This month’s issue of Iceman features a team-up that’s been years in the making. Ever since Emma Frost took control of Bobby’s powers and used them to their fullest two decades ago, the pair has had a unique dynamic ripe for further exploration. Said exploration is now at hand, as Emma recruits Bobby to help her save her brother Christian from their abusive father. Of course, the rescue mission doesn’t go exactly as planned. Iceman #2 is written by Sina Grace, drawn by Nathan Stockman, colored by Federico Blee, and lettered by VC’s Joe Sabino. Does this issue deliver a satisfying reunion? Is it good?
This issue starts off strong, as Emma’s presence is immediately followed up by a string of quips that do both characters’ famous bantering proud. Grace has a good handle on both of their voices, and watching their unique flavors of abrasive wit clash is fun. All in all, the characters’ dynamic together is the issue’s main strength, which is good considering that said dynamic is the issue’s main selling point. Grace and co. also address a continuity question that some readers (logically or not) have been wondering: if Emma has been in Bobby’s mind before, then why did she never out him? The answer, of course is: why would she?
Unfortunately, the rest of this issue is quite a letdown plot-wise. There are some dramatic reveals involving Christian and his father, but they’re sped through too quickly to leave much of an impact. Though Christian is at the center of this issue’s conflict, we don’t get to see any of the assumed self-reflection that made his involvement sound so promising in the first place. Instead, he’s basically a set piece that’s present simply to help facilitate Emma and Bobby’s reunion. The frustration this causes is further compacted by how rapidly the conflict and Christian’s character arc (if you can call it that) are resolved.
Art-wise, Stockman does a solid job this month. A pattern is starting to show where the strongest parts of his work are generally his well-detailed backgrounds. From pleasantly crowded streets to the imaginative visual manifestation of Bobby’s mind, Stockman delivers a variety of nice settings for the drama to take place in. Bobby’s mind looks especially cool (pardon the pun), as the structures of his thoughts and memories are rendered using snowflakes and other frost-related imagery. It’s a very cool alternative to simply drawing scenes from Bobby’s past exactly as they originally occurred. I also have to give a quick nod to what will surely be the issue’s most frequently remembered gag: Emma Frost standing with her hair in curlers and wearing a shirt of Kitty Pryde, in a recreation of the famous splash page from Uncanny X-Men #168, proclaiming “Emma Frost is a jerk!” Blee and Sabino also do a good job for the most part, as the colors are pleasantly bright and the lettering is nice and clean with no major problems.
Unfortunately, this issue’s visuals still have some cons. The characters’ faces look a bit off at times, which detracts from the success of the character-work. It’s also worth noting that the page and panel compositions sometimes feel a bit empty. Stockman’s backgrounds are among both this issue’s strengths and weaknesses, as they impress when highly rendered but they also disappoint when relatively lifeless. Now, I’m not saying that every panel needs to be jam-packed with lines, but it’s still troubling when panels are consistently empty enough that it takes one out of the setting a bit.
Overall, Iceman #2 has a strong premise and cool ideas, but the execution of these is often lacking. Christian Frost feels severely underused, and the conflict gets sped through too quickly for any of it to leave an impact. The artwork is also a mixed bag, as Stockman shows off both strong detail work and disappointingly empty pages. This isn’t a bad issue, but it’s not quite a good one either. All in all, I would only recommend this to big fans of the Bobby or Emma.