I am both stunned and entirely not surprised by the news (so far unconfirmed by Marvel) that X-23 has been canceled. Not surprised, because I’ve seen the sales figures and Marvel is undergoing a very public belt-tightening period right now, but stunned because this means that Marvel will now have no ongoing solo title with a female lead character, which seems… almost unimaginable, really. I can’t believe that this isn’t something that won’t be addressed – i.e., fixed – as soon as possible, but still: Come February, there will be no solo female ongoing series from Marvel.
As hard as it is for me to get my head around that idea, it shouldn’t come as that big of a surprise; Marvel doesn’t have the female iconic lead character like DC’s Wonder Woman, and has struggled throughout its entire existence to try and fill that gap (Who’d be the closest Marvel has to a WW? Storm, perhaps? The Invisible Woman, just by her sheer longevity?). It’s a problem not helped by the fact that a lot of its high-profile female characters are simply variants on more established male characters (She-Hulk – whatever version – or Spider-Girl/Spider-Woman – again, whatever version. Or Ms. Marvel, for that matter, or X-23 herself. And remember the appallingly-named Rescue?), which makes them appear even more like after-thoughts than they may actually be. But, still; this is a publisher that has only recently had a year of Women at Marvel, complete with a Girl Comics mini and a couple of Women at Marvel collections. And now there’s not going to be a regular ongoing series with a female lead? That’s terrible – And I’m not sure whether Marvel, the market or some mix of the two are really to blame.