“Marvel putting young Iceman back in the closet is truly cruel. Sexuality is not a plot device.”
Back in 2015, for the 40th issue of All-New X-Men, a younger, time displaced version of Iceman was revealed as gay by his friend and teammate, Jean Grey, who discovered his sexuality with her powers of telepathy.
Later, the character had a passionate embrace with Inhuman star Romeo, which received a full page spread.
The storyline divided fans, because the character’s adult, present-day counterpart was depicted as straight, and often embarked upon romances with women. Shortly after, Iceman became the first hero to headline a Marvel comic book series a gay lead – which received universal praise from the LGBTQ community.
The series focused on the adult Bobby Drake coming to terms with his Omega-level superpowers, his life as an out gay man, all while battling some of the biggest and most powerful villains in the Marvel Universe.
However, the final issue of the X-Men Extermination series from Ed Brisson and Pepe Larraz has completely reversed Iceman’s character development, and put him straight back into the closet.
In the issue, the displaced X-Men are forced to return to their former time period, and to protect the timeline, their memories were wiped, which means Bobby will have no memory of coming to terms with his sexuality.
In the issue, the younger Bobby told his older counterpart: “I’m not the same person. don’t want to go back to pretending I’m something I’m not,” to which he responds: “If you hadn’t come here and been able to embrace who you really are, then I’d still be living a lie too.
“So, no matter what happens when you go back, you finally let me be honest with myself. And no one can take that from us.”
Marvel fans were understandably outraged, with one fan posting on Twitter: “Fuck Extermination. Fuck Uncanny X-Men. Fuck all the creators and editors who couldn’t manage to bother finding a way for young Bobby Drake to be happy.
“The message this sends to LGBT people is palpably dismissive and cruel.”
See all the reactions below.
— ☼ lars☽ (@spidergays) December 20, 2018
Marvel and Ed Brisson putting young Iceman back in the closet is truly cruel. Sexuality is not a plot device. I do not understand why creators/writers keep doing things like this. #Marvel #XMen #Iceman
— Kevin Dillon (@ETKevinsMind) December 19, 2018
So the X-Men timeline can handle Jean Grey and Cyclops' future son from an alternate dystopian future being killed by a slightly younger version of their possible future son but Iceman being openly gay sooner would destroy the time space continuum as we know it…#FizzVsComics pic.twitter.com/LSooXi2XXE
— Michael Scally (@FizzVsTheWorld) December 19, 2018
Fuck Extermination. Fuck Uncanny X-Men. Fuck all the creators and editors who couldn’t manage to bother finding a way for young Bobby Drake to be happy. The message this sends to LGBT people is palpably dismissive and cruel. #iceman
— Matt Santori 🏳️🌈 (@FotoCub) December 19, 2018
"Iceman made a sacrifice" well actually the writers decided to shove him back in the closet to "preserve the timeline", as if the timeline in xmen has ever mattered
— Mr. Autumn Man (@antitractionist) December 19, 2018
Reading what's happening to X-Men and just shaking my head. What's being done to Iceman just feels gross. https://t.co/KCSZPvpCSh
— Madame Dionysus (@aeazel) December 19, 2018
frankly, this is unacceptable and terrible.
when choosing between two plot twists in inspirational superhero comics, you should always go with the one that creates the most wonder and possibility. Iceman coming out did. Iceman back in the closet doesn't.
— Justin Martin (@jmartinwrites) December 19, 2018
You could make the arguement they are trying to build a character arc for Harley, but that doesnt excuse HOW they killed her off..
Also Iceman's sacrifice is just not cool, pardon the accidental pun. Let the gay man be gay. Xmen revamps like sensu beans, but dont pull a OMD…
— Hintano "Joker Main" (@HintShade) December 20, 2018