An X-Man is Gay- A Review of All New X-Men #40
Brian Michael Bendis has written X-Men stories for a long time now, and one of his hallmarks has been an uncanny ability to capture the personalities and relationships among the various mutant X-Men. In a recent issue of All-New X-Men #40, Bendis takes on a hot topic that reflects current identity questions and conflicts of the real world and puts them squarely into the comic book world. You see, Bendis has revealed that one of the X-Men is gay.
All-New X-Men #40 Cover
Before we get to the who, what, and how of this revelation, a little background is in order first. In the current Marvel Universe (as of 2014-2015), there are multiple X-Men teams, some of whom are not very friendly with each other (long story...), but one particular X-Team is quite similar, yet very different, from the others. You see, a while back, the blue-furred and genius-level Dr. Hank McCoy (AKA The Beast), had the idea to go back in time (being a genius, he just happened to have a time machine stashed in the corner of his lab), to bring back the much-younger versions of the original X-Men to the present time. Yes, he snatched the still teen-aged Cyclops, Marvel Girl (Jean Grey), Angel, Iceman, and Beast (sans blue fur) out of time and introduced them to the current Marvel Universe where Professor Xavier is dead (killed by the adult Cyclops), Jean Grey has died a few times, Angel has had all sorts of weird and horrible things happen to him, and Iceman is dating Kitty Pryde and now hates Cyclops for killing Xavier.
For those fans who love the original X-Men (this review included), this particular time-travelling X-Men storyline has been a lot of fun. Part of the wonder of the original X-Men was seeing them grow up from naive kids still learning how to use their mutant powers to adult superheroes to had to navigate adult relationships and anti-mutant hysteria while also recruiting newer mutants to their cause.
All-New X-Men #40-Jean Grey
So, what is this about a gay X-Men member? In the All-New X-Men comic book title, which is where the younger, time-displaced original X-Men are featured, they have gone through a lot of drama, not the least of which involves the revelations that they find out that their adult versions are so totally messed up. One of the more interesting story lines has been seeing Jean Grey discover and use her mind-reading ability without the guidance of Professor X (as happened in the original storyline of the X-Men). She is constantly "hearing" other people's thoughts, and cannot shut them out. She also tends to blurt out things based on what she is hearing in people's minds. Her friends tend to find this an irritating habit of hers.
Which brings us to this whole gay thing. Keep in mind that where/when they are from, publicly disclosing that you may be homosexual is not as accepted as it is in the current day. So, when Bobby comments that Magik is "Hot," in a physical, sexual sense, Jean asks Bobby why he is doing that (calling girls "hot" that is...). Bobby's response is confused and then Jean reveals that with her mental powers, she knows that Bobby is really gay.
The dialogue between them in the following panels is interesting, including the question of why the adult Iceman appears to be completely heterosexual, while young, time-displaced (i.e. alternate universe version) Iceman is gay.
All-New X-Men #40-Bobby and Jean--Who is Gay
All-New X-Men #40-Bobby and Jean-You Are Gay
All-New X-Men #40-Iceman and Jean Grey
All in all, Bendis continues to make the X-Men, and how they deal with each other on a personal level, very interesting. What do YOU, the X-reader, think of all this? Comment below.