William "Billy" Kaplan, also known as Wiccan, is a teenage superhero who discovers that he and fellow superhero Speed are in fact long lost twin brothers, sons of the Scarlet Witch and her husband Vision. Both Wiccan and Speed are members of the group known as Young Avengers and, in between doing superhero things, they are on a search for their missing mother while simultaneously mastering their powers. You’d think they would be pretty busy with that, but as it is often the case with teenagers, there is always time for more. In Wiccan’s case his relationship with alien teammate Hulking. A relationship that starts as friendship but rapidly develops into a more intimate bond when both young men discover they are gay. Though the creator of Young Avengers planned to keep that fact under the rug for a while but the readers picked up on it pretty fast. The abilities of the young men – Wiccan has magic powers and Hulking is a shape shifter, able to take on other personalities – light have given it away a little bit maybe.
The Avengers exist since 1963 while the Young Avengers were introduced first in 2005. It is a shame that in the long superhero history we know it has taken that long to introduce a real gay couple among the mutants, but alas, we’re not complaining. Especially since the latest news is that both Wiccan and Hulking have landed a well-deserved role in the latest addition of Lego Marvel Avengers. For those not aware – and how can you not be – Lego Marvel Avengers is the second instalment in the Lego Marvel Video Game series, released in January 2016. In 'Lego Marvel’s Avengers,' gamers can play and unlock more than 200 characters, with over 100 new characters that have not appeared in a Lego videogame before. Among them earlier mentioned Wiccan and Hulking and pretty easy to recognize with text lines such as “I don’t want to brag but they clearly thought I was Thor… what with the physique and everything.”
I’m joking of course. I couldn’t be more happier to see a fictional gay couple with superhero powers gaining so much popularity. Though their relationship is not very clear in the game, - you won’t see them kissing as they did in the comic book – it does give you the chance to play as canonical gay superheroes for the very first time and that is pretty cool. But much fun as this is, it really isn’t so much of a novelty as last year Mortal Kombat X introduced the gay character Kung Jin who’s coming out was subtle - when main character Raiden tells Kung Jin to join the Shaolin monks, he replies: “I can’t… They won’t accept.” Raiden responds: “They care only of what is in your heart, not whom your heart desires” – it was well understood. Mass Effect also has its gay character named Lieutenant Commander Shepard who can be either male or female according to the wishes of the player, and who has an option to have gay sex in Mass Effect 3. However, Wiccan and Hulking, being part of a popular gang such as Young Avengers, might enjoy more popularity than the other, less know video game characters. And being part of the Marvel universe, there might even be a chance that they will make it to the cinema in the future. I mean, the Avengers are not getting any younger with Ironman Robert Down Junior turning 50 this year. Recent films such as Ant Man has seen a clear set up for the introduction of the teenage superheroes. So let’s see how far they are willing to take this. Because let's face it, gay superheroes are way overdue. Or as Batman once said: "You wanna get nuts? Come on, let's get nuts." –BM-
Cover photography by Kevin D. Hoover, featuring Nikco Fume.
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