Bobby Drake’s first ongoing solo series debuts this week with Iceman #1. Is it good?
Writer: Sina Grace
Artist: Alessandro Vitti
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Of all the series debuting this year, Iceman is the one I’ve looked forward to the most. Ever since it was announced, I’ve been eager to see how well this title would handle Bobby’s character and all of the personal changes he’s gone through in the last few years. After reading it, I’m glad to be able to say that Iceman #1 is a strong start, and does just about everything I could have wanted it to do.
A lot of what makes this issue successful comes from Sina Grace’s strong writing. Grace delves into several aspects of Bobby’s character and many of his relationships, firmly establishing a sense of who Bobby is in relation to his friends and family. His newly outed status as a gay man is addressed, and we see him awkwardly attempting to come to terms with that as well as the other curveballs life has thrown at him lately.
We get a scene in which Bobby interacts with his younger self, and their budding friendship is written well. It feels necessary to address the younger Bobby’s existence, but most of the issue focuses solely on the older version of the character. Given how much interesting character analysis Grace packs into this issue, that narrative decision proves beneficial. The scenes featuring Bobby’s parents are well-written, and set the stage for more emotional conflict to come. We also get to see Iceman as a hero, saving a young mutant from a Purifier attack. The action is handled well enough, but my favorite part of the scene is seeing Bobby listen to the younger mutant’s concerns, and telling her to believe in herself. It’s a nice, humanizing touch to see how Bobby interacts with non-X-Men and his status as a mutant.
Overall, this issue provides a really well-realized version of Bobby. The thought captions are well-written, several relationships are introduced, and we get to see Bobby reflect on various aspects of his life. His anxieties are introduced, but so is his confidence. The pacing throughout is fantastic, and the humor is effective. It’s possible that some readers will find Bobby’s jokes to be too cheesy, but I think that they work in context of the character. It’s also worth noting that a Purifier was a great choice of villain for the series’ debut issue. Acceptance and bigotry are clearly going to be prominent themes throughout this series, and the Purifier’s hateful agenda stands in stark contrast to Bobby’s conflicts with self-acceptance and openness.
This issue also makes a good first impression artistically. Alessandro Vitti’s line-art contributes a lot to the series’ emotional understanding of the characters, with facial expressions and body language that hit close to home. Colorist Rachelle Rosenberg’s work is dynamic, and shifts frequently to fit the scenes at hand. Her understanding of lighting and reflection is particularly strong. VC’s Joe Sabino does a good job on the issue’s lettering, with effective shifts in fonts when the text goes from typed-out messages to the spoken word. The inclusion of text cursors where appropriate is a charming detail.
Iceman #1 makes a strong first impression on all fronts. The writing is strong and gives great insight into Bobby’s thought processes and emotional state. The line-art conveys emotion and movement well, and the lettering shows great attention to detail. The coloration is pleasing to look at, and shifts effectively with each change in tone. If future issues live up to this debut, then this will definitely be a series to watch.