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.
It’s Hail Mary pass time in the world of X-Men fighting Inhumans, people. It seems that Marvel has realized that something went wrong in their plan to vilify Cyclops, so they are going to dig in their heels and just shoot for the moon on this one. Do Cyclops’ actions from Death of X not make any sense in connection with Marvel’s recent portrayal of the character? Well too bad, because he’s totally a terrorist, you guys. For sure!
Don’t believe me? Wait until you see what Young Cyclops has to say in the pages of All-New X-Men this week!
This is a topic I’ve written about a lot before, and I think I’m going to make it an ongoing subject, at least through Inhumans vs. X-Men. It’s just weird to see Marvel twist themselves into knots on this subject! It’s like the right hand and left hand have no idea what the other is doing, but both of them dislike Cyclops!
Join me after the jump for all the ridiculous details. Also! Update on Strong Guy Watch!
I am a big fan of the X-Men character Strong Guy, and I’ve noticed something kind of cool and quiet happening with him in the ongoing Inhumans vs. X-Men saga. I don’t think it’s been remarked upon anywhere else, so I thought I’d take a moment and just point it out, for any other fans.
Basically, a quiet little Strong Guy story is taking place in the background of Inhumans vs. X-Men, and it feels kinda meaningful.
Strong Guy is Guido Carosella, a mutant whose power is to absorb any impact to make himself stronger and more muscular. He’s a bit of a comedian — hence a name like ‘Strong Guy’ — and he’s got that very iconic look. He’s big and bulgy, because of his powers, and he likes to wear weird little glasses and have a single shock of white hair. The guy is a card.
He’s also never been a particularly prominent mutant. Strong Guy has never been a member of the X-Men, and mostly hangs out in the margins on teams like X-Factor. He’s not an important or noteworthy character by any means, is what I’m trying to say. It works for him.
Quite recently, at the start of the whole conflict between mutants and Inhumans, Jamie Madrox the Multiple Man was killed by the Terrigen Mist in the first issue of Death of X.
Madrox is Strong Guy’s best friend.
Strong Guy hasn’t been in any comics for several years now, especially not in any X-Men comics. But in the second issue of Death of X, when the X-Men hold a funeral for Madrox, someone at the X-Office at Marvel Comics remembered to have Strong Guy show up to pay his respects.
Makes sense. Of course Strong Guy would be there. But he doesn’t get any lines. Nobody talks to him or even mentions that he’s there. It’s just a nice little background detail.
Flash forward to the new Big Event series, Inhumans vs. X-Men. Because of the dangers of the Terrigen Mist, the X-Men are in a big superhero brawl with the Inhumans. At the end of the first issue of Inhumans vs. X-Men, there’s a big splash page of X-Men launching a massive, head-on attack against the Inhumans.
And who should appear in the background of this big splash page? Strong Guy.
Unfortunately, he doesn’t get a scene in the follow up fight. And again, nobody mentions that he’s there. Maybe he’ll show up again somewhere else in the event. I don’t know.
But all that aside, I’m rather touched at what must have happened here behind the scenes in continuity. Think about it. Strong Guy isn’t a member of the X-Men, and he definitely isn’t part of any of the X-teams that have come together against the Inhumans. He’s just not active in comics right now.
So when his best friend died, someone in the X-Men had the forethought to reach out to Guido to let him know the tragic news. Guido then made the trip to Muir Island so he could help bury his friend and grieve with others.
Then eight months pass, during which Strong Guy does not use his visit to Muir Island to join any of the X-Teams. Have we seen him show up in any of the X-books in the past year? I haven’t been following them too closely. Does anybody know if he showed up in the background or anything?
Either way, at some point somebody must have reached out to Guido again to let him know that the X-Men were going after the Inhumans. Maybe they wanted his strength to help out. Who knows. But at some point, Guido decided that he wanted in on the attack. And the X-Men let him come along. Maybe he wanted revenge against the Inhumans or some kind of justice.
Just think about what this means for the character. And nobody is telling that story, at least not directly. It’s all being told in random background sightings.
Marvel isn’t paying much attention to Multiple Man’s death. HIs name gets dropped whenever the X-Men mention that he was killed by M-Pox, but his death is not a major part of the story. He was clearly picked as cannon fodder to make M-Pox seem more severe. It happens all the time in comics. Anybody could have been chosen, and Marvel just happened to go with this random, popular and unused character.
But rather than let it go completely unremarked upon, someone somewhere is telling this story about Multiple Man’s best friend and his grieving process. I don’t know if it’s an editor, an artist or the writers of Inhumans vs. X-Men themselves.
Somewhere, between the lines of the big Inhumans vs. X-Men conflict, is the story of a man who lost his best friend, and who now wants a chance to stick it to the people who caused his death. I just think it’s a neat detail.
I’ll let you know if he does anything else during the crossover. Consider me on Strong Guy Watch.