Iceman is getting another shot at having his own solo series. The previous volume of Iceman was well received though was not a smashing success on the monthly sales charts. Still because the previous volume did do well as a critical darling Marvel has given Sina Grace another shot at writing Iceman’s solo adventures. While I did not read the previous volume of Iceman I did hear very good things about Grace’s work on the series. Though Iceman has never been one of my favorite X-Men characters because I heard good things about Grace’s previous work I am intrigued in how this new series will turn out. Let’s find that out how things turn out with Iceman #1.
Writer: Sina Grace
Artist: Nathan Stockman
Colorist: Federico Blee
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: When a fire breaks out at a club Iceman saves the person stuck inside. During the rescue a random guy throws a molotov cocktail at Iceman and calls him out on his sexual orientation.
This reminds Iceman how he struck out earlier when he tried to hit on a guy at a club.
Back in the present Iceman finds a suspicious flyer with the Morlocks on it.
The next day at the Xavier Institute while he is running a Danger Room training session with some students Iceman tells Kitty about the flyer he found about a missing Morlock. Kitty promises Iceman to get him a team put together to get on the case.
The next day Iceman learns that only Bishop will be helping him since Jean Grey needed last minute back-up from the rest of the X-Men.
While looking for clues in the sewers Iceman and Bishop catch up with each other until they find a dead Morlock. This leads them to a fight between a group of mutants and the Morlocks. Iceman and Bishop work together to quickly take down the mutant splinter group.
Once of the Morlocks named Madin tells Iceman that now this rogue mutant group will come after the Morlocks harder when the X-Men aren’t around. Iceman reassures Madin that they can help and asks for her help to do so.
While traveling through the sewers to Madin reveals her aunt kicked her brother out of their house so she took it upon herself to take care of him, leading them to live in the sewers though now he is missing.
Iceman and Madin make it to a group of Morlocks being attacked by other mutants. Iceman easily takes out the rogue mutants out to save the Morlocks.
At the Morlock safe have Bishop finds the rogue mutant group. Iceman joins Bishops and brings the other Morlocks with them. With the Morlocks by their side Iceman and Bishop are able to stop the rogue mutants that believed that the Morlocks don’t deserve to live.
Madin thanks Bishop and Iceman for their help. Iceman says he’ll make sure they also protect the Morlocks moving forward.
Elsewhere one of the members of the rogue mutant group tells Mr. Sinister that Iceman and Bishop stopped their mission. Mr. Sinister smiles when he hears that Iceman showed up.
Back at the Xavier Mansion Iceman wants to get an answer from Kitty on why he couldn’t get a bigger team to help out in his mission with Bishop
Jubilee tells Iceman that he has a visitor looking for him but she can’t remember who it is.
Iceman goes to one of the offices and finds Emma Frost there waiting for him. End of issue.
The Good: Iceman #1 is a solid kick off to this new series by Sina Grace. The story is one that will entertain fans of superhero comics while telling a story that forces Iceman his own core issues that he tries to ignore. Though some rushed storytelling does keep it back from being as successful as it could’ve been.
With Iceman #1 Grace does a good job showing how Bobby Drake is still trying to find his way now that he has come out. Not hiding that from everyone, including himself, is clearly a big weight off his shoulders. But while he has come to terms with that it does not mean things are going to be easy for him personally as he is now awkwardly trying to figure out how to date while being an X-Men.The short panel showing this awkwardness as Bobby failed to hook up with someone makes him relatable to what the normal dating situation is for someone. That gave better context into his mentality at the beginning of the issue when he was walking through Hell’s Kitchen.
This was balanced out with how confident Bobby is whenever he is working as an X-Men in his Iceman form. As Iceman we see that Bobby is fully confident in his abilities. At the same time, while Bobby is a confident senior member of the X-Men he still has a lot of growing up to do. As we see various times in this issue we see Iceman get called out for being overly confident and speaking in a privileged way that he should be handed things as a member of the X-Men.
Having the Morlock named Madin call this out about Iceman and the X-Men in general was a good way to show not every mutant wants to be a superhero. Though the Morlocks are a group that have been forced to the sewers because of their appearances and other reasons they are also there because they don’t want to be seen by the larger public. Madin pointing this out made it so Iceman had to at least realize not every mutant wants to live in the X-Men lifestyle.
Through this adventure Grace also does a good job bringing in Bishop to help push the story forward. Bishop provides an unique voice to the situation as he tries to keep his focus on the mission at hand even when Iceman wants to make small talk. Through Bishop, Grace is further able to call out Iceman on not taking things as seriously as he should. With Iceman Omega-level potential he could easily do so much more. While Bishop does tell Iceman this he does it in a way you expect a friend would do.
The rogue mutant team that Iceman, Bishop and the Morlocks fought was also another good way that the X-Men aren’t the only mutant group. This is something that has been missing and applies the concept of Magneto’s Brotherhood in a interesting way. Grace presents this rogue mutant group in an interesting way that you understand what their motivation. That understanding made them easier to dislike and want to see Iceman and his crew defeat them.
Tying this rogue mutant group to Mr. Sinister was a nice reveal. It gives this series a big time villain that can be developed over time. And since Mr. Sinister hasn’t been used very much in recent years this is a good time to bring him back to the forefront. Having him target Iceman in particular also could potentially push Bobby to deal with the fact that he is a mutant that has Omega-level potential, something he likes to ignore.
Nathan Stockman artwork throughout this issue was solid for the most part. Stockman was at his best when drawing Iceman in action. Through these scenes we get to see how confidently Iceman works as a superhero. Though there were a few moments that did not look good, in particular the final page with Emma Frost that did not match the style of the rest of issue.
The Bad: While Iceman #1 had a lot of good going for it there were several problems that popped up. One of those is the fact that Iceman does not stop talking. The constant barrage of dialogue even during action sequences gets to the point that you wish Bishop or someone could turn the off switch on all the talking.
This problem is made even more obvious because for all of Iceman’s talking we don’t actually see him grow through this experience with the Morlocks. Sure Iceman says he comes to an understanding after talking to Madin but that is not clear in the very next scene at the Xavier Mansion. In this next scene we see Iceman got back to being the annoying little brother looking to throw a temper tantrum because he didn’t get a full X-Men team that he was promised. Seeing Iceman go from having a learning moment to this temper tantrum is just a reminder of why he has never been seen on the same level as other X-Men that are in his class.
This portrayal of Iceman at the end of the issue also made the ending with Emma Frost end up falling flat. The build up to this hook ending just did nothing to build excitement for the next issue. Especially if you don’t know what kind of relationship Emma Frost shares with Iceman than it will be tough to understand the importance of the former White Queen’s sudden appearance.
Overall: Iceman #1 is a solid start to the latest solo adventure involving Bobby Drake. Sina Grace puts in a lot of work to set the groundwork for how Iceman will grow over the course of this series. Though because of how dialogue heavy this issue is there are times that Iceman comes off as annoying rather than likable hero. It’s these moments that may turn some readers off who aren’t used to how Iceman is portrayed in the X-Men books.