Sina Grace is back with a new Iceman #1. As a long time fan of the X-Men and Bobby Drake, I couldn’t be more thrilled to have Sina back. Very few writers share his enthusiasm or optimism.
When Sina Grace first came to work on Iceman, it was still a very risky venture. He was an openly gay man writing a book about one of the most controversially openly gay X-Men. heavy-handedness, there weren’t many gay characters sporting solo series at the time. And Sina was open and honest from the beginning about wanting to tell a story about Bobby’s coming out. He did not want to sweep it under the rug, where Marvel tends to hide a lot of its attempts at representation.
That original series was beautifully written and, unfortunately, cancelled.
A New Adventure
Now Sina returns, and while I think it will take a couple issues for him to get his footing, I have faith. Throughout Iceman #1 he seems to have brushed up on X-Men continuity and openly takes jabs at some of the previous books’ biggest critiques.
Iceman #1 does a good job of reestablishing Bobby’s character. Bobby Drake is a challenging character in many respects. His personality in comics has always been “that funny guy.” Except when someone else on the team was funnier. Otherwise, he was the normal, audience surrogate. Except when writers were using a different character for that. The result was a character that felt ill-defined for years until Sina started trying to map out something more memorable.
A Surprisingly Good Team In Iceman #1
The issue is a little all over the place. The plot sees Bobby Drake and Bishop on the hunt for people who are“culling” the population of the Morlocks. A suitably grim idea for Sina. It’s handled with a little heavy-handedness, but nothing I’m not unaccustomed to in a comic.
Bishop actually grew on me rather quickly. Bobby has always needed a straight man to his routine and Bishop fits the bill. He also calls Bobby out for being, well, a bit of a jerk. “Bobby is a jerk” is a complaint I see leveled at Bobby often. I’m glad to see small things like this.
Sina is really fighting an uphill battle sometimes. Too much character and Bobby’s seems out of character compared to his vague but uber x-men entangled past. Too little and why bother reading about this middle-aged school teacher at all? I hope Sina intends to keep Bishop around as a foil.
Bobby speaks in modern slang, (something Sina used heavily in the first book) which is sometimes met with mixed feelings. Personally, seeing Bobby try and be funny often falls into the category of “dad joke” for me. Appropriately, Jubilee is the one to call Bobby on this.
The plot is standard fare as far as comics go, but I have to give Sina props for several things. First is the way he’s rapidly become aware of and started incorporating the rest of the Marvel Universe. I won’t spoil it, but he readily acknowledges past events for both Bobby and Bishop in the dialogue and character reveals.
A Final Thanks To Sina Grace
Though Iceman #1 is currently sitting in pretty comfortable, well charted territory as far as plot and story go, I have utter faith in Sina. His previous series did a lot to win me over. though this issue is a little shaky on its own, I remember having similar thoughts about his first run. I give it two issues before we’re all sold.
A final note, I am deeply saddened by Kevin Wada no longer doing the covers. He was amazing. But they currently have Nathan Stockman providing much more dynamic fight scenes. He also is doing great work on Spidey and X-Men Blue, which I love. Shout out also to the colorist Federico Blee whose work is doing a lot to keep the book feeling like a natural extension of the first run.
Sina makes it very obvious in his closing note that when Iceman was canceled, it was canceled for good. He hints that it was the sales in the trades that convinced Marvel to bring both him and the character back. Sina’s letter is full of exactly the kind of love for the character and the X-Men you want to see from any writer on an X-Book, and his utter gratitude towards his audience for sticking with him in the original run is palpable.
So to Sina Grace thank you for writing a book that once would have been impossible. I am greatly looking forward to seeing where you take this character.