It’s Bobby vs. Daken in a fight over a young mutant’s future.
Bobby sets out to save a runaway student and ends up dancing (and brawling) with Daken in Iceman #4. Is it good?
Sina Grace’s writing in this issue is mostly solid. On the plus side, he’s done a great job establishing a consistent and emotive voice for Bobby. Our hero is an anxious wreck, constantly making quips that, while funny, fail to mask his insecurities. This take on Bobby is quite endearing, and provides a sensible context for his actions throughout the issue. We get to see Bobby as both a concerned teacher and a frustrated son, struggling with feeling both powerless and ineffective at looking out for younger mutants in his care. The writing may have some weaker points, but Grace’s fantastic character work with Bobby helps make the issue’s missteps fairly easy to forgive.
On the downside, the rest of the cast here isn’t as interestingly handled. Zach, the runaway student, is annoying and naïve, seeking fulfillment in all the wrong places. It’s a situation that feels believable, but the execution leaves a little to be desired. Showing Bobby and Zach interact a bit more before this could have done a lot in terms of fleshing out their relationship and getting more of a feel for Zach’s frustrations. Daken is a bit forgettable here as well; while he has some effective tension with Bobby, a lot of his dialogue feels awkward. During the battle scenes, he makes a strangely high amount of ice puns that usually fall flat and seem somewhat at odds with the rest of his characterization.
Artistically, this issue shines thanks to penciller Edgar Salazar and inker Ed Tadeo. The architectural line-work throughout is impressive, and the backgrounds in general are nicely detailed. The perspective throughout is also well-done, as are the visual renderings of Bobby’s powers. Colorist Rachelle Rosenberg delivers commendable work in this issue, with a pleasing, bright color palette and gorgeous skylines and cityscapes. This issue’s main con artistically is that some of the characters’ facial structures get a bit inconsistent at times, but it’s infrequent enough that it doesn’t distract for very long.
Overall, Iceman #4 is a good issue. Grace continues to make Bobby very endearing, and there are moments when his antics and puns are legitimately funny. The issue is also bookended very well with scenes addressing Bobby’s family struggles, and the last page includes a stellar cliffhanger. The artwork throughout the issue is very good, and even the aspects of the plot that aren’t as well-developed reflect intriguing ideas. Unfortunately, the middle portion drags a bit too much for the issue to be great, with Daken and Zach taking up a lot of page-time without living up to their full potential. Nonetheless, this issue is a good time, flaws and all.