Iceman #3 continues to be a lighthearted romp through comic book reference land. But credit where credit is due, Sina Grace is doing an absolutely fantastic job. Readers new or old, familiar with Iceman and the X-Men or not, can keep up with the story he’s laying out. In the time of crossovers and multiverses, I really appreciate that. Like all the issues before it, this issue is loaded with bad jokes and some punchy action.
Bobby has his first date with a normal boy named Carlos and happens to be out in town at the same time as Peter Parker and Angelica Jones. Both superheroes are on dates as well. The plot of Iceman #3 can be summed up as follows: Iceman and friends are on dates.
Ice Monster sent by Mr. Sinister attacks the area looking for Bobby. They defeat the monster who turns out to be a Morlock in disguise. Spider-Man gives some solid dating advice. It’s a good issue, but nothing special, that promises that Bobby is about to uncover more Plot with a capital P.
Writing A Character With History In Iceman #3
One of the toughest things about balancing Iceman’s character is Bobby’s ever-present hunt for love. To be honest, it fits his character’s history. Bobby has had a weird dating track record. As a character, he’s always been in second place to the other leads in the story. Polaris and Cloud come to mind. He never actually stood a chance with either of those characters, but that never stopped him.
Meanwhile, he went through a long list of girlfriends over the years. This included Opal, Kitty Pride, Zelda, Annie, and some one-night stands. None of them have ever lasted. There is no Mary Jane to Iceman’s Peter Parker.
Many people point to the number of girls he’s dated as an argument for why making the character gay is weird. Many people point to the abject failure of these relationships as evidence that he was gay all along. Whatever your opinion, the fact stands that Bobby gets around.
Dating Advice With Spidey
Sina Grace has been spending this series doing — what amounts to getting Bobby back in the dating game. I don’t know if he’s aware of that one off one night stand in X-Men: Gold with Pyro, but he’s certainly got Bobby running around. He also uses Peter Parker’s stable life with Mary Jane to great effect. Spider-Man gets a page to let us know that, at the end of the day, it’s not finding someone that’s going to be hard.
It’s finding someone who can be okay being secondary to your superhero career that’s the problem. This has been an issue with Bobby since the first series. I expect that Sina Grace’s knowledge of obscure gay characters in the Marvel Universe will eventually come into play here.
Plotting A Comic
Another key aspect of this series is watching Grace work to build up the plot. Three issues in and he’s done a notably reliable job. Callbacks to past Iceman-centric plot points, smart use of relevant characters, and by Iceman #3 he’s managed to tie most of it together.
I’m looking forward to the next issue. It’s a little basic, especially if you compare it to something like the currently ongoing Fantastic Four or the Doom Patrol run by Gerard Way, but Bobby’s is a basic guy. That said, if you run him against something a little more comparable, like, say, Fraction’s Hawkeye or the current X-23, you can still see how Iceman is a bit goofy.
His first series had a more serious tone, so I’m curious to see where this is going. From his first run, I know Grace can do the more solid emotional stuff, and do it well.
Continuing The Journey
Still, if you want a fun, funny, action-y bit of goodness, this is miles ahead of some of the other X-Titles. It sidesteps character regression and is mostly self-contained, making the story easy to follow.
As always, the art shines most in its dynamism. As someone who went to art school, I’ve never been a huge fan of dragging comic artists. Drawing a comic is insanely hard. However, while Stockman still nails expressiveness and movement, there’s a severeness to some of his character faces that can be off-putting.
I think his work gets more charming when he jumps into more stylized environments like Bobby’s mindscape in the previous issue and hopes he leans more into that. Overall, I enjoyed it. I needed a pick me up this week and we should all be so lucky to have Spider-Man give us dating advice. You can check out Iceman #2‘s review here.