They promised it would be annual and now the X-Men office is delivering. The second annual #XMenVote is here, with ten extremely interesting candidates. In the spirit of election coverage, we took a deep dive into each candidate and give you our analysis.
Before we jump in, an interesting detail we waited to point out- there’s no obvious pick here. Last year Polaris had an obvious edge through name recognition alone, added to her popularity thanks to Fox’s The Gifted. The closest this year’s picks comes to that sort of ringer is Avalanche and Firestar, both of whom starred in popular cartoons, but neither of which come even close to the popularity of Polaris. So who are the candidates?
Surprisingly, the only repeat from last year, and what we said last year basically still applies- Hisako Ichiki is perhaps the most prominent member of her generation of young mutants. With the ability to generate a semi-transparent forcefield in the shape of a massive suit of armor, she’s also a bruiser that can go toe to toe with some of the X-Men’s greatest foes. She most recently appeared in SWORD as a supporting character (though not nearly as prominently as her fans may have hoped), but she’s definitely a character who could use the spotlight.
One of two former villains in the line-up for the year. Dominikos Petrakis is a seismo-kinetic powerhouse who’s been dead since the first arc of Uncanny Avengers. While a redemptive arc not unlike his longtime partner Pyro wouldn’t be out of place, he seems like an odd fit for the main X-Men team. An unlikely pick that would be more at home in X-Force or Marauders than X-Men.
Roxy Washington is an extremely interesting character whose time in the Krakoan spotlight was cut short when the horrifically bad Fallen Angels was mercifully cancelled. She’s the daughter of Marvel Universe hip-hop royalty, and has never really gotten the spotlight she could have. A lot of story potential, but maybe too much for the flagship book where she would likely get pushed to the side.
Like many my age, Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends was my introduction to the Marvel Universe, so I have a soft spot for Firestar. Angelica Jones is probably Marvel’s most prominent non-X-Men mutant. While she did serve with the team for the full run of Amazing X-Men about a decade ago, she hasn’t been seen with the team since. She’s been speculated to have been in a few group shots since HOXPOX, but the press release confirmed a detail that makes her perhaps the most interesting candidate- she has yet to claim Krakoan citizenship.
Another young mutant from the same generation of characters as Armor, Nezhno Abidemi is a very interesting character who’s brimming with potential. He’s Wakandan, he’s Russian, he’s a powerhouse, and he’s a blank slate. Unfortunately, he’s a long shot, since he’s barely been featured in anything notable, outside of X-Men Red.
Look, he had a few cool moments in X of Swords (I mean he #%^ed a rock, then killed 100 men). No number of cool moments could overcome the fact that he led Hydra for a few years, a terrorist organization at best, and actual Nazis at worst. The only interesting thing about his inclusion is that he is one of two mutants to die in Otherworld, and how that changed him has only been explored in a few pages of Way of X. He shouldn’t be here, pure and simple.
Scott Wright is only here as a far out pick. Could be an interesting character to explore (I mean, he’s an Alan Davis Excalibur original), but we’d be surprised if he got out of the single digits in the voting percentages. Hell, maybe he’s only here so readers aren’t surprised when he takes a more prominent role in the line in the near future.
Despite the fact that we want to scream “stop trying to make Penance happen” Monet St. Croix is probably the obvious front runner, even with the lame new codename. She’s a fan favorite, and has put in more page time than pretty much anyone else in the running (except maybe Firestar). It would also be incredible to see a black, autistic, female, Muslim hero front and center in one of the best-selling titles on the market, as long as the creators involved ensure they work with a sensitivity reader, that is.
Here’s my dark horse candidate right here. Theresa Rourke Cassidy is one of the coolest characters in X-Men history, and I’d love to see her get a shot at the big time. She’s a recovering alcoholic, a former death goddess, was raised by a pair of terrorists, and still came out the other side an incredible hero. She should walk away with this, but I’m afraid she may not.
Where I say Siryn is my dark horse, I think Surge is the overall dark horse. While she’s from the same generation of characters as Gentle and Armor, she’s seen by a subset of X-Men fandom as a prominent character amongst that group. Despite some unfortunate stories in her past (including an ugly incident of Islamophobia in a page that has gone mildly viral), she’s got a lot of potential, and has hardly been seen since New X-Men ended years ago. If the creative team can show how she has and continues to grow and change, I think she could be a great addition to the team and a fascinating character to get the spotlight.
Voting goes through midnight January 13. Be sure to log into Marvel.com to vote!