But when that character has been written about for more than half a century and has been the subject of movies, cartoon and countless fantastic adventures, you can be sure that people are going to notice.
That’s right, true believers, Bobby Drake, aka Iceman of X-Men fame, is gay. This hero, who has been freezing bad guys in their place since 1963 was outed last week in “All-New X-Men” #40 by his telepathic teammate Jean Grey. At least, the young version of Iceman is gay. Marvel seems to be leaving open the possibility that the older version of the character is straight. Or at the very least, still closeted.
Let’s back up.
A few years ago, the modern-day X-Man Beast decided go back to the past to bring forward the original X-Men team while they were teenagers. That left a confusing paradox, where you have teenaged versions of Cyclops, Grey, Beast, Iceman and Angel alongside their contemporaries (except for Grey, who died – again – several years back). So now we have a young, gay Iceman and an older Iceman who is dating women. No potential for conflict there.
But the storyline, however convoluted, fits perfectly with the X-Men title. This team has always been the outsiders of the Marvel universe. They aren’t the sexy Avengers or the familial Fantastic Four. They are mutants – people with strange abilities. When they hit puberty, they realize that they are different. (Most of us feel that way anyway, but for mutants it’s really different.) They begin to manifest certain abilities – from telekinesis to power blasts to flight.
And what has happened to this group of “different” heroes when they aren’t battling Sentinels or Apocalypse? Many have been spurned by their parents. (Remember the scene in “X-Men 2” when Drake tells his parents he’s a mutant? “Bobby, have you tried not being a mutant?”) They’ve been hunted down by governments. Their race as nearly been destroyed by powers beyond their control.
Any of this sound familiar?
Iceman has always been a bit of a class clown. In recent years, he’s realized that after all of these years, he’s only scratched the surface of his powers’ potential. He clearly has a lot of room to grow. So I doubt Iceman is going to become a role model for all kids out there struggling with their sexual identity. But it’s nice to know they have someone else they can relate to.