O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Relax, young Iceman’s new love interest is in New Attilan alongside his fellow Inhumans. But wait – Iceman’s fellow X-Men are about to invade the Inhumans’ home! Is this the end of their burgeoning romance? So awkward!
All-New X-Men #17 (Marvel Comics)
Following previous All-New X-Men writer Brian Michael Bendis’ outing of Iceman, Extraordinary X-Men writer Jeff Lemire hasn’t had much time to focus on the older Bobby Drake’s life as an openly gay mutant (though this will be explored in Iceman’s new ongoing series, launching this spring). Current All-New X-Men scribe Dennis Hopeless, however, happily grabbed the baton from Bendis and went full Quicksilver with it! Teenage Bobby has grown so much in 17 issues he seems like an entirely different character from the playful X-Man Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced way back in 1963.
For example, as I mentioned earlier, young Iceman has something his 1960s counterpart never had – a boyfriend, in the form of the Inhuman Romeo. And unlike his fellow X-Men, Bobby isn’t hell-bent on going to war with the Inhumans. You know, because the guy he’s into just so happens to be one of them.
Hopeless and artist Mark Bagley masterfully use the Inhumans Vs. X-Men event dominating the two species’ titles to tell an emotional tale about two young men who have fallen for one another, caught up in a conflict neither of them ever asked for. The creators accomplish this by jumping around in time and sharing snippets from the pair’s four dates. Readers who are familiar with Hopeless’ emotionally grounded and character-driven work – especially the terrific X-Men: Season One graphic novel – know that the writer is the perfect man for telling stories about young superheroes in love.
The threat posed by the remaining Terrigen Cloud and Bobby’s connection to one of those pesky Inhumans also manages to create tension among this typically close group of young X-Men (finally, a relationship with someone other than Jean Grey tearing X-Men apart). I believe Iceman is the first X-Man to have a relationship with an Inhuman since Crystal and Quicksilver got together (and then separated, because … comics), so it’s only natural he’d have a better appreciation for Inhuman culture.
“Just go ahead and destroy the cornerstone of the Inhuman society real quick?” Bobby snaps at young Beast, who’s discussing the X-Men’s plans to prevent the end of their species. Good writing, and surely relatable to anyone who’s been romantically involved with someone from a different culture than that of their family or close friends (who may or may not be a bit bigoted).There’s a moment toward the end of this issue that I’m sure will get attention from some of comics’ more sensational websites. It’s an important moment for sure (in terms of Iceman and X-Men history), but hopefully we’ll get to the point (soon) when this type of things isn’t exploited to drive clicks. After all, it’s 2017.
I said it in my review of last month’s All-New X-Men #16 and I’ll say it again, Bagley is on fire, like Angel’s burning, cosmic wings! His pencils continue to be strong and I have a hunch some of the images from this comic will go on to be just as famous as his panels from the much revered Ultimate Spider-Man #13.
Love makes us do crazy things. Good to see that’s just as true for mutants and Inhumans as it is for ordinary humans!