Only in comics can your time-displaced younger self come to the future, realize he’s gay, and force you out of the closet. Which is where Iceman, who gets a new solo book with its first issue today, finds himself, now facing his greatest enemy: summing himself up in 500 words for a profile on a dating website.
Sina Grace, the writer of great slice-of-life comics like Not My Bag and today’s Nothing Lasts Forever, returns to Marvel, and it’s his take on Bobby Drake, newly out and deeply confused gay man, that makes the book compelling. Bobby is literally confronted with what he could have had if he’d been more courageous as a teenager, watching his younger self date men, and that’s quickly complicated by a sick family member and the awkward relationship Bobby has with his parents. Oh, also he has to fight an insane mutant-hating nutjob in homemade power armor. That’ll put a strain on people.
Grace’s elegant, thoughtful take is complemented by Alessandro Vitti’s line-heavy, detailed art. Vitti’s figures can feel a bit bulky, but he uses it to good effect; Bobby and his parents are in a hospital room too small for them, and Vitti’s layout in this quiet scene emphasizes the cramped, awkward nature of people who love each other, but can’t understand each other. Iceman has a lot of promise as a Marvel book exploring a rare perspective in comics, let alone superheroes, and it’s off to a great start.