Iceman is without a doubt one of my favorites thanks to a combination of timing and a lifelong love of people who make terrible jokes. And he is sadly underwritten. Sina Grace has done an absolutely stellar job trying to rectify this very serious crime. To lend him some help, I’m here to point you to some of the better, if still scarce, Iceman stories of X-Men‘s past.
I’ve probably said this before, but X-Factor is a delight and you should read it. Especially if you love the original X-Men. Bobby is no exception. In the pages of X-Factor Bobby gets decent character development. He benefits from the fact he’s on a team with his original crew.
The writer is great. And Thor #377–378is also going to be needed to follow the most important story of this era. Loki does some hijinks and we get our first power up of Bobby’s abilities. This is hands down his best girlfriend era. A common theme with Bobby is his movement between teams and the tracking of his ever so complicated dating life. Opal is his X-Factor girlfriend. She’s rad and they fight ninjas.
One of the best things about Bobby is that he’s the normal X-Men. So normal that he leaves the mutant movement to attend UCLA and majors in accounting. He winds up getting his degree from a different school entirely, but while there he makes the most rad team roster ever. Angel, Iceman, Black Widow, Hercules, and Ghost Rider team up to become The Champions. This series is, in all honesty, is perhaps skippable. It is only seventeen issues and is only for die hard Bobby fans who want to make sure they get their continuity fix.
Iceman joins the Defenders in Issue #122. This is the era of Bobby Drake, where his crush is Cloud. And Cloud is sometimes a guy. This is worth reading because, hey, Iceman is on the main team. Though his feelings aren’t returned, this gives some pre-Sina Grace context to Bobby and his complicated relationship with… well… relationships.
Cloud and their gender flipping is something that gets some focus, even as Cloud falls in love with someone else. Defenders is overall solid and worth picking up for the full Bobby Drake experience.
The most famous of all the storylines regarding Bobby is in the pages of Uncanny. Emma Frost takes over his skinsuit and turns out to be better at being Iceman than Bobby is. Many of Bobby’s current character and recent stories are direct tie-ins or references to this.
In these issues, Emma takes over Bobby’s body and shows the mutant world why it is that Bobby Drake is an Omega level mutant. She leaves him with a mouth full of bitter self-doubt and inquisitions about why Bobby is never that strong on his own. The current run of Iceman aims to explore this, having expanded Bobby’s powers and just wrapped up an issue with Emma.
My personal favorite era of Bobby is Bobby Drake of the past. Drake of the past gets brought forward in time to witness his terrible future. This is the version of Bobby Drake who doesn’t so much “come out” as he is outed by the part-time brat Jean Grey. The choice to oust Bobby in this manner is universally regarded as tactless, but this is the story that starts it all.
All New X-Men No. 40 and “Uncanny X-Men” No. 600, are the issues you need to track down for the details of that story. You can then pick up the rest of Teen-Bobby’s story by following the X-Men Blue series where he and the original Teen-X-Men are currently a team.
Iceman, sadly, gets the short end of the stick a lot in the comic world. Sina Grace picked up a lot of slack in his first Iceman series, which is probably the best-written Iceman-centric story. I cannot recommend it enough. Read our reviews of #1, #2, and #3 issues here.