Hey you. Yes, you. Were you an awkward teenager around the time that Grant Morrison took the X-Men back to school? ME TOO! Do YOU have one arm that’s disproportionately jacked thanks to too much jacking off? ME TOO! Do you have a crush on the fictional mutant/elf/man/Canadian Northstar? Well, he sort of looks like Jonsí—so. probably. With all that, it ends up we have a lot in common with the Young X-Man, Anole.
Let’s dive into this character and look specifically at the groundbreaking issue of Amazing X-Men where he goes on a blind date with Noam.
(All images link to a large version.)
First, A Little Background
Before the Iceman solo series, and before the new inclusive Marvel, there was Northstar. In the early oughts to quite recently, Jean-Paul was put on several team books that put LGBT storylines to the forefront. My personal favorite is his mentorship of the young, queer mutant Anole.
Anole looked up to Northstar from the start of his time at the Xavier School. When Emma split up the young X-Men into different squads, Anole went with Northstar as part of his Alpha Squad.
Anole plays a part in the Utopia X storylines and is a member of Cyclops’ Young X-Men team. But, mostly acts as a background character.
During the “Academy X” era of “New X-Men”, Anole does something that really endears him to me. He reveals himself to be a Wiccan/Hulking fanboy. So am I, Anole. So am I.
That changes a bit after Anole heads to the Jean Grey School post-Schism. While the X-Men are back in New York, both Northstar and Anole are more in the foreground of stories in Astonishing X-Men (where Northstar gets married) and Amazing X-Men—that’ll be the focus for today.
Amazing X-Men (2013) #13
In issue 13 of Amazing X-Men, Anole goes on a date! Or, he tries to. Northstar gives him permission to head into the city on his own, which leads to an interesting conversation with Nightcrawler about passing and being “the other.”
It ends up that Lady Mastermind, looking like a terrible version of evil Emma Frost drag, decided to fuck with the non-passing and queer X-Men by amping up their internalized insecurities to the breaking point.
This leads to Northstar attempting and failing to console Anole, sho is having not of this hot
Punch punch punch…. Fight fight fight…. They thwart Lady Mastermind, but Anole still needs some resolution about his failed date with Noam. This leads to him having to have one of the best-written awkward-word-vomit moment I’ve ever read in a comic.
It’s a moment that hits very close to home for me and anyone else that finds all kinds of social interaction anxiety-ridden. Especially true when that interaction has emotional repercussions involved.
Because comics only screw up your heart some of the time, Noam accepts and they both go to a coffee shop for a date. It’s really cute, Y’all. I can even forgive all of the following Marvel writers for forgetting that Noam exists after this story. I mean, a lot of our blind-dates and initial glancing blows with love end with you never really seeing or talking to the person again, right?
Really, this issue is a gem that handles the mixed metaphor of the X-Men as an allegory to both race and sexuality. James Tynion really pulls it out here I haven’t read much by him—he’s mostly a DC guy—but, I like how this issue is put together.
The art by Jorge Jiminez is alright here. A bit sketchy for me, but it seems to have been a popular stylistic choice taken around this time.
One thing that I’m not sure of is if I would have been able to tell many of the characters apart if they weren’t so physically different. As in, the faces seem to be pretty similar, so I’m glad one is green, one is fury, and one is blonde or else the arc would have been harder to follow.
All images copyright their respective copyright holders. All images in this post taken from Amazing X-Men (2013) #13 by writer James Tynion and artist Jorge Jiminez. Get this issue from Marvel or Marvel Unlimited.