With Psylocke featured in the upcoming film X-Men: Apocalypse, we can expect some extra attention to fall on Marvel’s striking, purple-haired mutant who wields a telekinetic katana. And with that attention, the problem of racial identity in the character’s backstory is getting some new scrutiny. In her current iteration, Psylocke is a white British woman, Betsy Braddock, whose mind --- by a series of outlandish plot developments --- is in the body of Japanese ninja assassin named Kwannon.
Ilyana Rasputin has been a part of the X-Men family for decades, but her most recent incarnation as a member of Cyclops' Uncanny X-Men team has elevated her prominence in the Marvel Universe. She's had an incredibly complicated history, which is often a prerequisite for membership in the X-Men, but to be fair, she really came into her own in the Marvel Now era.
Now, after the success of the the ArtFX+ Avengers line, Kotobukiya has been filling out the roster of the Marvel Now X-Men. To this point, Cyclops and Emma Frost have been fully revealed, with Magik previously only being teased as a prototype at SDCC 2015. This week, Koto officially unveiled the painted prototype of the Adi Granov-designed statue, showing Illyana in her bad-ass splendor.
Marvel formally unveiled its post-Secret Wars 'All New, All Different' line up on Wednesday, featuring a Marvel Universe reconfigured by the experiences of Battleworld, and an eight month time jump that allows the publisher to set up a new status quo for many of its characters. Marvel has never had a better opportunity to shake up its line, so readers had high expectations for a bold, diverse, inventive new direction. With that in mind, we're going to share the new titles with you, alongside some observations on how the new Marvel Universe is shaping up, starting with the X-Men.
A lot of fans weren't sure there would still be an X-Men line coming out of Secret Wars, or that it would still share space with the rest of the main Marvel Universe, given that Fox's control of various licensing rights has led Marvel to step back from heavily promoting these characters. But the X-Men still sell comics, and Marvel is in that business, so the X-Men haven't entirely gone away, though the line is down to only six titles, with just three team books and three solo books.
While it was a tad controversial when Emma Frost got her new black costume in Uncanny X-Men, she's completely owned the look, as she has with all of her costumes through the years. As one of the most powerful telepaths in the Marvel Universe, her confidence knows no bounds. That attitude is captured perfectly in the new statue from Kotobukiya.
As part of the planned Uncanny X-Men line, which is designed by Adi Granov, the Emma Frost statue realizes the teacher's full potential in 3D form. The line follows a similarly-styled series based on Granov's take on the Avengers from Marvel Now. A complete team including Cyclops (due in October), Magik, Wolverine, Magneto, Beast and Rogue is planned, but so far only the mutant power couple has been shown beyond concept art.
Phil Noto knows how to create a stylish retro vibe, and he can conjure up a soft-edged gauzy aesthetic that perfectly evokes the nostalgic familiarity of photographs from the 1960s and 70s. It's a talent that he exploited to beautiful effect in a series of pieces for his Tumblr that presented Silver Age Marvel heroes in the mode of old celebrity snaps from Life Magazine; the images that would have existed if these heroes had been real in the age they were created.
Those Tumblr images are the clear inspiration for a month of Phil Noto variant covers at Marvel this February, though the inspiration stretches beyond Life Magazine pastiches to cover hip-hop, fashion photography, and even candid personal images. Several of the covers were released this week courtesy of Marvel, Comic Vine, CBR and Newsarama, and they're a gorgeous selection of images, so we've collected them all in one place for your appreciation.
We like diversity here at ComicsAlliance. We've said it before, and we'll say it again. We're also big fans of superheroes, and that probably goes without saying.
We especially like diversity with our superheroes. Diversity broadens the genre's reach, encourages respect and understanding of people's differences, and gives minority audiences more chances to see themselves in fiction, and those are all great things. Because of this, we've come up with a new way to look at diversity in superhero comics - particularly team books. We call it the Harvey/Renee Index.
Uncanny X-Men returns next week with a new #1 from Brian Michael Bendis and Chris Bachalo - and a very unusual variant cover from artist Stuart Immonen.
The "Deadpool 53 State Birds" cover is Marvel's tongue-in-cheek response to DC's 52 state flag variant covers for Justice League of America #1...
More than a few of your favorite Marvel and DC Comics creators have projects that you may not have heard of, depending on how closely you follow their careers. In creator-owned comics, these talents get to go wild and create a story that springs entirely from their own brow, and I love seeing the results of that...
This week, Marvel kicked off a big ol' fight between the Avengers and the X-Men in the appropriately named Avengers vs. X-Men. But while the current event promises to be their most important conflict ever, it's hardly the first time those two teams have met up with each other...