Writer: Sina Grace
Artist: Alessandro Vitti
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
After an already tense dinner at his parents’ new home, Bobby Drake, the X-Men’s ICEMAN, and his family are ambushed by PURIFIERS out for revenge!
What you need to know: The father of the Purifier Iceman fought in issue #1 seeks vengeance and stages an attack on Bobby while he’s visiting his parents in their new home. After having a heart to heart, of sorts, with Kitty Pryde (last issue), Bobby decides having a “coming out dinner” with his parents might give him the support he needs while he comes to terms with his homosexuality.
What you’ll find out: We all know Bobby Drake is a well known, established super hero in the Marvel Universe who has a rich history to draw upon. It’s great that the opening scene of this story begins with a text to some of his friends, including former teammate and Iceman fan Northstar, ex-girlfriend Opal Tenaka, Human Torch Johnny Storm, ex-girlfriend Lorna Dane, Spider-Man, and Boom Boom. Bobby comes out as gay via text to his friends and the reactions are interesting and characteristically humorous. But the texting will have to wait. He has arrived at his parents new home for dinner, with the intention of discussing the changes in his life. As his mother greets him at the door, we see them through the cross-hairs of a weapon, which only adds to the buildup of tension.
Bobby’s parents, especially his father William, have usually been portrayed as having a strained relationship with him. Although there was that time after Operation: Zero Tolerance (1997), that Bobby left the X-Men to help his father recuperate from an attack by Bastion’s goons, apparently William is back to his old grumpy self. Bobby notices old photos of his high school days on the wall, to which his mother refers to as “the good ol’ days”. Questioning her comment, Madeline quickly dismisses Bobby as being “defensive” amd reminds him that it was the last time they were a family unit. She delivers some light hearted sarcasm by then stating “Before my boy had to fight for ‘THE CAUSE'”. Towards the end of dinner, William asks that they not discuss “mutant stuff”. As Bobby tries to explain that most of what he is going to talk about involves “mutant stuff”, his father needles him a bit more by stating “…can’t we talk about normal stuff?” We can clearly see where Bobby get’s his wit and humor from here. With a few more clueless comments, William delivers his final attack by questioning Bobby’s choice of “job” and clothing, referring to his current uniform as a skintight romper. OUCH. Madeline aimlessly wonders why the X-Men don’t pay him a retirement plan, or a 401(k).
Realizing he needs to reorganize his thoughts while clearing the table and washing dishes, we see Bobby through the crosshairs once again. Suddenly, a can of gas bursts through the kitchen window. A young man wearing a Purifier shirt attacks him with a gun, but Iceman quickly subdues him and discovers there are a dozen more Purifiers with him. He freezes him in shackles and leaves him to find his parents held captive and on their knees in the other room. The man in charge of this attack is the father of the Purifier Iceman battled at the hospital while visiting his own father. Clearly crazed and with guns drawn on his parents, Iceman brilliantly takes control of the situation away from the Purifier’s by explaining he has actuallu shown them mercy by not killing them at first sight. After a display of force I’m guessing readers have hoped for, we finally get to see how powerful, and how much of a hero, Bobby really is.
What worked for me and what didn’t: The series covers by Kris Anka are so nice to see. If they ever decide to do an Annual, I’d love to see an entire issue by Kris!
Alessandro Vitti returns to the title this issue. Although Bobby’s parents look a bit too aged and “rough” to me, I’m relatively happy he is back. The battle scenes are done well and show off how restraint is a strength Bobby weilds just as skillfully as his powers. His “reminder” to the Purifier father took me by surprise, and I have to be honest, was very satifying to see. Iceman does NOT always play.
Sina Grace takes Bobby from his usual self to a man pushed to the limit this issue. He’s had enough. Many fans cried about how powerful Iceman is and that in issues #1 and #2, he could have made short change of a Purifier or a mob of angry humans, but here, we go further into the mind of Iceman, as he explains how he could easliy subdue them by freezing the capillaries in their brains. He reminds them that they are actually blessed they chose him to attack. If he were Wolverine, they would not be so lucky. He reminds us, and the Purifier father, that just because he can kill, doesn’t always mean he should. There’s an ending scene that has a cameo by Colossus, Glob Herman, and Anole, as they arrive with Bobby to help repair damages to his parents home during the attack. It leaves the door open for further development with Bobby and his parents, which I look forward to.
Sina Grace, deserves much praise, with issue #3 being the best so far, and further, he elevates the characterization I found lacking in the main character since the title began. This is the first on-going Marvel comic to feature a gay, lead character. That’s an important responsibility to shoulder. With this issue, my faith in the comic has been strengthened.
Final thought: Iceman hits a high point (and hopefully continues the trajectory) this issue.