Marvel has made history with the release of a comic book series featuring a gay lead and a historic kiss. Marking this necessary transition in the classic medium, the hero is none other than fan-favorite Bobby Drake, better known as Iceman, a pivotal player on the team of politically opposed mutants known as the X-Men.
The issue opens with Drake’s love interest, Romeo—a member of the X-Men’s opposing group, the Inhumans—dropping off Drake after their fourth date. As is custom on a date with a potential love interest, the always-awkward “Do I kiss them?” ultimatum ensues between both young men as they stand facing one another at Drake’s doorstep.
After passing on the opportunity and walking inside, Drake immediately regrets his decision to pass on the kiss. But then Romeo, acting as such, interrupts Drake’s inner monologue to plant a big one on him, making history in one large, colorful panel; one that features Drake’s ice-cold barrier shattering around him mid-smooch—a fitting metaphor for the progressive decision Marvel has made to further legitimize and support the LGBT community within its pages.
Drake came out in the comic series in 2015 and is currently still dealing with his sexuality as his adult self, but this instance (where he plays a “younger, time displaced” version of himself—because comic books love alternative timelines) marks the first time he’s ever locked lips with another male. But don’t fret, Iceman fans, there is more to come. In April, Drake will get a series of his own featuring his struggles with coming out.
As it stands, Drake’s story arc is modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet, wherein two young lovers, living in a world plagued by war, find themselves on opposing sides (Drake with the X-Men, Romeo with the Inhumans). Insisting that love trumps war, the two run away from the conflict, though it’s yet to be determined if things will stay that way.
While promoting his role in the video game Quantum Break, Shawn Ashmore, who plays Iceman in the X-Men films (but was killed in “X-Men: Days of Future Past”), said, “Obviously the comics and movies are separate. I wonder what the transition would be because we’ve sort of established Bobby as having a love interest in Rogue and having a love interest in sort of Kitty Pryde, but I think it’d be really interesting.”
He adds, “If they decided to take the story that way, it’d be incredibly dramatic, it’d be an interesting storyline, and it would give Bobby a great character arc. I’d definitely be open to that, but again, I’m not sure if they want to take the character in that direction. I have no idea how they would play that out.”
It might not be the biggest win considering current political circumstances, but Marvel’s bold decision is yet another prosperous accomplishment for the LGBTQ community. Perhaps young men and women dealing with their own sexualities will one day look up to Iceman as not only a superhero, but a hero in their own coming out story.