Iceman: Thawing Out written by Sina Grace

(repost, because I’m an idiot with two thumbs who deleted the original)


[Edit: Originally published June 22, 2018]

Love from parents is the trickiest kind of love. You want to love your parents and you want your parents to love you. I think that’s something that every child wants, no matter how badly their parents might treat them.

Throughout “Thawing Out” Bobby’s antics as Iceman of the X-Men, antics that vary from attempting to help a recently manifested mutant to having to fight the Purifiers or Juggernaut, are set against multiple interactions and conversations that Bobby has with his parents. Conversations that deal with Bobby being a mutant and, in the last two issues of the volume, him being gay. The conversations are difficult to say the least. The Drakes’ reactions to Bobby’s being a mutant and being gay remind me somewhat of my parents reactions to me and my variety of queerness.

There are few things I respect more than a writer who can handle such painful conversations with nuance and care that doesn’t leave the reader overwhelmed and hurting. I have had to put down so many books that I was hoping to enjoy because of writing that left me too hurt to continue, books that I have seen lauded as Peak Representation™. To that point as well, one reason the writing is so careful and poignant is that the writer Sina Grace is a gay man himself. The books that have left me hurt and disappointed? Written by cis people (in the case of trans books) or straight women (in the case of the gay books).

In some respects the 2017 Iceman run might be a confusing place to start for a queer kid looking to get into comics, it does drop you into the middle of things, but it can also be a really great place to start. If you start with this? Every other comic you read with Bobby, even the ones written before he came out, are bathed in a whole new light. I know I’ve found great enjoyment in reading older comics with this knowledge and I’ve been reading comics for years. I can’t imagine how wonderful it must be for new readers with gay Iceman being the only Iceman they know.

You can find Iceman Vol 1. Thawing Out here.

Related Reviews: Iceman issue 11X-Men Rarities: The Winter Carnival and The First Night, and The X-Men issues 1-10



Iceman issue 11 by Sina Grace


[Edit: Originally published May 25, 2018]

First things first, it’s frankly criminal that Marvel canceled Iceman. I know I’m late making my opinion known about that but I’ve been busy.

I wanted to look at issue 11 for a number of reasons. Firstly, and this ties in with Iceman being cancelled, it doesn’t feel like the last issue of a series. It feels like a bit of an abrupt ending. However, I feel like it’s safe to assume that everyone involved was probably hoping for a longer run and therefore, you can’t really blame anyone but the Marvel higher ups for that. 

Second, the double narrative it provides with Bobby and Mr. Poklemba, which is illustrated fantastically with two different art styles. You have a very traditional modern art style for the current day story with adult Bobby and Mr. Poklemba the Drake’s neighbor across the way, who is struggling with his mutation and being a mutant, and you have a very ’60s style of art, like that of the early X-Men comics, showing Bobby as a child, when he’s first dealing with his mutation. For the most part I liked this juxtaposition, but at first it was jarring, because none of the other issues in Absolute Zero were like that. 

Third. This Tumblr post:


Got me thinking about the portrayal of Mr. Poklemba. He’s paralleled to Bobby through the flashbacks, neither of them wanting to think that they’re mutants. being told by parents and society to hate mutants. Now in terms of LGBTQ things in Iceman, I have no complaints, my little gay heart loves every bit of it. However, if we’re looking at the portrayal of mutant as minority. This pattern in the above post plays out to some extent here. 

Iceman and Rictor go over to Mr. Poklemba’s house to try to calm him down and he immediately attacks him, because he was “warned about mutants” and he’s “not like them.” Things do not remain that tense, because it is after all a single issue, and Bobby talks Mr. Poklemba down and brings him to The Xavier Institute (they have got to stop changing the school’s name, the last time I read any recent Marvel comics it was still the Jean Grey School).

Now there is more than that to unpack in that scene, because with the paralleling of Bobby and Mr. Poklemba we also see how one breaks out of the teachings of parents and society. And in this issue too, we also see some character development on the part of Mr. and Mrs. Drake. Especially considering the disastrous dinner in the previous issue.

The next review will be out in just under two weeks on Wednesday June 6th. 

I read Iceman issue 11 compiled in the trade paperback Absolute Zero.

Related Reviews: X-Men Rarities: The Winter Carnival and The First Night and The X-Men issues 1-10, Iceman: Thawing Out