ICEMAN: Page 5 of 12

Publication Date: 14th Aug 2019
Written By: Peter Luzifer and Monolith.
Image Work: Peter Luzifer and Gremlin.


After clearing out of Angel’s Aerie, Iceman finished his degree and started up a normal life at an accounting firm. Not long thereafter, he was contacted by Warren with shocking news – their original teammate Jean Grey was alive again. Jean was shocked at the state of mutant affairs, as well as the fact that the X-Men had accepted Magneto as a member in her absence, and wanted to do something about it. Warren agreed and convinced Iceman and Beast to join their new X-Factor team. To lead them, they recruited Cyclops from retirement as well. The plan behind X-Factor was to pose as mutant hunting humans, mercenaries for hire by the general public. Behind this cover, their true mission was to use tips from the public to police evil mutants and recruit innocent mutants to help them learn how to use their powers. When necessary, they also worked in disguise in their mutant identities eventually calling themselves X-Terminators. [X-Factor (1st series) #1]

They survived through various battles with the likes of Apocalypse, the Marauders and the Alliance of Evil. X-Factor’s mission goals appeared to be successful – they had saved a number of young mutants and began training them. Things were less than perfect though – Angel was critically injured in battle and apparently committed suicide after his wings were amputated. Furthermore, X-Factor’s advertising and general presence seemed to be exacerbating the very anti-mutant sentiment the X-Men had once stood against. Iceman was the first member  of X-Factor to begin actively questioning the public relations efforts of their organizer, Angel’s old friend Cameron Hodge.

Shortly after the Mutant Massacre, Iceman was kidnapped and used as a pawn against Thor by Loki. In order to exert control over his allies, the Frost Giants, Loki increased Iceman's powers to unprecedented levels. [Thor (1st series) #377]

When he returned to X-Factor, Bobby’s powers were out of control, frequently causing him to ice up for no reason. Following Warren’s funeral, X-Factor received a call about a mutant threatening to destroy San Francisco with an earthquake. The X-Terminators flew out west to confront the threat, and Bobby was particularly incensed at yet another evil mutant causing trouble for mankind. On the scene, however, they learned the mutant named Rictor was nothing but a teenager, tortured and used as an unwilling guinea pig an anti-mutant organization called the Right, using his powers to spread hatred towards mutants. The X-Terminators stopped the threat, and Iceman was furious he was taken in by the anti-mutant rhetoric X-Factor was spreading. He publicly announced the Right’s plans over the airwaves, demanding the public “Know mutants by their deeds!”, and not by blind hatred. [X-Factor (1st series) #17]

After nearly falling victim to their own anti-mutant advertising, Iceman decided he was done with X-Factor and Hodge’s propaganda machine. Bobby began actively defacing X-Factor billboards around Manhattan and goading humans into calling “X-Factor” to do something about it, hoping the “mutant-hunters” would lose credibility when they inevitably did nothing to stop him. Iceman’s power problems continued to plague him as well, and he ran the risk of trapping himself in a block of solid ice whenever he let loose with his abilities. On one such occasion, while fighting the Horsemen of Apocalypse in Central Park, Bobby froze over the entire area, creating a miniature glacier in the middle of Manhattan. This wasn’t exactly good for his reputation, especially after Iceman’s impassioned speech days earlier, but Rusty Collins and the other young mutants of X-Factor went out to the park to clean up after Bobby. They left behind a message letting New York know mutants were responsible, once again asking to be “known by their deeds.” [X-Factor (1st series) #19-20]

Eventually, X-Factor came to blows with Cameron Hodge, whose true anti-mutant agenda was discovered along with his role as Commander of the Right. During a fight with the Right’s armored forces, Iceman was fitted with an inhibitor clamp around the waist, intended to cancel out his powers. Unfortunately for the Right, Hodge hadn’t accounted for Bobby’s more advanced power levels, and the device designed to neutralize his powers instead only reduced them enough to put him back in control of his abilities. Iceman started wearing the inhibitor shackle as a belt to regularly control his ice. [X-Factor (1st series) #23]

After the fight with the Right, X-Factor was drawn into war with Apocalypse and his Horsemen over Manhattan in the villain’s giant Celestial Ship. They were confronted by Apocalypse’s latest Horseman – Angel, back from the dead as Death. Brainwashed and with a new set of bio-mechanical wings, Warren attacked New York and his friends. Iceman gambled that a shock might bring Warren back to his senses, and set up an ice double to be destroyed in one of Death’s murderous dives. His ploy was a success, and Warren turned against Apocalypse, who fled with his remaining Horsemen, leaving his Ship behind. After saving the city, Iceman and the group publicly declared that X-Factor and the X-Terminators were one and the same and, after a night of cleaning up the mess left behind by the Horsemen, were officially haled as public mutant heroes by the city, the first of the era. [X-Factor (1st series) #24-26]

Somewhat later, Iceman began dating a young mutant named Infectia. Beast and the X-Factor trainees tried to convince Bobby that she was up to no good, but Bobby was thinking with his hormones and didn't listen. He was particularly dismissive of Hank, who had been losing his intelligence recently due to Pestilence’s touch, and was severely handicapped. When Infectia finally showed her true colors and kidnapped Bobby, she tried to kiss him with her physical transmutation power and make him one of her Anti-Body slaves. Beast jumped in the way and took the kiss instead, plunging him into a coma for several days. Bobby felt extremely guilty for not listening to Hank, but the Beast eventually recovered and regained his full intelligence in the process. [X-Factor (1st series) #30-33]

Still, Iceman felt responsible for it and began to mature in his personality more. A few months later, Iceman met and began dating a young Japanese woman named Opal Tanaka, who worked at a music store in Manhattan. Their relationship blossomed in part because Opal was interested in Bobby Drake the man, and not the superhero “Iceman”. [X-Factor (1st series) #52]

Perhaps inevitably, it turned out that Opal was no ordinary girl either – she was the estranged granddaughter of a Japanese Yakuza crime lord. Without an heir after the death of Opal’s father, Tatsu’o sent his Cyber-Samurai warriors to kidnap Opal once he learned of her existence. Bobby was caught off-guard by the Cyber-Punks’ attack, and failed to prevent Opal’s kidnapping. He and Jean flew to Japan where they met with Mariko Yashida to plot Opal’s rescue. Iceman and Clan Yashida’s ninja attempted to free Opal during a sumo match, but Tatsu’o and the Cyber-Samurai teleported back to his stronghold before she was rescued. During the fight, the Cyburai named Hiro refused to dishonorably shoot Iceman in the back, and his fellows branded him a traitor. In an assault on Tatsu’o’s stronghold, Bobby saved Hiro from the other Cyber-Punks before the two squared off in honorable combat. Tatsu’o had commanded Opal to marry one of the Cyber-Samurai to produce a male heir for him, but Hiro had come to genuinely care for her during her time in Japan. Bobby and Hiro chose to fight honorably, without powers, to prove they were worthy as men and not as weapons. Hiro realized that even with his armor discarded, his cybernetics were so integrated into his body that he could no longer fight without them. He surrendered to defeat at Iceman’s hands and allowed Bobby to take Opal back to America with him. [X-Factor (1st series) #63-64]

Weeks later, it was discovered that the supreme telepath known as the Shadow King had taken over the residents of the Muir Island Research Facility. Most of the X-Men were captured by the Islanders when they tried to stop the Shadow King, so Professor Xavier enlisted the help of both X-Factor and SHIELD. After the villain was defeated, X-Factor rejoined the X-Men, adopting new costumes, with Iceman joining the Gold Strike Force under Storm’s command. By this point, Bobby no longer seemed to need the inhibitor belt to control his abilities, and appeared without it from then onwards. [X-Factor (1st series) #70, Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #281]

Bobby continued to date Opal after rejoining the X-Men and invited her to dinner to meet his parents. Unfortunately, his father’s attitude towards their relationship was extremely “old-fashioned” at best and downright racist at worst. Before their discussion could continue, Hiro arrived just in time to warn Bobby and Opal that Tatsu’o planned to exact his revenge against them. A cadre of Cyber-Samurai materialized in the restaurant mere moments later. Iceman and Hiro fought to defend Opal as best they could, but the newer model of Cyburai threatened to overwhelm them. Hiro encouraged Bobby to get Opal to safety, despite her protests, and as soon as they left he detonated his self-destruct program, destroying himself and all the Cyber-Samurai at once. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #289-290]

Strongly affected by Hiro’s sacrifice, Opal took some time away from Bobby’s life and their relationship started to deteriorate. By the time she reached out to him at the mansion, Bobby was caught up in X-Men matters and had to leave her behind. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #301] It was several weeks later before Iceman got around to seeing Opal again and even then it was only to save her life. Cerebro detected some unusual readings around Opal’s house and thinking they represented a threat to her, Bobby assembled Rogue and Bishop to draw them out of hiding. The X-Men succeeded in defeating a trio of anti-mutant thugs that were spying on Opal but Iceman accidentally destroyed what was left of his relationship in the process. Opal was furious at Bobby for essentially using her as bait to draw out the X-Men's enemies and fumed at the idea that it took a threat on her life for Bobby to get back in touch with her. Wanting a normal life away from the chaos of the X-Men, Opal ended her relationship with Iceman completely. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #305]