Friday, April 24, 2015

Best Character Ever Redux: Iceman

I started the Best Character Ever series on the reborn Super Powered Fiction just a few weeks ago with a look at Iceman, probably one of my favorite characters as a child, mostly due to his appearances as part of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. I talked a lot about how I felt he was a character that could develop into a major solo star at Marvel, but the company always seemed unwilling to pull that trigger.

Then this happened.

Frankly, I find this bit a bit insulting. And not just because this conversation pretty much makes Jean Grey the worst human being on the planet for outing him like this.

I have no problem at all with Iceman being interested in other men. Over the past thirty years, it certainly has been hinted and poked at, all the way back to the Cloud storyline way back in his New Defenders days. But I do have a problem with calling him gay. While the young Bobby presented here has not had the history of his older self, he is still supposedly the exact same man. And in fifty years of comic history, Iceman is very much a character with more than a passing interest in the ladies.

Champions made him unrelentingly attracted to Darkstar, complete with thoughts of his love for her. In Defenders he was completely confused for his attraction to Cloud, a being with both a male and female form.

Iceman is very clearly a bisexual man, somewhere definitely lower on the Kinsey Scale than a 6. But sadly modern fiction, especially modern comics, suffer from a distinct lack of nuance when it comes to sexuality. Multiple heroes have been created or outed as gay, but bisexual characters are few and far between. Only Mystique and Daken have really been presented as bi in the X-books, which seems to make bisexuality and status as an antihero equal.

Though Brian Michal Bendis is on record that he does not want to commit any level of bi-erasure with this move, as presented All-New X-Men 40 is completely that. Hopefully more nuanced writers will be able to build on this scene in the future in more appropriate ways for the character's history.

In a perfect world, Marvel would use this as a way to spinoff Iceman into his own series. Let the older X-Man finally go out on his own and accept the fact that he likes men and women. Heck, you could make him even more varied in his dating patterns than Spider-Man while finally giving the world a book interested in presenting a fascinating bisexual character, something comics have failed at for years.

Right now, I will wait and see whether this will lead to a bright or dismal future for Iceman. Either way though, it is great to see his name mentioned more than it has in years.

If you are interested in the full story check out the comic from your local shop or on Comixology.

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