Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Out of the Dollar Box: 1984's Iceman limited series

I thought I'd try something a little different and look at a comic book limited series that you can probably find in your Local Comic Shop's (LCS) dollar box, or slush pile, or whatever they might call it. The first Iceman limited series was published in 1984.

This was from the period where Iceman was a member of the Defenders, or rather the New Defenders, since only Valkyrie and Gargoyle were around from the original non-team.

This story starts as a mundane little tale with Bobby Drake (Iceman) returning to his parents' house for his father's retirement party. Naturally, his parents aren't all that keen on him using his powers or being a super-hero, preferring he take the quiet life of an accountant.

The story progresses with Bobby instantly falling in love with the new girl next door, who is not what she seems. Iceman ends up back in 1940, where he meets his own parents, and battles a near-cosmic entity known as Oblivion, a being way out of Iceman's weight class.

J.M. DeMatteis (of Justice League/Justice League International fame) handled the script while Alan Kupperberg and Mike Gustovich did the interior artwork. Mike Zeck and John Beatty provided the covers. So creatively, this is a well-made eighties story. Nothing out of the ordinary really, but a good, fun comic book with a lot of action, some angst and a touch of humor. This isn't Watchmen or The Dark Knight Returns, so dispel those illusions. It's a nice afternoon's diversion.

Iceman has been a character I liked in the past, being a fan of the original X-Men when I was growing up. There haven't been many opportunities to see him outside of team books like The Champions and The New Defenders, other than an issue of Marvel Team-Up and a Marvel Two-in-One, so this was a treat in that aspect. He was still very much the kid of the X-Men, and a veritable Peter Parker when it comes to his non-super personal life. But this story does show that he has a lot of inner strength and maturity when it counts.

The closest you'll come to this kind of characterization on Bobby Drake now is probably in the Ultimate Comics universe, as Iceman has gone through loads of changes over the intervening years. Considering a lot of the continuity before the Marvel Now era, this little series is a refreshing change of pace.


By Rich Meyer

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