experiences and seeing them used as a objects instead of real people is disappointing.

As famous comic book author Kelly Sue has said “The Sexy lamp Test”, if your female character can be replaced with a sexy lamp instead of a person, well, then you have some issues with the writing and character development. Laura and Jean are so much more than “sexy lamps” and deserve to have their stories be told and not shave their actions be motivated by the men on their team.