Writer: Sina Grace
Penciler: Edgar Salazar
Inker: Ed Tadeo
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Cover Artist: Kevin Wada
Looking to return a runaway new student home to the Xavier Institute, Iceman, Bobby Drake runs into a familiar and quite deadly face…DAKEN, son of Wolverine!
What you need to know: In issue #2, Iceman, along with Kitty Pryde, rescued a teen mutant in West Covina, California, from a mob of angry humans. They brought the young mutant to the Xavier Institute in New York’s Central Park, to help teach him in the use of his energy warping abilities. Meanwhile, Bobby has had a difficult time coming out as gay to his parents, with planned meetings always changing due to attacks by the Purifiers.
What you’ll find out: Early one morning (sometime shortly after the events of the last issue) we find Bobby writing a letter of the snail mail variety. Kitty Pryde (ex-girlfriend and supporting player) confesses shock to find him shifting to “work mode” so quickly after a workout. Bobby is writing a “coming out” letter to his parents. Bobby’s parents have been notoriously narrow-minded when it comes to their son’s involvement with the X-Men, which makes coming out difficult for Bobby. He decides writing a letter will avoid any conflict with them, since every time he has tried, something bad happens. Kitty agrees considering how his parents are. Kitty mentions to Bobby that Zach, the teen mutant they recently rescued, did not report to Danger Room Training. After checking his room, they realize he has run away. Overhearing their conversation, a fellow student, Michaela, shows them a video clip of Zach on social media. In it, he is posturing and talking about his new haircut, custom made clothes and giving a shout out to the “Main Man” for getting him into the “dopest spot in all of NYC…Greenwich Mean Time”. But before he says the “Main Man’s” name, the smartphone is knocked out of his hand and we see a hand pointing to the young mutant, admonishing him for posting a video. CUT TO BLACK.
Researching Greenwich Mean Time, Kitty considers different approaches to rescuing the teen from the elite members only club. Bobby decides to infiltrate the club in a tuxedo, posing as an ice-sculpture delivery person. Making his way into the heart of the flashy club’s dance area, and spotting Zach with a drink in his hand, Bobby suddenly hears, “Hey, Snowflake…may I have this dance?” It’s Daken, the son of Bobby’s now deceased teammate, Wolverine. Saying, Zach is a free agent and can do what he pleases, Daken begins to flirt with Bobby, most likely through his pheromone control power. In a creative and frightening move, Bobby stops any game playing by freezing Daken from the inside out, immobilizing him. Bobby locates Zach in a lounge upstairs, proclaiming his new hero name is going to be “Zach Attack” and carrying on about his fantastic new mutant life.He warns Zach about Daken, but after the exposure to the decadence Daken has to offer, Zach refuses to go back with Bobby. Bobby attempts to subdue Zach by using his powers, but Zach inhibits them. Suddenly, a healed Daken comes thrashing at Bobby as they fly over the balcony battling each other. Although quite formidable, Daken is no match for Iceman. He distracts Daken with Ice Men while he tries to stop Zach from leaving on a helicopter to their next exotic location. But again, he dampens Iceman’s powers and escapes.
Freeing himself of the Ice Men, Daken lunges at Bobby, calling him “snowflake” yet again, angry at his refusal to follow his way. Iceman creates a giant snowflake and hurls it at Daken, impaling him in the guts, to the wall. By this time, the helicopter carrying Zach is fading in the distance.
Realizing he may have been over protective of the young mutant, Bobby states to Daken that he was also to blame for Zach’s disillusionment with Xavier’s. All the while, the impaled Daken smart mouths Bobby as he is talking. But Boddy simply pushes down on the giant snowflake, causing further pain. He compliments Daken on his attire and starts to walk away when Daken tells Bobby he can smell the insecurity on him and that his bravado will only get him so far.
The next morning, Bobby meets with Kitty to discuss Zach, but Kitty seems to be talking about something completely different. She informs him that he has visitors…his parents. As they enter the room, his mother Madeline is proud to tell Bobby she “heard him” when last they spoke and got his father to make the trip to see him. His mother Madeline offers to make breakfast and get a tour of the school, to which Bobby responds, “I’m Gay”.
What worked for me and what didn’t: Sina Grace is building a wonderful story for Iceman. Issue #4 is a landmark in the series as Iceman, Bobby Drake comes out to his parents as a gay man. Although it literally is the last scene in the book, the pace, and timing of it happening worked well for me. Finding solutions to his private life while balancing teaching at Xavier’s and heroics with the X-Men, the often portrayed, one-dimensional personality of the ever sarcastic jokester should hopefully be put to rest. The many layers of his past experiences and newfound inner truths are forming to create quite the hero. I’ve always thought about the potential Iceman has, as far as powers go. He knows he’s an Omega Level mutant (whatever THAT is now; one of the top powers of the mutant community) but just as we see how he uses restraint when necessary, we get to see him flex some mutant muscle. I like the character of Daken, mostly because he’s obnoxious and yet, as Iceman states, he’s got “swagger”. He’s a perfect foil for Iceman right now, and I hope we get to see more of him as a recurring antagonist. I had a problem with Kitty being the star of issue #2, but that’s since been remedied, and I like her participation this issue. She’s really turning out to be Bobby’s closest friend during this time in his life. I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of Zach, especially with Iceman proclaiming he will find him. Having Bobby come out to his parents in the way he does seems very natural considering the events leading up to it. There is no perfect way to come out. I’ve had experience, and I’ve learned that what works for some may not work for others. I wait with high anticipation for next issue.
The art team of Edgar Salazar and Ed Tadeo offer a very welcome upgrade. My one consistent criticism with the title has been the art, but with this issue, I see a really nice fit for the characters. Very well done.
Kevin Wada created one of the most gorgeous covers for the title yet. Hey, Marvel! Please give him an entire Iceman annual to do!
Final thought: Iceman is shaping up quite nicely as a very engaging and entertaining read. Keep up the excellent work!