WARNING: The following contains spoilers for X-Factor#7 by Leah Williams, David Baldeón, Isreal Silva, & VC's Joe Caramagna, on sale now.
To an outsider, the life of the mutants on Krakoa may look like paradise. While visiting the island in X-Factor #7, Speed was taken in by the grandeur. The young mutant was star struck by the famed Northstar. While Speed is known for his superhuman running abilities, Northstar is a "speedster" who can fly and is the self-described fastest mutant on the planet.
Northstar, whose real name is Jean-Paul Beaubier, was charmed by Speed's enthusiasm. Speed brought up that Northstar was once an Olympic skier in addition to being a powerful mutant. Taking it one step further, Northstar mentioned that he is gay, wealthy, and basically living his best life as the leader of X-Factor. However, Northstar's life has not always been a shining example of success.
Northstar, and his twin sister Aurora, debuted in Chris Claremont and John Byrne's Uncanny X-Men #120 in 1979 when the X-Men encountered the Canadian hero team, Alpha Flight. There were hints and nods toward his sexuality for years but it wasn't until 1992 that he officially came out as gay. Scott Lobdell and Mark Pacella's Alpha Flight #106 started with the team fighting Mr. Hyde in the streets of Toronto. Northstar heard a baby crying from inside of a dumpster. Pulling the newborn out, he abandoned the fight and flew to the nearest hospital. After an examination the doctors found that the infant had AIDS and was very ill. Northstar adopted the baby and named her Joanne.
The story of a team of heroes adopting a sick orphan and watching over her at the hospital was broadcast across news channels, opening up a dialogue about the illness Joanne had inherited. A fallen hero, named Major Mapleleaf, watched the media frenzy and the sudden fawning over a victim of AIDS in disgust. It drove Major Mapleleaf to attempt to kill the baby. Luckily Northstar was there to stop him, and the two ended up battling across rooftops through the city.
Northstar pushed for an explanation from Major Mapleleaf as to why he would hurt an innocent child. Mapleleaf opened up about his son dying of AIDS. Although his son had the same disease as little Joanne, the world had reacted to his infection in a much different way. Mapleleaf's son was gay so when he came out, then later became sick, the world had turned its back on him, not celebrating his struggles as they did the child. Northstar was pushed too far and said that he understood the pain and the worry of becoming an outcast because he too was gay. The two men hugged over their shared pain. Returning to the hospital, Joanne succumbed to her ailments while Northstar held her. Mapleleaf consoled him by saying that his son would watch over Joanne. The event prompted Northstar to come out publicly at a press conference because "silence equals death."
Northstar endured many ups and down after his coming out. Eventually Aurora introduced her friend Kyle Jinadu to her brother. It was supposed to be a business relationship, with Kyle handling Northstar's extreme sports company. Yet the human and mutant hit it off romantically as well. Even though Kyle was not a superhero, the two found a balance. After a close call against the villain Karma, Northstar realized he could not stand to lose Kyle and proposed. Kyle accepted and in 2012's Astonishing X-Men #51 by Majorie Liu and Mike Perkins the two were married in Marvel's first gay wedding.
Since Northstar relocated to Krakoa, his husband moved too. Kyle still maintains a career in business while Northstar works as a lead on the X-Factor team. Their love, stability, and Kyle's positive influence are known by all the mutants on the island. Even though Northstar's coming out story was something of a nightmare, he still got a fairy tale ending.
Next: X-Men: An Iconic Mutant Couple is Back Together - Sort of
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