Bobby Drake died at Hellfire Gala, but a mysterious Iceman look-alike thwarts Orchis attacks! Discover the truth in Astonishing Iceman #1 by Marvel Comics!
ASTONISHING ICEMAN #1
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Vincenzo Carratu
Colorist: Java Tartaglia
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Editor: Mark Basso
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 2nd, 2023
Previously in Iceman: Bobby Drake is an Omega-level mutant and a founding member of the X-Men. When Orchis attacked the Hellfire Gala, Iceman was killed at the hands of Nimrod. As Orchis spreads its anti-mutant message worldwide, a mysterious figure resembling Iceman appears, helping the mutants Orchis is targeting.
Astonishing Iceman #1 starts with an attack in San Francisco. Orchis targets a man who once used the Xperience drug, using nanosentinels to control inorganic material and attack people. Iceman arrives to save the day and steals a kiss from the man he rescued. However, he returns to an ice fortress in Antarctica, where we learn he was saved by Romeo, whose empath powers allowed him to connect with Bobby’s emotions. This connection allowed Romeo to bring him back. We also discover that perhaps his current form may not be stable, making him more susceptible to damage. Despite this, Orchis is still trying to draw out Iceman and has set their eyes on Fort Washington, Long Island, New York, Bobby’s hometown.
The Hellfire Gala 2023 event was a highly intense moment that gave significant momentum to the plot, but Astonishing Iceman #1 didn’t carry that momentum forward. I believe there are two ways to handle this comic: continue the dark tone from the Hellfire Gala or emphasize the developing love story. Astonishing Iceman #1 didn’t entirely do either. It provides an action scene filled with humor, and then Iceman creates a snowman to deliver an information dump to the reader. Later, we learn more about Romeo and how he saved Iceman, which somewhat undermines the emotional potential of the book. This comic has a lot of great ideas and pretty decent art that wasn’t fully utilized.
When I was a kid, all I wanted to be was Iceman. His power set is engaging and visually excellent. When he came out as queer, I connected even more with the character. In Astonishing Iceman #1, I feel we focused too much on the elements we like about the Iceman character while failing to emphasize the tragedy of the Hellfire Gala. If I read this comic without being aware of the larger context, I think it would be decent. However, because of the larger picture, Astonishing Iceman #1 gets a 3 out of 5 stars.