They might not be sitting in a tree, but as we can plainly see on the cover for All-New, All-Different Avengers issue 4 (beautifully rendered by Alex Ross), Captain America and Thor are most definitely K-I-S-S-I-N-G. Put another way, a black Cap and a lady Thor are scheduled to lock lips in the sky over New York City. But as heterosexual (and probably monogamous) as they may be, this biethnic pairing has already raised a lot of hackles online.
The All-New, All-Different Avengers was announced in May 2015, and by way of Secret Wars, the crossover event that once again changes the way the Marvel universe works, this never-before-seen iteration of the team will be born.
For anyone not following the series: since the retirement of Steve Rogers, Sam Wilson—formerly known as The Falcon, and forever remembered as the first African-American superhero—has become Captain America, the leader of the Avengers. The new team also includes Iron Man (Tony Stark), Ms. Marvel (the 16-year-old Pakistani-American Kamala Khan, and the fourth character to take the name Ms. Marvel), Nova (Sam Alexander), Spider-Man (the Ultimate Spider-Man, Miles Morales), The Vision, and of course, Thor. Yes, lady Thor, the woman who took up Mjolnir, the new God of Thunder, (or Goddess of Thunder, if gendered honorifics matter to you), to whom we were first introduced as Dr. Jane Foster, the former girlfriend of Thor Odinson (played with very little passion for her craft by Natalie Portman in the live-action film adaptations).
The All-New, All-Different Avengers, written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Mahmud Asrar and Adam Kubert, will be released November 11. Issue 4 is scheduled for January 2016, so there's still plenty of time to speculate on the text, context, and subtext of this kiss. But we can already see that there's something going on between these two heroes.
Skepticism and cynicism permeate geek culture as much as any other facet of our culture, and seemingly more so online. Marvel is already being accused of trying too hard to attract attention to the new series, and long-time fans are preemptively bemoaning what they describe as political correctness tainting the legacy of these beloved characters. And although there's probably no limit to what a publisher might do in order to sell a few more books, I don't think it's logically possible to overdo diversity.
So how do we at Geeks OUT feel about seeing these two iconic characters engaged in airborne consent? I feel good about it! As Maya Angelou once posted on her Facebook page: "Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope." That sounds like the stuff of superheroes to me. And in hopes that my fellow queers would agree, I asked a few other Geeks OUT members for their impressions.
On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being Meh. and 10 being DEAD! (or thereabouts), how much are you looking forward to seeing a kiss between Captain America and Thor?
Ian Carlos Crawford: I feel very Meh about it? But that doesn't mean it's not exciting? I feel like it's kinda baiting for the Cinematic U fans who don't read the comics as much? And everyone is lovin' being able to say "LOOK! Cap and Thor are kissing!" but then it being the new Cap and Thor and not the ones from the movies that everyone ships? But, I too am kinda curious to see where this goes.
John Jennison: 1. I don't want to see a kiss unless it's between Bucky and Steve!
Joey Stern: Agreed, I want Bucky there.
Rachel Greeman: I kept thinking Marvel meant Steve and Thor or Sam and Thor, which I think is on purpose, and should be mentioned. That they're baiting. But I'm honestly totally Pro. Any combo of Steve/Thor/Sam/Jane is great by me.
Niala Terrell-Mason: I'm about a 5. I'm more curious as to how it will come about. I honestly never thought of Jane and Sam before. Well. Outside of MCU Avengers As Family team orgies, that is. I don't think it's baiting though. When I first heard about it/saw the cover, I knew it was Sam and Jane, not Steve and Thor, because Sam and Jane are the current Cap/Thor.
Jon Tully: I'd give it a 5 as well (Meh). It reminds me of the older X-Men comics that would show a kiss on the cover to get readership, but not have follow up. I'm supportive of such a relationship, but I don't know if Marvel will follow through.
Aaron Reese: I'm feeling pretty Meh about it. I think Marvel's juicing the new Cap and Thor for all they've got. What would be awesome is to see characters we've shipped for ages (such as Sam and Steve).
Denny Upkins: 10. AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!!!
And for me, Aria Baci, it's a very precise 7.5 (right on the verge of Dying, but not quite) because who wouldn't want to tongue wrestle with Thor? But a same-sex pairing would have been even more audacious, and I like audacity.
Now it's your turn! Share your feelings about this kiss in the comments below.