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Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 8/1/20

Another week, another pile of enjoyable comics, proving that some aspects of life can get back to some semblance of normal. It’s good to have comics again. We’ve got nice issues of Power Rangers, Legion of Super-Heroes and even X-Men, kind of.

Comic Book of the Week goes to the first issue of X-Factor, possibly because I’m attached to the comic name, even if Multiple Man doesn’t appear in the issue at all. We do get Leah Williams writing the Blob again though! And an actually entertaining Daken!

Be prepared to legitimately enjoy Daken in a comic

Meanwhile, I’ve finally started my reread of the classic Milligan/Allred run on X-Force/X-Statix! I bought the first compendium volume and it is easily holding up after all these years. This comic was so insanely ahead of its time! I can’t even imagine how X-Statix would deal with Twitter.

Comic Reviews: Empyre #3, Legion of Super-Heroes #7, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #52, X-Factor #1 and X-Men #10.

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First Gay Superhero to Get Married in June!

Even the mainstream media is picking up the story that Marvel Comics is going to have a gay wedding take place in the June issue of Astonishing X-Men, marrying off the superhero Northstar with his longtime boyfriend Kyle. I applaud this development, as well as the fact that Marvel is supporting such an obscure superhero who just happens to be gay.

Why does Doop get seated next to the groom’s mother?

Northstar, a mutant with superspeed and flight, was the first ever gay superhero in comic books back in the late 1970s. Though due to social norms at the time, he couldn’t actually come out until the early 90s. Northstar is a character with a long history of being gay, but he’s far from popular or even well known. He’s not about to appear in The Avengers sequel, for example. But still, I think it’s great that Marvel Comics is using Northstar despite his obscurity to show their support for gay marriage.

The announcement was made on The View this morning. 

Who knew Whoopi Goldberg was so comic book savvy? Marvel first announced the impending wedding back in March, but they were tight-lipped about who was getting married. Though I, like everyone else, pretty much guessed Northstar right away. It was the worst kept secret in recent comics. Again, I’m all for this happening. Even if it kind of reeks of a desperate attempt at publicity. And that Marvel announced the gay wedding shortly after Archie Comics already had a gay wedding, and drew so much media attention back then.

So anyway, the wedding will be in Astonishing X-Men #51, which comes out in June. Northstar is going to propose in Astonishing X-Men #50, which comes out tomorrow.

A proposal and wedding only one month apart? They really are superheroes

And here’s what writer Marjorie Liu had to say about the storyline:

“The story of Northstar and Kyle is universal, and at the core of everything I write: a powerful love between two people who have to fight for it against all odds,” said Liu. “This is the quintessential Marvel story, one that blends the modern world with the fantasy of super heroes in order to tell an exciting story that begins with a wedding—and continues in ways you can’t imagine.”

So I am absolutely in favor of this wedding, and I can’t wait to read it. Hopefully I reserved Astonishing X-Men at my local comic shop.

But Marvel isn’t the only comic book company jumping on the gay bandwagon. DC Comics announced over the weekend that they are going to re-introduce a previously straight character as gay when he makes his upcoming debut in the New 52 reboot. This has led some mainstream news agencies to wildly speculate that Superman or Batman might be revealed as gay, but that’s just silly.

First of all, they said it’s a character who has yet to appear in the New 52 reboot, so all major superheroes are out of the running. Second, Batman and Superman are as much brand names as they are characters in a comic book. DC is not going to alter the brand in such a way.

So my guess is that Vibe is going to be revealed as gay.

The 80s were a weird time

I think he would be a great choice, seeing as how the character is essentially a blank slate, considering he hasn’t appeared in comics in 20 or so years. DC can take this established character, who does have credentials as a member of the Justice League, and mold him into a positive gay role model and icon.

Instead of doing something creatively bankrupt like just saying that Batman is now gay. Which, again, they’re not going to do.

Bring on an X-Men Gay Wedding!

So even though Avengers vs. X-Men hasn’t even started yet, Marvel decided to release a teaser today for a story set after the clash. The teaser pretty much speaks for itself:

Save the entire month of June? Why not!

Reading around on the Internet, it seems that everybody believes the two to be wed are Northstar and his boyfriend Kyle, who I don’t think is any kind of superhero. I haven’t been reading the comics that Northstar has appeared in lately, but I’m pretty sure Kyle has been an important reoccurring character. And there aren’t many other X-Men couples these days.

Gay and interracial? It's almost like Marvel is egging the protesters on

Plus gay weddings are all the rage, what with people freaking out that Kevin Keller from Archie got married. Seriously, some group called One Million Moms protested Toys R Us for selling the Kevin Keller comic because it featured a gay marriage. And to that I present to you this fantastic Gutters comic.

I don’t like to get political with my blog, but I’m just going to state my opinion: gay marriage is A-OK is my book. You’re more than welcome to oppose gay marriage for whatever reason you may have, but you are just plain wrong on the issue.

That being said, kudos to Marvel to try something like this. Maybe they’re only doing it for the publicity, but I highly doubt it. There have got to be more than enough homosexuals working in comics or at Marvel to want to do a legitimate story. Northstar was, after all, one of the very first openly homosexual comic book superheroes after all. Maybe it’s a case of little guy Archie comics getting all these bullies coming after them, so big guy Marvel decides to step in and support the little guy with their own gay marriage. I like that idea.

Personally, I’ve always been a Northstar fan. This is Northstar:

That logo on his side doubles as both a flash of light and a Canadian Maple Leaf

Debuting in 1979 as a member of the Canadian superhero team Alpha Flight, Northstar is a mutant with the ability to fly at super-speed. He’s also the twin brother of Aurora, who has light-based powers. Northstar was always gay, but the Comics Code Authority back in the day would not let comics have any openly gay characters. The Comics Code Authority has since been completely dropped after Marvel and DC comics decided just to ditch them. Anyway, Northstar came out in Alpha Flight #106 in 1992. It was a fairly controversial, but popular, move, and the comic sold out. Which was a pretty spectacular achievement for Alpha Flight.

Northstar became a much more important character starting in 2001, when he was recruited into a temporary team of X-Men. I read those issues, and they were my first real exposure to Northstar. He was pretty cool. Kind of arrogant, but a cool sort of arrogant. Northstar joined the X-Men full-time in 2002, and has been around ever since – though he has had a few returns to Alpha Flight. But these days he’s a full-time X-Man.

Unfortunately, the wedding is going to be taking place in Astonishing X-Men, the bastard stepchild of the X-Men universe. There are currently more than half a dozen X-Men comics being published. Uncanny X-Men and Wolverine and the X-Men are the two main titles, with stuff like Astonishing X-Men, X-Men: Legacy, New Mutants and more serving as auxiliary titles. Frankly, Astonishing has no reason to exist anymore. It’s kind of just hanging around for the heck of it after a strong debut by writer Joss Whedon a few years ago.

There are plenty of other comics to buy to get X-Men stories.

But there are only a few comics willing to tell a positive gay marriage story. So hooray Astonishing X-Men!

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