1963. It was the year that Betty Friedan blew the minds of women everywhere with The Feminine Mystique, the U.S. backed the overthrowing of the Ngo Dinh Diem regime in Vietnam, racism was peaking, Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech, Kennedy was assassinated. A tumultuous time indeed. It is also the same year that Stan Lee introduced comic book afficionados everywhere to the X-Men.
With that backdrop, it’s no surprise that X-Men became one of the most diverse cast of characters in the Marvel Universe and that rascim, integration, and equality were the major themes. What I am going to present today is a rundown of some of the most fracking awesome X-ladies ever–with women like these around what the frick is everyone else’s excuse for not creating strong female characters (maybe Pixar could learn a thing or two from looking into them for inspiration).
Junkie1’s Top 5 X-Women
Mystique: The Femme Fatale (Urge to use Betty Friedan-related play on words rising, riiiising…subsiding)
Name: Raven Darkholme (Nice!)
Powers: Shapeshifting, being awesome
Supervillain extraordinaire, assassin, reformed the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (which later became the Freedom Force) , blue skin. Talk about a puppet master–Mystique knows how to work her power to control any situation. She was also foster mother to several mutants (score). A lady may never disclose her age, but apparently a hermaphrodite lets it slip: nerd lore maintains that Mystique is over 100 years old. Also, she was originally intended to have a bisexual relationship with Destiny (the product of which was kick ass blue teleporter, Nightcrawler), but the plan was shot down by the Comics Code Authority and Sabertooth became her baby daddy. Boo to intolerance.
In the movies: Rebecca Romijn seriously rocked it. She took Mystique from semi-nude novelty to heartbreakingly loyal rebel. What do I love the most? How she always makes a comeback, even after Magneto left her to make her own way (douche).
Rouge: The Renegade
Name: Anna Marie (in some cases Marie or Anna Raven)
Powers: Absorb powers and memories through skin contact AND she can fly!
Rogue is a feisty, defiant southern belle that kicks major ass and rocks a truly funky hairdo. One of the most interesting things about her is her power. Physical contact is a no no! Her gift is–wait for it–also a curse! Both handy for day-saving situations, and tragic since she longs for any degree of contact with another person. Does she become a hermit and take to a shack in the woods? No! She pulls up her boots, scores one of the hottest X-men (Gambit), and punches the poo out of every baddie in sight. She is also a bit of a mystery. Most of her backstory (and name) were on lockdown until about 2001.
In the movies: My greatest sadness is that Bryan Singer’s series made her out to be a weak child, and Brett Rattner’s abomination wrote her off as a quitter. Btw, did you know in the comics her foster mothers were my #1 and her lover, Destiny?!
Storm: The Leader
Name: Ororo Monroe
Powers: Weather control and can technically fly (with the winds she controls)
First, the name: Ororo Monroe. Score, right? Second: Sorry Xena, but Storm is the warrior queen. She’s seriously flawed–plagued by fears and insecurities, but she is also the female counterpart to Cyclops, leader of the X-Men. Note: Storm eventually takes out Cyclops–sans powers, I might add– and becomes THE leader of the X-Men. And she was the first black superheroine. And she actually became a goddess in 1985.
In the movies: What sucks for those not familiar with the brilliant comics or stellar 90s cartoons? Halle Berry’s bastardized portrayal of this powerful woman.
Dear Halle: Storm is African (aka where the hell was your accent?). Storm doesn’t shake her lady bumps when walking into a scene (aka you already showed them off in Swordfish so settle down. We know you have boobies). Also, why did you have to be really the only actor in the entire series to infuse your vanity into the costuming of your character? (I’ll admit the baby bangs were awful, but why the black streaks?) Hugh had to grow another head of hair…on his face! Storm was the next generation of a long line of long, white-haired priestesses, and she was freaking awesome. Boo to you.
Phoenix/Marvel Girl: The Powerhouse
Name: Jean Grey
Powers: Telekinesis, Telepathy
Jean Grey is one of the most (if not the most) powerful superheroes in the Marvel Universe and one of the original X-Men. Plus, Jean is a publicly known mutant–which is a pretty big deal in their hood. Let us not forget the raw power and evil Jean becomes when she dies and is resurrected as the Phoenix. “She has been the weakest one, the strongest one, the sanest one, the craziest one. She has been the nurture and the dependent. They want all of this from her and more.” Apocalypse Manifesto, X Factor #65…’Nuff said.
In the movies: Famke Jansen pulled it off quite well, in my opinion. That is a tall order for one actress to portray. Plus, after turning into the Phoenix in The Last Stand, she used her powers for good and evil. The evil? Destroying San Francisco. The good? blowing most of Wolverine’s clothes off in the process. Thx, Phoenix!
Shadowcat: The Cutting Edge
Name: Katherine “Kitty” Pryde
The youngest member of the X-Men! BFF to Wolverine! A time traveling pet dragon! A ninja! That is pretty awesome. Also, in non nerd terms, her power is that she (and anything she is holding on to) can pass through solid objects like walls…or glass ceilings perhaps? Plus, she started taking college-level courses at 13.
In the movies: Hmm. we need to cast a young actress with potential love connection. Do we cast A) A ho or B) an actress? Thanks, Brett Rattner! The one shining glory of your film was casting Ellen Page instead of some Lohan cast off. Note: The character Bryan Singer developed for Rouge is basically a ripoff of Kitty Pryde. Also, having wee Kitty Pryde bust the balls of the near indestructable Juggernaut? Brill.