ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Marvel’s Voices: Pride (2022),’ #1

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Marvel's Voices Pride 2022 - But Why Tho

Marvel’s Voices: Pride 2022 is an anthology celebrating the history, present, and future of queer representation, stories, and creators in Marvel comics. It contains stories of various lengths, personal essays, history, and character profiles uplifting a mosaic of gender identities and sexualities.

Marvel’s Voices: Pride 2022 is easily the best Marvel’s Voices issue I have read yet. From the personal essays by Marvel creators and comic book industry executives, to the historical background segments, to most of the original stories, the book as a whole is so excellently presented and contains such a diversity of experiences. Whereas last year’s issue largely revolved around stories of coming out, this year’s issue organizes around being out and proud. The histories of queer-coded characters and how some have been officially codified as queer today while others are still waiting for that opportunity was really interesting and impactful in particular. That the story “Perfectly Scene” gave two such characters their due was great.

What I always say about these anthologies in judging their stories is that they must find the balance between interesting new readers and returning readers alike. The short stories are understandably set outside of the characters’ ongoing adventures for the most part, but they should both entice me to read more about them in previous and future issues while feeling satisfying for those who are already familiar with these characters. Marvel’s Voices: Pride 2022 doesn’t balance this perfectly, but it does it better than many of the other issues do.

The opening story, “All My Exes In The Nexus” features Loki, Wiccan, Hulking, and America Chavez, all of whom are queer, isn’t the most complicated story, but it does give you a taste of each of the four characters and left me as interested as ever to go back and read Empyre and some Young Avengers. “LGBT-D” was a great little taste of a story about trans mutants in a support group led by a seemingly reformed supervillain. It’s filled with little nods to queer comics history and while I wish that more of the characters created for these issues would be seen again down the road, if we never see the Matt Baker House LGBTQ+ Youth Center again, at least we got to see it here.

My only gripe with “Ancient and Modern,” a story about the couple Hercules and Marvel Boy, is that despite all of the history the issue shares and rectifies about queer-coded characters from the past, it doesn’t acknowledge Hercules’ own such history. He was at one point explicitly depicted as bi and then had that completely torn away from him by the comments of a Marvel executive after some multiversal nonsense. He’s not the only character to have this kind of history either, but that he’s included in this comic now with no acknowledgment of this history is disappointing.

“Stay Out Of My Mind Turf, Jack” and “Perfectly Scene” are mostly innocuous stories that have their own power as explained by the historical info provided by the issue, but as stories themselves are mostly forgettable. “Over The Rainbow” stands out as the most disappointing story, which is not calling it bad, but rather, in that I just wish it went one step farther. It depicts Asgard’s first Pride as thrown by Valkyrie with Loki’s assistance. And fortunately, it doesn’t reach the levels of offensive that a certain other recent Pride issue did in a similar story. But the story walks up to a potentially great moment several times, where it could make commentary on how Pride is more than just a party and its history in protest. There’s even an amazing metaphor that’s never followed through, where Pride is described as being like Valhalla in that it’s a massive celebration but only in that it’s earned through hard-fought battles. But it only ever walks up to that line and never crosses into explicitly describing Pride these ways.

The final story though, “Permanent Sleepover,” a full-length story, is worth the price of admission alone. It is the story of two new young trans mutants, Shela and Morgan, who have dreamt of being really good supervillains since they were kids. They’re doing a robbery on a fancy boat, but Shela has a secret motive she’s keeping from Morgan. The two have been best friends and each other’s chosen family since Shela was kicked out of her house when she came out as trans (despite coming out as a mutant having no impact on her parents). So this secret-keeping completely rattles their foundations. Fortunately, their story is to be continued in New Mutants. The issue left me in tears and to boot, it has a really fun Peanuts-inspired art style that fills recurring scenes from Shela and Morgan’s youth. It’s easily one of the best stories I’ve read in any Marvel’s Voices comic.

While by no means perfect, Marvel’s Voices: Pride 2022 is an excellent addition to this anthology series and the Marvel canon as a whole. It introduces new characters, recontextualizes old ones, and offers some truly great personal essays and history about queer identities and representation in Marvel.

Marvel’s Voices: Pride 2022 is available June 22 wherever comics are sold.


“All My Exes In The Nexus” is by Alyssa Wong with pencils, inks, and colors by Stephen Byrne. “LGBT-D” is by Grace Freud with pencils by Cott B. Henderson, inks by Lee Townsend, and colors by Brittany Peer. “Ancient & Modern” is by Andrew Wheeler with pencils and inks by Birrney L. Williams and colors by José Villarrubia. “Stay Outta My Mind Turf, Jack” is by Christopher Cantwell with pencils and inks by Kei Zama and colors by Rico Renzi. “Perfectly Scene” is by Danny Lore with pencils and inks by Lucas Werneck and colors by Michael Wiggam. “Over the Rainbow” is by Ira Madison III with pencils and inks by Lorenzo Susi and colors by Rachelle Rosenberg. “Permanent Sleepover” is by Carlie Jane Anders with line art by Ro Stein and Ted Brandt, colors by Tamra Bonvillain, and consulting by Naseem Jamnia. VC’s Ariana maher and Clayton Cowles lettered “Permanent Sleepover” and “Stay Out Of MY Mind Turf, Jack.”


Marvel's Voices: Pride 2022
4.5

TL;DR

While by no means perfect, Marvel’s Voices: Pride 2022 is an excellent addition to this anthology series and the Marvel canon as a whole. It introduces new characters, recontextualizes old ones, and offers some truly great personal essays and history about queer identities and representation in Marvel.