This week marks the final issue of All-New X-Men, a series which has followed the original five X-Men - Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Beast and Angel - being snatched from the past and transported to the present-day to interact with their older selves and the other modern X-Men. Among the final moments readers will see in issue #40, which will be on sale Wednesday, is a surprise revelation regarding one of the main characters. Pages from tomorrow’s issue have leaked online, and Marvel and writer Brian Michael Bendis have since confirmed they are legitimate. In them, one of the founding members of the team comes out of the closet to one of their teammates.
Warning: Spoilers for All-New X-Men #40 are ahead!
In the All-New X-Men finale, Bobby Drake, a.k.a. Iceman, comes out as gay to his teammate Jean Grey after she read his mind. After first denying it (a futile attempt given her telepathic powers), the young Bobby finds himself frustrated that his older self (i.e. the present-day Iceman) has not come out of the closet. He thinks it’s possible he might be bisexual, but according to Comicbook.com, Jean believes that the older Bobby simply never came to terms with his sexuality, whereas the trip to the future has made young Bobby more comfortable with who he really is.
Although Bobby has had relationships with several women throughout the years, none of them have lasted for long. However, in the film series, he is in a committed relationship with Rogue. Fans have speculated for years about his sexuality, and now Bendis has confirmed that despite older Bobby’s dating history, the character is gay. In Bendis’ statement to Newsarama, he said that this is “the first little chapter of a much larger story that will be told,” so presumably this will be explored again at some point. However, with the Secret Wars event starting next month, which is affecting every corner of the Marvel universe, the next chapter of this story will have to wait awhile.
The X-Men stories are well-known for tackling discrimination and bigotry over their 50+ year history, both in the mutant community and other minority groups. While Iceman’s sexuality may come as a surprise to some fans, this is not the first big LGBTQ moment within the world of X-Men. Back in 2012, Northstar, a member of both the X-Men and the Canadian team Alpha Flight, came out as gay, and 20 years later, his marriage to his partner Kyle in Astonishing X-Men #51 was the first gay wedding depicted in mainstream superhero comics. Other gay X-Men characters include Karma, Mystique, Psylocke and Daken.
You can find All-New X-Men #40 tomorrow on online platforms like Marvel.com and Comixology, or in print at your local comic book store.