See The First Look At Marvel’s New Transgender Superhero

By Michileen Martin | 2 weeks ago

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Slowly but surely, Marvel Studios has been making good on its promise to include more LGBTQ representation in its movies. Thor: Ragnarok, Eternals, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness all featured LGBTQ heroes and Eternals featured the first same-sex kiss in a Marvel movie. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) came out as bisexual in his Disney+ series and Thor: Love and Thunder promises to broaden that representation as well, with Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) becoming embroiled in a same-sex romance. On the comics side of things, the creators aren’t slouching. The company is just about to introduce the new transgender mutant superhero Escapade.

Escapade will make her Marvel Comics debut next month in Marvel Voices: Pride #1. The issue is meant to highlight not only LGBTQ characters and but also Marvel’s LGBTQ creators. Escapade’s premiere will be written by Charlie Jane Anders, a self-described writer of “science-fiction and inspirational weirdness.” She’ll be joined by artists Ro Stein and Ted Brandt with colors by Tamra Bonvillain. Escapade’s debut will be a 20-page story in Marvel Voices: Pride #1, and the hero will return in the fall when Anders writes an arc of New Mutants. You can see images of Escapade from the comic below.

Escapade’s real name is Shela Sexton, and she enjoys an interesting ability. As a mutant, the Marvel hero has the power to temporarily switch with another person. Switch what? It depends. She can switch physical attributes, powers, locations, possessions, or even status in the other person’s organization. Her powers aren’t unlimited though. She has to be within seven feet of her target, and at most the switcheroo can last a couple of hours.

From Anders’ description of Escapade, the hero isn’t a crimefighter in the traditional sense. She’s more like Robin Hood. In an interview with Marvel, Anders says that up until the point at which we meet her, Shela has been “stealing from people who deserve to be stolen from, so she can use their stuff to help more people.” In her debut, however, it will be more than just altruism behind Escapade’s actions. Apparently Shela has been given a vision of the future in which she’s responsible for something horrible occurring, and she’ll be fighting to make sure it doesn’t come to pass.

Currently in Marvel Comics, most of the narrative’s mutants have joined the new mutant nation of Krakoa. According to Anders, Escapade’s relationship with Krakoa isn’t all that great. “Shela is very suspicious of authority, and especially authoritarianism,” Anders said. “She doesn’t love the idea of a mutant nation-state, with all of the nationalism that this implies. She knows what it’s like to be oppressed and mistreated for who you are, but she also feels like mutants aren’t any better than anyone else.”

Anders said it was very important to her that her stories make it clear that “being a mutant is not a metaphor for being trans, and vice versa,” which speaks to one of Marvel’s more recent missteps when it comes to trans representation. Right before the Dawn of X event that heralded the current status-quo of Krakoa, the character Wolfsbane was beaten to death in 2019’s Uncanny X-Men #19. The scene depicting her murder was written to reflect a “trans-panic” murder, with the murderers getting violent when they realize Wolfsbane is a mutant. This sparked outrage among trans fans and allies. On Women Write About Comics, wrote that she felt writer Matthew Rosenberg meant well, but that when stories depict “violence that occurs against us [trans people] without bothering to depict us, we are not helped. We are not aided by this choice; the violence against us becomes normalized, but our presence does not.”