It started with Rick Remender’s UNCANNY AVENGERS #3. A clone of the Red Skull is using the power of Professor X to turn humans against mutants. As the Skull turned his power onto Thor to use the Thunder God’s Aryan features to inspire his new Reich, I realized that there were two other members of the Avengers with Aryan appeal: Havok and Captain America. Then remembered the rest of the team (Wolverine, Rogue, and Scarlet Witch) wouldn’t get kicked out of a country club either.
The Uncanny Avengers were all white, a dynamic not seen in an Avengers or X-Men comic since the 70’s.
It didn’t register when the book started. A near lifelong fan of Havok and half life fan of John Cassaday, I was too invested in those elements being in the same book to be distracted by the homogeneous nature of the cast. And it would have been simple to write it off as just a temporary lineup oversight (the team expands in #5) or something like that, but I began to think back to other books by series writer Rick Remender. The results are problematic, to say the least.
SECRET AVENGERS, created by Ed Brubaker and Mike Deodato, included War Machine James Rhodes and Master of Kung Fu Shang Chi. When Remender took over the book, both of those characters were inexplicably gone, replaced by the blonde quartet of Captain Britain, Hawkeye, Hank Pym, and Venom.
UNCANNY X-FORCE, the followup series to X-FORCE by Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost and Clayton Crain, featured an all white team comprised of Wolverine, Fantomex, Deadpool, Archangel, and Psylocke. It should be noted that though she is Asian in outward appearance, Psylocke is actually British and full blood sister to blonde haired, blue eyed, previously mentioned Captain Britain. Even later member Deathlok is the reinanimated body of a blonde serial killer.
VENOM (Remender placed him in the Secret Avengers while writing both series), starring ex-Peter Parker bully/Spider-Man’s #1 supporter Flash Thompson, had no people of color in any supporting role.
PUNISHER, though I checked out of that series when he became Frankencastle, had no people of color in any supporting role, unless the Living Mummy was in there somewhere and really, he’s not repping for anyone.
I don’t want to make any assumptions about Rick Remender’s character but his storytelling choices leave me wondering where his head is at. Does he not feel comfortable writing a character that isn’t white? Does the lack of diversity even register to him? This is only his Marvel output, but it is also his most high profile work. It is highly problematic that someone would be so exclusionary, even unintentionally.
It may be a long time before I pick up any book written by Rick Remender ever again.