Written by Russ Axon
Since the X-Men were originally introduced in 1963, they’ve always been a strong metaphor for minority groups that have been denied basic civil rights simply because they are different from the “norm.” At the end of the day, though, the series focused on five straight, white characters, and it would be some time before characters representing actual minority groups – blacks, Native Americans, gays, lesbians – were introduced. That will change again with tomorrow’s issue of X-Men. Bobby Drake, AKA: Iceman, AKA: one of the original five X-Men, will come out as gay in tomorrow’s All-New X-Men #40. The series follows the original X-Men team who have been brought to the present day in an attempt to make a better future.
The reveal takes place over several pages, which were leaked yesterday. In the issue, it’s telepath Jean Grey who confronts Iceman about his sexual preference:
Writer Brian Michael Bendis’ trademark talking heads approach works well here, as he does a good job of letting the conversation flow naturally and brings up questions the reader is likely asking. However, the real star is artist Mahmud Asrar‘s excellent facial expressions and pacing. Asrar also uses angles to great effect, especially by keeping Iceman’s back to the reader for several panels. And the literal ice wall is a brilliant detail:
The reveal comes as a bit of surprise – nothing about it was teased in this issue’s solicits – but not unexpected. Marvel has made a visible effort in the last few years to include books featuring more diverse characters, and Bendis has used this title a few times to tackle social issues. The reveal of one of the company’s keystone characters coming out as gay is sure to garner some strong reactions from readers on both sides of the issue.
What do you think? Does this change the way you look at Iceman? Or did you always have a feeling?