Salvador Larocca drew this image around the time he was the regular artist for X-Treme X-Men and it features almost all of the lovely X-Ladies (Apologies to Polaris and Dazzler fans!). I feel that Salvador captured a bit of each character’s personality in the way he drew their poses. For example, you can tell that Jean and Storm are good friends, that Emma Frost (although center) is in a class by herself, and that Sage thinks she’s a super-spy or something with gun over her head (No, I never warmed to Sage. She bores me to tears). For the uninitiated, the characters in this pic (starting from the lower left) are: Jean Grey, Storm, Psylocke (with the sword), Sage is holding the gun, Emma Frost (the White Queen) is in all white. The girl with the big grin on the left in the back is Jubilee, and to the right of her we have Rogue, Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde) and her dragon companion Lockheed. The woman in the back with the Phoenix effect around her is Rachel Summers/Grey. What I like most about this image is you get a sense that despite all of their differences, they have a sense of camaraderie that ties them all together. Thanks to writer Chris Claremont, the X-Men paved the way for heroic female characters in an art form dominated by testosterone. These days, not much remains of that heroic feminine mystique. Your mileage may vary, but it’s disappointed to me that Jean dies, Storm marries Black Panther (and doesn’t even get billing on the title like when Falcon joined Captain America in his title or when Black Widow starred in Daredevil), Psylocke and Sage are stuck in New Exiles doing absolutely nothing of importance, Jubilee gets depowered, renamed Wondra and has to hang out with the abysmal New New Warriors, Rogue has run away (this time to Australia) to find herself (again), Shadowcat got stuck on a giant space bullet (thanks a lot, Joss Whedon), Rachel and Polaris (attached to Havok at the hip again) are lost in space (but might be getting some face time in War of Kings) and Dazzler is wallpaper (with a really bad costume) in Uncanny right now. I think it’s high time the X-Women were all reunited under one roof.
I know, I know, but what about Emma? Well, yes, Emma is apparently the First Lady of mutantdom right now as evidenced by her co-leadership of the team (she did send out that worldwide telepathic call to summon all the mutants to San Francisco afterall) and she is playing a dangerous game representing the mutant population in Norman Osbourn’s cabal of baddies known as Dark Reign. However, Cyclops is keeping his formation of his wetworks team, X-Force, from her (which just underlines the fact that the X-Men are really his show, not Emma’s) and no one seems to really believe that Emma is reformed (although the way Warren Ellis is writing her interactions with Storm in Astonishing X-Men would denote that Ororo is doing her best to support Emma and vice versa. This is really interesting since Storm and Emma were adversaries for so long. If Ellis keeps building on this friendship (if it can be called that), then it will be interesting to see who Storm sides with when X-Force’s existence is revealed to the rest of the X-men.
Terry Dodson drew this portrait of the X-Women and he included Dazzler (lower right corner)! I love this image because is gives Jean the proper respect she deserves for not only being the first student of Xavier’s, but also because The Phoenix Saga is quintessential X-men lore, defining team books and the comic industry overall. It’s a bit of a tease to have all of the women on the same cover, because they simply aren’t on the same team.
Here’s the colored version of Terry Dodson’s cover image. It’s truly gorgeous. My only nitpick is that Storm had her hands on her hips in a bold leadership stance instead of fluffing her hair. It makes her look a tad vapid, especially since she can make the wind rearrange her hair. I do, however, love how large Dodson has drawn her tiara. Here’s hoping that in the future we get all these lovely women interacting again.