Uncanny X-Men Issue 17 Writer Matthew Rosenberg Addresses Controversy Regarding Trans Panic Violence

Uncanny X-Men Issue 17 (Image: Marvel Comics)

If you have been reading the current Uncanny X-Men comic book run from writer Matthew Rosenberg, you might be familiar with the controversy surrounding the death of a particular character in Issue 17. The good news is Rosenberg has addressed it. Here’s hoping Marvel Comics does better as a whole. I still don’t know who thought it was a good idea to add such a scene in there. Sigh!

I’ll be honest. I’m not a fan of the current Uncanny X-Men run. Seeing mutants being persecuted to such an extreme degree makes no sense to me when the world has other non-mutant heroes around. Ask yourselves. Is Captain America really a hero if he doesn’t stand up for mutant rights? What about Captain Marvel? Ms. Marvel? All of the others?

Using mutants as a metaphor for racism, homophobia, etc. made a lot of sense when the X-Men were introduced in the comic book world. But seeing how the Marvel Comic Book Universe greets superpowered beings with open arms, the targeted hate toward mutants just feels like a drag at this point.

Of course, I’m not saying anti-mutant sentiments shouldn’t exist. There is still a whole lot of hate in the world we live in. But the global scale at which it is being shown in Uncanny X-Men makes Rosenberg’s story feel like a narrative which wouldn’t have felt so out of place a couple of decades ago. Readers, like me, want something different.

Coming to Issue 17, we see the X-Men mourn Rhane Sinclair’s death, which occurred in Issue 16. While I’m okay with characters dying, the circumstances involving Rhane’s death are what has caused certain fans to speak out against it.

Not only does it serve as another example of how women are killed for manpain, but the attack also comes across as transphobic violence.

Rahne’s attackers are a group of young men. One of them flirts with her. When she refuses his advances, he grows aggressive, and Rhane’s mutation shows. This leads to the men thinking Rhane has tricked them because she wants to appear as a “normal girl,” and they proceed to attack her. If you have been reading news about actual transphobic attacks, you can see similarities between these scenarios.

We then have Logan (Wolverine) forcing the attackers to say Rhane’s name. The entire thing is an incredibly misguided mess which made me sigh in disappointment.

Do read the incredible pieces written by Comics Beat and io9 about this.

And yes, I know some readers are saying she isn’t dead because she is an experienced X-Men team member and has a healing factor. However, even if she did fake her death, people being upset about the problematic way the scene played out is still a valid thing which needs to be talked about.

I appreciate Rosenberg addressing what happened in issue 17. Fingers crossed, everyone learns from this. Also, it is high time actual trans characters are introduced in the Marvel Comics Universe.

matthew rosenberg uncanny x-men issue 17
Matthew Rosenberg talking about Uncanny X-Men Issue 17 (Image @AshcanPress)

Having said all of that, even though Uncanny X-Men isn’t for me, I look forward to more X-Men-centric work from Rosenberg. He is very talented.

Do yourselves a favor and read his New Mutants: Dead Souls miniseries.

Feel free to share your thoughts about Uncanny X-Men issue 17 with us.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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4 thoughts on “Uncanny X-Men Issue 17 Writer Matthew Rosenberg Addresses Controversy Regarding Trans Panic Violence

  1. Not only is it a comic book death, it’s the death of an X-men. Why bother having a funeral? Death is about as serious as a parking ticket. This is a group that had a welcome back to life party for Kurt. I don’t like the way the story was written, it’s a pointless death in my opinion made solely for a dramatic reaction from the other characters, not for a valid story ideal or point.
    But again, it’s hard to get upset or take seriously a death in comics. She’ll be back.

  2. “If you have been reading news about actual transphobic attacks”….actually I haven’t. I have been reading one about an actual school shooting BY a transgender – in a suburb of Denver, Colorado – but that’s not really getting a lot of play in the media. Would interrupt the steady perception of nonstop transphobic attacks, I guess.

    1. You really tried to do something here with such a comparison related to what this article talks about and the information related to the school shooting. Good work raising awareness, I guess.

    2. *by a transgender person

      Trans isn’t a noun. It’s an adjective. The way you phrased this makes me think you may not be up to date on transgender issues to begin with.

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