Thursday, April 23, 2015

All-New X-Men #40

   While we usually avoid spoilers here, one of the "big events" in this issue of All-New X-Men was splashed all over the news feeds, so I assume you've heard about it.

   If not, you've been warned.

   So, it turns out we didn't know Iceman as well as we thought. He's gay.

   And to be honest, I'm not sure how to react to it.

   I watched as social media blew up over it this week. Some were outraged because it was a radical change for a character who's been around for over 50 years and has never (to my knowledge) shown interest in anything but girls. He's dated and chased quite a few over the years, though admittedly he's had limited success. I don't think gay guys have a corner on that.

   Some were outraged because some fans didn't like it. Why shouldn't he be gay? Why couldn't he be gay? And that's valid - there are plenty of gay men and women who lived "straight" lives before admitting to themselves (and the world) that they were gay.

   The only problem I have with it is that it feels like nothing more than a publicity stunt - something that came out of left field, with no threads leading up to it. Retcons (if such this is) are tricky enough when they're planned carefully. This one seemed to be plucked out of the air.

   Making it even more - odd - is the fact that we're talking about the original Iceman, who's been brought through time to the modern day. But the present-day Iceman isn't gay (according to this issue). How does that work? Is this an unexpected side-effect to time travel? Is Marvel trying to have things both ways?

   It just doesn't feel... well thought-out.

   Do I care that Iceman is now gay? Nope. It doesn't change anything about the character - he's still a smart-aleck, heroic mutant who is a founding member of one of the greatest teams in the history of comics.

   The only thing I don't like is the ham-handed way it was managed. Look, mutants in Marvel's line have always represented the underdog - nerds, minorities, anyone who's different and trying to cope with the world at large.

   It's great that a gay kid reading this comic has a hero to identify with, and if it helps that kid get through life's struggles in the same way that those heroes helped young Chuck cope with being a bookworm and a science fiction fan, then I'm all for it.

Grade: A-



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