“Mutant” has been, for Marvel, a handy metaphor for any type of marginalized group. But it’s most easily fit being gay, and it’s a metaphor Sina Grace and Alessandro Vitti explore in Iceman (Marvel), especially the third issue out today.
Grace’s plot has largely been about Bobby’s struggles with his sexuality; this issue’s splash panel opens with Bobby coming out to his teammates by text, and they’re all supportive, if perhaps in some cases a bit baffled. Even his staunchly WASPy family seems OK with it. Now, all that “mutant stuff”… they don’t want to talk about it. They don’t want Bobby to talk about it. Underneath the comedy, which switches to action when a swarm of bigots bursts into Bobby’s home, there’s a very real pain. Bobby Drake, to his parents, is frozen in time. Nothing in his life past his becoming a mutant matters. To his parents, it doesn’t exist.
Vitti’s art has been a joy in this series and here in particular he gets to show off his sense of geography and scale as well as his imagination. When Bobby finally loses it, it’s scary; underneath the jokey exterior and patient son is a deeply angry man. Iceman is not, perhaps, the most subtle in its metaphors, but then, that’s what superheroes are for, and Grace and Vitti get a message across in a way worth reading.