Welcome to this week’s Comic Character Spotlight! In anticipation of Pride Month, this week I will be highlighting the upcoming debut of a new superhero in Marvel’s queer-focused anthology comic series, “Marvel’s Voices: Pride” (2022).
On June 22, Shela Sexton, a transgender heroine known as Escapade, will be introduced in a 20-page story that showcases her intertwined existence as a thief and a hero. Created by the New York Times-bestselling author Charlie Jane Anders, Escapade is born with the power to alter circumstance. This means that she can trade her physical location, status or even power with another individual. For instance, if confronted with a weapon, Escapade can shift the circumstance so that she possesses the weapon that previously threatened her. In a more extreme illustration of her ability, if she’s in close proximity to the President, she can temporarily switch her societal positions with that of the President and wield that power for multiple hours.
Although her ability may seem unstoppable, there are a few drawbacks that could interfere with its use. Particularly, the power can only be utilized for a few hours at a time and she must be within seven feet of her target. In addition, complex attempts at altering circumstances could potentially result in failure.
Alongside Escapade in her adventure are companions Morgan Red and Hibbert. Morgan is Escapade’s technologically talented close friend. As Morgan himself is a transgender man, the two were able to mutually support each other through their transitions as children. Additionally, Hibbert, a genetically engineered turtle with the ability to fly, was freed from a laboratory by the best friends. Together, the three become a form of found family, united through their bonds and loyalty to each other.
The setting for Escapade’s story is the mutant-nation of Krakoa, where she feels dissatisfied by the authority that promotes an all-encompassing mutant superiority. The initial issue of the story, set for a June release, will commence with a heist involving the protagonists — Escapade and her companions — as she employs theft as a tool to both punish wrongdoers and help those in need. She steals from corrupt criminals in order to give to those who lack resources. Interestingly, her story is meant to pick up traction once she sees a vision of the future that illustrates her at fault for a catastrophe. This will propel the narrative forward as she must scramble to change that predicted future.
Escapade is also set to make appearances in other Marvel comic series, as she will join a fall special of the “New Mutants” (2022). As a member of a team, she will have to handle working with others who do not mirror her beliefs regarding the mutant-nation of Krakoa.
It has been heartening to see the increase in attention comic books have given to LGBTQIA+ representation. As “Marvel Voices: Pride” reflects both queer characters and creators, it establishes a foundation for more diverse narratives and creations. Naturally, there is always more to be done in the realm of representation; however, the continuation of the Pride series is an important step. Hopefully, these characters will continue to be featured outside of the Pride-related volumes and be allowed a spotlight both in mainstream comic series and adaptations.
That concludes the final Comic Character Spotlight of the term! It has been an absolute pleasure to get the opportunity to ramble about different comic book characters every week this spring, and I look forward to continuing the trend in the fall. I wish everyone the best of luck on finals and an amazing summer!