New Comics Wednesday this month gave us by my count four titles with gay characters: Earth Two #5, Stormwatch #13, Avengers Academy #38, and Life With Archie #23. After the mixed bag of zero issues that was September for DC books, James Robinson and Nicola Scott continue with the punch up between Alan Scott, Hawkgirl and the other wonders and themenace that is the Grey and its avatar Grundy. Robinson illuminates the metaphysical aspects of the Green Flame empowering Alan by letting his astral form venture into the Grey where he encounters a vision of recently deceased Sam. Is Sam an illusion conjured by the Grey to delay or destroy him, a possessed underling of it, or will some other well worn comics trope like rescuing a dead character from some kind of not really dead state of being be invoked? Wouldn’t that be the first instance of “dead-not-really- being-dead” for the new DC? Robinson did say Earth Two stories would have magical/ mystical elements to them. As much as I’d have liked Sam not to have been killed, I’m unsure if I want characters coming back from the dead. Using this scene as the obligatory cliffhanger draws out the answer for another month and DC’s website is hyping this by including this image from the story on its landing page as of today’s date.
In Avengers Academy #38 Striker learns not to obsess about his recently acquired facial scars from a talk with X-mutant Anole during a football game between the Academy and some X-Men after the recent world nearly went to hell in a hand basket give us your dollars extravaganza that will shake up the Marvel Universe yet again. You remember Anole, right? No? One of the characters featured back in the second volume of New Mutants and floating around to make the rare appearance since as far as I know. Anole good-naturedly Striker that green skin, scales, and a “Popeye arm” hasn’t kept him from having great dates, off panel for sure, but great dates all the same and better than mine which all seem to happen off-reality. Christos Gage makes a meta textual comment about well meaning straight friends and token gay comics characters by having a couple of Striker’s teammates persuade him to line up against Anole. Anole remarks: “Let me guess. You’re the only gay kid in class….They mean well. Once they figure out your type is, they might even help you meet a nice guy.” Maybe the two of them can hook up – off panel of course since November’s issue is the last of the series. We can hope Striker gets picked up by another series…just like Anole.
Peter Milligan shows what a date for Apollo and Midnighter (AKA Andrew and Lucas) is like when they go for drinks in what either isn’t a gay bar or is a lot rougher than any I’ve been in in Stormwatch #13. Proving he has brains to go along with those muscles, Apollo becomes suspicious of Midnighter’s motives for picking this particular bar but then Midnighter is a bit annoying while calculating out loud probabilities and all during the first ten minutes of their date. Turns out Midnighter used to patrol the area before joining Stormwatch and confesses that he could never find out what the cause of the especially nastiness in the area was, and he’s been itching to return to the area since getting involved in Stormwatch’s hijinks. Let’s just say the date goes from rocky to a really bad night when Etrigan the Demon is unexpectedly turns up with such an ugly mad on that he dispenses with rhyming (thank you, Milligan!). Cue cliffhanger!
The folks at Archie continue to surprise with Kevin Keller. With the latest installment in Life With Archie #23 the surprise comes mainly from the way the other characters act and interact with Keller and the incident of Clay having been shot while stopping a robbery. That way being not a bit different at all. No spoilers, but what happened with Midge in the second story took me by surprise. One day the impact of Archie having a gay character in a solo book who’s also featured in the future storyline of another series where he’s married to a man will wear off me. And for those concerned about Clay’s fate, well, SPOILERS!!!! you can breathe easier. Especially you, Mr Orts.