Miguel Jose Barragan is a teenager whose homosexuality is accepted by the all the residents of the small town of El Chilar, Mexico that his family lived in. Miguel left his home for the United States to search for Red Robin (Tim Drake) because of numerous online posts written by Drake warning of impending threats targeting young metahumans. After a brief misunderstanding Miguel joins Red Robin and several other super powered teens, not yet identifying themselves as “Teen Titans”, in the fight to take down the clichéd, veiled and evil organization known by the acronym NOWHERE, headed by the superfluously clichéd Harvest with hench goons Omen, Leash, Grymm, and others. To summarize: the extended story is an excessive collection of hackneyed plot contrivances strung together with characterization of varying degrees of success.
Writer Scott Lobdell stated in interviews that his character is based on a real person named Miguel Jose Barragan, though to what degree remains unclear to my knowledge. Miguel is a sweet, friendly, and outgoing person who doesn’t appear to be concerned about whether his hugs or nascent friendships with male teammates will be misinterpreted. Bunker may be inexperienced as a fighter but this doesn’t mean he will turn and run. Miguel is quick to listen to concerns of his teammates, especially the women, which could be taken as a sign of the stereotypical gay, best friend. Where Red Robin may be the de facto leader, Lobdell appears to be making Miguel the conscience of the team, as shown in issue #10 by Miguel telling Tim, in my words, to put on his big boy undies and stop wallowing in doubt. Bunker has also appeared in an issue of Superboy and appears to be developing a friendship. Lobdell peppers Bunker’s dialog with stereotypical phrases such as “Caramba!”in an failed attempts to make Bunker sound Mexican.
Solicitations for issue #0 hints at Miguel having a boyfriend whom he left back in Mexico and the boyfriend (Warning! Soap opera cliché) waking up from a coma to look for Miguel.
Artist Brett Booth spoke about Bunker on Out’s website : “We wanted to show an interesting character who’s homosexuality is part of him, not something that’s hidden. Sure they are gay people who you wouldn’t know are gay right off the bat, but there are others who are a more flamboyant, and we thought it would be nice to actually see them portrayed in comics. Did we go over the top, I don’t think so. I wanted you to know he might be gay as soon as you see him. Our TT is partly about diversity of ANY kind, its about all kinds of teens getting together to help each other. It is a very difficult line to walk, will he be as I’ve read in some of the comments ‘fruity’? Not that I’m aware of. Will he be more effeminate than what we’ve seen before, the ‘typical’ gay male comic character, yes. Does it scare the shit out of me that I might inadvertently piss off the group I want to reflect in a positive way, you’re damn straight (pun intended!)”
Bunker has the ability to create and project psionic bricks, initially in the form of a wall though he has shown some degree of control in forming simple shapes, in contrast to the often elaborate constructions made by various Green Lanterns with power rings. Bunker’s first appearance is a brief, non-speaking cameo in Teen Titans #1 (2011) and is introduced into the book in #3. Bunker may not have shouted “I AM GAY!” on the cover of Teen Titans #3, but Booth’s depiction from clothing to gestures sure would have set off gaydar alarms if media interviews prior to issue #3’s publication hadn’t focused on the character’s sexuality.
Bunker created by Scott Lobdell and Brett Booth. Art by Booth from Teen Titans #10 (2011)
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