Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #63

Issue Date: 
August 2013
Story Title: 

Marjorie Liu (writer), Gabriel Hernandez Walta (artist), Chris Peter (color artist), Virtual Calligraphy‘s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Phil Noto (cover artist), Jennifer M Smith (assistant editor), Jeanine Schaefer (editor), Nick Lowe (group editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

As the entire world starts preparing for a new ice age, the X-Men at the Jean Grey School discuss what they should do about Mystique’s warning about Iceman. Two of the Avengers arrive and inform the X-Men that Thor is talking about Ragnarok. Iceman meets with his ex, Opal Tanaka, and they discuss their past relationship and Opal’s current life, but Iceman just feels rejected by her again. He goes to leave, and is confronted by Mystique. Wolverine and Gambit go in search of Annie Ghazikhanian, but find she is missing. Karma and Warbird visit the hotel Polaris has been staying at, and she too has vanished. Kitty meets with Opal at her hotel room, and they discuss Iceman at length, until Iceman arrives at the hotel room, and starts to kidnap Opal and her son. Kitty discovers that it is not Iceman, but several ice clones. Kitty battles them and successfully prevents them from taking Opal and her son. Iceman, the real one, undergoes another counseling session and discusses his past relationships. Wolverine, Gambit, Karma and Warbird regroup with Kitty and Opal, and are attacked by an army of ice clones, until Iceman arrives. Warbird shoves her sword into him, and he reveals his new, true self, a being of complete ice. He increases his mass until he towers over the city, which he swiftly covers in more ice, before stepping on Wolverine.

Full Summary: 

Egypt, where tourists take photos of the Sphinx covered in snow. The Big Islands, Hawaii, officials examine some birds who have died in the frostbite. In Brazil, at the Amazon Basin, the locals huddle in their huts for warmth. And in Madripoor, a boat is stuck on the frozen water, while down an alleyway, three men in trenchcoats keep an eye on a woman standing further down the alleyway. She has a flower in her hair, and a sword on her back. ‘Wolverine, pick up’ she says into her phone.

But, at the Jean Grey School, in Westchester, New York, Wolverine a.k.a. Logan hangs up the phone as he is in his office with Ororo “Storm” Munroe, Remy “Gambit” LeBeau, Kitty Pryde and the alien Warbird. ‘It’s impossible. Insane. You can’t believe a word Mystique says. She hates the X-Men. And she tried to murder Bobby. Hello? No one’s going to agree with me?’ Kitty exclaims.
Storm agrees that of course Mystique cannot be trusted, while Logan tells her that it is not that simple. Warbird holds one of Gambit’s new kittens, as Storm remarks that this weather is unnatural, and that at first she thought it might be the fault of some machine, as it would not be the first time someone has attempted to control the weather in such a way. Storm informs the others that after a long communion with the elements, she is forced to conclude that something else is at work.

‘There is sentience behind this weather. A great… tumult of emotion’ Storm adds. Kitty declares that it can’t be Bobby, as his powers don’t work that way. Gambit points out that no one knows how Bobby’s powers work, and that he doesn’t even think Bobby knows himself. The alien Warbird states that she has been a great admirer of Iceman’s abilities, and has observed him at length. ‘He is strong. Strong enough to do even this, I think’ she adds. ‘Question is, why?’ Wolverine asks. ‘Listen to yourselves! You’re accusing Bobby of trying to destroy the world!’ Kitty shouts, while Xi’an Coy Manh a.k.a. Karma enters Logan’s office and announces that whatever the hell is happening, Bobby is not here and is not answering his phone.

How unfortunate’ a voice remarks, and everyone turns to see the Black Widow and She-Hulk waiting nearby. The Black Widow informs the X-Men that they just spent the entire night coddling a semi-comatose Norse god who seems convinced that a “man of ice” is about to bring on Ragnarok. ‘I don’t like Ragnarok, do you?’ the Black Widow asks She-Hulk, who replies that she doesn’t, but that she is flying to Maui next week and if there isn’t warm weather when she gets there, Ragnarok is going to be the least of everyone’s concerns. ‘Now… where is Bobby Drake?’ they ask.

At that moment, Bobby “Iceman” Drake sits on a park bench with his ex-girlfriend, Opal Tanaka, watching her son, Robert, build a snowman. ‘He’s gotten so big’ Bobby remarks. Opal points out that it has been a couple of years. ‘I guess it has’ Bobby agrees, while Opal tells him that they have lives - that is what happens, and it is better than the alternative. ‘And what’s that?’ Bobby asks, while a caretaker is nearby shoveling the snow. ‘Holding on to the past’ Opal tells him. Bobby touches Opal’s hair and tells her that some things are worth holding on to - and that she is still so beautiful. Opal narrows her eyes at him, and puts her fingers to his lips when he leans in to kiss her. ‘No, Bobby’ Opal stops him, explaining that when she thought it was him contacting her, she admits she had some hope. ‘But now that I realize it was all some… stupid trick… and that you’re with someone else…I need to get my head straight’.

‘I guess… I do, too’ Bobby admits, adding that he should never have agreed to meet Opal today. ‘What was I thinking? We’re over, done. It’s better that way. I’m not the same person I used to be’ Bobby tells her. ‘Bobby -’ Opal begins, before her son calls out to her and turns over to the bench. Opal takes her son by his hand and gets up, while her son points at the smiling snowman. ‘Come on. You’re here. We’re still friends’ Opal points out. ‘Some other time, Opal’ Bobby replies, before congratulating her on her success. He starts to walk away. ‘Bobby!’ Opal calls out to him, but gets no response. Bobby walks on, and sees the caretaker in the bushes. ‘Oh’ the caretaker remarks as he steps in front of Bobby. Bobby immediately switches to his ice form, and creates an ice wall around them both. ‘Hello, Mystique. You’ve been spying’ Iceman remarks.

Mystique drops the disguise, ‘You’ve been doing more than that’ Mystique a.k.a. Raven Darkholme replies, before asking him if he is going to waste her time and try to deny that the snow and ice blanketing this world has nothing to do with him. ‘Well? Don’t have anything to say for yourself?’ Mystique asks. When Bobby does not respond, she adds that he was certainly a bundle of sentiment with his ex-girlfriend just now. ‘Do you trust me?’ Bobby asks, ignoring Mystique’s comments. ‘Of course not’ Raven replies. ‘That’s very wise of you’ Bobby agrees as the two of them are now on the tip of an ice-slide, over the park.

A television in a hospital shows an interview with a reporter and a local in the Arctic. The reporter remarks that the death toll from this freak storm is rising, but that their community has been largely unaffected, and asks the representative if he can explain that. ‘You’re shivering and I’m not. Traditional gear protects better than the synthetic’ the man replies, adding that they always imagined a return to the old ways, but that this wasn’t how they thought it would happen.

At the hospital nurse’s station, a nurse tells Wolverine and Gambit that she wishes she could help, but that Annie stepped out last night during her break and never came back. ‘That’s not like here. We’re all worried’ she adds. Wolverine asks if anyone visited Annie, and Gambit inquires whether it was a brown-haired man a couple of inches shorter than him. ‘Sorry, no’ the nurse replies.
Wolverine and Gambit leave, and go outside, as Logan tells Remy that this all seems like a wild goose chase. ‘I may have given the go-ahead to check things out, but we both know this is probably one of Mystique’s games’ he tells Remy, who replies that he doesn’t waste time on games. ‘You’re standing here because you think she might be right’ Gambit suggests.
Wolverine’s phone rings, and he answers it, asking Karma what she has found, while Gambit suggests that it can’t be a coincidence, all these women from Bobby’s past were lured here now. As the icy temperature lowers around them, Logan asks Karma ‘Aw, hell. You sure?’

‘I’m absolutely positive that Lorna’s gone’ Karma reports via the mobile phone. Examining the ice-covered hotel room, Warbird suggests that, or, Polaris has developed new powers that allow her to manifest ice, perhaps making her the cause of the foul weather that has befallen this planet. ‘Which would mean that she is, in fact, our true enemy’ Warbird adds, announcing that they can slaughter her. ‘Um, yeah. Bobby’s definitely been here’ Karma adds, before asking Wolverine if anyone has been in contact with Kitty, as the frosty temperature circles around her and Warbird.

At that moment, Kitty is sitting across from Opal in her hotel room, while her son Robert is in bed. Kitty tells Opal that it was nice of her to see her on such short notice. ‘I know it must be kind of…’ her voice trails off. ‘Awkward? Maybe a little. But it’s nothing against you’ Opal replies. Kitty tells her that she knows, and feels the same. ‘I hate it when women get together only to talk about a man’ Kitty smiles. Opal laughs, ‘Me too’ she agrees, before pointing out that since Bobby is the reason Kitty is here, the answer is yes. ‘I saw him today. But don’t know how he could possibly be involved with all this crazy weather. That’s not even his power, is it?’ Opal remarks. ‘Not that I know of’ Kitty replies.

Opal tells Kitty that Bobby wasn’t himself. ‘In what way?’ Kitty asks. ‘Oh, you know’ Opal tells her. ‘No… I don’t’ Kitty replies. ‘Oh. Well. Maybe he’s just gotten better at hiding it’ Opal suggests. As ice starts to creep up the outside wall, Opal explains to Kitty that when she and Bobby were together, he always put on a good show of being cheerful, but that it was all an act, and sometimes the mask would slip, and that would lead to a bad day - mild depression, anger, that sort of thing.
The ice seeps into the room where Robert is sleeping, and Opal remarks that she always blamed Bobby’s father - a total racist dictator, as Bobby was never good enough for him, never man enough, never strong enough - and being a mutant didn’t help. ‘It led to Bobby never feeling good enough for anything. Not even me’ Opal reveals. Kitty tells her that she had no idea, while Opal adds that, like she said, maybe Bobby is better. ‘I always told him he needed to talk to someone. His life… being a super hero… only made the pressure worse’.

Kitty’s phone rings and she gets up, informing Opal that she has to take it. ‘No problem’ Opal replies. Kitty tells Logan that she is fine. ‘I’m here with -’ she begins, while Opal turns to the room where her son is sleeping. Her breath can be seen it is so cold, and she goes wide-eyed, at seeing Iceman standing over her son. ‘What? Lorna and Annie? But -’ Kitty asks Wolverine, before looking up, and seeing Bobby standing next to her. ‘Oh, God. Bobby’ she utters, while Opal and Robert are now trapped behind an ice-wall, and Opal screams ‘No!’
Kitty calls out to her and races into the bedroom, phasing through Iceman as she goes. Once there, she finds three more copies of Iceman loading Opal and her son, trapped in a solid block of ice, onto an ice-sled. ‘Kitty!’ Opal calls out.

‘Hello, Katherine. And… goodbye’ two of the Ice-men remark. Kitty phases through them, and one of them tell her to wait. ‘No… you… don’t!’ Kitty exclaims as she leaps forward out of the door to the balcony and manages to grab onto the edge of the ice-sled. She calls out to Iceman who is sitting on the block of ice. ‘Bobby… have you lost your damn mind? What the hell are you doing?’ Kitty asks him. ‘So very stubborn. But this is for the best. You should be with the others. You’re special to him, too’ Iceman replies. ‘Him? What are you… oh, forget it. We are so… out of here!’ Kitty declares as she phases through the solid block of ice and touches Opal, phasing her and young Robert out. ‘No!’ Opal calls out, arms wrapped around her son as they plummet to the ground. Kitty tells her to hold on, while the Iceman copy on the ice-slide moves down towards them. ‘Opal! Katherine! Stop this! Don’t! There’s no time!’ he tells them, but Kitty phases Opal, Robert and herself into the snow. The three Ice-men standing around the snow where Kitty phased into, before merging themselves into the snow.

‘I can tell you’re angry. Would you like to talk about it?’ Bobby’s psychiatrist asks. ‘No’ Bobby replies as he stands, arms folded, beside the bookcase. His psychiatrist asks him why he is here, to which Bobby tells his doctor that he doesn’t have anyone else to talk to, that he can’t talk about this to his friends - not about this. ‘Have you tried?’ the psychiatrist inquires. Bobby asks the psychiatrist what the point would be - what is anyone going to do? ‘Bobby feels bad, boo-hoo. Now let’s go save the world’ he mocks, adding that no one cares, as no one has time to care - and he doesn’t blame them. ‘Of course you blame them. You want to be seen. You want to be heard’ the psychiatrist points out. ‘You want to be loved’ the psychiatrist adds.

‘That’s not going to happen’ Bobby replies, revealing that Kitty still has feelings for her ex, Opal wants to move on, God only knows what Lorna and Annie ever saw in him other than good “friend” material. ‘I’m tired of just being a friend’ Bobby reveals. His psychiatrist asks Bobby what he wants. ‘Or can you even answer that question? Can you allow yourself to ask it?’ Bobby doesn’t respond, he continues to look away, so the psychiatrist asks him again what he wants. ‘Bobby?’ the psychiatrist calls out when Bobby does not reply. He just smirks, and narrows his eyes, which glow pink.

‘Finally’ Karma declares. ‘You are both late’ Warbird points out as Gambit and Wolverine approach them. Gambit explains that they had to walk twenty blocks through ice and snow, and Wolverine tells her to get over it, before noticing the cops nearby, and enquiring as to what they are here for. ‘There appears to have been a battle’ Warbird replies, while Karma announces that Kitty is not answering. Logan adds that he heard Kitty say Bobby’s name just before their call was dropped. ‘Pssst!’ a voice calls out, and Logan turns around and looks to the ground, where Kitty has phased herself, Opal and Robert back up through the snow. ‘Ohmygod. I am losing my mind’ Opal utters, while Robert is crying and calls out to his mother. ‘You guys, we are so screwed’ Kitty tells her teammates.

Gambit asks her what happened, to which Kitty explains that Bobby attacked them, only it wasn’t Bobby, but like ice clones, and they were crazy and kept saying weird things. ‘Damn it!’ Wolverine exclaims as an icy hand reaches up and grabs him by his ankles. More Iceman clones rise from the snow, ‘Bobby?’ Karma calls out. ‘Not the Bobby we know’ Logan tells her as his pops his claws. They group find themselves surrounded by the Iceman clones, ‘Oh wow’ Karma utters as she informs her teammates that there is nothing in their minds for her to hold on to - that it is like they are not even alive. ‘This isn’t you, Bobby. If something’s wrong, let us help you’ Kitty calls out, while Opal looks on, concerned. ‘You don’t understand… we’re trying to help you’ one of the clones announces.

The Iceman clone extends a hand, ‘Hurry. You need to come with us. Where it’s safe’ it tells Kitty, who asks the clone what it is talking about. ‘Safe from what?’ she demands. ‘Hey, guys’ someone calls out, and the X-Men, Opal and the clones all turn to see Bobby Drake standing nearby. He smiles casually and tells them that he is so glad they are here, as he has been looking for them. ‘Stop. Please. Don’t do this’ one of the clones states as it steps in front of Bobby. ‘Do what? Maybe you should stay where you belong’ Bobby replies as he touches the clone and it starts to shatter. The others do the same. Bobby tells his teammates that he is sorry about that. ‘Sorry? What in the hell is going on here, Bobby?’ Wolverine asks.

Gambit quietly tells Karma not to wait, and she replies that she is trying to enter Bobby’s mind, but that it is just like the others, as if beneath his skin he is all ice. ‘Opal. Kitty. You both look nice’ Bobby tells them. ‘Bobby, you better answer my damn questions -’ Wolverine warns the younger mutant, but Bobby responds by covering Wolverine’s mouth in ice, and replying that he doesn’t need to answer any of his damn questions. ‘I’m done being the nice man. The good man. I want more, Wolverine’ Bobby declares. ‘I want more. And I’ll take what I want’ he adds, his eyes glowing pink, he boasts that he will take this whole world and everyone in it. ‘It’s mine now. It always was. I just didn’t realize it’. Kitty looks horrified and tells Bobby to stop, before Warbird shoves her sword through Bobby’s chest and tells him that she is sorry, but that he has clearly lost his mind.

‘Warbird, no!’ someone calls out, but they all look on in shock, as they see Bobby stretch apart the hole in his sweater, revealing the hole that Warbird created in his body - only there is nothing on the inside except ice. ‘Oh my God. Bobby’ Opal utters. Bobby smirks and explains that he is trying to be someone else - that he is trying to be him, for once. ‘This is me. Finally’ Bobby claims as he covers himself in ice and increases his mass, towering over the others, and eventually, over the skyscrapers. ‘Iceman’ Bobby declares, while civilians look up in fear.

Huge icebergs start to appear through the city, breaking through cars and encasing buildings in ice, until eventually, the entire city is frozen in ice. ‘Okay, this is…’ Karma begins. ‘Amazing’ Warbird declares. ‘I was going to say… terrifying’ Gambit tells them. Wolverine steps forward, standing near Iceman’s massive feet ‘Bobby! I don’t know what’s wrong with you, but -’ Logan starts to say, as Bobby replies that there is nothing wrong with him, and he stands on Wolverine with his big toe. Bobby looks up to the sky, and grins, ‘I’m exactly who I want to be’.

Characters Involved: 

Gambit, Iceman, Karma, Kitty Pryde, Storm, Warbird II, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Opal Tanaka

Robert Tanaka


Black Widow & She-Hulk (both Avengers)

Various civilians



Hospital staff

Story Notes: 

Polaris, Kitty Pryde and Mystique appear on the cover to this issue in easily-recognizable costumes. The young woman behind Iceman is Cloud, a character from the New Defenders who Bobby was romantically involved with, until he learned that Cloud was also a boy. The two women in rather plain blue clothing are not so easily recognizable. The blonde woman is likely to be Bobby’s old girlfriend from the early days of the X-Men, the waitress Zelda, she even has ponytail style hair. It is probably not Darkstar, as she would have been drawn in costume. The woman with the dark hair next to Kitty could either be Opal Tanaka or Annie Ghazikhanian, but it is difficult to tell which, though the hairstyle points towards Opal.
Cloud hasn’t appeared since Fear Itself: The Deep #4 (and prior to that Star Masters #1 and years earlier in Solo Avengers #20), while Zelda has appeared in some X-Men: First Class stories.

Issue Information: 
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