Welcome to Comics Wiki Adventures, a weekly deep dive into just how unhinged comics can be. I will randomly select a character from comics and read their wiki each week.
I will then take only the choicest bits and serve them to you, over easy. What does that mean? I don’t know.
Anyway, today’s randomly generated character is:
Marvel Comics Own: Iceman
I never really read comics as a kid, I was a huge nerd and a big science fiction fan, but I read actual books. Is it okay to dismiss comics as not books in an article targeting comics fans? Probably not, but stick with me. It comes around.
Asimov, Niven, Clarke, and the top result when you search for “the most insane 50s sci-fi writer,” Heinlein, were my favorites. Now, though, I look back on those stories and wonder why. Their characters are either so flat as to be meaningless (looking at you, Isaac), or their heroes are misogynistic Gary Stus. Worse still, their political leanings often err toward the fascistic. Okay, that one’s mostly Heinlein.
Still, even if most of them don’t go that far, they did have a lot of dangerously regressive elements. Meanwhile, comics were out there, being far, far less crappy (to be clear, I am not over 80 years old. I’ll just never pass up an opportunity to link to that cover).
They even had heroes like the X-Men who were outcasts, and that’s how I thought of myself. Of course, they were an actually repressed minority, and I was a white kid from a middle-class family. Though, if you think of it, people who think they are oppressed but have superpowers tracks pretty well with white people.
Talk About Iceman Now!
Fine. The point is I should have liked comics, but I was too big of a snob, and now I’m too lazy. But I was always interested in the ideas, and there are few better examples of the principles of the X-Men than Bobby Drake, aka Iceman.
Yay To Actually Talking About Comics!
Humph. Anyway. This is the first big-named character we’ve done. So big that his history doesn’t fit on a single page. Most of the detailed history page is just Iceman went along with the other X-Men to fight in the Savage Land, or Lorna and Havoc kissed and Bobby got mad. But there are some valuable details here as well.
We learn that Bobby was a very respectful infant, and while he couldn’t talk, he and his dad William seemed to get along. But then he ruined everything by learning to speak. Turns out Bobby had dreams. No particular hopes for his future are listed here, but we can assume they involve being a fireman or driving a “choo choo.” Naturally, this enraged William, who told his son that “dreamers never got anywhere in life,” which made Bobby ashamed of his imagination.
Once young Bobby was jumping around yelling about being an airplane. At the same time, his father’s eyes slowly narrowed in anger, “Your fuselage is not strong enough to withstand the pressures of high-altitude flight! Go to your room!” He screamed. Okay, that’s not an actual scene, but he did tell Bobby not to cry about a broken arm, so it’s not a giant leap.
Then his body is taken over by his future self. This affects nothing, and I don’t know why it’s even mentioned. It’s not the last time-based shenanigan young Bobby will face, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
So as he enters puberty, Bobby gets cold. Like, always. He can’t get warm. I am sure that, like me, you love a refreshing dip when you’re feeling extra cold. But sadly, this every day and not at all insane thing to try backfires on Bobby as the pool freezes solid. His parents realize he’s a mutant and tell him “to be careful about his powers because others would grow to fear them.” Much like you might say to a kid with a squirt gun. A squirt gun with powers beyond the ken of mortal man. Just being extra cautious will work fine.
So Bobby works on his powers secretly in the woods each night. In the meantime, he asks a girl named Judy to see a movie, and she agrees. But after the film, the school bully shows up and starts harassing them. If this was an 80’s bildungsroman, Bobby would ball up his fist and punch the guy. Instead, he freezes the kid solid.
Like this but bluer and more deserving of tips.
This Might Be a Good Time to Talk About How Iceman’s Powers Work
Oh, sure! Yeah, so Bobby can shoot cold. He can also turn into ice.
So anyway, the kid is in a big block of ice, and…
No, No, Nu-uh. Hold It! You Can’t Shoot Cold, Not Even in Comics. Cold is The Absence of Heat. Does He Suck Heat? Where Does it Go?
Can we keep the titles down to one sentence from here on out?
Okay, so yes, shooting cold makes no sense. Marvel has tried to explain it as some sort of water control, which would be fine, but it still leaves some problems. First off, the cold beams. He’s obviously projecting something forward at what he’s trying to coldificate, which is a word, thank you very much, Grammarly. But then that’s a physical substance he would have to produce, and he’s created enough of it to cross oceans on slip and slides made of ice. So not only is that impractical, but it’s also gross.
Second, maybe that’s a poor representation, and he’s actually pulling heat from things and gathering water from the air. Well, in that case, where does the heat go? Iceman seems to tire while using his power, so he’s not using the heat energy to power himself. He also doesn’t almost immediately burst into flame. Does he release giant flaming belches off-screen after every fight? I sincerely hope so.
And lastly, that brings us back to the bully encased in ice. Because by any measure, any of the above options would kill this kid. At the very least, he’d have severe frostbite, even if, by some miracle, they could remove enough of the ice for him to breathe before he suffocated.
Just kidding, here he is just days later, meeting with the President. They had a lot in common.
This is About Comics! The X-Men Also Has a Guy Who Can Teleport! Give Iceman a Break!
You tacitly agreed to a one-sentence limitation! This is a violation! But you’re right, of course. Still, I can’t stop thinking of that poor, awful kid. Frozen to death in his bullying prime. Anyway, his date runs off, and he goes home only to have Cyclops bust in, yelling at him to join the X-Men. Bobby says no, and naturally, they have a short fight about it, but then most of the town shows up to enact mob justice.
I don’t want to move on before making it clear that Cyclops is the LEADER of the X-Men. Sure, he’s the only member at the moment, but this is still who is chosen to lead the group. This guy who will throw hands with a teenager for not dropping everything to disappear into the night with a stranger was Charles Xavier‘s plan A.
To be fair to Charles, he obviously didn’t trust the Cyclops could do the job because only minutes later, he shows up too. Maybe they came in different cars/jets? Chuck probably stopped at a gas station to grab a hot dog. He saves Bobby and Scott by erasing the entire town’s memory of Bobby’s powers and possibly of the bully kid ever existing. So that’s a fun unsolved mystery they’ve left the cops. Bobby joins the X-Men out of gratitude, or maybe because Chuck used his mind powers; no way to be sure either way.
Is That It…That Seems Like It, Right?
I see your attempt to use ellipses to break the rules. Not cool.
No, that is certainly not it. The expanded history of Iceman is about thirteen thousand words long. That’s not just a short story’s content but a mid-sized Novelette. A task like that would daunt a lesser man, but I took an oath to trawl carefully through the sargasso that is comics wikis, and that is what I will do. I have seen things you people wouldn’t believe unless you’ve also seen Bladerunner, which is pretty likely as it’s a very popular movie.
This is Already Ridiculously Long
One sentence! You did it! And you’re right, so I will spare our gentle reader most of it. There is one gem I have to share, however. I mentioned previously that Bobby’s future self inhabited his body briefly. Well, he got a chance to return the favor. The young Iceman travels forward and meets himself after the Beast from the future travels back to recruit the early X-Men for complicated reasons.
The future is in such bad shape they decide to hang around to help fix it. Also, Beast had yet to figure out how to return them. So they have many crazy adventures in the present, all while their older selves are still there, having their own. Comics must have been confusing at the time. Though, to be fair, that severely downplays the general confusion endemic to all comics.
Finally, Beast thinks he has sussed how to get them back, but they find alternate versions of themselves waiting for them. The explanation was that they were on a separate timeline and could not travel back to when they left. This makes no sense whatsoever as no additional time travel took place (that I know of, I only read the wiki, remember?). But they make the best of it anyway.
All the time-displaced X-babies decide to dedicate themselves to the current timeline. As the wiki puts it, they “looked forward to the new future they could build, which was no longer tied to that of their present selves.” Stirring indeed. A hopeful vision of young men and women, their destiny stolen, accepting their fate and striving to improve things.
The universal reaction at my read comics behind backlit sheets party.
They Shoulda Just Done That in the First Place!
I know, right? So that’s Iceman! Well, it’s a shard of him, let’s say. Perhaps someday I can share the yellow snow incident with you. Or his series of double dates with Beast. Or how Jean Grey outed him with telepathy. Lots of good stuff left on the cutting room floor on this one.
Thanks for reading! If you liked this article, you might also like this previous entry on Ratcatcher! Or if for some inexplicable reason, you want to check out something I didn’t write, you can check out this review of Dead Island 2. Will it live up to its predecessor? I don’t know, as I didn’t play that one either.
Let me know in the comments below who the coolest character in comics (sorry, there’s only one, okay?) is and who I should randomly select for next week!