X-Men ’97 Fans Angry About Series Doing What X-Men Has Always Done

By Zack Zagranis | Published

  • Some fans are angry about the X-Men becoming something they’ve always been.
  • It was recently announced that X-Men ’97‘s Morph would be non-binary.
  • Some fans complain that the announcement about Morph means X-Men ’97 is going woke.
  • Ever since the most definitive comic book runs of Uncanny X-Men, the franchise has always been inclusive and progressive.

It was recently announced that the upcoming Disney+ series X-Men ’97 will make Morph non-binary, and the usual suspects are up in arms. The same trolls that love to tell you Rey is not a Skywalker are now flooding X with outrage over Marvel’s Merry Band of Mutants suddenly having an LGBTQIA+ member. Somehow, these “fans” missed something that comic readers have known for decades: The X-Men have always been woke.

The Argument Against The Change


Or rather, almost always. Many of the so-called fans outraged over Morph—a non-human character from the original cartoon who can change their genetic make-up at will—being nonbinary are fighting back by pointing out that Stan Lee once said that he didn’t create the X-Men to an allegory for marginalized communities. Technically, they’re right.

In 1963, Stan Lee was just trying to churn out another group of superheroes he could sell to kids on a monthly basis. He didn’t intend for mutants to be stand-ins for the black or queer communities. Chris Claremont, however, did.

Lee’s X-Men Aren’t The Definitive Version


So yeah, the X-Men haven’t always been woke, but they’ve pushed progressive politics for 50 out of the 61 years they’ve been around. We don’t know about you, but that’s close enough to “always” for us.

As far as Stan Lee is concerned, there’s a reason why he isn’t the first person people think of when they think of the X-Men. Lee and Kirby’s original X-Men comic, with a 30-something Professor X lusting over the 16-year-old Jean Grey and a version of Magneto that’s just a stereotypical mustache-twirling villain, was not very popular. At one point in its first decade of publication, Marvel started reprinting earlier issues rather than bothering to create new ones.

When You Think X-Men, You’re Thinking Claremont’s X-Men, And They’re As Woke As You Get

It wasn’t until writer Chris Claremont took over in the ’70s with his multi-ethnic team that the X-Men truly became popular. Funnily enough, that’s also around the same time the team started getting progressive. Hmmm, we wonder if there’s any connection there?

In 1975, the X-Men welcomed one of the first female black superheroes in Storm, a proud African native. In 1981, Claremont changed Magneto from an almost Hitler-like mutant supremacist to an actual Jewish holocaust survivor whose actions were born out of fear that the world would eventually eradicate his mutant brethren. In 1992, the mutant Northstar came out as gay.

Queer Representation And X-Men Go Hand In Hand

For decades, the pages of X-Men have contained explicit progressive ideals that make one wonder what comic these “fans” were reading. Saying the X-Men have become woke is like saying that Rage Against the Machine is suddenly a political band.

And that’s just the text. The amount of queer subtext in X-Men over the last half a century would absolutely make conservative fans’ heads explode. If they don’t like Morph being non-binary, they would hate the implied bi-sexual relationship Storm had with Yukio in the ’80s. You thought Storm’s mohawk, choker, and cut-off leather vest look was a straight fashion choice? Bless your heart!

Oh, And Hello… Mystique?


Then there’s Mystique—another shapeshifter—giving herself male genitalia in order to impregnate her girlfriend, Destiny. That storyline was always planned to be Nightcrawler’s origin all the way back in the ’80s, but Marvel got cold feet. The company has recently retconned it so that Mystique is indeed Nightcrawler’s father despite usually presenting as female.

The X-Men Are Woke, Deal With It

So, no. If you want to split hairs, the X-Men weren’t always woke in the same way that, technically, Peter Falk wasn’t the first person to play Columbo. For all intents and purposes, though, the X-Men have been woke long enough that anyone trying to make the distinction just comes off as petty and desperate.