Original X-Men Character Iceman Coming Out of the Closet
For a few years now, a lot of people have compared the struggles of being a mutant to the struggles of being gay. Now, we have had gay mutants and superheroes show up in comics before, as seen in Northstar, the old Green Lantern, and Batwoman. But with the exception of Green Lantern, none of these caused too much controversy. The only reason Green Lantern caused controversy is because we thought he was a different Green Lantern. In a recent leak of comic pages from issue #40 of All New X-Men written by Brian Michael Bendis, however, it was revealed that an original X-Man, Bobby Drake, aka Iceman, has come out of the closet. This answers so many questions but also leaves a lot of questions and issues unanswered.
The Iceman in question is from the past. It's a long story, but I'll try to keep it short. About 40 issues ago, Cyclops was a terrorist (still kinda is), and Beast thought that the best way to help him not be a terrorist was to help him remember the good old days when they were all kids. So he created a time machine and brought the kid versions of them into the future. That basically sums up what young versions of the X-Men are doing in our time. So this Iceman is a young version of the Iceman that exists currently. We'll call him Snowball, because that was basically the extent of his powers back then.
In this new issue, Jean Grey reads his mind after he makes a joke about how hot someone is and takes him aside and basically says, "Dude, c'mon." I'm paraphrasing, but if you want to see the whole conversation, you'll just have to buy the comic. It's at that moment he comes out to her, and they have a heart to heart.
This leaves a lot of questions kinda unanswered. The leaked pages try to answer them, but mostly gloss over the big issue. If young Iceman is gay, how come older Iceman isn't? They mention this, so much so that they go over how much older Iceman is a ladies man, but they resolve that he must have just chosen to be straight instead of dealing with being gay and a mutant, because struggling with persecution with both would be too hard. But that would mean that he just powered through it and came out the other end not gay? As far as I know, that isn't how it works. Now I understand their desire to keep the older Iceman straight but open up new opportunities to show well-known mutants struggling with issues, but it’s a bit of a stretch.
Also, Jean Grey isn't the first psychic older Iceman has met. There could have been plenty of opportunities for psychics to out him in the past, or even come to him as a friend and talk to him about it. Are you telling me that if Emma Frost knew Iceman was secretly gay, she wouldn't have used it against him at some point? Maybe even blackmailed him? Or do you think when he dated Mystique for that short while, he ever asked her to change into a guy? Just some questions to keep in mind. To be fair, Iceman does seem to compensating a bit in the comics.
Now all this being said, I feel like having our young little snowball-boy come out is very brave, not only for the character but also for the writers. This is one of the founding X-Men. Part of me thought that if anyone would have come out from that group, it would have been Beast, or maybe Cyclops. Not Angel though — that dude is way too up in the ladies. I'm interested in seeing where this new direction takes the character and what stories can be told. Although it has somewhat come from left field,and left the older Iceman with a lot of unanswered questions about his life, I feel it is risks like this that make good storytelling. In the end, that’s what's most important.