Iceman has been a polarizing character for some, but a shining beacon for many. That’s because the character, the younger version anyway, was revealed to be gay. How it was revealed is a bit of an issue (and it even comes up in this collection), but overall the character has been able to represent a community that is underrepresented, especially when it has come to mutants over the years. This third volume continues Iceman’s adventures as he faces off against Mr. Sinister, attempts to save a group of Morlocks, and comes face to face with himself from the future.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Iceman is back in his own solo series! Someone is hunting the sewer-dwelling Morlocks for sport, and it’s up to Bobby Drake to prevent another Mutant Massacre in the making – but it’s going to take everything he has not to lose his cool. Who’s behind this horrific hunt? You won’t believe it if we tell you! And what part does Iceman’s former teammate Bishop, the cop from the future, play in all this? Plus: When a super villain crashes Bobby’s blind date, he needs a wingman and wingwoman. It’s time for the tripartite team-up you’ve been waiting for: Iceman and his Amazing Friends, Spider-Man and Firestar! And things are looking great when New York finally throws its first Mutant Pride Parade, until things take a turn for the…Sinister!
Why does this matter?
Sina Grace has done well to explore this character as well as his place amongst the X-Men as a queer hero. This volume feels like a good period at the end of his run, thanks to the “Winter’s End” special which explores a possible future involving Daken and other key X-Men.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
The overall plotting of this collection is quite good from beginning to end. It gives Iceman plenty to do, from training young mutants and fighting off mutant haters while naturally building towards bigger stories like the Morlocks who need help and Mr. Sinister’s new fascination with Iceman. Although Iceman can create ice golems to do his bidding, multiple at one time even, he hasn’t yet unlocked his powers to their full potential. Probably why a guy like Sinister wants to study and replicate those powers. This is further explored well in the “Winter’s End” finale which originally published as a special solo issue. In that issue, we get more details on Iceman and his potential and it’s putting Iceman up to a whole new level of ability.
Emma’s role in this story is quite something too. I don’t want to spoil it, but she has a deeply personal mission for Iceman to go on. His set of skills, and ability to close off his mind from psychic attack, are big reasons why. It’s also because he’s so easygoing, probably. This part of the story reveals a character I knew nothing about, but it should be an interesting character to mine new stories from going forward.
Much of this series is all about Bobby’s ability to riff. He’s borderline quipping as well as Spider-Man, albeit there’s a lot of dad jokes in there (and Jubilee even has a dad joke jar for Bobby too). What makes the character work is his positivity and ability to move along. He jokes as much as Spidey in a fight, but he doesn’t seem to do it to distract or out of nervousness. He’s just that happy and silly. His positivity is infectious and shows some superheroes can work without being brooding bitches.
The art by Nathan Stockman (and colors by Federico Blee and Andres Mossa) captures the amazing powers of Iceman well and keeps his crackerjack smile fun. This is a fancy-free character that works thanks to the bright colors of the book and positivity of the character. Even when the story drops Iceman and other characters into a mindscape it’s not hellish, but fun and exciting.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
Maybe it’s on purpose, but a lot of Iceman’s jokes don’t work or are eye-rollingly bad. The character is chipper and you get that, but his jokes could use some work.
The Mr. Sinister plot is interesting although it seems to reduce Sinister’s threat level considerably. For a guy who once had a lair so powerful it took a team of mutants to break in and break out, Iceman has very little trouble. Speaking of threats, in the final “Winter’s End” issue collected here, the resolution is so quick you might miss it. It’s unfortunate because the build-up was good, but it was as if the villain wasn’t needed anymore so simply stops fighting just to wrap things up. The guy was attempting to kill Bobby at one point but then they’re at a birthday party chilling? No way man!
Is it good?
I had a great time with this collection thanks to the infectious positivity of the main character. The plotting of the book keeps things interesting while unveiling what seem to be longstanding changes to the X-Men continuity. Give it a read if you want to feel good while reading superhero books.
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