A "man of your dreams" and "a mutant who had an extraordinary impact on an X-Man long ago," is how Marvel is describing Somnus, AKA Carl Valentino, a "mysterious" new superhero the publisher has been teasing in recent weeks and is now introducing in more detail.
The character debuts in June 23's Marvel's Voices: Pride #1 one-shot celebrating Marvel LGBTQ+ characters and creators.
In addition to this impact on the X-Men, "Somnus' powers give him total control of people's dreams, but he was never able to follow his own," reads Marvel's description.
"Now, Somnus is given a second chance at life, and he's determined to make the most out of it on the thriving mutant nation of Krakoa! With a mesmerizing costume design by artist Luciano Vecchio and unique mutant gifts, it's time for Somnus to step up in a big way and become the hero he was always destined to be."
Somnus's backstory will be told by writer Steve Orlando and illustrated by Eisner-nominated artist Claudia Aguirre (Hotel Dare) in her Marvel debut.
"Somnus, Carl Valentino, is inspired not only by my own family history, but by my experiences with past generations of LGBTQ+ folks from across the country, people I wouldn't have met without comics," Orlando explains in Marvel's announcement.
"While there is still plenty of work to do, we've also come a long way as a community. Somnus is a chance to explore how my own late queer relatives may have felt, living in more prejudiced times."
Orlando says Somnus is also a chance to celebrate past generations as a whole and acknowledge the strides the LGBTQ+ community made that they may not have lived to see.
"And with the Krakoan era being one of relative utopia for mutantkind, Somnus will bring a fresh perspective, and respectful gut check, to the young mutants of the present who may not know just how hard some had to fight for all mutants have achieved," continues Orlando. "Within the story and without, Somnus will be a new, complex character carrying a message of respect, power, and vision."
Somnus will be featured on artist Luciano Vecchio's "celebratory" Marvel's Voices: Pride #1 frame variant cover, fully revealed above. As previously reported, an homage to the iconic Marvel 25th Anniversary covers released in 1985, Somnus takes the spotlight surrounded by many of Marvel's LGBTQ+ heroes.
"Marvel's Voices: Pride is ticking so many dream assignments for me!" says Vecchio. "On top of doing the cover, a frame variant, and a story that I got to write myself, I also got to design a new queer character introduced in a story written by Steve Orlando.
"I'm so happy to finally collaborate officially with Steve and I fell in love with Somnus' concept and backstory right away. I got some input from him and editor Sarah Brunstad but also a lot of liberty to propose ideas. This time the design process itself felt almost like channeling. I wanted him to have an air of 'man of your dreams,' very charming and human but unreachable at the same time. Some visual elements are a mix of Mod fashion, a bit of Hellfire Gala influence, and a palette based on Etruscan vase art as a nod to the god he's named after."
Maybe Somnus will someday be counted among the most iconic LGBTQIA+ superheroes in comic books.