Way Too White: X-Men

March 4, 2008

The one thing I’ve always loved about the X-Men is their message of diversity and unity. If you look past the alien invasions, alternate dimensions and well… crap, the X-Men are at their strongest when they are a story about prejudice. That’s why Magneto is such a compelling villain. He isn’t merely evil for the sake of it: He witnessed the horrors of predjudice firsthand during the Holocaust, and will stop at nothing to prevent that from happening again.

Sadly the X-Men sometimes lose track of that in the comics; and more often than not the current X-team (save for the occasional furry blue mutant) is extremely white. But there are plenty of characters in the X-verse who do not fit this mold, it’s just rare that they receive any focus or special attention.

This is also the case in the VS. System. Despite the fact that the X-Men have been featured over three times now, there are some major minority X-characters who have yet to make an appearance in the card game. Here are two of my favorites, complete with fantasy cards I made myself:




Northstar (Jean-Paul Beaubier [Ed: Thanks gdaybloke!] ) is a Canadian mutant gifted with incredible super-speed. He’s so fast, in fact, that he can travel at speeds up to 99.9% the speed of light — Quicksilver can’t do that! Originally a member of Alpha Flight, Northstar was a fixture of the team in the late 80’s/early 90’s. In 1992 a public controversy was generated when writer John Byrne revealed that everyone’s second favorite Canadian mutant was also a homosexual.

Following the initial controversy surrounding his coming out, Northstar was doomed to obscurity by an editorial mandate. After Alpha Flight was cancelled in 1994 the character remained in limbo for a number of years, appearing in the X-Men titles periodically until he became a regular cast member in the 2000’s.

Sadly the character was killed by a mind-controlled Wolverine during the “Enemy of the State” storyline, then resurrected by The Hand and turned evil, and then taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. As far as I know he’s still locked up, which is a shame because he’s still one of the few gay male superhero characters. The fact that there are eight different incarnations of Rogue and none of Northstar just buggles my mind. Really

With Alpha.Flight rumored to be a team in the upcoming Marvel Universe I’m expecting Jean-Paul to show up. I only hope he is dual-affiliated with the X-Men, because really, nobody wants to play as Alpha Flight.




Dust (Sooraya Qadir) is a mutant from Afghanistan gifted with the incredible power to transform her body into a cloud of sand and maintain control of herself while in that form. This makes her a living sandstorm, capable of stripping away human flesh of gaining access to nearly impenetrable places with ease.

She was first introduced as a background character in Grant Morrison’s New X-Men, but in time grew to become a fixture among the young students at the Xavier Institute. She’s also going to be a member of the upcoming Young X-Men series, alongside the handful of other students who maintained their powers after the Decimation.

Dust is awesome not just because of her powers but because she’s the only positive Muslim superhero out there. Especially given the current state of the world, I can’t imagine an X-Person more important or relevant than Dust.

But she doesn’t have a card. And Wolverine has 13. Sigh.


2 Responses to “Way Too White: X-Men”

  1. gdaybloke Says:

    I thought Northstar’s last name was Beaubier? One way or another, I still remember flicking through one of those godawful swimsuit issues from the nineties only to be blindsided by a pic of Northstar in the surf, with his speedo around his neck like a kerchief… (*shudders*)

    I think New X-Men is a better showcase of diversity than the main X-Men crew. Hisako’s pretty cool.

    Other than Sunfire, has the main X-Men crew had a strictly positive asian character? I don’t count Psylocke since she’s a pom stuck in an asian body…

    One way or another, they’ve got different cultures in the X-squads (including my beloved Wolvesbane and the Proudstars), but as for ethnicity, I think the Avengers have done a better job… this I say without actually looking at rosters over time and seeing what the ratios are, of course.

  2. Good catch about the last name. Thanks!

    Jubilee is a Chinese-American, although it’s rare to see an artist actually draw her like that. There are only a handful of minorities in the X-Books, and rarely are there ever multiple minorities featured in the comics at the same time.

    The Avengers may actually be even worse than the X-Men in this regard, so expect an upcoming post about that someday.

    I’m not trying to whine. Even the lamest character is someone’s favorite, so let’s push for some more diversity in the characters we see featured by UDE.

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