Astonishing Iceman #1

Issue Date: 
October 2023
Story Title: 
Out Cold, part one

Steve Orlando (writer), Vincenzo Carratu (artist), Java Tartaglia (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Travis Lanham (letterer), Tom Muller & Jay Bowen (designers), Jesus Saiz (cover artists), Greg Land & Rachelle Rosenberg; Ken Lashley & Juan Fernandez; Skottie Young (variant cover artists), Humberto Ramos & Edgar Delgado (Miss Minutes variant cover artists), Jay Bowen (production), Drew Baumgartner (assistant editor), Mark Basso (editor), Jordan D. White (editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief)

Iceman created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

Strange meteorites begin falling to Earth and changing technology into demonic creatures. A number of civilians in San Francisco find themselves under attack by these tech-demons who are able to detect the X-Gene – even in humans who used the temporary X-Gene known as Xperience, after the drug has worn off. Iceman arrives on scene to stop the tech-demons, which were dispatched to Earth courtesy of Orchis. After saving the Xperience user, Iceman gives him a kiss before disappearing. Aboard Orchis' Bloom, Agent Pequod was responsible for that attack, and with his team of agents who are specifically tasked with monitoring Iceman, they continue to track Iceman, and Pequod decides he may need to call in the Cleaner to deal with his foe. Iceman arrives in Antarctica, where a large ice palace has been erected. Iceman is assisted by an ice-golem called Clyde, and recalls how he was killed at the Hellfire Gala, but how Romeo's feelings for Iceman were enough to restore him to life in Antarctica when Romeo ventured there and restored Iceman to life. Iceman is determined to stop Orchis, with Romeo at his side, concerned that when Orchis is done destroying mutantkind, they will come for others who are different, like him. Agent Pequod sets his sights on Iceman's home town of Fort Washington, Long Island, where his mother. Madeline, steps outside one morning to find her neighborhood under attack from the Elements of Doom.


Full Summary: 

'Welcome back! We've got  more evidence, folks – the kind they don't want you to see! Weeks after Orchis' heroic raid on Krakoa's Hellfire Gala... the mutant supremacist Iceman may still be on the loose! They say he was killed resisting arrest. But if that's true? Then why do we keep receiving reports of Iceman sightings? Mutants hate our way of life. Orchis helps us. Helps decent people. They're finally getting this mutant nonsense under control... so we can live in peace. That's why the public deserves answers! If Iceman isn't really dead as they claim... are any of us safe?' an announcer asks, as footage of students waving while their bus is covered in ice is shown. Civilians are being shown rescued from a chopper in the ice on a news report. Social media is abuzz with a glimpse of an ice-slide. A website has a blurry image of Iceman with the headline “Dead, Alive or Cosplay?” A selfie on someone's phone is shown, with several people standing in front of two people covered in ice, and finally, a video of someone carrying a flower with the hashtags “love” and “xperience”.

In San Francisco:'X-Gene detected!' a strange Nanosentinel announces as it and several others begin chasing a man down a busy street. 'Go! Get away from me!' the man shouts as he pushes through the crowd. 'Lure in progress' another Nanosentinel announces, while a third states that a tertiary target has been acquired. 'X-Gene? Like from Xperience? But I – I quit! I don't take that anymore!' the man exclaims as he dodges a blast from one of the Nanosentinels which tears a hole in his vest. Someone holds up their phone to record the attack. 'Tertiary target acquired. Lure in progress' a Nanosentinel states. 'Get – get off me! Get back!' the person holding their phone up calls out as the phone is changed into a Nanosentinel. Someone notices that blasts are falling from the sky, and that whatever technology the blasts land on, is transformed into a Nanosentinel. 'You heard them – they hunt mutants! They shouldn't be after us!' someone else calls out. 'I'm no mutant – are you? Is she?' someone asks as they run from the attack. 'Who cares who they're after if humans get caught in the crossfire!' another asks.

'Get the hell inside!' a woman shrieks. 'Don't let it touch you! Don't let it touch anything!' someone else calls out as people continue to run in a panic. 'Wait, it... it's fine...they're still just headphones' a man utters as his headphones don't transform. 'This stuff is all – it's frozen. What is it?' he wonders, looking at the icy substance that forms in his hand. 'An entrance, dude. Classic, right?' a voice calls out. Everyone turns to see where a wall of ice has formed, and from it, rises Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman. The crowd look up in shock, some of them look angry as Iceman remarks 'So – death machines in the streets? Terror from the sky?' 'Funny, hero! This crap's just raining down!' a woman snaps, adding that it is turning their things into killer things. 'One mutant here's bad enough – now we've got two? Are you trying to get us killed?' a man asks. 'Muties are the only reason we're in trouble – you'll just make this worse!' the angry woman shouts, before Bobby hears someone calls for help, and a Nanosentinel can be heard stating 'X-Gene newly detected. Primary target acknowledged. Hunt in progress'.

“Primary target?” Bobby quotes. 'Thanks for the warm reception' he mumbles, while the target of the Nanosentinels continue to chase after the man they identified as a mutant. 'Retasking forces' one of the Nanosentinels states. 'Retasking? Good – go! Follow the other ones! Stop chasing me!' the man shouts at the Nanosentinels, as the Nanosentinels turn their attention on Iceman, and fly towards him. 'You brought them back!' one of the civilians shouts. 'I'll handle them, too. I'd say “freeze,” but, you know... don't move. Deal?' Bobby responds as he unleashes a wave of ice that rushes across the Nanosentinels as they approach, freezing them all before they can reach him.

However, some of the Nanosentinels are still chasing after the man they have identified as a mutant. 'I – I'm clean, okay? Clean! Just leave me alone!' he shouts as he continues to run – then suddenly, he trips and falls. 'I'm not a damn mutant! Not anymore! Please!' he pleads as the Nanosentinels begin to form a larger Sentinel, and looms over him. 'X-Gene newly detected' the Nanosentinel states, while the man claims that was in another life, in the past. The Nanosentinel is about to strike – before it is engulfed in ice and frozen solid. 'Cool' the man smiles. 'You said it – not me!' Iceman replies as he smashes through the frozen Nanosentinel. 'You good?' Iceman asks as the man gets to his feet. 'Those drones were after mutants. I...I think it's the Xperience' the man explains, revealing that he used to take it, and that it gives you a quick hit of mutant powers – like for fun – or sex. 'Been years...but they say it stays in your system' the man adds.

'Recreational mutant gifts. How could that ever go bad?' Iceman asks as he extends a hand towards the man. 'But it didn't... you showed up. You saved me' the man smiles. Iceman tells him that Orchis wants to have fun, but he refuses to let them. 'Call it my hobby – that and melting hearts' Bobby jokes. He smiles at the man and introduces himself as Iceman: 'Infamous mutant. Attention-getter. Primary target'. The man replies by saying 'I know' before he and Bobby grab each other and kiss. Some in the crowd gathered around them smile, others look unimpressed, someone records them. The kiss lasts for some time, before Bobby tells the man that he would love to stay. 'But you know how it is, guys like me...always over too soon'. Bobby then disappears as his form shifts to water vapor, leaving the man to touch his lips as Bobby vanishes.

1,200 miles above Earth is the Bloom, the orbital base of the organization called Orchs. 'My ears are distressingly unfed, people. San Francisco. A report, if you don't mind?' an Orchis official addressed as Agent Pequod calls out as he sits in the command chair. One of the Orchis agents informs Agent Pequod that the Pollen Cloud performed well, up to a point. Another reveals that the Nanosentinels detected a lure mutant likely to attract the primary target, and fell from above, converting inorganic material into hunter drones on contact. A third office reports that the attack on the lure began one minute after detection, and neutralization was in progress. 'Until the Primary Target' Agent Pequod remarks as he watches footage of Iceman. 'Until Iceman turned them to freeze-dried dust. This...this is less than thrilling, people. We're here to covertly cleanse Earth's extant mutants. That's how the promotion comes!' Agent Pequod exclaims. He points out that Iceman insists on being their primary obstacle, and as such as their primary target. 'A death cloud? We can do better. I want new pitches on my desk – today!' Pequod declares. Two agents look at each other nervously as Pequod tells them that as drastic as Drake's methods are, if they can't kill Robert Drake... it might finally be time to call in the Cleaner.

Meanwhile, in Antarctica, at the Southern Pole of Inaccessibility. A large ice-castle has been created, which towers above the icy wasteland, as a snow storm blows across. Footprints can be seen in the snow, and legs begin to form, as Iceman begins to reconstitute himself. By the time he reaches the doors of the ice-castle, his body has completely reformed. He slams a fist on the door, then “melts” his way through the door, like phasing through, while remarking 'That...was a close one'. He collapses to the floor, and tells himself that he loves pushing it. 'But hell, near death doesn't mean much...if you're not living' Bobby decides. 'And who's living...if they're not kissing the guy with the shoulders and the face?' he asks.

Bobby snaps his fingers and snow begins to form in the boots that are nearby, and once of Bobby's ice-golems form. 'Little help, Clyde?' Bobby asks, and the snowy golem extends a hand to pull Bobby to his feet. 'I know, dude, I know. Don't give me that look – it was totally worth it' Bobby remarks, looking at the golem, who doesn't really have a face. Bobby declares that he got out into the world, flexed his stuff and met new friends to captivate, while dodging another Orchis bullet with a wink and a smile. 'They sure try!' Bobby exclaims, before deciding that he has come a long way from class clown. 'They said it, not me', he adds, to becoming Earth's star fugitive and hydrator of Arrako. 'Or Mars, if you're lame' he adds. Walking down a corridor lined with framed photos of Bobby at various stages in his life, Bobby remarks that he is modest.

'Who am I kidding? After all I've done... modesty feels like hiding. And that's how Orchis wants us. Hidden. Scared. Quiet. People like us that way. Not everyone. But enough'. Bobby states, adding that there is a whole new world these days. 'Their world, almost. But I'm still here... even if Orchis almost got me at the Hellfire Gala!' Bobby exclaims.

(in flashback images)

Bobby remembers Nimrod injecting him with a cellular napalm, which hurt, like nothing he's ever felt before. But what's worse, Bobby decides, is that it was so quick, the pain took over, he could barely think. His cells were boiling to nothing, and the only thought he had was how much it sucked that Romeo was there. If that was the end of everyone's friendly neighborhood Iceman, well, then it wasn't him who'd have to live with it – it was Romeo.

But Romeo kept going, which is a good thing. Bobby knows that he has been called an airhead plenty of times. But this time? Well, spread thin doesn't begin to cover it – that's if he was alive at all. Everyone thought he was gone, even what telepaths they had left. Everyone but Romeo. Romeo is Bobby's lighthouse, his empath. The more Romeo connects to someone, the more he feels for them, the more his power can affect them. Bobby didn't have any thoughts to speak of, but feelings, well, there was still just enough out there. Enough for when Romeo journeyed to Antarctica he literally “felt” for Bobby, and from those feelings he was able to pull Bobby back together. Romeo was the last face Bobby saw – and the first. 'Hey. You're late for the after-party' Romeo joked. 'That doesn't sound like me' Bobby smiled back.


'Speak up, Clyde – think he knows I'm back?' Bobby asks his mute golem as he opens another door. 'I know you're back, Bobby. I'm staring at your empathic display' a voice calls out from within the other room. 'Right – totally. Your little Iceman icon was just -' Bobby begins, to which Romeo asks Bobby if he is talking to that frumpy minion that he makes for himself. 'What? No' Bobby calls back, snapping his fingers he makes the ice-golem collapse into snow. 'Sorry, buddy. See you soon' Bobby frowns. As Bobby steps into the other room, Romeo can be heard telling Bobby that this is his life, his stronghold made of his ice – it's all him. 'And I know how you want it to be like before. And here? Close to me? It's easy to hold yourself together. But out there, you've got no anchor -' Romeo is interrupted as Bobby tells him that he gets it.

'Do you? Because every single time you leave, you push the clock. I see it – feel it on my “Iceman icon.” You can't stay solid for long' Romeo utters. 'Sure. But you tell that to the people in Orchis' sights. Besides...I've got you to hold me together' Bobby remarks as he approaches Romeo, who sits on an ice throne, emapthic energies drifting around him. 'My King' Bobby calls out. 'That's absolutely not my job description' Romeo responds. 'And yet – there's your throne' Bobby points out, before assuring Romeo that he couldn't do this without him. Bobby adds that he couldn't be here without Romeo, as Romeo senses the crises, and points him where he is needed. 'I'm not just here for you. People like Orchis don't stop. First it's mutants. Now it's semi-mutants like Xperience users. Soon, it'll be Inhumans like me. Then what?' I won't let there be a “then what!”' Romeo declares.

Bobby looks at Romeo and tells him that he loves the tough talk, and that for the next hour, he thinks he knows where he is needed the most. 'An hour? Since when do you need to repeat yourself four times?' Romeo asks. 'That's cold' Bobby smiles.

In the Bloom, Agent Pequod tells his Orchis operatives that he read all of their pitches, which are gutter trash, and so they are going with his. 'Understood' one of the operatives responds, informing Pequod that they ran the numbers and projections look good. 'In most outcomes, the added personal stressors you suggest bring Iceman down' another agent adds. 'It's called lateral thinking, people. I can smell the promotion, can you?' Pequod remarks, before telling the others that one could say Robert Drake is a god – he certainly acts like one. But he was born, he was raised, he has a family, a childhood, all nice words for pressure points. 'We can't move forward with him alive. So forget mutant lures – go for the heart.' Pequod suggests they go for Iceman's home, Fort Washington, his mother, Madeline Drake. 'Praise be to Director Devo's discretionary budget. In an hour, we'll have a squad of tricked-out synthetic troops on site... in Iceman's old backyard. Long Island.

There, in Fort Washington, Long Island, New York. Madeline Drake stands on the path leading up to her house as the sun rises over the neighborhood. Suddenly, the sky turns dark and a tornado appears. Trash is blown down the street, and Madeline braces herself as the winds push against her. Neighbors gather around and someone records on their phone as strange beings emerge from the tornado.

Agent Pequod remarks that Drake has spent his life mastering two elements – Hydrogen and Oxygen. 'What do you think he'll do against the other 116? Good luck to the god of ice against Helium, the Unfreezable Man... and his Elements of Doom!'


Characters Involved: 




Madeline Drake



Agent Woodrow Pequod (Orchis)

Bromine, Europium, Helium, Radium, Sodium, Tungsten, Zirconium (all Elements of Doom)


Orchis agents




(in photographs and videos)



(in flashback images)






Story Notes: 

This issue follows X-Men: Hellfire Gala 2023 #1 and ties into the “Fall of X” event.

This is Iceman's fifth solo series, following Iceman (1st series) #1-4 in 1984-1985, Iceman (2nd series) #1-4 in 2001-2001, Iceman (3rd series) #1-11 in 2017-2018 and Iceman (4th series) #1-5 in 2018-2019.

Iceman was seemingly killed by Nimrod in X-Men: Hellfire Gala 2023 #1.

Xperience is a drug which gives temporary mutant powers that was manufactured by a villain called Lobe and was the central storyline in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #530-534.

Romeo is an Inhuman who first appeared in Spider-Woman (6th series) #10, as part of the Royal Inhuman Diplomatic Mission during the Civil War II event. Romeo and the time-displaced Bobby Drake met and began dating over the course of All-New X-Men (2nd series) #13-19 and Iceman (3rd series) #1. But by X-Men Blue #35 the two had stopped seeing each other, and the time-displaced Iceman soon returned to his true time period. Romeo returned in Marvel Voices Infinity Comic #1-4 in which he was stranded in an alternate dimension for ten years, only to return to his true Earth to discover that no time at all had passed, however he remained aged-up, and began dating Iceman once more.

This issue includes an encrypted message from Agent Pequod to “a friend and fellow Judas” providing an update on Iceman and the Nanosentinels.

Madeline Drake was last seen in Marvel's Voices Infinity Comic #2, 4 in which her husband, Iceman's father, William, died.

The Elements of Doom first appeared in Avengers (1st series) #188. Helium specifically first appeared in Thunderbolts (1st series) #7.

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