Marvel’s Iceman Just Came Out of the Closet (Again)

Marvel Entertainment’s Iceman — one of the original five members of the company’s X-Men — has just come out for the second time in the last six months, with this week’s final issue of the current Uncanny X-Men series revealing that the adult version of Bobby Drake is, like his time-traveling teenage self, gay.

The revelation follows April’s All-New X-Men No. 40, in which the teenage incarnation of the character admitted that he was gay after being confronted by telepathic teammate Jean Grey.

At the time, some fans decried the storyline because the adult Iceman had been portrayed as straight since his first appearance in 1963’s X-Men No. 1, but Uncanny X-Men No. 600 reveals that this was merely a front for the hero. “I put all my energy into being a mutant and an X-Man and putting my life in danger every ten minutes for everyone else,” he explains when confronted by his younger self. “You ask yourself: Can I just have one part of my life that I’m not being persecuted for?”

The move retroactively establishes a gay hero in the earliest days of Marvel’s comic book mythology, albeit one who was closeted. In reality, Marvel’s first gay hero wasn’t revealed until 1992’s Alpha Flight No. 106, when Northstar — a character who’d been hinted at as gay since his debut in 1979 — came out in the middle of a fight scene with a homophobic supervillain.

Since then, Marvel has introduced other LGBT characters, including New Avengers‘ Wiccan and Hulkling andThe Ultimates‘ America Chavez, although the company continues to face fan flack for its handling of its gay and lesbian heroes. Last week, responding to a question about whether a kiss between the lead character of the series Angela: Queen of Hel and her girlfriend Sera meant that Marvel finally had its first gay or bisexual lead, editor-in-chief Axel Alonso sidestepped the issue by answering, “we’re not looking to put labels on the character or the series.”

Uncanny X-Men No. 600 is available now digitally and in comic book stores.