Marvel has revealed plans for the Avengers next year (the comic-book team, that is, not their cinematic counterparts) and it looks like Earth’s Mightiest Mortals are getting queerer in 2018.
Living Lightning (Miguel Santos) is rejoining the team in “No Surrender,” a storyline running weekly from Avengers #675 to #690. It’s the first major turn for Santos, who was created by writers Dann Thomas and Roy Thomas and artist Paul Ryan back in 1990’s Avengers West Coast #63.
In the hero’s origin, he’s trying to clear his father’s name by investigating the villainous Legion of the Living Lighting, but he accidentally gets the power to control lightning and turn into “living lightning” himself.
He joined the West Coast Avengers and made a few appearances over the year, but ways more of a background player than protagonist. But “No Surrender” sees him as part of the core team as they face two teams of super-baddies.
“We [were looking] for an entry-level character, a person who makes sense coming into the world of the Avengers and, to some degree, being the viewpoint of the reader,” editor Tom Breevort told Comic Book Resources about “No Surrender.”
“He’s suddenly been thrown into the deep end as one of the key players in trying to keep the world safe and deal with these massive crises that the Avengers deal with,” Breevort adds. “He gets to see that from a ground level and very human perspective… This isn’t a level that Miguel is used to or comfortable with having to work on.”
Early storylines saw Santos dating women, but in an issue of the satirical series Great Lakes Avengers, Miguel came out as gay. (Actually he thought the team’s acroynm, GLA, stood for “Gay/Lesbian Alliance.”)
“He’s gay. Get over it,” GLA writer Dan Slott said of the decision to out Living Lightning. “Previous girlfriends? Beards. Or relationships that just didn’t work—because Miguel hadn’t come to terms yet with who he really is. Miguel is a gay superhero and a wonderful role model.”
Living Lightning has the distinction of being the first openly gay member of the Avengers, as his first appearance predates power couple Wiccan and Hulkling.