Marvel Mishandles Bobby Drake In All-New X-Men #40

On important issues, we here at Monkeys Fighting Robots like to highlight people’s well thought out, honest opinions in hopes of avoiding the internet trolls.

All New X-Men #40 will be in your local comic book store on today, but something just feels off about the issue. Jim Gelder a creative director and a reader of comic books since 1978 had this to say about the issue.

So he wasn’t gay, then he is gay now, but he won’t be gay later?

So this morning when I logged on to the interwebs I was hit with multiple spoiler alert banners warning of the huge news happening in All-New X-Men #40. I’ve been reading the comic since issue one because I, like many older comic book readers, have a weakness for the silver age characters that we grew up with. That being said I did recently stop reading the book at issue #36 when I suddenly had this realization that wish as hard as I could these X-Men characters were not those same characters I grew up with. After clicking on the “DO NOT CLICK” spoiler alert link (I do love to be spoiled), it is very clear that I was right. These are not the same X-Men characters and they never will be.

SPOILERS AHEAD (I don’t want to get yelled out by anyone.)
All New X-Me #40

Bobby Drake AKA Iceman is now gay. Or he’s always been gay but he’s just now accepting it and coming out. Or, more accurately, he’s now being pushed into admitting he’s gay by someone who violated his trust by reading his mind, learning his secret and taking it upon themselves to do what they think is best for Bobby. Pushing him out of the closet. Because that’s never awkward.

First off, I’m gay. Have been all my life. I acknowledged it to myself in my mid-twenties and came out to my family in my late twenties. Up until my coming out I dated women because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do. It was never successful. So to find out that one of my favorite superheroes has finally come out should be a great day for me. It sort of is. But it’s also very odd to me. Let me explain why:

For starters I’ve always felt that Bobby’s character could be gay. He has a history of failed straight relationships, he has always used comedy to cover up some sort of insecurity, for years he resisted fully exploring the full range his powers due to some hidden need to keep himself in control, he even went through a period of being a racist ass to which I attributed it to him hating others because he hated himself. So I’m not surprised that they decided to say that the character is gay. Coming out can be a long process. Not usually five decades long but, hey, this is comic book time. So I should be cheering that there are more gay characters out there, right? While I am happy that there’s another comic book character out there that I can relate with, I am also a bit let down with the way it was handled.

Here are my two main issues with how they handled Bobby’s revelation.

1. Jean outed him. That’s the fact. She also did it with an invasion of privacy and then went on to bully Bobby into admitting it. Just because she knows he’s gay it’s not ok for her to pressure him into admitting it. The coming out process takes some of us a long time and usually it’s the person coming out that takes the longest to accept it. You don’t just admit it because some pushy, nosy bitch (Bobby’s words) keeps going at you like she knows what’s best for him That’s not how it works. This conversation should have been handled over a bit of time. Jean could have dropped some hints that she knew and then Bobby could have opened up when he was ready. Buuuuut Bendis is leaving with this issue and he wanted to get his bomb thrown before he headed out of the building.

2. It appears that the older version of Bobby is still straight. How does that work? Marvel and Bendis have stated numerous times that these younger, retrieved-from-the-past X-Men are in fact the same people. So if this younger Bobby has now come out that would then mean that his older self is also now gay. Contrary to what some people want to think, you don’t get to turn “the gay” on and off at different times in your life. You just either live openly or you hide in denial. So if the older Bobby says he’s not gay that just means that he hasn’t come out yet. So will we get another storyline with the older Bobby coming out? Or will they just ignore that part of the characters identity?

So, it’s a big smile to Marvel for the advancement of diversity in comics. Then a big frown for they way they handled it.

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Matthew Sardo
Matthew Sardo
As the founder of Monkeys Fighting Robots, I'm currently training for my next job as an astronaut cowboy. Reformed hockey goon, comic book store owner, video store clerk, an extra in 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon,' 'Welcome Back Freshman,' and for one special day, I was a Ghostbuster.