Following months of anticipation and discussion, Brian Wood and Olivier Coipel's X-Men #1, featuring an all-female main cast, is now on sale.
The series was first announced in early January, and received widespread press for being the first ongoing X-Men series solely starring the famous females in Marvel's mutant roster. With a main cast of X-Men mainstays Storm, Kitty Pryde, Rachel Grey, Rogue, Psylocke and Jubilee, the book has received early praise, with Newsarama's Best Shots column calling it "definitely a strong new addition to Marvel's already robust X-Men franchise" in an 8 out of 10 review.
If you're curious about the premise but have been away from the perpetually-turbulent world of the X-Men, here's a look at what the new book's main cast has been up to in recent months.
Among the X-Men main cast, Jubilation Lee has had arguably the toughest time of late, starting with the loss of her powers in the aftermath of 2005's House of M. While she rebounded as a technology-based hero in the most recent incarnation of the New Warriors, she ended up infected with a vampire virus a couple of years back.
Though she may now be technically a vampire rather than the spunky young mutant she once was, Wood has said that doesn't fundamentally change Jubilee as a character, and that she — the only one not regularly appearing in another series — will be the focal point of the book.
"The vampire powers definitely are a twist, but in no way does it change her personality or her core character traits," Wood told Newsarama earlier this year.
Ororo Monroe is roughly the same position now that she's been in for years: An integral part of the X-Men. Before Avengers vs. X-Men, she was allied with Cyclops' "Extinction Team" on Utopia, along with fellow heavy hitters like Magneto, Emma Frost and Danger.
Following the upheaval brought by AvX — it also caused a permanent separation from her former husband, Black Panther, and the end of her short stint with the Avengers — she became a teacher at Wolverine's Jean Grey School for Higher Learning and soon after replaced Kitty Pryde as headmistress, plus she's a main component of the current Uncanny X-Force team.
Also, she's visually returned to her glory days by bringing back the distinctive mohawk that she famously rocked during the '80s.
For a time traveler from an alternate future, Rachel Grey has had a fairly uneventful past couple of years — well, at least since she's returned from an extended sojourn on the other side of the galaxy.
Rachel was stuck in outer space with Havok and Polaris for years in real-world time (and not an insignificant period in comic-book time), but returned towards the end of Mike Carey's run on X-Men: Legacy. Shortly after being back on Earth, she became one of the founding instructors of the Jean Grey School.
Due to her history with the Phoenix Force, Rachel took a more active role in the Avengers vs. X-Men combat, at times operating on both sides of the conflict.
Kitty Pryde also spent a good deal of time away from Earth, in her case inside a space bullet hurtling towards Earth. After a Magneto-guided safe landing, she rejoined the X-Men, and sided with Wolverine after the Schism with Cyclops, joining the Jean Grey School as its headmistress.
Avengers vs. X-Men was a traumatic event for Kitty as well, as it saw the (for now) final dissolution of her on-again, off-again relationship with Colossus, who had become part of the Phoenix Five. She's since started a new romance with Iceman, which is still in its early stages.
Pryde stepped down from her role as headmistress in order to fully concentrate on helping the Original Five X-Men — teen versions of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Angel, Beast and Iceman — acclimate to the present. (Seeing as how Teen Angel has already defected and joined with Adult Cyclops, it's not an easy job.)
Rogue got her big break following AvX, joining Earth's Mightiest Heroes in the Uncanny Avengers series, as part of a marquee team focused on helping mutant rights.
Yet, as Uncanny Avengers writer Rick Remender has established, she's also regressing in a way, in light of the death of Professor X (and Red Skull's subsequent defiling of his corpse and powers), and being on a team with Scarlet Witch, who was responsible for the decimation of the mutants post-House of M, something the fictional race is still recovering from.
"I'm just trying to write the best Rogue I can, bringing back the brawler in her, the wild card persona that's fallen a little bit by the wayside recently," Wood told us in January. "Not as a response to any one thing in particular, but because I think that's the best way to write her."
It's been an emotionally hectic few years for Betsy Braddock, due to her involvement in the psychological wringer known as Uncanny X-Force.
She not only participated in morally ambiguous "for the common good" killings as part of the Rick Remender-written era of that team, she also saw her long-term love Archangel return to his malevolent "Death" persona, only to then be reborn with no memory of his past life. Along the way, she fell in love with Fantomex, who also died and was reborn — this time as three different people.
While she's attempting a return to relative normality as part of the X-Men team, she's also returning to the underground, as the driving presence in the new volume of Uncanny X-Force.
Though other mutants, like students Bling and Mercury in issue #1, will appear in the series, Wood has said that he's planning on sticking with these six as his main cast for the immediate future.
"This cast of six is firm and fixed — I have brief moments with Bling and Pixie, sure, but right now, and for the foreseeable future, this is our cast," Wood said in January, saying that it will stay that way "at least the first year, if not longer."