For reasons that boggle my mind, the title ‘New Mutants’ remains a frequent flyer in the X-Men franchise. It’s a weird name, right? Even when it was first used, to introduce a new, younger team of X-Men, it was still weird. Like, the X-Men knew a lot of other mutants by the time the New Mutants were introduced. Those kids weren’t even the first team of new mutants to join the X-Men.
But whatever. The title keeps getting used for new X-Men comics, and the next one is gonna feature Strong Guy!
I’m telling you all of this because I’m still engaged in the Strong Guy Watch. I’m pretty sure the rule of having Strong Guy randomly appear in the background of X-Men stories has passed, but I loved the character, so I’m calling him out!
The mini-series will be written by Matthew Rosenberg, with art by Adam Gorham. It’s also going to reunite Strong Guy with Wolfsbane, two parts of my favorite comic book friendship trio. I hope Rosenberg does something fun with that.
Yay Strong Guy! Though I’m disappointed that he lost the beard.
Welcome back, faithful comic book fans, for all the latest Strong Guy news! Why am I giving you news on Strong Guy, one of the most obscure and underused X-Men of all time? Because I think it’s pretty hilarious! Also, I’m a big fan.
As I’ve detailed over the past few months, the mutant Strong Guy has been making odd background appearances in a lot of Marvel Comics lately. He often just shows up, usually as part of a group, and rarely says a word. It’s like some edict went out across Marvel to just use Strong Guy in the background of stuff. As a longtime Strong Guy fan, I found this rather neat. It’s the most action he’s ever gotten outside of X-Factor.
And this week, we have a super neat appearance! For some reason, the Strong Guy Edict has reached the Spider-Man office! Behold, Amazing Spider-Man #30!
That’s Strong Guy joining a couple other X-Men to try and defend Horizon Labs from Superior Octopus at the start of Secret Empire! Strong Guy vs. Doc Ock? Cool!
Now, as we all know, and as surely Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott knows, Strong Guy’s mutant powers are based on absorbing kinetic energy and transforming it into crazy musculature. So when Strong Guy lands, his body is going to absorb a metric ton of energy and likely blow up his body to a crazy degree!
And as we know from Strong Guy’s past, that sort of thing can be pretty traumatic.
Perhaps that is the origin of his Secret Empire beard? Is it a trauma beard?
This untold Strong Guy story just keeps getting more exciting and deep!
I am not reading all of the Secret Empire tie-ins, so twice now the Strong Guy Watch has been caught with its pants down! I didn’t know he showed up in the pages of Secret Warriors, and I had no clue he popped into this week’s Secret Empire: United. Ugh. Too many tie-ins!
Fortunately, I’ve got some dedicated readers, and friend-of-the-site josta59 pointed out to me that Guido shows up and actually has speaking lines in United this week! Fantastic!
Of course, this blows my leading theory out of the water: that someone at Marvel decided to start putting Strong Guy into the background of X-Men scenes without a word. Now that Guido actually has lines, I’m not sure what to make of any of this…
At least they’re putting him to good use! I can only hope he becomes a regular in one X-Book or another. We’re two years away from the next massive status quo change for the X-Men, so here’s hoping Guido sticks around until then!
Look, I know LGBT issues can be a sensitive topic for some people, and I totally respect that. I’m pro-LGBT all the way, and as a straight male, I’m probably in no position to comment on this or really stomp my feet about this issue. I just think it’s worth mentioning. In case nobody else on the Internet picks up on this and says something, I just want to put this out there for everybody to see.
The last time we saw Rictor and Shatterstar in an X-Men comic, they came out as a gay couple in the pages of X-Factor. Their first kiss back in 2009 was the first ever on-panel male-to-male kiss in the pages of Marvel Comics. It was a big deal.
Then X-Factor came to an end in 2013 and I don’t think we’ve seen either of them since. Rictor and Shatterstar disappeared into the same comic book limbo that claims most B and C-list mutants.
Until this week! Both heroes make their spectacular return in Secret Warriors #3, set during the whole Secret Empire debacle. And, well…as my headline implies…
First there’s Rictor.
And then both of them show up on the final page. You’re going to have zoom in for this one, but it’s as plain as that mustache on both of their faces.
Look, anybody and everybody is more than welcome to have whatever kind of facial hair they want. But you cannot tell me that those are not stereotypical big gay mustaches. Those are clearly Freddie Mercury mustaches.
I’m not making any judgement calls here. I’m just throwing it out there that I think it’s a little weird that when two of Marvel Comics’ most popular openly gay men make their long-awaited return to comics, they’re both sporting stereotypically gay facial hair.
Someone somewhere clearly made that active decision.
Also, while we’re here, the Strong Guy Watch continues!
Strong Guy also shows up in Secret Warriors #3, and he is still as silent as the grave.
He appears in several panels, beyond just this big team shot, but he doesn’t say a word. It’s like whatever edict is putting Strong Guy in these comics also states that he must not utter a word. This is fascinatingly weird.
Also, oddly enough, that was totally Strong Guy reacting when Rictor and Shatterstar had their first kiss! Comics are cyclical!
Welcome back to the Strong Guy Watch! I thought this would just be a funny little zinger during Inhumans vs. X-Men, but then friend of the site josta59 pointed out that Strong Guy has made his epic return in the pages of the new Inhumans series Secret Warriors! And so I thought, why not make this an ongoing feature? I do love me some Strong Guy!
And hot damn he looks good with a beard!
That’s his only appearance in Secret Wars #2. It’s the final page cliffhanger. Will he have a bigger role in Secret Wars #3? We can only hope! Tune in to the next Strong Guy Watch to find out!
If you’re unfamiliar with Strong Guy Watch, let me get you up to speed. Strong Guy is one of my favorite comic book characters, in large part because he’s the best friend of my all-time favorite comic book character, Multiple Man. A year ago, in the series Death of X, Marvel up and killed Multiple Man for shock value and cannon fodder. I hate that sort of thing. Ugh.
But then a funny little thing happened: Strong Guy showed up for Multiple Man’s impromptu funeral. Makes sense. They’re best friends, right? But Strong Guy wasn’t in any ongoing X-Men comics at the time and hadn’t been seen in years. So someone somewhere at the X-Men editorial office had the forethought to have Strong Guy show up at the funeral.
Then that forethought continued into Inhumans vs. X-Men, when Strong Guy showed up in the background of fight scenes. When the X-Men went after the Inhumans, Strong Guy clearly wanted some. But he didn’t have any lines. He didn’t play any sort of important role. He was just there — for about half the series. Then he disappeared as quietly as he came.
Now he’s back, with a beard. And Strong Guy Watch is dedicated to whichever Marvel staffer has taken it upon themselves to insist that Strong Guy show up. It’s a Marvelous little thing. I know I’m having fun.