I know that Iceman is supposed to be the spotlight gay character for the X-Men universe and we’re supposed to be yay hooray for that, right?
I’m sorry, but Gay Iceman is a horrible character. Absolutely abysmal. Awful, terrible, gross and bad. I shout BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
But it’s not the fault of the character…or characters, as it were. The revelation that Iceman was a homosexual was supposed to be a big moment for Marvel. They promoted it as a big moment. The mess of the teenage original X-Men brought from the past to show the present ones the errors of their ways was an interesting idea, but it flew off the rails by having crazy things happen to each of the kids. Cyclops left the team and hung out with his dad in space. Angel got power cosmic fire wings. Beast abandoned science and started dabbling in magic. Jean Grey’s got the Phoenix coming after her. And Iceman, oh, lovable Iceman, comes out as gay to his fellow mutants.
It was an unexpected retcon-ish moment in which they took Bobby Drake’s disinterest in girls in the first issue of X-Men way back in 1963, a throwaway line (spoken from his foot) that was to establish him as younger and more immature than his fellow classmates:
and decided that it meant that he was instead interested in the other players on the field.
And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with that. The character that was there had that way about him, nature or nurture need not apply here, and that was great. And it would have worked fine had they stayed with the focus on the teenage Iceman hanging out with the original X-Men. But, funny enough, that character has gotten remarkably little spotlight time in forefront as this marquee homosexual character, because instead of doing something with him, they instead used it to start making changes to the established Iceman.
I’m going to stop for a second and say straight out that I have absolutely no problem with Bobby Drake or any other character being revealed as gay. Homosexuals, bisexuals, and transgenders are a part of modern society and they deserve to live full and happy lives any way that they see fit, free of discrimination for who they are. And of course in a crazy world like the Marvel Universe, some of your characters are going to have that lifestyle. If you can do it properly, you can make a popular character inform an audience about a culture that they may not be accustomed to.
This is where the problem comes in. The point of the reveal was not to establish the teenage Iceman as a new homosexual character, or even a fitting character point like Northstar’s was in his Alpha Flight coming out. Instead, the point of the revelation was to take the Iceman that had been established as the class clown and the unlucky at love guy and suddenly shackle GAY on him and see what wacky hilarity ensues!
And before you start throwing “you can see he was gay the whole time” at me, let’s be real. This is a character that has been running since 1963. Go back and read the issues with Zelda and Lorna Dane in the Silver Age days. Go back and read the stuff with Opal Tanaka during Louise Simonson’s run on X-Factor. Hell, go read all the crap Chuck Austen did with Polaris and Nurse Annie. Read it and try not to think about changes that came later. Try to keep the story as it was told at the time. The “oh yeah, I guess I’m gay” thing with Iceman doesn’t work.
And not just because they are taking a character in a direction that I don’t think he should be going in. Like I said earlier, provided with a good story, you can make any character be anything. But instead, we get the current solo Iceman book, which is so horridly awful to read, I’m having trouble understanding who in the hell they’re trying to sell it to. Look at the current issue’s recap page:
Seriously. THAT is what you’re doing with this. That is dribble. It is insulting to the reader to have to go through this mockery of a story. And to anyone that goes back and asks about the cool hero that they heard came out and got his own title? THIS.
I don’t understand why you would want to make headlines and follow it up with drivel. But the Iceman situation has gotten horrendous. The teenage one hardly gets any play in the X-Men Gold book (they’re stuck in a crossover anyway) and the adult one is broken, like so many of Marvel’s characters under the weight of too many writers with too many crossovers with no editorial mandates trying to keep them from hurting themselves.
I miss the time when I could make mine Marvel.