Daken’s back–and powered up.
With the series set to end at issue #11, Iceman is now entering its final stretch. Issue #9 has Kitty Pryde set up a going away party for Bobby, as he prepares to move cross-country with Judah. Things never seem to go as planned for any of the X-Men, however, and it doesn’t help that Daken is back on the scene. So, is this issue good?
One of the best things this issue has going for it is that a lot happens. It’s very easy to get annoyed with slow comic books nowadays, as even if the storytelling is strong, simply because $3.99 is a lot to pay for just twenty pages. Thankfully, the creative team doesn’t waste much of that page time. The central event of the issue is Bobby’s going away party, which serves as a good setting for Judah to not only have great banter with Bobby, but also get to know some of his teammates. There are some comedic moments in which Judah even acts as the (ahem) straight man in comparison to the X-Mansion’s zaniness. He even works as sort of a stand-in for X-Men fans: surrounded by all sorts of bizarre people and antics, but loving every minute of it. One of writer Sina Grace’s greatest strengths throughout the series has been his dialogue, and that continues to be the case here. There’s a particularly amusing quip about Kitty’s hair that I won’t spoil, but that I suspect many X-fans will get a chuckle out of.
The art team also continues to be equally important to the comic’s success. Robert Gill (pencils and inks), Ed Tadeo (inks), and Rachelle Rosenberg (colors) are a fun combination, and one that I hope to see again in future series. Some of the issue’s most memorable visuals are just of characters talking; the expressions of joy and intimacy on Bobby and Judah’s faces really hammer home the sweetness of their burgeoning relationship. We also get some nice moments between Bobby and his X-teammates, who we haven’t seen much of thus far due to Bobby striking it out on his own. I’m glad that the series as a whole has steered away from focusing on the team too much, but it’s still nice to see them make an appearance. Also worth noting (as always) are Rosenberg’s bright colors, which continue to contribute a lot to the fun of it all.
With all that said, I still had some qualms with the issue. It’s definitely not decompressed, which I appreciate, but it feels like the creative team may have tried to fit a bit too much in at once. It’s impossible to say how much of that is by original design and how much of it is due to the series having been cancelled, but it’s noticeable either way. We get a brief scene featuring some of Bobby’s students, which doesn’t seem to add much thus far. I like the idea of touching base with Bobby’s pupils before Iceman ends, I just hope that the next issue or two do a bit more with them. I’m also still not fully sold on Daken as the series’ main antagonist (besides, arguably, Bobby’s own anxieties and traumas). I think that Bobby and Daken make for an interesting parallel, but I worry that the Apocalypse Seed events of this issue may progress a bit too quickly for readers who aren’t familiar with that segment of the X-mythos.
Overall, Iceman #9 is an enjoyable issue. It’s not the series’ best, but it’s still fun and has a lot of perks. The creative team’s investment in their character and story is clear, and we get some touching moments between Bobby, Judah, and the X-Men. There are also plenty of humorous asides to hold interest even if a few plot details go by too quickly, and as always the series’ art is a lot of fun. My biggest qualm is simply that there are only two issues of this series left.