Iceman, Erasure and Outing
SPOILERS ABOUND, BE WARY ALL WHO ENTER HERE.
The X-Men universe as it stands is a in a bit of a confusing time. The story as it stands is after ‘Avengers vs. X-Men’ Scott Summers/Cyclops founded another team of mutant revolutionaries and created another school for mutants inside an abandoned Weapon X bunker. In order to try and stop Cyclops from doing anything even more drastic than killing Charles Xavier as he had done during the events of ‘AvX’, Hank McCoy/Beast went back in time to grab the original five X-Men from the past and bring them to the future so that young Scott could see what he would become and older Scott would feel bad. At least I think that’s what Hank’s plan was. Regardless of what was SUPPOSED to happen, the younger versions of the X-Men couldn’t go back to their original time because of The Plot and have been in the present time ever since.
These original five have changed quite a bit during their time in the present day. Jean Grey gained telepathy at an earlier age then she originally did as well as gained psionic blasts. Scott met his space pirate father Christopher Summers and has been up in space doing space pirate stuff for about a year with him. Another big change happened today for another original member.
In ‘All-New X-Men’ #40, Bobby Drake/Iceman was revealed to be gay. The way this reveal was handled, however, is not good at all. The jist of the reveal is that, while making a comment about Illyana Rasputin’s (Magik) hotness, Jean psychically pulled a thought from him and pulled him away from the rest of the group. There she outed him and then continued to read his thoughts after he asked her not do.
Outing someone who hasn’t even come to terms with their own sexuality or is exploring it is not acceptable in any form, and I don’t care if you’re a goddamn fictional psychic. Another issue I have with this that when Bobby hypothesizes that because his older self is seemingly straight and has dated women, that he might be bisexual, Jean just shuts him down, invalidating him and saying ‘”But I think you’re more… Full gay.” This is a prime example of bisexual erasure.
Bisexual erasure (as Wikipedia states) ‘is the tendency to ignore, remove, falsify, or reexplain evidence of bisexuality in history, academia, news media and other primary sources’. Prime examples of bisexual erasure have happened on television shows such as ‘Glee’ and ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Jean does this automatically when she calls him ‘full gay’ and invalidating all past relationships that the older Bobby has had with two words. As a man who is attracted to all genders, finding someone like me in media is hard and usually unsuccessful. The bi/pan characters in the media I can think of off the top of my head are: Daken Akihiro, Raven Darkholme/Mystique, David Alleyne/Prodigy, Wade Wilson/Deadpool and the Iron Bull from the ‘Dragon Age’ series of video games. As you can see, the amount of bi/pan characters that I can think of are very few and it would be fantastic to add one of the founding X-Men to that list.
Another concern I have is the timing of all of this. This is the last issue of ‘All-New X-Men’ and the penultimate issue of Brian Michael Bendis’s X-Men run, before Secret Wars. So you can see how people would be concerned with the amount of time that Bendis has to explain and explore this revelation. At the time of this writing, MTV.com has released an interview with Marvel’s Editor-In-Chief, Axel Alonso, about this and he had this to say about the subject; ‘”This [Bobby Drake] is a character with decades of history, and one who we’ve seen falter on the romantic stage — more than once. So the seeds were always there.”’ The idea that just because a male character hasn’t done so well with maintaining a heterosexual relationship, so therefore the seeds and thought process that he’s actually gay doesn’t sit very well with me.
Regardless, Alonso spoke what’s going to happen to the present day Bobby Drake, saying ‘”The obvious question is that once the young Bobby Drake has accepted and embraced who he is, what are the ramifications for his adult counterpart? It’s safe to say that will be dealt with […] This is who the character is now.”
‘All-New X-Men #40” is on sale now.
‘Uncanny X-Men #600’ goes on sale May 20th