Writer: Marjorie Liu
Art: Mike Perkins
Publisher: Marvel Comics
I find it interesting that while a lot of hub-bub has been generated over Alan Scott, a.k.a. Green Lantern, coming out of the closet recently over in DC Comics, there’s been fairly little buzz about the fact that in Astonishing X-Men there’s a gay wedding going on. This is always a hot button issue, as evidenced by the strong reaction to the Alan Scott event, so I’m bit perplexed as to why Astonishing X-Men #51 hasn’t generated as much digital ink. In any event, this is a well done issue that handles a touchy issue with emotion and even some insight.
I find it rather intriguing that when it comes to heterosexual relationships, especially recently in the New 52 over in DC, they’re mainly based on “hotness” and physicality. No commitment, no love or devotion needed; everyone’s more concerned about “just having fun.” It’s shallow. Then, when it comes to homosexual relationships—what with Alan Scott’s boyfriend arranging a relaxing, romantic “getaway” and Northstar and Kyle tying the knot—commitment and devotion are on display in droves. These relationships are portrayed as very deep and something that goes way beyond “just having fun.” I find that… curious. On the one hand it’s like we’re being told that love is an important part of truly enjoying any relationship and should be at the center of intimacy, while on the other hand we’re being told sex is no big deal, and by extension committed relationships, and what really matters is that we enjoy ourselves. Anyone else find this confusing?
However, I appreciate that Astonishing X-Men is willing to deal with the issue of gay marriage realistically. This isn’t some “progressive” fantasy land where everyone is “politically correct,” “open minded,” and “forward thinking” enough to just accept this wedding as a good thing. While the moments are brief and not very pointed, there are at least brief respites where there are those who at least express the notion that this may not be such a good idea. I think it’s clear that’s not the opinion of this issue overall, but kudos for at least being bold enough to have some reservations expressed at all.
Now just because it’s all done rather well and handled with care, that doesn’t make it okay. Just because something is beautiful doesn’t make it good or even right. That’s a hard notion to accept sometimes, but I think Satan demonstrated it rather well. He was the most beautiful among all the angels in heaven, and still is, but I think anyone would be hard pressed to say that he’s good. Then there’s the question of it being right. That’s a sticky debate because it all depends on who one acknowledges as a moral authority. If we are the moral authority, well, that’s actually a self-defeating statement because if we make those determinations there’s nothing really authoritative about the set morals, and in the end we can’t really say what actually is moral because it’s all so relative. However, if moral authority is established by a third party (which is exactly what the Bible establishes), and this authority sets the rules (with things such as no homosexual relationships), then we can’t usurp that just because we think it’s a beautiful love that can’t be denied. It’s still wrong no matter how beautiful it is.
There’s no denying that Astonishing X-Men #51 handles a tricky issue very well. The art work isn’t all that great, and the writing at times gets a little soapy (a similar problem occurs in Earth 2 trying to write Alan Scott; seriously, I don’t even hear heterosexual couples talk like this), but at least the issue handles a mature issue with maturity. Despite all of that, I still think it’s meddling with and undermining something we don’t have any authority to undermine or meddle with. After all, we didn’t invent the idea of marriage and relationships, the Creator did. It was his idea which is why we’re supposed to follow his guidelines.
Score: 4 of 7
A BIG thanks to Astro-Zombies for providing the material for this review. Learn more about them at astrozombies.com.