Iceman (3rd series) #6

Issue Date: 
December 2017
Story Title: 
Champions Reunited, part 1

Sina Grace (writer), Robert Gill (artist) Rachelle Rosenberg (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Joe Sabino (letterer), Kevin Wada (cover artist), Mike McKone & Rachelle Rosenberg (variant cover artists), Michael Ryan & Nolan Woodard (based on the original cover to Champions #1 by Gil Kane & Dan Adkins) (lenticular variant cover artists), Jay Bowen & Anthony Gambino (graphic designers), Chris Robinson (assistant editor), Darren Shan (editor), Mark Panicca (X-Men group editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

Iceman has reunited with Angel, Hercules and Ghost Rider in Los Angeles, where they used to operate as the Champions, to mourn the loss of the Black Widow. After lamenting the fact that their old headquarters had become a gym, they go to a bar, where they share their memories of their first time meeting the Black Widow, except for Iceman, who claims his is too embarrassing. Darkstar finally arrives after experiencing a very bad series of events on her way, before joining her former teammates in their grief. Iceman and Angel go to the Hollywood sign, where Angel confides in Iceman that he is worried he is becoming detached, and doesn't want to lose the part of him that is still alive. They notice trouble in the  suburb below the Hollywood sign, and when they go in for a closer look they discover a woman tinkering with a Sentinel. She explains to them that it is just a prop. Iceman fires shards of ice into the Sentinel head, upsetting the woman. The next morning, Bobby goes shopping, and after texting Kitty and reminiscing about his time in LA, he joins a long line of people waiting to get into a store to buy some shoes. Bobby starts reading a book called “Born This Gay” which is noticed by a handsome man who starts talking to Bobby, amused by Bobby's innocence. He introduces himself as Judah, and he offers Bobby insights and tips. Offering to give him a crash course on “stuff” he asks Bobby to meet him at a club later that night. Bobby texts the rest of the Champions who are out and about, before informing Judah that he and his friends are keen – and that his friends are superheroes. At the same time, the woman with the Sentinel head is revealed to have a lot of Sentinels, and thinks that a video of her Sentinels fighting X-Men would go viral and attract investors. Later, in a bar called Den of Gay Dudes, Bobby is very nervous, but his friends give him encouragement. He finds Judah and they start to dance, before kissing. Bobby wants to leave the bar with Judah, but trouble arrives in the form of Leti's Sentinels. Bobby engages the Sentinels, and assembles the Champions!

Full Summary: 

Los Angeles, 'This is criminal. As if we couldn't get crapped on any more... seriously, this is $%&#' Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman exclaims as he holds up a photograph of the founding Champions – himself, Angel, Ghost Rider, Hercules and the Black Widow – while standing outside the original Champions' old headquarters in downtown LA. 'Maybe it's Black Widow's death that's got you twisted, Bobby... but is this really that big of a deal?' Johnny Blaze a.k.a. Ghost Rider asks as he, Warren Worthington a.k.a. Angel and Hercules stand in front of what is now a gymnasium. 'I thought you were the Spirit of Vengeance, Blaze... this requires major scorn!' Bobby exclaims. 'Our old Champions HQ is a fricken' gym. All of it'. Angel points out that Bobby is really letting this get to him, to which Bobby exclaims that it is wack, as they were local heroes, and now, their building is a fitness franchise.

Hercules points out that Bobby is grieving in his way, and adds that to quell his own pain, he punched rocks. 'We all have our methods, Hercules' Angel remarks. Bobby looks over at the gymnasium and tells the others that he had it all planned – they were going to pour one for the Black Widow on the roof. 'I've been keeping a flask of vodka chilling in my bum pocket all day' Bobby adds. 'No comment' Blaze declares, and when Bobby asks his former teammates what they will do now, Blaze reports that he has an idea.

A couple of hours later, 'A demon, an angel and a Greek god walk into a bar...' Bobby jokes as he, Hercules, Angel and Blaze sit down in a booth within a bar. Hercules carries a large pitcher of beer, while Bobby holds a short glass, Angel a martini glass and Blaze a bottle of beer. Angel laughs at Bobby's joke, before Hercules asks them if they remember the first time they met the Black Widow. 'To be so close to a warrior upon their death... I am perplexed that my memory fails me' he admits. 'Huh?' Blaze asks. Hercules explains that he has no recollection of his first encounter with the Black Widow, but their first fight as Champions is as clear as an amber glass of mead with sunlight pouring through. He remembers battling Cerberus alongside the Black Widow, and wonders when he first met her.

Angel hangs his head and remembers seeing the Black Widow and Daredevil atop a rooftop as he flew through the city. He tells his companions that it wasn't the first time the Black Widow met him, but it was the first time he saw her, going across town and there they were – she and Daredevil made a really good case for rooftop canoodling.

Blaze knocks his drink back and reports that he is pretty sure Champions was when he really got to know the Black Widow. He pauses and confesses that this not remembering business is stressing him out. He then turns to Bobby and asks 'What about you?'

 Bobby looks down at his drink and tells his friends that he would rather not say. 'Does your memory vex you, lad?' Hercules asks, leaning across the table. 'Yeah, come on. Spill' Angel smiles, leaning across the table as well. 'It's embarrassing' Bobby claims, closing his eyes. 'We've seen you do gymnastics in ice underwear. It can't be that bad' Blaze remarks, before asking Bobby if the Black Widow caught him “on the john”. 'I hate you guys so much' Bobby mutters, when suddenly, someone across the other side of the bar shouts an expletive.

'I'm sorry I'm late!' Laynia Petrovna a.k.a. Darkstar calls out as she strides across the bar towards her former teammates. 'At last! Darkstar! Welcome!' Hercules calls out to the beautiful blonde mutant. Darkstar snatches Bobby's drink and declares that she barely gets back into Earth's orbit and has to find civilian clothes. She takes a breath to knock back Bobby's drink, as Bobby smirks and quietly calls out 'That's mine...'  Darkstar explains that she made the stupid decision to take normal transportation here. Hercules moves out of the booth so that Darkstar can slide in between him and Angel, as Darkstar frowns and tells them 'This stupid city's stupid traffic gets worse and worse and I am sitting in this cab wondering “Why didn't I fly”?' She adds that now she is late, dressed like a simpleton and angry about the most human, mortal thing on Earth – traffic. Darkstar hangs her head and asks 'This is how I honor my comrade – by revelling in the banal nature of mortality. I can't do anything right' Darkstar tells the others. The men all put a comforting hand on Darkstar's shoulders or hands, and Bobby tells her that they get it.

Later, Bobby and Warren are sitting on the Hollywood sign as the evening turns to night. 'To Black Widow... to the Champions... to everything changing for the worse! Except for the new Champions. That's actually a pretty sick line-up' Bobby remarks, before taking a swig from his flask of vodka.

Warren turns to Bobby and tells him that he needs a favor, revealing that he has been scared lately, about feelings. 'Story of my life' Bobby replies. Angel looks out over the city and explains that he is becoming detached, that Natasha's death barely registers. He wonders if he is becoming numb because he has seen so many wars and deaths, or whether he is shutting down. Warren tells Bobby that he doesn't want to lose the part of him that is still alive. 'Please, make me laugh. Give me a deep belly laugh' Warren asks. 'Hmmm... you're putting me on the spot, Flyboy' Bobby replies, before pausing, then holding out his finger and asking Warren to pull it. 'You will die alone' Warren tells Bobby, before asking him to tell him about the first time he met the Black Widow.

Suddenly, Bobby tells Warren to look down there, in the hills.”I don't wanna talk about my parents. I just wanna  fly to Los Angeles now with your miles, Warren. I don't wanna talk about when I met Natasha. I just wanna drink on your tab, Warren” Warren quotes Bobby mockingly. 'Deflect much?' he asks. 'No, for real. Look' Bobby tells him, pointing down the hill. 'Do you see what I see?' Bobby asks. Warren pauses, and doesn't say anything 'What?' Bobby asks. Warren replies that he is trying to figure out if this is an elaborately lame play on a knock-knock joke. But Bobby reminds Warren that he has known him for, like, 200 years, and boasts that he is better at set-ups than that. He tells Warren to look south and west. 'Oh... trouble' Warren realizes.

In the backyard of a nearby residential home, a woman is working on the mechanics of a Sentinel that lies motionless in the yard. 'Four more weeks... tunnel vision. Leti. It'll all work out in less than 30 days. Get these bad boys to walk and It'll all turn around' the woman tells herself as she tinkers with the mutant-hunting robot. She closes her eyes and tells herself that there will be no “small jobs” or “side gigs” ever again – she just has four more weeks until she has a full-fledged aboveboard business. Suddenly, 'Ahem' a voice calls out. Leti drops the part she was holding and looks up to see Iceman on an ice-sled and Angel hovering above her. 'We need to have a talk about the Sentinel in the room' Bobby jokes.

'Oh my God, it's the Angel and Silver Surfer!' Leti exclaims, asking them to stay there as she needs to wake up her daughter. 'What? That dude is made of smooth chrome, and I'm blocky ice... we look nothing alike!' Iceman protests, but Angel tells him that this is not the time. Iceman slides closer to Leti, while Angel swoops down and tells her that she is building an instrument of hate. Leti swears to them that it is not functional, and that it is just a movie prop. 'I don't care!' Bobby shouts as he releases several large ice-spikes at the Sentinel head. 'NO!' Leti screams as she dodges the ice-spikes. 'Sorry. We're having a bad day' Bobby tells Leti as he turns and starts to ice-sled away from her yard. Warren is already flying overhead, and Bobby tells Leti that there is no excusable reason to have that garbage in her yard. 'This was my best sculpt... flippin' X-Men... where did they come from?' Leti wonders.

The next morning, Bobby walks down a brick path between public gardens and some buildings, and he receives a text message from Kitty Pryde, asking him how they are all doing out there, and whether Warren is okay. Bobby texts back and informs Kitty that they are okay, and that it is nice to share a suite with brooding Warren, as he has needed the quiet time. He then texts her that this trip is weird, as he thought coming back to LA would be a breath of fresh air, would maybe bring about some peace after Natasha's death. He remembers battling Swarm, and texts Kitty that he is just reminded of a lifetime of dumb decisions, and adds that he can't believe he let Professor Xavier pay to have him come here and pursue accounting. Bobby texts Kitty that they were all talking last night about the fun they had as Champions, and wonders what it was for, as he was just a dumb kid that everyone teased. Kitty's next message is brief: 'What's the TL;DR here, Bobby?' indicating that she didn't read his messages because they were too long. Bobby responds by texting her that he doesn't know, and that he can't tell if he is any different, or still the idiot student who runs around trying stuff on to see what fits.

Bobby sees some shops up ahead, and walks into a bookstore, wondering if a scholastic approach has some value, and wonders why he doesn't try and work towards being omega-level at life. After buying some books, Bobby leaves the store and walks down a sidewalk, where he comes to a line of people outside a clothing store. 'Do you ever wonder if maybe you LA folks are feeding into lines as a weird way to lull you into putting up with traffic?' Bobby asks as he joins the end of the line. 'Like, half of your days are spent waiting in line, for groceries, to get into a club... and now, to buy shoes!' Bobby exclaims. He adds that where he is from, it's “go, go, go” to which a man sitting on a folding chair tells him 'Whatever, man. Beats paying double on eBay'. Bobby decides that he may as well make the most of this time, and pulls out one of the books he has purchased: “Born This Gay”.

A handsome man in a red shirt stands behind Bobby and tells him that he has some casual reading there, before asking if there is a chapter called “How to drown out your parents' screaming” or “How to tell your straight guy friends this doesn't mean you want to hook up with them”. Bobby turns to the man and asks 'Do I know you? You're getting real personal, real fast'. The man shrugs and tells Bobby that it is LA, and that they are all fake nice here. He then asks Bobby if he is an actor and is reading antiquated books to get into a role. 'Cuz you could be one – arms 'n' all. And I'd be an idiot trying to flirt with a straight actor' the handsome man remarks. 'Does that work here? “Are you an actor”?' Bobby replies. 'That's one of the many things I can teach you that a book can't' the man declares. 'Yeesh' Bobby mutters. 'What?' the handsome man asks 'I've never been on the receiving end of my bad pickup lines' Bobby tells him. As they walk into the store, the handsome man asks Bobby if it is working. 'Let's see if I get any real insight from you -' Bobby begins, as the man introduces himself as Judah, to which Bobby then introduces himself.

Shortly, at the checkout counter, Bobby asks Judah if hanky code is still a thing. Judah tells him that, in a sense, it is, but more for novelty, as smartphones killed the necessity for discreetly advertising your kinks in public. 'Kinks – do I need to have them?' Bobby asks. 'No kidding, you really are new to this' Judah remarks, to which Bobby tells him that he doesn't need a stranger making him feel bad for this. 'It's not like you know what I've been through -' Bobby begins, so Judah quickly tells him that he meant no judgment, and that it is still shocking that a guy like Bobby hasn't got two boyfriends on each coast. 'Yes, I am a babe' Bobby replies, before adding 'Now you know my MO about heavy life stuff. The other book in my bag is called “Grief: Here today, Still Here Tomorrow”!'

When they reach the checkout operator, Judah tells Bobby that he is funny, before asking the operator if they have a size 12. 'He got the last one' the operator replies, referring to Bobby. 'What?' Judah exclaims. 'Aw, that's what you get for being pushy with straight actors' Bobby smiles. They leave the store, and Judah, empty handed without purchase, tells Bobby that he thinks this is a blessing. 'Why's that?' Bobby enquires, and Judah tells him that now he is getting a free pair of shoes from a cute guy. 'I repeat: Why's that?' Bobby asks. Judah smiles and tells Bobby 'You need a crash course on stuff” and a bunch of friends are meeting up in West Hollywood to drink at AWOL. I'm sure one sociology-laden evening with me will be worth at least two pairs of shoes in book purchases you'll never have to make. How's that for insight?' Judah asks. Bobby pulls out his phone and tells Judah to let him see what his crew has got planned tonight.

Bobby then sends a text to Angel, Hercules, Darkstar and Ghost Rider, informing them that drinking and mourning is cancelled, as he has been asked out on a date. He adds that this is surreal and that he wants them all to be his wing people. He asks them not to say no, as he is terrified. He wonders if this could be a trap and asks them to text back ASAP.

 In Korea Town, Angel lies on a massage table and tells the massuer to work his wings, as they are all knotty, while picking up his phone when he gets the text message. 'Apologies!' Laynia exclaims when her phone beeps as she looks around the Getty Museum. 'This better be our pizza guy' Blaze remarks to another Ghost Rider, who is busy changing a car tyre, as Blaze looks at his phone, and in Malibu, Hercules is slamming his fist into the side of a cliff on the beach. 'My loincloth! It vibrates with vigor! Oh, it is just the mobile device'.

Bobby smiles at Judah and tells him that they are in. 'Oh, and not to humble-brag... but all my friends are super heroes. Is that okay?'

Meanwhile, at a warehouse in the Valley, Leti groans as she drags a large Sentinel hand across the warehouse floor. Sentinel parts can be seen throughout the facility, as someone tells Leti that she is going to break her back. The other woman asks Leti why she is killing herself all of a sudden, as she thought they weren't shooting the sizzle reel until next month. Leti calls her Daisy and tells her that the timetable has changed a bit. 'You're hella serious today' Daisy points out. Leti connects the hand to a computer console and tells Daisy that she realized there is an opportunity that they can't miss, and that it might be enough for a new effects house to post a video of real Sentinels walking around to get Hollywood talking, but maybe it is not. 'What if we had a video of them fighting X-Men? That would go viral so fast, and we'd have real investors with clean money -' Let exclaims, but Daisy tells her that she is cutting a lot of prep time, and they don't have a skeleton crew ready. 'Seriously, Dizzy, I'm done building parts for third-rate super villains' Leti declares, boasting that with these spare Sentinel parts she got from her last gig, she can make a fresh, clean start to make them a legit prop and effects company. She adds that she will take the chances, do anything to get their lives back to normal – anything.

That night, in West Hollywood, at the club called Den of Gay Dudes, Bobby is wearing a blazer over a t-shirt and heans, and asks 'I look good, right? Like, not too basic, not too weird?' he asks as he, Warren, Herc and Laynia stand on a walkway in the middle of the club. 'You look like a generally handsome man. You're fine' Warren tells Bobby, while Hercules tells him to relax, and that heis one of the finest warriors of this realm, so these men should bow at his feet and offer themselves in reverence. 'You're making me miss cable dramas with that talk' Laynia remarks. Bobby suddenly grins and waves across the club: 'There's my date! That's Judah!' Bobby exclaims. 'We couldn't tell' Warren smiles, whiler Laynia asks why Blaze isn't here. 'He's dealing with parking' is the response, as outside, Johnny parks his motorcycle, while some leather-clad men look on.

Bobby and Judah embrace, as Judah asks Bobby why he is on time. 'You said nine!' Bobby replies. Judah explains that in LA, that means half-past ten. 'Punctuality is a shocker here' Judah adds, before asking Bobby where his friends are. 'Drinking. Yours?' Bobby asks, pointing to the bar where Laynia, Herc and Warren are all holding a drink and looking across the club at Bobby and Judah, watching them. 'Dancing! Let's!' Judah replies as he grabs Bobby's hand and drags him onto the busy dancefloor. 'Uhhh – comfoty zone' Bobby utters as he and Judah start to dance. Judah tells Bobby to relax and soak in some of his breezy Cali vibes. Blaze joins the others at the bar and asks 'Where's the man of the hour?' 'Making first contact' Laynia smiles, pointing across the club.  Judah runs a hand across Bobby's stomach as Bobby remarks that he doesn't know who leads. 'It doesn't work that way. Do what feels right' Judah smiles, adding 'If it makes you feel better, I'm using moves my Mom taught me from my bar mitzvah'.

'This is my first time dancing with a guy... I'm doing pretty good, right?' Bobby asks, his hands around Judah's waist. 'Yes. You're a certified gay now' Judah tells Bobby, who asks if he gets a card. 'Enamel pin' Judah jokes. They move closer together, holding hands, Judah asks Bobby how he is feeling about trying for a first gay kiss. 'Only one way to find out' Bobby smiles back, as they lean in, arms wrapped around each other and kiss. When they pull away, both Bobby and Judah are smiling. 'Thoughts on kissing men?' Judah asks. 'Net positive. Gotta get used to the stubbly... also, strange observation: A lot of the girls I've kissed would sort of fall into me. You kissed back, hard' Bobby remarks, adding that he talks a lot when he is nervous.


Judah announces that he has an idea, and as he and Bobby look over to the edge of the dancefloor, they see Hercules, holding up a pitcher of beer and smiling at them. 'Is it one that doesn't include my friends watching my every move?' Bobby asks. 'Cuz that's not weirding me out in the slightest' he adds. 'For as mellow as I'm trying to seem about Hercules being your wingman – we're gonna have a long talk about who your other super hero BFFs are later – I'm sick of this “let me be your teacher” you want to head to my place so we can, y', and stuff?' Judah smiles. Bobby smiles back and asks Judah if he is all right leaving the party life. 'Cuz I'm amenable to that' Bobby adds.

Bobby and Judah walk up a flight of steps from the dancefloor as Judah explains that he only agreed to meet his friends tonight because he needed an easy way to see Bobby again, and adds that bars are like Disneyland – he has got maybe two visits a year in him, that's it. 'That's about as often as I get out. If we're not doing X-Men stuff, we usually just play an unhealthy amount of baseball to unwind' Bobby replies. Judah laughs and asks Bobby to let him close out his tab and then extricate himself from the social group. Bobby grins and tells himself to play it cool, and not to try and impress Judah with his powers – when suddenly, there is a mighty lough KOOOOOM!

Outside, more KOOOOOM! noises resonate, as several Sentinels make their way through West Hollywood. 'Attention! All mutants must surrender willingly. Forceful measures will be enforced' one of the Sentinels announces, while footage is filmed on a mobile phone by Leti. More Sentinels arrive and Leti tells herself that this looks so good – a random swarm of Sentinels, attacking helpless tourists and party goers on the hunt for mutants. 'Eep! Inflicting a little property damage along the  way' Leti realizes as one of the Sentinels stands on a car. 'C'mon, Iceman...I know you're here somewhere... how long do these guys have to walk around before the X-Men signal goes up?' Leti wonders as she continues to film the Sentinels, while some civilians nearby run for their lives. 'You're harshing my buzz! There aren't any mutants here!' one of the civilians calls out. 'Failure to comply noted. Swift action required' the Sentinel replies, turning its attention to the civilians.

'No! Don't attack any civilians!' Leti calls out, before the Sentinel fires a blast – thankfully, Iceman appears, and ice-sleds towards the civilian, pulling him to safety. 'No frets allowed, I got you' Bobby grins. 'NOTHING CAN STOP THE ONSLAUGHT OF THE SENTINELS! Not even you, Iceman!' Leti shouts as she continues to record the Sentinels, while Iceman darts around them on his ice-sled, freezing the hand of the Sentinel that raises its hand and attempts to blast Bobby. 'I have a strong feeling that I am a match, natch. But backup's on the way' Bobby calls out, remarking that he is just the only one who doesn't overheat by wearing his costume underneath the civies. 'And speaking of my friends...' Iceman grins as Hercules! Darkstar! Angel! Ghost Rider! Appear behind him, ready for battle, Iceman shouts 'Champions – ASSEMBLE!' He then looks a little puzzled and calls out 'Champions – emerge! Champions – fight things... we need to sort out a catchphrase!'

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Darkstar, Ghost Rider II, Hercules, Iceman (all former Champions)



Ghost Rider VI


Daisy & Leti




Shop assistant



In photograph:

Angel, Black Widow, Ghost rider II, Hercules, Iceman (all founding Champions)

In Hercules' memory:

Black Widow & Hercules


In Angel's memory:


Black Widow & Daredevil


In Iceman's memory:




Story Notes: 

The Black Widow was killed in the Secret Empire event.

The original Champions formed in Champions (1st series) #1, and Darkstar joined the team in Champions (1st series) #11. The Champions comic was cancelled with #17, and the team was shown to go their separate ways in Peter Parker, Spectacular Spider-Man (1st series) #17. The briefly reunited, sans Darkstar, in X-Force / Champions Annual '98.

Darkstar's last significant appearance was in Darkstar & the Winter Guard #3, the issue of her resurrection. Since then, she has made brief cameo appearances in Amazing Spider-Man (1st series) #676, Secret Avengers (1st series) #35, Fantastic Four (1st series) #643 and Monsters Unleashed #2.

Although not referenced this issue, Darkstar is one of the women that Bobby has previously had feelings for, as chronicled during the original Champions series, and occasional mentions thereafter.

Darkstar can also teleport, which leads one to wonder why she simply didn't teleport to Los Angeles.

Although not mentioned this issue, Darkstar and the Black Widow teamed-up post Champions in Marvel Comics Presents (1st series) #70.

The Champions fought Swarm in Champions (1st series) #14-15.

Although not referred to in this issue, Hercules is bi-sexual, having slept with Northstar [mentioned in Hercules: Fall of an Avenger]. Coincidentally, when Northstar first joined the X-Men, he had a crush on Iceman, who identified as straight at that time and did not reciprocate Northstar's feelings [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #415].

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