Feb 22, 2017

Colleen Wing and X-23: Stars in Waiting

Colleen Wing and X-23: Stars in Waiting
Ben Smith

We truly live in a wondrous age of movies and television, when Colleen Wing and X-23 are poised to become household names in 2017.  As I’ve covered previously, Colleen Wing is one of my favorite supporting characters, and she is set to make her live action debut as part of the Iron Fist series on Netflix.  Wolverine was probably the second superhero I ever considered my favorite character, after Spider-Man, but he has only gotten worse over the years.  X-23 more than fills that void of the tortured assassin with a heart of gold deep inside.

I really don’t know what it is I love so much about female superheroes (yes, I know for our society to ever fully achieve gender equality, there will be no need to quantify characters by gender, but I am only human. I do my best).  I really don’t think sexual attraction plays into it at all, even subconsciously, considering they aren’t real women.  X-23 obviously has a Lolita quality that could appeal to some creepy fans, but I really don’t do the creepy old guy lusting after a younger woman thing (except with Taylor Swift, and that’s only because she’s so damn talented).

As a guy that’s almost always been the shortest male in the room throughout my entire life, I think I’ve always been impressed by those that defy expectation.  (It was always one of my favorite things to step on a basketball court with new people, and completely surprise them with my ability to not completely suck.)  No matter how far we advance as a species and a society, most males are still always going to underestimate the ability of a woman to physically kick ass.  Combine that underdog aspect with some pathos and a dash of excellent writing, and you’ve got a recipe for making me care about a character.  (See also Batgirl, Elsa Bloodstone, Spider-Gwen, Ahsoka Tano.)  If I can care about a character as if they’re a real person, then it’s all over for me.  I’m hooked.

X-23 was created and trained from birth to be an emotionless, mindless weapon of destruction.  As a parent, I think my heart goes out to any child that is forced to live a life without love or positive encouragement.  X-23 was even forced to kill her own surrogate mother, and has spent every moment since struggling to find a way to reconcile with the killer inside her.  Along the way, she’s had her heartbreaking setbacks, forced to send her cousin (who she became close friends with) and qunt away to protect from the people that would harm them because of her.  I love the way people believe in her, trust that she can find a better path.  Captain America turned her loose rather than handing her over to S.H.I.E.L.D. because he believed she deserved a chance to be a real person, not a weapon.  Sadly, Wolverine always been the best mentor, recruiting her into his black ops X-Force assassin unit, when he knew it wouldn’t be good for her.

This breaks my heart

Currently, X-23 has graduated to the role of Wolverine after the death of Logan.  Her sister-like relationship with a younger clone of herself is one of the primary reasons All-New Wolverine is my favorite series being published by Marvel right now.    

Colleen Wing’s appeal is more about visceral kung-fu badassery than it is any defining character trait.  She’s the most beautiful woman in the room (as many characters have noted) but she’ll also kick your ass or cut your head off with her katana.  As a child of the ‘80s, raised in the age of kung-fu/ninja movies, I’ll always have a place in my heart for some good martial arts action.  Colleen was raised and trained by her grandfather to be a Samurai, and considering I have Usagi Yojimbo tattooed on my arm, it goes without saying I have a great amount of love for the legendary Samurai.

As great as the A-list characters like Spider-Man, Batman, and the Avengers are, it’s always good when the B-list (or lower) heroes get a chance to shine.  Usually, with less editorial and merchandising restraints, these characters really get a chance to grow and change and develop in more unconventional ways.  It’s in the margins where things get truly interesting.  It’s been that way in comics, and I think it’s steadily been proven out in live-action as well.  It’s why Guardians of the Galaxy has maintained its status as my favorite Marvel movie.  From the early clips, it doesn’t appear like Colleen Wing or X-23 will be any different.  I expect nothing less than superstardom for both.    

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