Well, this was lovely. I might be a little biased as I worked with Luciano Vecchio on The Interactives about a decade ago, and it’s really good to see him getting to work on a project like this in such a high profile way. But I think this book stands up regardless of that.
It feels a little on the nose at times, especially when it deals with trans characters, but I guess it’s a little too much to expect subtlety from Marvel in that area yet. It deals with matters of sexuality far rather than it does with gender, but so does society…and Marvel is certainly doing better than the world at large here. Speaking of trans characters, I was really pleased to see Cloud included here, even if they were only in one panel, and Marvel were really ahead of the curve when they introduced a gender fluid character back in the eighties. Although I’d really like to see Bobby Drake’s feelings for Cloud explored in relation to his sexuality.
Much of the issue, which is a series of short stories featuring characters from across the spectrum of gender and sexuality, is simply delightful. We’ve certainly come a long way from Northstar shouting, “I am gay!” while punching a Mountie.
One thing that really stood out to me was the Mystique/Destiny story, in which it seems to be revealed that Destiny doesn’t just share a name with Irene Adler from the Sherlock Holmes stories, she apparently actually is that Irene Adler. Not sure if that’s ever been suggested before and I have to honest and admit that the connection had never clicked in my brain before.
While any anthology always has some stories that work better than others, this feels greater than the sum of its parts and is truly something special.