Iceman #1 Gives Bobby Drake, And Readers, A Second Chance

by Tony Thornley

There are a lot of X-Men who work really well on their own adventures. Number one on that list for me for a long time has been Bobby Drake. In the wake of his coming out, Sina Grace gave us a year of Bobby’s ongoing solo adventures for the first time. Unfortunately, the series was cancelled before its time.

Luckily, Bobby got a second chance, and in Iceman #1 so do we. In this limited series, Grace has returned, alongside line artist Nathan Stockman, color artist Federico Blee, and letterer Joe Sabino. The new team breathes a lot of life into Grace’s script, which shows a capable grasp of its lead and the X-Men universe.
After a night on the town leads to a startling discovery, Bobby asks Kitty for a team to investigate supposed Morlock disappearances. He finds himself joined only by Bishop, but the two quickly discover there truly was something to Bobby’s suspicions as the duo stumble into a massacre. They quickly put these killers down, but one escapes to inform their benefactor – none other than Mister Sinister.

In the previous run, I felt that Grace had a great grasp on the action side of the book, but his take on Bobby’s personal life needed some work. Here, he shows a deft handling of both that really shows some great growth on this part. I really loved the depiction of Bobby as a newly out gay man who’s still trying to figure out how to talk to guys. Just because he’s attracted to men doesn’t mean he knows how to talk to them, and it’s a great bit of comedy that rings very true.
The superhero side of the story is fantastic. Grace shows that he gets the X-Men here. His interplay between Bobby and his teammates is done perfectly well, whether it’s Bobby and Kitty, him and his class, or – the highlight of the issue – Iceman and Bishop. Grace writes the duo as a great odd couple – both experienced and capable, yet with conflicting personalities that leads to personal growth rather than conflict.
Stockman’s art seems like an odd fit for the X-Men universe at first, but it’s quickly evident that he’s a breath of fresh air. His cartoonish style gives the story a lighter feel, but it gives the heavier topics a deeper impact. It also helps the story feel at one with it’s lead – Bobby almost always has a smirk on his face, and is having fun, even as he’s preventing mass murder.
I’m familiar with Blee’s color work, but he does a great job here. The X-Men have an unenviable task for colors with a range of energy powers that all look different. He is able to step up to that challenge easily. Bishop’s entry to the story also looks fantastic, with Lucas eating an apple at dawn. It’s well drawn by Stockman but Blee pushes it to a great depiction of a classic X-Man.
Sabino has a lot of fun in the issue. His dialogue is capably done, but the highlight of his work is the range of goofy sound effects. This ranges from the creation of Bobby’s ice slides, to another character spitting.  It’s a small thing, but it goes a long way to breathing life to the story.

The first Iceman series really flew under everyone’s radar. Hopefully this limited series rectifies than and keeps Grace’s work in the X-Universe for some time to come.
Iceman #1 is available now from Marvel Comics.

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