(Alpha Flight #1 (v.1) - John Byrne, 1983)
Good morning friends and gentlefolk. I thought I’d start doing light dissections of the various allusions to Jean-Paul Beaubier’s homosexuality, because that’s the kind of thing that I do when my adoration for a character outstrips my ability to mind-control editors into giving him a solo series. Let’s start from the top, shall we?
Jeanne-Marie, on being caught having Jean-Paul up to her room for tea, tries to explain why the rule about men in the nuns’ living quarters don’t apply to him. Her first approach is to deny that Jean-Paul is a man, then to say that he’s her brother. This could just be a stuttering redundancy on Jeanne-Marie’s part, but it’s also possible that her first instinct was to deny that her companion could have interest in any woman before realizing that 1) telling the nun that Jean-Paul is queer won’t go over any better than his being a potential lover and 2) framing her brother’s sexuality in terms of his not being a complete man probably isn’t a statement she wants to finish when he’s standing right there. Hence switching gears and revealing that they’re family. (And, really, given some of the attitude she and Aurora display toward Jean-Paul’s sexuality later, I’m guessing more the former than the latter.)
Credit where credit is due, this isn’t a reading I latched onto myself. I was clued into this one by Ben Bolling, a UNC professor who penned “The US HIV/AIDS Crisis and the Negotiation of Queer Identity in Superhero Comics, or, Is Northstar Still a Fairy” (full text available in this volume)
. I’m really very fond of this interpretation because I like the layers it gives the conversation. The twins have only known about each other for a relatively short time at this point, less than two years, and they still wind up hurting each other on a regular basis, even when they’re sincerely trying to be supportive. So Jeanne-Marie being so unused to having family that it’s not the first explanation she goes for and Jean-Paul undercutting her unintentional insult by showing he’s man enough to get a nun twitterpated, merci very much, is both in-character and, from my POV, a lot more fun of a read. Plus it’s a decent explanation for Jean-Paul’s transition in attitude from when he arrives, all tolerance
and autograph signings
, to just after, where he’s in a considerably worse mood.