Not only is Brian Wood killing it on Ultimate X-Men, but he’s also murdering it on X-Men. He has Ultimate Kitty at the forefront of that title and OG Kitty as not the lead character, but at least the third most important character.
That is a key different there. X-Men is more of a cast title whereas Ultimate is clearly Kitty centric but things either happening from her, to her, or around her. She is the focal character and either we take a break from her vantage point for a page but we are always checking in with her.
I know that Jubilee is suppose to be the main star of X-Men as the other members, besides Rachel, show up in at least one other title than this one. Storm and Psylocke have Uncanny X-Force together, Rogue is in Uncanny Avengers, and Kitty has both All New X-Men and Wolverine and the X-Men, which from time to time, has a guest appearance by Storm. Rachel has no other book, as does Jubilee. Making her equal to Storm, as five issues into this new title, and Storm and Rachel have a clear disagreement on leadership and operating procedures. Jubilee is the light character so she will steal the most scenes and has the baby, Shogo, who will also be helping in the stealing scenes department.
Ultimate Kitty doesn’t have to worry about such things. She’s fighting Jean right now, so Jean steals the show, just like General Ross in the story arc previous, and Mach Two in the story behind that. Once they are no longer the spotlight opposition, they disappear into the background – in Mack Two’s case, or disappear altogether in General Ross’s case.
Ultimate Rogue is in the picture, but she can be along with the plant life, then she doesn’t require too much attention. Storm has a budding relationship with the farmer mutant as well as a friendship with Colossus. Who in the Ultimate Universe is more Russian Mafia than Russian farmers, though I doubt anyone remembers Ultimate Colossus’ origins. If you can’t be one, might as well be the other, I suppose. Ultimate Psylocke is on Mach Two’s side that means we barely get anything from her these days.
Now that I’m writing all of these, it dawns on me that both titles are predominately female cast. Which makes sense as X-Men has always been known for their strong female roles, especially Giant Size X-Men 1 and forward. Maybe not so much pre-Giant Size, as it is hard to do with only Jean and Polaris. Have to at least have a few female members on a team to be predominately female. With only Storm and Jean in the Giant Size cast, the X-Men proper didn’t become that way until at least 167 wherein Kitty was already on the team but Rogue made it three female team members.
The point is, that even with only a few characters, if you wanted strong female characters, you had to come to the X-Men. Avengers may have a few female members, but they are nowhere near as interesting or layered as the X-Men. Maybe Carol Danvers, but that’s largely due to her time with the X-Men and by Chris Claremont’s genius writing. Then there is Wanda, who also has her roots in X-Men lore, but only her roots; she’s been Avenger proud since her fifth appearance. Or something like that, if she isn’t paired with Vision, I have no true interest in her. I started out my love for Avengers with the Kurt Buisek / George Perez run n the title. Sue Richards is an awesome character, but being only one fourth of a title hurts that title’s record of strong females, but they do get She-Hulk from time to time.
Some how this became more about strong female characters than it did Brian Wood but the thing is, you can’t go wrong with Brian Wood. And at some point, I might venture out into his indie work but for now, I am quite happy with his Ultimate and X-Men work.