Comic book fans are upset by a recent development in Marvel comics. Namely, a six-year saga in the X-Men comic universe has come to an end, but it came with a cost.
In 2012, the X-Men universe welcomed back the young versions of the original X-Men team, Cyclops, Jean Grey as Marvel Girl, The Beast, Iceman, and Angel. This was presented through All-New X-Men No. 1, which found these young superheroes transported through time to the modern era.
Three years later in 2015’s All- New X-Men No. 40, teen Iceman came out as gay in a roundabout way. Teenage Jean Grey read the mind of Iceman and then confronted him on the desires in his unconscious mind. Then after seeing his younger version coming out, an adult Iceman was forced to confront his repressed sexuality.
Many criticized Marvel Comics for its convoluted way of having the character, who was always rumored to be and sometimes coded as a closeted gay man, come out. That said, people are now criticizing how Marvel has now forced him back into the closet… kind of.
The end of the young X-Men saga has finally arrived with the team of time travelers returning to once they came. But, the team decided to wipe their memories to do so.
In the final issue of the Extermination miniseries by Ed Brisson and Pepe Larraz, the young X-Men decide that losing their memories of the future is the best way to protect the timeline. This, however, has the side effect of young Iceman having to forget about ever coming out.
This issue is briefly discussed in the comic with young Iceman saying to his older self that he doesn’t want to forget. The older Iceman attempts at comforting the teen by saying the events have already changed his older self for the better.
Many comics fans have criticized this change as a reversal of younger Iceman’s character development. Some also assert that there’s an anti-gay message and lazy writing being delivered in the act.
There is a fair argument to made here. In a comic franchise where mutants have time traveled constantly without need to erase their memories, why is Iceman the one who has to suffer?
That said, the coming out event itself wasn’t erased and Iceman as a character is still canonically gay. His older character will still continue to go on dates with men in his current solo series. Though having that in mind makes younger Iceman's fate even sadder.
No matter whether you side with the writers or not, we can all agree that this is a sad turn-of-events for LGBTQ comic book fans.
Extermination No. 5 is now available in digital and print forms.