Wednesday, May 20, 2015

All-New X-Men #40 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

I had read about the fact that Bendis was revealing that Bobby was gay in this issue, but I honestly forgot about it until the moment arrived in the book.  I have many thoughts.

First, I think that it's important to acknowledge that Jean stepped over a line here.  Thankfully, Bendis doesn't really let her off the hook for that.  Bobby does, to a certain extent, though it doesn't necessarily mean that he will in the future.  But, forcing Bobby to admit that he's gay because she's read his mind isn't cool.  I think that a myth exists out there that all gay people are just waiting for someone to drag them from the closet in a flood of rainbows.  Yes, it's definitely helpful to know that people love you regardless of your sexuality, sure.  But, Jean didn't do that here.  She could've.  Instead, she presented him with irrefutable proof that he was gay and demanded that he accept it on her time frame.  Everyone has their own journey from the closet, and, for some people, it involves getting over some deeply held denial.  In the real world, you're allow to hold onto that denial until you're ready to drop it.  Jean essentially stole that right from Bobby.  I'm assuming that she doesn't plan on spending her life simply pulling aside people and confronting them with their deepest fears or secrets.  ("Hey, your wife is cheating on you with your brother.  Nice weather we're having, isn't it?"  "Your husband has a second family in Vermont.  Are you going to finish those fries?")  Then, why does she do it to Bobby?  As much as she thought that she was helping him, she's really significantly stripping him of certain rights that he has, as a person, to approach his sexuality the way that he wants to do so, even if it (for the time being) involves a certain amount of denial.  (It's particularly true since he's not dating a woman right now, so the only person that he could be hurting is himself.)

On the larger issue of Bobby being gay, I definitely don't have a problem with that.  In fact, I feel like most X-Men fans have been waiting for this moment for a long time, given Bobby's frequently awkward interactions with the women that he's dated (at least for the last 20 years or so).  In fact, it's probably the only thing that Chuck Austen did on his run on "Uncanny X-Men" that felt organic, hinting that Bobby was gay through Northstar's attraction to him.  (That said, for the love of God, please don't put Bobby and Northstar together.)  It'll be interesting to see how Bendis or Yost handle it in the main series.  I'd probably cry fan-boy tears of joy if younger Bobby spent an issue talking to older Bobby about it.

Speaking about having all the feels, I totally bought Angel's logic for keeping his cosmic powers.  He saw the dark future that he's destined to have, and he committed to himself to do the first thing that he could to prevent it.  Sure.  The problem is that I'm still not sure what this cosmic power means.  Both Kitty and Warren seem little affected by it in terms of their ability to feel emotions, despite Gara essentially warning them that it would strip them of their humanity.  Plus, other than the physical change, I'm not sure what powers Angel has now that he didn't have before he submitted to the Black Vortex.  At some point, Bendis really needs to make that clear.

On the Utopians, color me intrigued.  I recognize Boomer, Madison Jeffries, Karma, and Random; I'm not 100 percent sure who the other two guys are.  But, I'm intrigued to see what their modus operandi is, particularly since they suddenly seem willing to murder people from such a minor offense as trespassing.  Something else seems afoot here.

Overall, I have to give Bendis credit for the fact that we definitely seem to be going in a new direction, one influenced by the "Black Vortex" event (particularly since Kitty has apparently decided to stay in space).  Even though I'm still questioning the repercussions of the "Black Vortex" event (as I mention in my recent review of the Omega issue), it's nice to see that it actually had some repercussions that may last longer than a month or two.  (I'm looking at you, "Infinity."

*** (three of five stars)

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