Bobby Drake is Iceman, an X-Man, a hero. Finally, he has his own series. Issue #1 starts with Bobby trying to get into the online dating game, but he has trouble with his bio. He puts it off to train with his time-displaced teenage self. Once he gets word that his father is in the hospital, he rushes out to see him. At the hospital, he has to defeat a purifier from killing a fellow mutant. His parents, though, don’t understand why he needs to make other mutants’ problems his own.
Grace adds a lot of small nuances in this issue that make it well worth the read. Bobby’s mother saying that he is a mutant only when he shifts into Iceman form is concerning. Bobby tries to tell her that he’s always a mutant, but she just doesn’t get it. Eventually, his parents have to ask him to leave the hospital so he doesn’t draw too much attention to them. I understand that his father shouldn’t have any added stress, but Bobby’s parents have never really understood him. They don’t know what it means to be a mutant. They don’t understand why the struggles of the mutant community affect Bobby directly. They just don’t get it. And it’s really sad to see how much love Bobby has for his family combated by how much disapproval his parents have for him. Their relationship is strained, to say the least, and I don’t know if it can ever be fixed.
Bobby is also part of the LGBTQIAPD community. Characters in this community have been given a lot of time in the light in recent comics. A lot of series like Lumberjanes (BOOM! Studios) and Life with Kevin (Archie Comics) depict gay, lesbian, transgender, etc. characters and it’s absolutely amazing. This is Marvel’s first solo title with a gay male protagonist, and I couldn’t be happier about it. His sexual orientation was brought up a few years ago, but the older Bobby never really got a chance to explore it much. Bobby has been considered “straight” for years, and seeing him come to terms with his sexual orientation is something I’m incredibly proud to watch. Grace is an openly gay comics writer, and I’m hyped that his background brings a lot of information to the book. We’re a community that can definitely benefit from this type of desensitization, so it’s endearing to see the community represented this well in mainstream media.
Iceman takes on the purifier all by himself. Sure, he’s a member of the X-Men, but Bobby does an awesome job all by himself, too. I’ve personally heard people talk about how his mutant abilities aren’t that impressive, but combined with his cleverness and wit, his powers can do a lot of damage. He’s just as strong as anyone else on the team. It’s also heartwarming to see him train with his younger self, so he can become as powerful as the present time’s Iceman is.
Although this is a really well-written issue, we don’t get too much direction as to where the series is headed. Bobby had one obstacle to tackle in the first issue, and he came out victorious. From here, will the series focus on Bobby’s personal life more than anything? It seems to be that way, which is actually a really cool concept, but we aren’t given too much information as to what to expect in subsequent issues. Bobby has always focused on being a hero, but I’m looking forward to seeing him discover more about who he is as a person—not just a hero.
Vitti’s artwork in this issue is beautiful. When we see Bobby in full Iceman form, he looks strikingly menacing and proves to be a worthy adversary to any threat on mutantkind. The ice itself is drawn with incredible detail and strategy, showing us how in control Bobby is of his powers. Vitti’s characters are expressive, but not that realistic looking. We don’t get all too much detail from them, but they certainly tell the story well. Rachelle Rosenberg’s colors help bring an element of vibrancy to the issue. They are realistic, but stunning—especially when Bobby uses his powers. This is as good an issue visually as it is because of the script.
I’m stoked to read more of Iceman. I’m a little lost as to what to expect, but I will definitely be keeping up with this series. Bobby has always been one of my favorite X-Men, so it’ll be interesting to learn more about him in terms of both his powers and personal life. I’m glad he’s getting quite a bit of recognition, and the queer narrative makes this an important story to read. I’m pumped for issue #2. If you are, too, make sure to head out to your local comic shop (comicshoplocator.com) and pick up issue #1 to stay up to speed on all things Iceman!
Written by: Sina Grace
Illustrated by: Alessandro Vitti