Iceman is gay. That's no secret - he's been out of the closet since 2015's Uncanny X-Men #600. But the story told in those pages, of teen Iceman being unwillingly outed by teen Jean Grey's telepathic invasion of privacy, raised some red flags for queer fans.
It's considered a violation of consent to out someone as queer without their permission, and people should be allowed to come out in their own way, in their own time.
Though he was denied that privilege in the story that revealed his sexuality, the adult Iceman later came out to some of his family and friends in his 2017 Iceman solo title. And now, in August 31's X-Men #14, Iceman gets his own public coming out story, putting his sexuality into his own words on his own terms for the entire world.
And what's more, he proves exactly why he's classified as an Omega-level mutant by saving the entire world in the process.
Light spoilers ahead for X-Men #14.
X-Men #14 from writer Gerry Duggan, artists CF Villa and Matt Milla, and letterer Cory Petit takes place amid the current AXE: Judgment Day crossover, with Krakoa under siege from the Eternals.
At the same time, the brand new team elected in the X-Men: The Hellfire Gala one-shot gets its first big mission - heading into space to take on some alien gamblers who have placed a bet on destroying the Earth.
To do so, they launch a bomb into the sun that causes a massive solar flare, big enough to flash fry the entire planet.
Fortunately, the X-Men are on the case - and most importantly, Iceman. After a telekinetic launch into the upper atmosphere by Jean Grey, Iceman stands at the edge of space, breathing by creating his own atmosphere from his ice form.
High above Krakoa, he forms a massive atmospheric icecap that causes a full-on solar eclipse on the ground below - using every ounce of his Omega-level mutant powers to create a shield that can block the solar flare, while Iceman counters its heat with intense cold.
As the shield blocks the flare, it shatters into ice shards, which new X-Men recruit (and Iceman's old amazing friend) Firestar manages to melt into mist before anyone is impaled. As she catches Iceman out of the sky, the pair's intermingling powers of fire and ice form a rainbow behind them.
Just before the X-Men pass back through the Krakoa gate to return to the fight against the Eternals, a reporter stops Iceman to ask for a statement. He almost declines, but then reconsiders, offering a personal testimonial about the event and how it relates to his own life as a gay mutant.
In the statement, Iceman explains that he used to be ashamed not just of his powers, but his sexuality, thanks to scrutiny and bigotry from his peers. But in recent years, he says, he's begun remaining in his ice form to show solidarity with his fellow mutants whose powers and mutations don't let them blend in with humans - and because it helps him feel seen as who he is: "A mutant. A gay man."
"Lately, I've been wearing my ice because I’m proud of who I am, and I’m doing it for all the mutants who can't look like humans and don't want to," he explains. "Maybe I can save some young mutants and humans some time and some grief.
"Don’t wait to be who you are, and don’t be ashamed of that person," he concludes.
And with that, Iceman offers up his own personal statement to the world about his sexuality, on his own terms - something Iceman fans have waited a long time to see.
X-Men #15 goes on sale September 28.
Keep track of all the new X-Men comics Marvel has scheduled for release in 2022 and beyond.