In the Marvel Universe, mutants have long been used as a symbol for all outsiders, due to race, religion, cultural origin and, yes sexual identity.  But as times have changed, comics in general have adapted to present more diversity in its roster of characters.  The X-Men has been a favorite among comic readers, heterosexual and homosexual, for decades and in recent years hasn’t shied away from including LGBT characters in its various teams, including Northstar, Karma, Shatterstar and Rictor.

But now Marvel may be raising the stakes by having one of the original five X-Men come out of the closet in ‘All-New X-Men‘ #40… sorta.  ‘All-New X-Men’ showcases the five original X-Men, Cyclops/Scott Summers, Beast/Hank McCoy, Angel/Warren Worthington III, Marvel Girl/Jean Grey and Iceman/Bobby Drake, as teenagers displaced in time, working alongside the modern day mutants.

These inexperienced heroes are being mentored by the modern heroes and in the event in question, that happens to be Magik/Illyana Rasputin.  After the sorceress vanishes, one of the male X-Men makes a corny catcall, “I salute our new professor’s unbelievable hotness!”  This rankles Jean Grey who knows the truth.

Check out the sequence below:

Yes, it’s Iceman/Bobby Drake.  Of course the wrinkle is that the modern day Iceman has only ever dated women– most recently Kitty Pryde– although those romances have rarely lasted very long.  The teenage Bobby wonders how he can be gay, when his mainstream doppelganger is apparently straight.  Also, it begs the question as to why the 616 Jean Grey never sussed this out about the 616 Bobby.  Will this event have repercussions on the modern day Iceman?

The fact that Jean sort of invades his mind to pull this information is actually glossed over with little fanfare.  But then again this is a young, less disciplined Jean than most are used to.

While yes, there are other out X-Men characters, making a founder come out is a big of a bigger deal, especially when it could effect the status of the other, mainstream character.

What do you think?  Is this forward thinking or pandering?

Sources: Comic Book Resources and i09