Marvel Divas – Women of the X-Men ft. Phoenix, Emma, Pyslocke, Kitty, Storm, and Rogue by Greg Horn.
The most memorable mutant women who kicked behind on-page
By Matthew Fisher. Source: WhatCulture.Com.
In a franchise as long-running as the X-Men, it stands to reason that it would produce memorable characters. It has a tremendously rich history, stretching far back to their initial creation in 1963 by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. The First Class roster sparked a comic book revolution that eventually lead to an enormous cast of rotating characters and iconic villains. In the world of comics, the X-Men is a giving tree of mythology. But when it comes to the female side of the fence, the X-Men are not too shabby. Whether it’s the deep, complex back stories of the heroes or the darker shades of the super villains, the women of the X-Men are not to be messed with. You would find it difficult to cruise the X-Men comics and not find a female character you enjoyed, as they all have such a unique identity.
From Storm’s strong, confident sense of duty to the sexy and smouldering allure of Emma Frost, the women of the X-Men are some of the most exciting bunch of female characters in all of comics. They’ve all had their share of triumphs and tragedies, some of them even shaping the entire fabric of the X-Men universe. Here are 10 of the greatest female characters you’ll ever hope to find in an X-Men comic.
Created by Rob Liefeld, and a relatively early member of the team X-Force, Domino has one of the more unique abilities in the X-Men universe. As her name implies, Domino has an amazing ability to make seemingly impossible odds a reality. By essentially altering the course of good luck vs bad luck, Domino’s reputation is well earned, giving her an almost prophetic presence.
Visually, Domino is a striking figure. She comes off as a one-woman army, packing numerous weapons that can put a hurt on whomever is unlucky enough to be considered a target. The contrast between the different elements of her face also create a very unique look, and with comics being just as much a visual medium as anything else, it helps make Domino stand out even more.
The combination of unique powers, a killer look and a haunting back story have allowed Domino to begin breaking out into the mainstream. She’s appeared in numerous cartoon and video game adaptations based on the X-Men, and is even rumoured to be involved in the proposed X-Force movie to take place after Days of Future Past. It’s unknown if Domino will ever get the big-screen treatment, but you never know when your luck might change.
Dazzler is an interesting character, in that she was created by a group of Marvel comics editors and writers tasked with producing a character with mainstream appeal. Then editor-in-chief Jim Shooter also commissioned a film project to be tied in with the comic, as well as an actual singer to represent Dazzler for Casablanca Records and even a cross-country tour. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite take off the way Marvel hoped.
But the thing about Dazzler is that you can’t keep a good mutant down. Her comic sold relatively well, and was a unique concept in that it focused on the real-life aspects of Dazzler – her love live, ongoing musical career and a loose set of occasional supervillains to tangle with. By using her mutant power to convert sound into light, it gave her shows an even bigger scale.
The way Dazzler is constantly re-invented is what is perhaps most exciting about her. She changes with the times, and with the evolution of music itself. Dazzler’s look evolves with each and every decade, as does her genre of music. For instance, in the Ultimate X-Men comic, Dazzler was a punk rock singer as opposed to her swinging disco days. There’s potentially a second chance for Dazzler to make a mainstream splash these days, but until then, we’ll always have the 25-issue Frank Springer comic to enjoy.
As stated before, comics have their roots in visual appeal and a small part of what draws you to a comic book character is their look. Maybe a certain colour scheme, or the way their symbol flows with the rest of the costume. If it all connects the right way, you’re going to be interested in this character. Pixie stood out with her colourful wings, leading many to ask where they could find out more about her.
Which leads to you discovering that there’s a lot more to her than the wings. As a younger character, she speaks to a certain portion of the audience that we all remember being. We can all probably remember as a child being fond of Robin, as he was a gateway to hanging out with Batman. Pixie is another one of those characters, opening up a portal to this fantasy world and giving young people someone they can relate with. Maybe they can’t be Storm or Jean Grey, but they could be Pixie.
Her powers are quite interesting, as well. Aside from her pixie dust that will cause enemies to hallucinate, she is also an accomplished magician. Even Doctor Strange has seen a lot of potential in her, promising to give her guidance and teach her how to fully embrace her powers in the future. She also has control of the Souldagger, a weapon that was forged from a piece of her very own soul. Pixie has a lot at her disposal, and is a fascinating character in her own right.
Before she was a member of the box-office hit franchise of X-Men films, Mystique was a well known character to fans of the comic. As the estranged adoptive mother of Rogue, as well as founding her own variations of the Brotherhood of Mutants, Mystique has earned an iconic spot in the world of X-Men. She’s managed to make a fairly standard superpower, shape-shifting, into something much more dangerous than perhaps ever before.
The distinct blue skin gives her an aura of mystery, as well as the shaded elements of her past that remain a matter for speculation. There’s still a lot we don’t even know about this enigma, which keeps her interesting over all these years. In addition to her shape-shifting, Mystique is also an incredibly cunning and tactical character. She’s well-versed in numerous disciplines and maintains a very dangerous feel about her.
Aside from her time as a movie star, Mystique has become one of the more mainstream X-Men characters. She was a breakout character in the film series, initially played to perfection by Rebecca Romijn, before being played by Hollywood’s it-girl Jennifer Lawrence. Mystique can fill a unique void as a utility character, and is useable in almost any scenario as a way to spark some kind of story or character moment, and though she may be largely considered a villain, it’s the grey area she straddles that makes her most interesting.
If you look back at Jubilee’s initial appearances with the X-Men, you could see her as a product of her own time. She had a rebellious and spunky spirit about her, which many people reading the comic at the time could latch onto. In an era that seemed to be about radical social change in comics, Jubilee was an obvious fit for the cultural shift comics were going through.
But not every character can stay in one configuration forever, and much like so many other characters, Jubilee has had to change with the times. From the witty kid who was saved in a shopping mall by some of her fellow mutants, Jubilee has continued to see her character go through many changes. She lost her powers during the House of M crossover and eventually became a vampire, yet still loved her extended mutant family enough to stick by them.
Jubilee speaks to that childlike quality in all of us. Even with an adopted child of her own now, Jubilee has gone past even that – she’s an adult, having matured past her own insecurities to get the greatest gift of them all.
5. Scarlet Witch
From her plainly disturbing relationship with twin brother Quicksilver in the pages of Ultimate X-Men to the universe shattering event known as House of M, the Scarlet Witch is truly one of the most well-known characters in the entire world of Marvel, let alone the X-Men. Real name Wanda Maximoff, Scarlet Witch is also the daughter of X-Men nemesis Magneto as well as the half-sister of Polaris, and this dysfunctional family tree has been prime material for X-Men writers for years.
Scarlet Witch has gone through many phases of ups and downs. From her dramatic relationship with The Vision to the horrors she faced in House of M, the Scarlet Witch’s path from creation to present day has been an interesting one. She controls a very raw sense of power, as well, which she’s using well in the current ongoing Uncanny Avengers book. She’s faced trauma, yet still persists.
The good thing is that Scarlet Witch is about to be a movie star, played by Elizabeth Olsen in the Joss Whedon directed Avengers: Age of Ultron. Olsen also played Scarlet Witch in a brief cameo at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, putting her and Quicksilver on the fast track to becoming Marvel’s next breakout film characters. The future looks bright for Wanda, even if her comic book past is rather tragic.
The most beloved southern belle in all comics, Rogue began on the opposite side of the fence against the X-Men as a member of Mystique’s Brotherhood of Mutants. But after absorbing the powers of Ms. Marvel and nearly murdering her, Rogue reformed and joined the X-Men. This ongoing tale of redemption gave some more personality to her, and has allowed Rogue to expand beyond the villain she started as.
Rogue’s energy-absorbing powers also give her a nice sense of character growth, as she is unable to have physical contact with those that she loves. This extra layer of character is crucial, letting Rogue’s character grow organically as opposed to just something written for her. It comes off as real and not a gimmick, allowing Rogue to create a very distinct character.
But don’t let that trauma fool you, as she’s just as tough as any other woman on the team. She’s been a long-standing member of the X-Men film franchise, being played by Anna Paquin in all of her appearances. Rogue has also been involved in nearly every piece of adapted media for the X-Men, including cartoons, video games and films. People have always responded to her character, no matter what side she’s on.
3. Emma Frost
First appearing in Uncanny X-Men #129 in 1980, Emma Frost has since become one of the more recognizable villains in the X-Men world. Her affiliation with the nefarious Hellfire Club sparked a number of classic stories during Chris Claremont’s epic 16-year run on the series, including the Dark Phoenix Saga. Her striking penchant for white, and the scantily-clad way she dresses has certainly granted her some second looks over the years.
But that’s only a very tiny fraction of what has made the character so memorable. Emma Frost is labeled as an omega-level mutant, making her one of the most powerful psychics in the entire pantheon of mutants. She also possesses a remarkable ability to transform her skin into a resilient diamond form, granting her an extra bit of power to throw around during battles.
She has appeared on-screen in X-Men: First Class, played by January Jones, and has also featured in video games and cartoons, showing some potential to break out from the confines of the comics and become a mainstream player. Her road from vicious leader of the Hellfire Club to member of the X-Men was one paved with death and tragedy, but she has ultimately come out on the better end, rounding herself out into a fully formed character worthy of any X-Fan’s admiration.
2. Jean Grey
The woman who would one day be Phoenix began as Marvel Girl, the only woman in the First Class of X-Men that featured Cyclops and Angel, among others. She had an ongoing relationship with Cyclops, perhaps one of the great comic book romances of all time. Her time during the classic Dark Phoenix Saga cemented her place in the history of the Marvel universe, and the shocking conclusion that killed the character off left a void in the heart of X-Men fans that was difficult to fill.
Though she eventually returned, it never quite felt the same. Not only that, but Jean also discovered Emma Frost was having some sort of kinky psychic affair with Cyclops, ending their marriage. Her character never seemed to recover from the Phoenix, as the writers at Marvel don’t quite have a clear direction they want her to go in. It’s difficult to reconcile where she might go after Phoenix even from a reader’s point of view, and she was effectively written out during Phoenix: Endsong.
Jean has appeared in the X-Men film series, played by Famke Janssen, where the character was integral to the loosely adapted the Dark Phoenix saga, even if it removed numerous elements. She’s one of the most well known and beloved women in all of X-Men, and for good reason. Jean is immensely powerful, and someone who you can perhaps understand on a more primal level than someone like Rogue or Storm. It may only be a matter of time before Jean as we once knew her is back in the X-Men universe, but the impact she had on the X-Men is perhaps a better reward than another revival.
As the woman poised to lead the X-Men into battle should Cyclops be unavailable, Storm is truly a woman of power and grace. Her demeanour is something to admire and behold, selfless and heroic, and represents a hopeful vision for our own future, with not only human and mutants but men and women of all colors coming together to create something better.
Storm is massively significant in the history of the X-Men, and her status as a powerful female presence also shifts a lot of the balance of feminism. She has been able to lay the groundwork for a more diverse cast of superheroes, as well as being just plain cool. Her powers are a fantastic chance to play with some killer visuals, with the image of Storm’s cape flapping in front of a massive weather change she just started is incredible poetry in motion.
She’s one of the most popular and adapted members of the entire X-Men, having been brilliantly played by Academy Award-winner Halle Berry in all of her live-action film appearances. Storm is also playable in a number of X-Men video games, and was a recurring character on the 1990’s cartoon series. She is culturally and historically significant, and an overall amazing character, allowing her to stand tall as the greatest X-Woman of all time.