“Jean Grey always seemed like a weak second-hand member of the x-men. (Until she turned into the Phoenix of course.) I liked the idea of making her a stronger character.” —Nate Hallinan
I ran a cross a rather fascinating project by concept artist Nate Hallinan, called Order of X. The project is essentially Nate’s amazing reimagining of the X-Men characters as a medieval fantasy story. Lady Grey is his version of Jean Grey, one of the original X-Men characters.
I liked Nate’s comment about Jean Grey’s character as seeming relatively weak and second-hand in many of the comics. And I definitely see where he’s coming from: if the X-Men were a D&D party, Jean essentially fills the function of a support caster, compared to Colossus’s tank, Wolverine’s heavy-melee damage, Storm’s area-of-effect caster, or Cyclops’s heavy ranged damage. Thus I like that Lady Grey is able to function in a ranged damage/sniper role, on top of her traditional telekinetic powers.
Jean’s outfit here is one of the smartest archer’s armors I’ve ever seen. As well as offering rudimentary head protection, Lady Grey’s headgear (is that the technical term?) is a tip of the hat to Jean’s costume from the 1990’s comics and TV series. Though capes have never really been part of Jean’s costuming, her archetypical olive traveling cloak offers protection from the elements and can be quickly removed when the situation calls for additional mobility.
Her armor itself is a very well-designed (masterwork?) quilted gambeson with hardened leather plates. The padding protects efficiently against bludgeoning as well as from spears and arrows, though only offering moderate protection from swords or axes. The leather plates offer superior defense against arrows and decent protection from most other weapons. I like as well that Nate saw fit to provide Lady Grey with additional leather padding on her left arm—as an archer, it is her left side that most often faces toward her foes, and thus it makes sense to provide her with extra protection there.
Our lady’s forearms are protected by a heavy leather bracer on the left and a light leather gauntlet on the right. Her right index and middle fingers are protected by additional leather padding to prevent the inevitable strain caused by the bowstring and fletching. Her pants are light, flexible leather for free movement with decent protection. And her knee-length, leather boots should keep her legs safe and travel well over any terrain.
Additionally, though Nate’s write-up never alludes to this, I like the earth tones of her armor in how they allow her to blend effectively with the forest. I feel like the colors reflect the archetypical fantasy ranger and outlaw sniper, which fits well with the traditional X-Men story as well as Nate’s story of the Order of X being outlaw mutant do-gooders. All in all, Lady Grey has one of the most well-thought-out pieces of archer’s armor I’ve seen.
While I understand Nate’s desire to keep his story limited in scope and number of characters, it’s hard not to try to imagine other X-Men heroes and villains and the roles they’d fill in Nate’s world. Lord Warren Worthington and Sir Robert Drake, the Frozen-Handed both have nice rings to them. Plus I think Magneto could be an especially deadly villain in a world of steel-clad soldiers.
One final note: some of Nate’s fans set up an online petition to Marvel Comics with the intent of making Order of X an actual comic series. There’s a link on Nate’s DeviantArt page for anyone interested in looking in to it further. Thanks again to Nate for letting me use his painting for the blog! Take care and thanks for reading, folks!