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Review: Iceman #5

“Oh no, love. You’re not alone. No matter what or who you’ve been… Give me your hands!”- “Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide” by David Bowie

In Iceman #5, Bobby finally comes out as gay to his parents, and they don’t accept him unconditionally. It’s an issue that really hit home for me personally and is easily Sina Grace’s best writing on the series. The scenes where the Drakes ask their son insensitive, probing questions about his sexuality are more painful than any blow from the unstoppable, time displaced from the 1960s Juggernaut, who is this issue’s villain of the week. Artist Alessandro Vitti and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg draw a mano a mano battle between Iceman and Juggernaut that is juxtaposed with his coming out letter. These scenes show the cathartic nature of superhero comics for queer people, and their ability to make me escape from my issues with a tale of derring-do and overcoming seemingly unbeatable odds.

In previous issues,  I feel like Grace portrayed Bobby’s parents more sympathetically, but their insensitive, bigoted words towards him in Iceman #5 show why he didn’t come out to him earlier and wanted to do it via letter where he could filter and write out his thoughts in a more organized manner. Vitti draws them with big wrinkles and glaring, ugly expressions as they treat Bobby’s sexuality as hypothetical and even ask him questions about sex life. His mom even uses “mutie” and “queer” as slurs and blames his dad’s side of the family for passing these “genes” to him. Instead of accepting, she constantly talks about how he’s a disappointment, and Mr. Drake won’t even recognize him as their son anymore. Grace and Vitti defuse the tension a little bit with some Idie and Quentin Quire antics, but they get blocked off from the narrative by a literal wall of ice given a glistening sheen by Rosenberg. And Kitty Pryde shows she’s an amazing friend by giving Bobby the opportunity to cut loose against Juggernaut (He probably should have backup though.)

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And after taking non-stop verbal body blows from his parents, a solo fight against Juggernaut is what Bobby (and the plot of Iceman #5) needs. When the battle begins, Vitti draws a craggier Iceman (Because he’s angry.), and Rosenberg emphasizes the red on his uniform shirt. The battle itself is a blockbuster one and extremely creative as Bobby doesn’t have to hold back against the Juggernaut, whose only motivation is to wreck stuff and kill the X-Men blue team, who brought him to present times from the 1960s.

The dad jokes are gone, and Vitti and Rosenberg replace with double page, shoujo manga-esque spreads of Bobby freezing the speed of light to hit the Juggernaut and then using his ability to change into a vapor to escape his clutches and finally put the kibosh on him. After these pages and a beautiful transformation, the fact that Iceman is an omega level mutant is at the forefront of his character and not just a trivia fact. As he mentions to his dad at the end of the issue, being honest about who he loves has helped him use his mutant powers more effectively. This is definitely true because Bobby does a lot of cool things this issue like impaling Juggernaut on an icicle and sending his ice golems to save civilians while he focuses on keeping Juggy occupied. Water is all around us, and in Bobby’s capable hands, it can be a powerful weapon. Vitti and Rosenberg get really creative with his powers in this issue, especially when he is about to beat the Juggernaut.

The bittersweet ending to Iceman #5 where Bobby and his dad have a polite chat about his letter, say they love each other, and reconcile in the snow rings true to my own experience as a queer man. My parents don’t approve of my sexuality, but they actually do still care about me, and we have a pretty good relationship. Personally, this makes me hurt a lot deeper than a simple Westboro Baptist Church type of hate because it’s infused with love.

Iceman #5 works as a comic because Sina Grace, Alessandro Vitti, and  holds a mirror to mine and other queer men’s experiences using mutant powers and superhero battles as big visual metaphors of both triumph and empowerment when Iceman defeats Juggernaut all by his lonesome and the feeling of being an outsider with his vapor abilities.

Iceman #5 is a powerful, cathartic end to the first arc of the comic and showed me that I’m not alone…

Story: Sina Grace Art: Alessandro Vitti Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Story: 9.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Iceman #5

Iceman #5

(W) Sina Grace (A) Alessandro Vitti (CA) Marco D’Alfonso
Rated T+
In Shops: Sep 06, 2017
SRP: $3.99

• Doing everything he can to avoid having a heart-to-heart with his parents, ICEMAN dives into super hero work. But he knows the approach of the truth is unstoppable…
• Luckily for Bobby Drake, there’s another unstoppable force barreling toward him: THE JUGGERNAUT has returned!
• But this is one alibi that might just be a death sentence!

Review: Iceman #3

Iceman3CoverThe unofficial title for this issue should seriously be “No More Mr. Nice Gay”.  Iceman goes over to his parents’ house to reconnect and perhaps even come out  to them, but the family “bonding” is interrupted by a Purifier attack. Iceman #3 is the darkest issue of the series yet, and Sina Grace, Alessandro Vitti, and Rachelle Rosenberg give us a glimpse of Bobby’s omega level mutant abilities during a battle in his childhood home. He doesn’t come out to his parents in this issue, but Grace skillfully uses the metaphor of the mutant and the X-Men to show how difficult it is for more traditionally minded people to come to terms with queer people. He writes Mr. and Mrs. Drake very compassionately even if his mom is a little obsessed with asking if the X-Men offer any benefits like a 401K.

With lines and pockmarks everywhere, Alessandro Vitti’s take on human beings aren’t super pleasing in Iceman #3. At the same time, it’s nice to see folks with wrinkles and laugh lines, and the things that make us human. He and Rosenberg fare better during the intense action part of the book. Bye bye ice slides, and hello ice shards and trapping people in ice as Iceman doesn’t pull any punches with the bigots who held guns to his parents’ heads. Iceman is making Elmer Fudd jokes, and then he sees an asshole in a trench with a gun going on about justice. Something snaps, and the pace of the comic gets more frantic and the ice projectiles get more dangerous. By the end of the issue, Iceman is acting closer to Wolverine than his jovial self walking through bullets and explosions and marking up his enemies. He has a reputation as a jokester, but cares about his family and wants to protect them no matter the cost.

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Some of the best parts of Sina Grace’s work on Iceman has been the scenes where Bobby opens up to friends or family about his emotions and his life as both a mutant and a gay man. There aren’t any epiphanies or Hallmark moments with him and his parents in Iceman #3, but they slowly begin to understand where Bobby is coming from. I enjoyed reading the interplay between them at the dinner table and even though they have different lifestyles and beliefs, all the Drakes use humor to deflect serious situations. They have the kind of messy talks that mostly families do. It’s kind of sad that Mr. and Mrs. Drake still struggle to understand their son’s life as a mutant and X-Man, but they love him fiercely. I was pumping my fist when Mr. Drake called out the Purifiers’ leader Beckett for using his religious beliefs as a justification for hatred and violence even though he was being held in a chokehold.

Sina Grace, Alessandro Vitti, and Rachelle Rosenberg start to find their storytelling footing in Iceman #3 with their combination of introspective heart to heart and superhero action. There is less humor and more darkness in this issue, but who has time for one-liners when your family’s lives are threatened by hatemongers.

Story: Sina Grace Art: Alessandro Vitti Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Story: 9.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Preview: Iceman #3

Iceman #3

(W) Sina Grace (A) Alessandro Vitti (CA) Kevin Wada
Rated T+
In Shops: Jul 26, 2017
SRP: $3.99

• Iceman heads home to visit his folks! But they aren’t too pleased with their son’s latest news…
• And to make matters worse, a gang of revenge-seeking Purifiers comes calling!
• Will Iceman survive this family dinner?
• Or the throwdown with militant mutant-haters that follows?

Review: Iceman #1

The adult version of Iceman gets a solo series thanks to the talented team of writer Sina Grace (Self-Obsessed), artist Alessandro Vitti (Secret Warriors), and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg. It’s also the first Marvel comic to feature a queer male superhero as the protagonist in quite some time as the House of Bi Erasure decides to throw us a bone for Pride Month. For the most part, Iceman #1 is a breezy read with banter and creative action, but there is a real sadness to its core as Bobby’s parents still haven’t come to terms with him being both gay and a mutant. Grace makes his relationship with them complicated because they aren’t complete bigots like the one-dimensional bad guy that he fights this issue. These kind of nuanced conversations are one of the benefits of having an actual gay man write this title.

Iceman #1 reads like a companion to the memorable and authentic (Thanks to the coaching of Ian McKellen and directing of Bryan Singer.) “coming out” scene between Bobby and his parents in the 2003 film X2.  For the most part, the LGBTQ subtext of X2 is text in Iceman even though Grace and Vitti stop short of Bobby and his parents having a conversation about his sexuality with a battle against the anti-mutant, football helmet wearing terrorist, Purifier interrupting their chat. It’s nice to see Bobby banter with his parents about his ice slides and his mom’s copyright friendly version of a Bed, Bath, and Beyond addiction, but then find out that they didn’t tell him they were moving. Also, they kind of sweep his sexuality under the rug, and Vitti zooms in on the downcast expression on Bobby’s face when his mom asks about his “girlfriends”.

Their interactions are a little emotional because of his dad’s pericarditis, friendly, and a little bit awkward. When their child comes out, parents sometimes aren’t completely bigoted (Kicking you out of the house) or accepting. (Hugs all around). A lot of times they are somewhere in between. This has been my own personal experience, and it’s nice to see Sina Grace and Alessandro Vitti reflect it in a superhero comic. To go with the uncomfortable nature of Iceman discussing his sexuality and mutant status, there is the fact that his high adventure lifestyle as a superhero has caused him to drift apart from his parents. Iceman is busy saving the day and traveling the globe and multiple dimensions so he doesn’t really have time for weekend visits. He’s growing up and coming into his own as a superhero and man, but that means leaving his childhood behind. But Grace still writes him being goofy as hell, and the comic ends on an emoji.

Alessandro Vitti throws away the notion that superhero art has to be cleanly inked and penciled in his work on Iceman #1. In keeping with the improvisational nature of Iceman’s powers, it looks like subzero jazz with plenty of speed lines during fight scenes before slowing down and being more expressive during serious scenes, like when Bobby sees his parents in the hospital. To go with his art, Rachelle Rosenberg uses a palette that Andre 3000 would describe as “cooler than being cool”, and you can feel the temperature drop when Iceman uses abilities. But there are subtle differences in how the ice looks like a more playful snowball/slushie feel when the Icemen are sparring in the Danger Room versus a harder/freeze you in carbonite color for when he surrounds the Purifier in a pointy ice cave.

Even though its bad guy is one note, and an ongoing threat isn’t built up, Iceman #1 is a successful start to the adult Bobby Drake’s solo debut. Sina Grace’s dialogue has a silly sense of humor just like Iceman has had since the Jack Kirby and Stan Lee days, and it’s nice to have an X-book with more of a slice of life-meets-cool superpowers vibe instead of being steeped in continuity, nostalgia, and/or edginess. Plus Alessandro Vitti and Rachelle Rosenberg realize that Iceman can pretty much shape matter to his will and use this as a license to let their creativity to run wild.

It’s super fun to see Bobby Drake kick ass and crack dad jokes while struggling with dating and his relationships with friends and family as a newly out adult gay man in Iceman #1.

Story: Sina Grace Art: Alessandro Vitti Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Story: 7.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Marvel’s Iceman Stop Villains Cold in their Tracks. Check Out this First Look.

This June, Bobby Drake steps out into the cold with an all-new solo X-Men series written by Sina Grace coupled with artwork by Alessandro Vitti with Marvel Comics’ Iceman #1.

Bobby Drake has been in the Super Hero game longer than most – one of the original X-Men, a founding member of the Champions, and discovered to be an Omega-level mutant, but while reflecting on all he’s accomplished over the years, he realizes that the legacy he’s built can be so much more!

Also added to the mix, a younger version of himself has emerged from the timestream and he’s more put together than Bobby ever was: already a world-class hero in his own right, but also totally comfortable in his own skin, complete with a relationship with a handsome Inhuman to boot.

In this new ongoing series it’s time for Bobby Drake to realizes that it’s now or never, and sets out to build a life and legacy he can be proud of…and be the best ICEMAN he can be!

Featuring covers by Kevin Wada, Damion Scott, Skottie Young, Leonard Kirk, and Skan.

Preview: Doctor Who: Event 2016 – Supremacy of the Cybermen

DOCTOR WHO: EVENT 2016 – SUPREMACY OF THE CYBERMEN

Writers: George Mann; Cavan Scott
Artist: Alessandro Vitti
HC – FC – 128pp – $19.99 – On sale in comic stores: now.
On sale in book stores: March 7
ISBN: 9781785856846

For the Cybermen’s 50th Anniversary… YOU WILL BE DELETED! This incredible one-off event brings multiple Doctors battling through time to fight the unstoppable Cybermen!

Exiled from Gallifrey at the very end of Time, Rassilon, fallen leader of the Time Lords, has been captured by the last of the Cybermen. Now the Cybermen have access to time travel. With it, every defeat is now a victory. Every foe is now dead — or Cyberised.

The Legions march across time and space, leaving devastation and converted civilisations in their wake, their numbers growing with every world that falls. Evolving. Upgrading. Reconfiguring. All seems lost. Forever.

Can the Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors – each battling the Cybermen alone, on a different temporal front – undo the damage that has been wrought on the universe, before they are converted themselves? Or is this how the universe dies? Not in fire, but in cold, unfeeling metal…

Marvel’s New Iceman Comic’s Creators Revealed Plus More Details

Continuing yesterday’s X announcement of the creative teams behind next year’s X-Men: Blue and X-Men: Gold, Marvel has revealed the Sina Grace and Alessandro Vitti will take the adult Bobby Drake on a brand new missions to prove himself in next year’s Iceman.

Iceman has never had a solo series before, so the team behind this brand-new series is going to really take advantage and show that Drake is more than just “that X-Man who tells jokes.” That means he’ll be going after some of the biggest, baddest villains the Marvel U has to offer.

In addition to being a globetrotting exploration with one of the most powerful mutants in the Marvel Universe, Iceman will also be studying how Bobby Drake’s personal life is going to help continue evolving him into one of Marvel’s best Super Heroes.

In 2017, prepare for Marvel Comics’ Iceman to unleash unlimited elemental potential as a brand new era begins for one of the most iconic X-Men in all time and it’s all part of Marvel’s ResurrXion!

Iceman #1 comes from writer Sina Grace, artist Alessandro Vitti, and a cover by Kevin Wada.

iceman_1_cover

Preview: Doctor Who: Supremecy of the Cybermen #3

DOCTOR WHO: SUPREMACY OF THE CYBERMEN #3

Writers: George Mann & Cavan Scott
Artist: Ivan Rodriguez & Walter Geovanni
Cover A: Alessandro Vitti
Cover B: Photo
Cover C: Cybermen Variant – Fabio Listrani
FC – 32pp – $3.99 – On sale: September 14

Witness the birth of the new Cybermen invasion, as the history of this aggressive Cyberiad is at last revealed! The Tenth Doctor takes a titanic machine into combat. The Twelfth Doctor finds an unlikely ally. The Ninth Doctor loses one of his own. And the Eleventh Doctor discovers something impossible!

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Preview: Doctor Who: Supremecy of the Cybermen #2

DOCTOR WHO: SUPREMACY OF THE CYBERMEN #2

Writers: George Mann & Cavan Scott
Artists: Ivan Rodriguez & Walter Geovanni
Cover A: Alessandro Vitti & Nicola Righi
Cover B: Photo Cover
Cover C: Fabio Listrani
FC – 32pp – $3.99 – On sale: Aug 17

Cyberships on fire in the Thames, as the Ninth Doctor battles for the soul of London! Dinosaur danger for the Eleventh Doctor, as the Cybermen attempt to conquer human prehistory! Caught in the middle of an ancient alien war, the Cybermen present a third side for the Tenth Doctor to face! And for the Twelfth Doctor – a deeply personal showdown with the architect behind the universe’s current chaos. No TARDIS, no help, no rescue: THERE IS NO RESISTANCE… ONLY THE CYBERIAD!

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