Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #64

Issue Date: 
September 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 Iceman shifts his body into a massive ice giant, the X-Men do what they can to talk him down, and save civilians that are in his way. Gambit kinetically-charges Iceman’s ankle, causing him to fall over, enabling Kitty to phase into his body, where she unsuccessfully attempts to purge the Apocalypse death seed from Iceman. However, the heroes do buy some time as Iceman all but melts. Wolverine and Gambit visit the imprisoned Dark Beast, who explains how he put the death seed into Iceman during their recent inter-dimensional adventure. He doesn’t tell them whether it can be removed. As the world goes into an ice-age, people are trying to cope with their new reality, while Iceman goes to visit his bigoted father. They argue for a time, while Iceman’s mother tries to calm them down - only Iceman freezes his father’s heart, giving him a heart-attack, he then leaves on an ice-slide. Mystique visits Iceman in the cave where he is keeping Polaris and Annie Ghazikhanian prisoner. They talk about survival, and the real Bobby Drake - this is only one of his clones, who explains that Iceman loved Mystique once, but that soon he will never be capable of loving anyone again. The real Iceman appears, and places Mystique in an ice-bubble, before rising up on an ice-tower, far into the atmosphere. They look down at the Earth below as they discuss power. The X-Men, Opal and her son take refuge in one of the churches, and discuss how Iceman has changed, and their need to remove the death seed from him. Suddenly, Thor arrives, demanding to see Iceman. Taking the form of a dragon, Iceman attacks Thor and seemingly swallows him. The X-Men leave the church and are confronted by Mystique and dozens of Iceman clones. Wolverine is taken out of the equation quickly, while Thor breaks free of the Iceman-dragon - but starts to get overwhelmed again, although he does manage to summon a lightning bolt. Iceman finds Opal, who tells him that if he doesn’t stop this, he will kill her son, and he is all she has. Iceman reminds Opal of how she previously lied to him about the boy, and starts to surround her in ice, while demanding to know whether he is good enough for Opal now. However, Thor escapes his hold, and casts his lightning bolt through Iceman, before shattering his form with his hammer. Opal collapses, but as Thor walks over to Iceman’s remains, Mystique shoves an ice-spear through him, walks over and picks up the death seed - and swallows it!

Full Summary: 

New York City, completely blanketed in a thick covering of ice, as Bobby “Iceman” Drake, towers over the city. ‘Come on, Wolverine! Ready to peel yourself out of my footprint?’ Iceman asks. ‘Show me what you’ve got!’ he shouts, while Wolverine a.k.a. Logan tries to slice away at the ice.

The alien called Warbird slashes at the ice with her swords and remarks that the ice shards are as sharp as razors. Wolverine tells her that there is nothing she can do here except get cut to pieces, and asks her to help Karma get the civilians to safety.
‘Already got that covered, guys’ Xi’an Coy Manh a.k.a. Karma announces as she mentally controls some civilians, instructing them to run.
Atop a building, Kitty Pryde tells Bobby that he has to stop this. The massive Iceman smashes the side of a building and asks Kitty if she is disappointed. ‘I thought you might appreciate the new me. Bigger and stronger than Piotr, wouldn’t you agree? Or are you missing my sensitive side? BECAUSE I CAN GIVE YOU THAT!’ Bobby shouts.

Pink energy glows from inside Bobby’s chest, and he tells Kitty that he can give her anything she wants. ‘You can’t imagine the power inside me. I’ve never felt so alive’ he adds. Kitty tells Bobby that she doesn’t think he understands what is inside of him. ‘But it has nothing to do with living’ she points out. Remy “Gambit” LeBeau stands near Iceman’s massive feet. Releasing kinetic energy onto one of them, he tells his friend that he is sorry. Gambit then runs away, as the kinetic energy explodes, shattering part of Iceman’s foot and ankle. Iceman screams and starts to topple backwards. Kitty makes herself intangible and floats towards him. Entering him through his chest, she “swims” through the ice, moving closer to the glowing pink energy. ‘What… is that? That light… it’s pulsing like a heart…’ she thinks to herself, before reaching out to touch it - she screams.

Bobby cries out, and Kitty falls out of his body, while Bobby collapses to the ground, his form dissipating as he melts into water that starts to flood the streets. Wolverine rushes over to his friend and calls out to her, but gets no response as she lies motionless on the snow.


‘Bobby. You go next. Your ice has had some effectiveness against the monsters’ Dazzler tells Iceman, while the Age of Apocalypse’s Nightcrawler and the Dark Beast stand nearby. Dazzler’s associates and Prophet are also present. ‘Here we go…’ the Age of Apocalypse Nightcrawler cries as he starts to teleport himself and Iceman, but the Dark Beast lunges forward, ‘Not without me!’ he snarls, grabbing Iceman, who struggles to break free, but the Dark Beast slams his hand, where a small ball of glowing pink energy sits, on Iceman’s back.


‘Tell me what you did to Bobby Drake, McCoy’ Wolverine demands. ‘Why, Wolverine, what makes you think I did anything to him?’ the Dark Beast asks, sitting on the toilet in his prison cell. Wolverine reminds the villain that he had a fragment of the Apocalypse power in his hand before he stole a ride back to this universe, only when he arrived, it was gone.
The Dark Beast reminds Wolverine that they have had this conversation before, and explains that he lost it in the jump. ‘You lied’ Wolverine declares, adding that back in that hellhole, the only thing keeping it from burning through McCoy’s hand was Bobby’s ice, as ice made that power sleep. ‘So I don’t think you lost the fragment, McCoy. I think you just stored it somewhere, for later. Right inside Bobby Drake’.

The Dark Beast smirks, ‘You’re no fun, Wolverine’ as he looks up from the newspaper he is reading. He adds that, under normal circumstances, he would continue to prevaricate, but prison, dare he say it, has made him a new man. ‘I have better things to do. And I’m doing them right at this moment’ he adds. Gambit and Wolverine frown at the Dark Beast who admits that he did stick a fragment of unmentionably terrifying power inside Bobby Drake’s back. ‘And the results… are proving to be quite fascinating’ he adds. ‘Wouldn’t you say, Gambit? Or did you ever manage to rid yourself of the unfortunate second personality that Apocalypse embedded in you?’ He gets no response.
Wolverine puts a hand on Gambit’s shoulder, and declares that they already know Bobby is not himself - what they need to know is how to fix it. He asks if the fragment can be removed, to which the Dark Beast grins and replies ‘Well, sonny… I guess we’ll just have to find out’.

A news announcer informs viewers that live reports from New York City are difficult at this hour, as power is out across three states and the President has declared a state of emergency for the entire Eastern Seaboard. Two men are trapped in ice, while elsewhere, a family huddles into one bed, as the announcer states that officials are urging people to stay in their homes, while millions are stranded on roads, at work and in airports, the sudden onslaught of snow and ice making travel impossible. Elsewhere, people are trapped inside the lobby of a building, and are attempting to chisel their way out. The announcer reveals that few experts still consider this to be a “natural storm”, while some are in fact calling it an act of terrorism. The She-Hulk and Thing are escorting school children to their bus, as the announcer reports that stories are trickling in from Manhattan about a giant figure made of ice who appeared at the same time as the deep city freeze.

A river ferry has come to a standstill, stuck in the frozen river, while a man nearby has carved a hole in the ice and is fishing through the small hole, as the announcer asks if this is just the result of panicked hallucinations from the storm, or whether they are looking at the face of a new, unearthly enemy? Thor hovers near the frost-covered Statue of Liberty, while the announcer concludes ‘One thing is for certain… if the snow and ice doesn’t soon melt, here and across the world… humanity will be facing a true apocalypse’.

Meanwhile: ‘Hey, Dad’ a voice calls out. William Drake looks up from where he is shoveling snow on his drive, to see Bobby. He asks him what he is doing here, and Bobby replies that he came to see if he needed help. ‘What… the big super hero making time in his busy schedule to lend his old man a hand shoveling snow?’ William asks, frowning. He reminds Bobby that he didn’t even call his mother on her birthday. ‘So save it, I don’t need anything from you’ he tells his son, before suggesting that if he does want to help, he can start by clearing the driveway, as he fell into a drift this morning and almost suffocated. ‘No, you didn’t’ Bobby replies. ‘What was that?’ William asks. ‘You didn’t “almost suffocate”. You didn’t even fall. I was right there with you’ Bobby explains.

Bobby continues, telling his father that he was in the snow all around him, just like he is in the snow and ice and water everywhere in the world, at this exact moment. ‘Children in Santo Domingo throwing snowballs at each other… a fox walking on a frozen lake in Wyoming…I can see it all, Dad. I’m filled with it. Like… I’m a… god’ Bobby declares, glancing away. ‘Hey, God. Stop being a jackass and help me clean this driveway before I break my neck’ William tells Bobby, throwing a snowball at his face.
Bobby’s mother, Madeline walks out of the house, ‘Bobby? Is that you?’ she calls out, while Bobby wipes the snow off his face, ‘Dad - after all these years… why? Why couldn’t you ever just… accept me? Not one choice… not one thing I ever did… were you proud of’ Bobby tells his father.

‘This again?’ William snaps. ‘How many times have we had this conversation, son? Nothing changes, does it? You don’t like my choices, I don’t like yours. We live with it. We don’t whine’ William declares, adding that he is surprised Bobby even bothered coming here today. Madeline steps between her husband and son and asks them not to fight.
‘I bothered… because I wanted to give you one last chance’ Bobby tells his father, his eyes suddenly glowing pink. William moves closer to his son, ‘One last chance at what? Being your father?’ he demands, before telling Bobby that it doesn’t matter what kind of freak power he has got, or how far he runs, he has only got one father. ‘Hate it all you want, but that’s me’.

Bobby starts to ice-up, ‘You’re right. I’ve only got one father… and I don’t need you anymore’ he declares as he grows ice wings, and William suddenly starts clutching his chest. Bobby takes his leave on an ice-sled, while Madeline calls after him, ‘Bobby! Help him!’ she exclaims. ‘No’ Bobby responds. ‘You… you’re doing this… to me…’ William struggles to say. ‘You had a cold heart already, Dad. I just made it even colder’ Bobby responds casually. Madeline calls out to her son once more, but gets no response, while William collapses in her arms. ‘Bobby!’ Madeline shouts.

Just outside of the city, Mystique a.k.a. Raven Darkholme stands on an iceberg and gazes out at the whiteness around her. In an ice-cave, Lorna “Polaris” Dane and Annie Ghazikhanian are motionless, wrapped in sleeping bags, while Iceman sits and watches them. Mystique enters the cage and asks if Lorna and Annie are still unconscious, to which Iceman tells her that it is easier that way, as there is no time to fight them or answer questions. ‘Oh, poor you’ Mystique mutters, before telling Iceman that he is quite a bit like Bobby, always avoiding conflict, no matter how much of an ass it makes him. ‘I have no idea what you’re talking about. Avoiding conflict is survival’ Iceman replies, adding that he is Bobby, part of him, anyway, as his mind protected itself by creating them, and placed them in all the parts of himself that will need to survive what he is going through right now. ‘And what’s that? A midlife crisis? The world as his little red corvette?’ Mystique asks.

‘Death’ the Iceman clone responds. Moving closer to Mystique, he adds that Bobby Drake is dying, that the man he was, his soul, he is being eaten alive and he doesn’t even know it. ‘So what?’ Mystique enquires. Iceman kisses her, then pulls away, reminding Mystique that Bobby loved her once, genuinely, without reservation. ‘That doesn’t have to matter to you… but it mattered to him’ Iceman points out, adding that, pretty soon though, he won’t be capable of loving anyone ever again, as Bobby Drake will be dead inside, and when that happens, the whole world will die with him. ‘Ice, forever’. Mystique stares back and replies ‘I hope you don’t think I can save him’. Iceman moves away on an ice-slide, ‘No. I don’t know who can’ he replies. ‘So we run. We hide. The parts of him that are still Bobby Drake. The parts that don’t want to die… and that don’t want the ones he loves to die’.

Raven folds her arms and asks ‘Why are you so certain he doesn’t already know we’re here?’ The Iceman clone replies by asking Mystique how many memories she can recall at any given moment. ‘How much have you forgotten about your life, or even the last hour?’ He adds that they are an idea that slipped away, and they keep slipping away. ‘He won’t notice -’ the Iceman clone begins.
Suddenly, there is a cracking noise, ‘You were saying?’ Raven asks as she, the clone, and the still unconscious Polaris and Annie are raised on a massive hand by Iceman, whose torso towers over the icy land. ‘No! Listen to us! It doesn’t have to be this way!’ the clone calls out, but Iceman declares that he is done with them - with all of the voices of his past. ‘Even me?’ Raven asks. ‘Mystique’ Iceman declares, before Raven tells him that she likes his new look.

‘But it’s missing something. Me’ Raven smiles. ‘Is that so? You have nothing I need, Mystique’ Bobby replies. Bobby surrounds Mystique in a bubble as she tells him that he has the world in his hands, true, and that he might kill this world before long - bury it in ice and snow. ‘But what then?’ she asks. ‘What’s the use of power… of being a god… if you’re all alone?’ Iceman asks Mystique if she wants to be his companion, lover, friend or fawning sycophant. Iceman to the sky on a spout of ice, his massive form holding Mystique in the bubble as she tells him ‘Never’ and that she wants power, the same as him. ‘I want power over those left behind. I want that dance, that taste - just once - of what it feels like to be part of something absolutely, beautifully monstrous’. But Iceman reminds Mystique that there won’t be anyone left behind.

‘No. You’ll stop before you murder them all. Because there is one thing I know about you, Bobby Drake. You hate being alone’ Mystique tells him. They reach the atmosphere, and still standing on the very long spout of ice, Bobby gazes out at the blue globe beneath him. ‘Bobby…you’re amazing’ Mystique utters. ‘I almost believe you mean that’ Bobby replies. ‘Believe it’ Raven tells him, hands pressed up against the bubble as she stares below in awe.

‘He’s not the Bobby we knew. We have to accept that. The Apocalypse power corrupts the soul. Doesn’t matter how good you are, or how strong. You change to suit its mission - and that’s to kill’ Logan tells the others as they gather in a church along with stranded civilians. ‘Logan…you act like there’s no hope’ Kitty tells her friend. Logan explains that unless they can get that thing out of Bobby, he doesn’t think there is any hope. Wolverine remarks that Bobby is freezing the planet like it is an ice cube, and they are all going to die, and he won’t have to lift another finger. He can wait them out until everyone dies of the cold or starves to death. ‘We don’t even have a way to find him’ Logan adds. Karma is on the phone to her younger brother and tells him to stay at the school with his sister, as they are better off there. Kitty is sitting next to Opal, while her son rests on her lap, and Kitty tells everyone that there has to be a way to get through to Bobby.

‘I don’t care what kind of power is inside him… he’s still our friend. He has to remember that’ Kitty adds, while Opal quietly remarks that she doesn’t think friendship will be enough. Kitty asks if that nut, the Dark Beast, had any suggestions, to which Gambit, who is playing with his deck of cards, replies that in the other universe, a machine was used to extract the Apocalypse power. ‘He said he could build it. So we’re letting him try’ Gambit reveals.
Karma informs Kitty that the Dark Beast is at Hatchi Tech right now, with SHIELD agents guarding him. ‘Uh-huh. That’s the worst plan ever’ Kitty declares, to which Gambit points out that there is no such thing as a good plan right now, and adds that Bobby won’t just sit back until they are all dead - he will want to prove a point, push it in their faces. Gambit adds that Bobby has got too much anger in him - anger at them, and some part of him feels betrayed.

‘Please don’t do that’ Karma remarks, while Kitty exclaims ‘Betrayed? We’ve never betrayed him!’ Only Gambit tells her to grow up, as they are a family, and families hurt each other all the time. ‘Trust me, I know that better than you’.
Suddenly, there is a massive BOOM! BOOM! Coming from outside, and Warbird turns her head to the high windows in the church. Outside, lightning crackles, as Thor shouts ‘ROBERT DRAKE!’ Wolverine and Warbird rush to the church entrance and look up. ‘Aw, hell. When I called the Avengers, I wanted the sane ones to come’ Wolverine mutters. ‘Thor commands thee to -’ Thor shouts, when suddenly, a burst of ice, resembling the head and neck of a dragon moves forward and devours Thor.

Dozens of Iceman clones start rising from the snow, ‘Overwhelming odds, Wolverine’ Warbird remarks. ‘You love it’ Logan tells her. ‘But I don’t’ Gambit mutters as he joins them outside. Mystique appears amongst the Iceman clones, ‘What are you -’ Wolverine starts to ask her, but Mystique coughs and tells Logan to shut up, raising a hand she points at him, and one of the clones blasts dozens of shards of razor-sharp ice at him, knocking him backwards. ‘Wolverine!’ Gambit shouts while firing some kinetically charged playing cards at one of the clones. Warbird slices her sword through another, while Wolverine tells Gambit to worry about himself. ‘Take care of the -’ he starts to say, before Logan finds himself trapped in a solid block of ice. ‘There. Much better’ Mystique smiles.

At Hatchi Tech, the SHIELD agents are also frozen in a block of ice, while the Dark Beast is working on the machine. ‘Oh my’ he utters as the ice creeps up around him.

Only the tallest skyscrapers remain with floors not covered by ice. Iceman in his ice-dragon form swirls up around the church, before Thor smashes his way free with his trusty hammer. ‘Fight all you want, Thor. Rage at me with your fire and light’ Iceman adds as he wraps more ice around Thor, telling him that it will not save him. Thor summons more lighting, to no avail. He goes wide-eyed as he sees Iceman loom over him, ‘Can you feel it, Thor? Can you feel your blood freezing? Your heart stiffening? Your brain turning to ice?’ Suddenly though, ‘Bobby! Stop this!’ a voice calls out. Bobby returns to his regular size, but with his ice-wings still, and exclaims ‘Opal? How dare you?’ as he traps her feet in ice. ‘When I think about what I felt for you… it disgusts me. I was so weak, then. So pathetic. You are nothing to me, Opal. This world is nothing’. Arms folded, Opal looks Bobby in the eyes and tells him that if he doesn’t stop, he is going to kill her son. ‘Robert is all I have’ she adds.

‘You once told me Robert was my son, too. But that was a lie’ Iceman reminds Opal. Opal glances to the ground and tells Bobby that she is sorry. ‘Sorry? Do you understand how devastated I was?’ Bobby asks, as he starts to wrap ice around Opal. She holds herself, freezing, and explains that she realized she couldn’t rely on Bobby, so she thought it would be easier for everyone, especially Robert, if Bobby wasn’t in his life. ‘I wasn’t good enough for you, was I? Am I good enough now, Opal?’ Bobby shouts, when suddenly Thor declares, ‘Have at thee!’ as he breaks out of Iceman’s form, smashing him to shards of ice. Opal is freed from Bobby’s trap, and collapses to the snow, while Thor stands on the ground where Bobby broke.

Thor hangs his head, when suddenly, a large ice spike is shoved through his chest, and he falls to his knees. ‘Oh, how the mighty fall’ Mystique remarks as she walks past Thor, and picks up a small glowing ball of pink energy. ‘And how power in small places can rise…perfectly, delightfully, monstrous’ Raven adds as she smiles, then swallows the Apocalypse seed….

Characters Involved: 

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



Opal Tanaka

Robert Tanaka

Annie Ghazikhanian

Madeline & William Drake

Dark Beast

She-Hulk & Thor (both Avengers)



SHIELD officers

In Flashback:



Dark Beast

Nightcrawler, Prophett (Age of Apocalypse)

Captain James Howlett

Corporal Scott Summers

Story Notes: 

Iceman was infected during the X-Termination crossover event.
Gambit was the Horseman of Apocalypse called Death in X-Men (2nd series) #183-186.

William and Madeline Drake last appeared, in continuity, in X-Men Forever (1st series) #1.

Iceman was told that Robert was his son in the second Iceman limited series.

Issue Information: 
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