Uncanny X-Men: Winter's End #1

Issue Date: 
May 2018
Story Title: 

Sina Grace (writer), Nathan Stockman, (artist), Federico Blee (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Joe Sabino (letterer), Javier Garron & Romulo Fajardo Jr (cover artists), Tom Raney & Rachelle Rosenberg (Skrulls variant cover artists), Ron Lim & Israel Silva (variant cover artists), Jay Bowen & Anthony Gambino (graphic designers), Danny Khazem (assistant editor), Darren Shan (editor), Jordan D White (X-Men group editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
Iceman created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

Iceman helps with relief efforts in a flooded Delaware, only to have an ungrateful human rant and rave at him. Not interested in listening, Iceman leaves and returns to the Xavier Institute, where he finds a birthday gift from his ex, Judah Miller. Bobby then comes across one of his students, Michaela, who was leaving a gift for him. Michaela then tells Bobby that she wants to leave the X-Men. Bobby repeatedly reminds her that she is a student, and tries to give her some encouraging words, before Oya finds them and ends their conversation, as Bobby leaves for his party, and tells the students that he will see them there. However, en route to the party, Bobby finds himself confronted by bearded icy figure called Ice-Master, who announces that he has returned from the future to warn Bobby of the darkness yet to come – as he doesn't want to be the reason this galaxy ends. At that moment in Greenwich Village, other members of the X-Men are already celebrating at Bobby's birthday party, Kitty has words with Angel, before noticing, to her horror, Bobby's parents the Drakes arrive, while the drag queen Darkveil hosts the evening and introduces Bernard the Poet to the stage. Back in Central Park, Ice-Master speaks cryptically to Bobby, before launching into his story about the end of the galaxy, revealing how Bobby and his lover, Daken, led the X-Men to comandeer a Shi'ar vessel, as Daken claimed the Shi'ar were going to overwhelm the Earth and lay waste to it. Daken's plan continued, as the X-Men battled the Imperial Guard, while Daken and Iceman confronted Deathbird and Erik the Red on a smaller ship. Daken then detonated the other ship, killing the other X-Men, before he and Deathbird prepare to depart through a portal to steal the M'Kraan Crystal, which had been Daken's plan all along – except Daken betrays Deathbird and kills her. Ice-Master attempts to stop Daken, but he is seconds too late. After listening to Ice-Master's story, Bobby tells his alternate self that his story is ludicrous, and that he needs to go back to his own time.  They begin to fight, each creating ice-golems to counter the others. During the battle, Ice-Master accuses Bobby of still not having full realization over his abilities. Back in Greenwich Village, Northstar and his husband arrive at the party, while Kitty tries to make the Drakes feel welcome. Christian Frost suddenly arrives, and announces that he has something for Bobby. Kitty isn't sure where he is, so Jean offers to go back to the Mansion and find him – and find him she does, proving to Ice-Master that he does have control over his powers and shows off some new skills he has learned. Ice-Master sees Jean and attacks her, blaming her for the hassles with the M'Kraan Crystal, and for exposing his secret. Jean defends herself against Ice-Master, confused as to what he is talking about, until Bobby coems between them, and tells Ice-Master that Jean has been dead forever and has no idea what he is on about. Bobby then turns to Jean and tells her that her time-displaced self did a very bad thing, and that he thought he could let it go, but he can't. Bobby informs Jean that her time-displaced self outted him. Jean reminds Bobby that when their time-displaced selves returned to their true time, they absorbed their memories, so she knows that. Bobby tells Jean that it wasn't okay – that ir needed to happen, but only when he was ready. Jean tells Bobby that she is sorry, before Bobby turns back to Ice-Master and tells him that he should be back in his own timeline trying to stop Daken, rather than coming here and blaiming him for this. He lists some things that Jean has done and is forgiven for, while wondering why he still gets blamed for things. He declares that he is done with self-hating and guilt-tripping and wants everyone to leeave him alone and let him live his life. Bobby tells Jean that he wants to celebrate his birthday, so they go back to Greenwich Village, where they find Christian waiting outside the cafe for them. Bobby talks to Christian, who gives him a check for a lot of money as a thank you for what he did for him. Once inside, Bobby begins to celebrate with his friends. As the night goes on, the heroic Pyro tells Bobby that he didn't get him a gift, and suggests they get together later, before Bobby goes and talks to his parents. Bobby motions to Ice-Master at the bar, which causes his mother to storm out, fed up with time travel. Bobby's father then gives him some surprisingly encouraging words. Bobby informs Bishop about the check Christian gave him, and reveals that he thinks he knows what to do with it. Jean asks Bobby if everything is okay between them, and Bobby tells her that they are okay. Accompanied by Ice-Master, Bobby pays a visit to the Morlock called Madin  who gives her the check from Christian, telling her to use it for the Morlocks. Bobby explains that he is going to set up an LLC so he can handle the disbursements of the funds. As Iceman and Ice-Master sled away, Ice-Master apparently dies. The next morning, as Pyro is still asleep in his bed, Bobby writes an email to Judah.

Full Summary: 

A flooded suburb in Delaware, where water has risen to waist-high, blocking home and forcing the locals into boats and onto rooftops. 'Just a few more boxes left...' Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman calls out as his large ice-golems assist by bringing supplies to the locals. 'When the trucks can't clear, Iceman's here! The golems are friendly and always happy to take a selfie!' Bobby calls out as he ice-sleds over the water. 'I overheard local news saying the flooding should clear by -' Bobby begins, interrupted when a brick is thrown at the head of one of his ice-golems. 'Hey, what gives?' Bobby shouts as he sleds over to a rooftop where a man is standing, waving another brick about. 'We didn't ask for your help, mutie!' an angry man shouts. 'You wanna come here from the big city and play the hero?' he asks. 'Next you're gonna move in and take our jobs, thinking some canned for was charity for -' the man shouts, when suddenly, Bobby turns and starts sledding away. 'Where the hell are you going? Mutie $#%& too chicken to hear the truth?' the man asks, waving his fists into the air. 'Spray invective somewhere else, man. I've got a birthday to attend' Bobby shouts back.

Central Park, New York, at the Xavier Institute for Mutant Education and Higher Learning, where Bobby has found some mail – a present from Judah Miller, a book by Dr Seuss, with a note that reads “Like it or not, your LA ex remembers things! I love this book and think it applies to kids of all ages. HBD, J”.

'Judah flippin' Miller... people really can surprise you' Bobby remarks to himself, when suddenly, he hears a loud bump. 'Who's there? I'm omega-level and have not time for games!' Bobby shouts as he rushes into the corridor, waving his book overhead. 'It's just me – Michaela!' the student Michaela Ladak calls out. Sheepishly, she greets Bobby, holding up a gift box she tells him that she was gonna leave his birthday present here and quit the X-Men. Bobby puts an arm around Michaela and leads her into a living room, reminding her that she isn't actually an X-Man, but a student. Michaela sits on a sofa and tells Bobby that she hates being a whiner, but she is getting nowhere – no matter what she does, she isn't making an impact here.

Bobby sits at the other end of the sofa and listens as Michaela tells him that everyone is ashamed to pick her for Danger Room training, that they call her “Spit Girl”. 'Would you team up with Spit Girl? The best I've done with my projectile saliva powers is use 'em to style my hair like this' Michaela exclaims. 'Ew' Bobby tells her, while Michaela asks him how it is that she speaks English, but people look at her like she is an alien. 'TBH it's just been SMH 24/7 y'know?' Michaela exclaims, exasperated. Bobby suggests to Michaela that she cut down on the abbreviations to start, and tells her that it is time for some Emma Frost-level tough love, because he would hate to lose her. 'We're a lot alike...and not 'cause we're the coolest ones here. It's because – like I did – you act like you don't matter' Bobby points out. 'Hey!' Michaela retorts. 'Truth hurts' Bobby remarks, telling Michaela that she has only known him at peak, but if she had met him a few years ago, she would know what he was talking about. 'He was in the background. Too scared to be counted on, bot be seen, to matter...' his voice trails off.

What's matter...?' a voice calls out. Bobby and Michaela look up to see Oya standing in the doorway wearing a yellow dress as she adjusts an earring. 'you said you had flats that would go with my outfit?' she reminds Michaela. 'They're more like kitten heels, Idie, if that's all right' Michaela replies, before handing Bobby the gift. 'Happy Birthday, Mister Drake' Michaela remarks, adding that she wishes it was more inventive, but this whole leaving the X-Men thing hit her in the feelings hard. 'You're not in the X-Men!' Bobby reminds her again as he accepts the gift, which is a snowman ornament. Bobby leaves the mansion and waves back to Michaela, thanking her for the gift. 'I'll see you at Java-a-Go -' Bobby begins, when suddenly, a dark cloud washes around him and a wind blows cold, as Bobby turns and sees someone standing before him: 'ICE-MASTER!' Bobby shouts as the bearded version of Bobby points at him and announces 'I don't have much time left...I've returned from the future to warn you od darkness yet to come. I won't let us be the reason the galaxy ends!'

In Greenwich Village, several members of the X-Men have started to gather at Java-a-Go-Go. Gambit sits in a booth with a coffee and smiles as Rogue and Storm talk nearby. Glob Herman is at another table, near to where Kitty Pryde asks Angel 'So, Angel, you and the original X-Men really used to hang here all the time?' Angel tells Kitty that they did. 'We'd come here to get fresh with our girlfriends before - ' he suddenly stops himself and folds his arms. 'Before things got so complicated?' Kitty asks. 'Good word' Angel tells her, before pointing out that they always find a way to roll with the punches. 'Don't use that word. There will be no punching' Kitty remarks, telling Angel that tonight they are the violence-free, good-vibes-loving X-Men where it's all family and no drama.

Suddenly though: 'William, doesn't this remind you of when we were young?' Madeline Drake asks as she and her husband enter the cafe. 'Hated beatniks then. Hate then now, Madeline' William mutters. 'The Drakes came...'

Kitty frowns, rubbing her neck. 'You jinxed us saying the word “family” Angel smiles. 'This can't get any worse' Kitty replies, as the green-haired drag queen wearing a blue and gold X-Men costume takes the microphone nearby and calls out 'Hey, X-cuties, Darkveil here. Lemme invite Bernard to the stage, here to grace y'all with some of his, uh... poetry'. Angel grins and turns to Kitty, telling her that she jinxed it again.

Back in Central Park, 'You're not really the me from a dark future timeline' Bobby mutters. 'You know I am. Your gut knows' Ice-Master replies. Cold energy glows around Bobby's fists as he apologizes for not having grown the beard out yet. Ice-Master's black cloak flows around him as he tells Bobby that he has gotten too far for the old back-and-forth banter. 'You can prevent a world of pain if you listen carefully' Ice-Master then tells Bobby that all the fighting he does – it doesn't lead to a better tomorrow. 'Quit now. Just stop' Ice-Master calls out, forlorn. He adds that Sweden and Switzerland remain neutral territories for decades to come, and suggests Bobby starts fresh. 'He was always bored. By Scandinavia. You'll be safe there' Ice-Master adds. 'He who?' Bobby asks, frowning. 'And when did I start talking like a narrator of a bleak serial killer podcast?' Bobby wonders. 'Still regarding everything with a joke... that's because it hasn't even begun yet'.

Ice-Master's Story:
Ice-Master announces that in his time, after they had met, things get bad – they always do – the X-Men always fight to see the light another day. 'There's even a chapter where I – we have a love that feels so real that it redefines every sense or feeling you had before. You didn't really question your lover and co-captain, Daken, when he said Deathbird was going to use the Sh'iar to attack Earth'. Aboard a space ship, Ice-Master and Daken fought alongside Banshee, Chamber and Colossus against Shi'ar warriors. 'That's the last of them, Bobby' Daken calls out as he knocks out the last of the warriors. The team was then more than willing to commandeer this Shi'ar vessel for intel, no questions asked. 'Does this ship work for you?' Ice-Master asks. 'Won't know 'til I take it for a ride' Daken replies, as he and Ice-Master embrace and kiss. No one questions Daken when  he turns on the charm.

Later, Ice-Master and Daken lie on a bed, their legs tangled as Ice-Master tells Daken that he still doesn't understand why they have to be so clandestine about this. Daken explains that they can't trust anybody, that there might be moles and shape shifters everywhere. Daken informs Ice-Master that the Shi'ar plan  to overwhelm them and take siege of Earth while they are at their most divided. He adds that he has been working every angle out for ages. Daken boasts that once they go back to Earth with this victory under their belts, they will be kings. 'Glory hound much?' Ice-Master asks, before enquiring why  the Shi'ar would have an interest in Earth again. Daken turns on a holo-projector that displays an image of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard. 'Just 'cause you've lived a long time doesn't change that I have about a hundred years on you' Daken replies, before touching Ice-Master's face and asking him to focus on getting some rest, as lack of sleep causes ice wrinkles. 'Yeah... I can't believe you want me in this form even when we sleep' Ice-Master responds. Daken smiles and tells Ice-Master that he loves him most like this. 'Plus, you know I run hot' he adds. But in truth, Daken wanted to keep telepaths out of their heads.

The next day went according to plan – there wasn't a single hitch. The X-Men – Daken, Ice-Master, Banshee, Colossus, Chamber, Kymera and Laura Kinney as Wolverine – gathered on the space ship's bridge as the approach the larger space ship. 'I'm itchy. Something feels wrong' Wolverine tells the others. 'You've got Brood crabs from the space sheets. Or nerves' Ice-Master tells her as their vessel connects to the larger vessel and the X-Men board it, although they find it very lightlyb guarded and take out the Shi'ar warriors erith ease, while Daken and Ice-Master sled off to another part of the vessel, where they find Deathbird and Erik the Red. 'After all these years, Deathbird, you couldn't leave Earth alone. And...Erik the Red?' Ice-Master calls out. Daken asks if gthe rest of the ship was sealed off once they got into this part, to which Deathbird tells him it did. 'Good' Daken replies, and instructs the ship command to detach. This part of the ship then separates from the rest of the vessel.

Once you buckle to Daken's charms, you won't know he has screwed you over until it is ten minutes too late – and once this part of the ship is a safe distance from the large vessel – the large space ship explodes! 'The team! Daken we've been -' Ice-Master' gasps, looking out the window, he sees the fiery explosion in the distance. 'You were perfect, lady' Daken remarks as he and Deathbird embrace and kiss. A portal opens behind them, and Deathbird instructs Erik, her other love, to handle the X-Man. 'With supreme pleasure' Erik replies as he lunges towards Ice-Master, firing a blast of energy at him, which Ice-Master blocks by creating a shield around himself. Daken smiles at Deathbird and tells her that once they step through this portal, the M'Kraan Crystal will be all theirs for the taking. Deathbird assures Daken that she has covered all her bases, and even altered the Shi'ar data stream so their coordinates for the crystal will send them straight to Xandae. 'Great. Let me take care of one last thing, then...' Daken smiles, before he shoves his claws through the shocked Deathbird's stomach. 'Sorry, honey. No queens on this chessboard. Just pawns' Daken grins.

After trapping Erik in a block of ice, Ice-Master calls out to Daken: 'You just had me send my friends into oblivion – for what?' he asks. 'Oh, babe...you really thought the son of Wolverine was happy pivoting to Mrs Iceman?' Daken replies. He extends his arms outwards and remarks that Ice-Master thinks he is the center of the universe, only to forget there is actually a whole universe to exploit. 'Send my regards to the surviving X-Men for being Earth's foremost experts on my key out of that sinkhole' Daken adds as he falls backwards into the portal. 'NO -!' Ice-Master shouts, firing a blast of ice towards Daken, too late, as the portal closes.

Ice-Master finishes his story by informing Iceman that having the Nexus of all Realities made Daken a Thanos-level player in the cosmos, and he acted as such. 'The bastard got the piece of the pile he was always after...and I let everyone down'. Bobby suddenly ices up and tells Ice-Master that what he is saying is absolutely ludicrous. 'It's been fun, but I think you should head back to your time now' Bobby suggests. 'Trying to convince you isn't my only option to keep you from messing things up!' Ice-Master responds as he and Bobby suddenly hurl ice towards each other, which clashes in spectacular display. 'I won't leave this world knowing you'll make my mistakes!' Ice-Master calls out. Their energy clash causes Bobby to fall backwards. Ice-Master then creates several large ice golems and asks Bobby if he doesn't understand that his little puppy dog optimism is what ends everything. 'You really underestimate me in this timeline' Bobby retorts as he gets to his feet, several ice golems at his side.

Iceman throws up a wall of ice as Ice-Master attempts to attack him again. 'Sorry, Ice-Master. But when you start talking about killing me to save the future, I gotta make decisions...' Bobby exclaims as he traps Ice-Master within a large ice block. 'Not dead just yet' Ice-Master calls out from within the block of ice, which he takes control of and frees himself. 'Little boy...you still act like you understand the limits of your powers' Ice-Master remarks as he suddenly emerges from an ice golem, surprising Bobby. 'Come at me when you can move your consciousness into a golem' Ice-Master suggests.

Back in Greenwich Village, Jean-Paul Beaubier a.k.a. Northstar and his husband, Kyle Jinadu-Beaubier are walking towards Java-a-Go-Go, as Northstar asks Kyle if he hasn't noticed how they only get invited out to group functions. He adds that they are lucky to already be in town for Senator Allen's speech. Kyle just tells Jean-Paul that Bobby has been busy, they all have. 'Sammy!' Jean-Paul exclaims as he enters the cafe and sees Cannonball. They high-five, while Kitty is talking to the Drakes. 'I just don't understand why the pink one can't wear a coat. He's already got a cap on' Madeline remarks. 'Glob's gonna Glob, Mrs Drake' Kitty remarks, before showing her and William to a booth. 'I've got to deal with some unexpected company' Kitty remarks as she sees Christian Frost enter the cafe.

'Christian Frost, you should not be here -' Jean Grey begins as she and Kitty go over to Christian. 'No, Jean, let me' Kitty interrupts Jean, she points at the door and tells Christian 'Get the %#&% out. Now'. Christian responds by telling the X-Men leaders that his sister Emma may be his caretaker, but that he doesn't do her bidding. 'I'd really just like to have a conversation with Bobby. I...have something for him' Christian claims, asking if he can at least speak with Bobby. Kitty informs him that Bobby isn't exactly here yet, so Jean offers to go check the mansion.

Back in Central Park, 'You learned some new tricks. I'll get there' Bobby tells Ice-Master as he reforms his body so that his stomach has a hole in it so that a blast Ice-Master fires at him can pass through. 'But like I've been saying – I've learned some stuff, too' Bobby announces as he watches Ice-Master transfer his own consciousness into several golems, effectively replicating himself. Bobby responds by releasing a wave of icy energy that traps every one of them in solid ice. The true Ice-Master soon breaks free from the ice, 'I won't let you disappoint everyone!' Ice-Master shouts, when suddenly, 'Bobby – who is this?' Jean Grey asks as she flies onto the scene. 'Jean Grey' Ice-Master scowls. 'How dare you show your facce here. We wouldn't have even known about the M'Kraan Crystal if it weren't for you. They wouldn't have known about my secret!' Ice-Master shouts, as he hurls shards of ice towards Jean, who throws a telekinetic force field up to protect herself. 'Always back from the dead. Always forgiven' Ice-Master mutters.

Jean looks over to Bobby and asks him what he's talking about, and what is going on here. 'YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID!' Ice-Master booms. Suddenly, 'STOP!' Bobby shouts as he makes a large ice wall rise up between Ice-Master and Jean Grey. Bobby turns to Ice-Master and informs him that Jean has been dead forever and has no idea what he is talking about. 'But I do, and i'll be damned if some other version of me is gonna get to say this to you' Bobby declares, turning to Jean who hovers above him. 'I'm afraid I know where this is going' Jean replies. Bobby tells Jean that time-displaced her did a very bad thing. 'I thought I could let it go, but because this guy brought it up...' Bobby's voice trails off, while Ice-Master cocks his head to one side and decides to stay out of this one.

Bobby informs Jean that when the time-displaced X-Men were here, teen Jean outed him. Jean drops down to the ground and reminds Bobby that when their younger selves were returned to their true timeline, they absorbed their memories, so she remembers what happened. 'That wasn't okay. It needed to happen...but it didn't happen on my terms. You took my power of choice away. I wasn't ready' Bobby tells Jean, who starts to tell Bobby that she is sorry, but Bobby throws his hands in the air and turns his back to Jean, 'It's muddy water under the bridge at this point' he remarks. 'Still' Jean replies. Bobby rubs the bridge of his nose and admits that he feels like this is all he has been dealing with for the past few months – the other X-Men absorb memories of a crazy time-traveling spring break, but in his spring break, he gets to come out of the closet in his teens, fall in a love with a beautiful boy and then willfully sacrifice it all to save the Time-Stream. 'Which brings me back to you...' Bobby shouts as he spins around to Ice-Master, icy energy glowing around his hands.

Bobby moves in closer to Ice-Master, 'Coming here, also telling me what to do with my life? So your faith got shaken, you messed up and let the bad guy win once. Why aren't you in your timeline trying everything to stop him?' Bobby shouts, waving a finger in his alternate version's face. Bobby turns back to Jean: 'This one over here tries to eat our solar system, and we shrug it off as her claiming her femininity. Her boyfriend gets catfished by a fricken' Goblin Queen clone of her and still puts a ring on it' Bobby shouts. 'Inaccurate, but I'm listening' Jean remarks, folding her arms. 'That husband then mind-cheats on her, sets off years of chaos with our sworn enemy as his new boo – and I forgive everyone involved. Everybody gets forgiven – everybody but me. Even this future me can't forgive himself!' Bobby exclaims, narrowing his eyes.

Bobby continues, clenching his fists, icy energy rises up around him and he shouts that he is done with this self-hating, Irish catholic guilt-tripping, inner-turmoil melodrama. 'I never want the timeline you laid out to ever happen. But even if I do somehow make your mistakes, just let me live my damn life!' Bobby shouts, before keeling over, exhausted from the amount of icy he has been expelling. 'Okay, fine – yeesh' Ice-Master mutters. 'Well... what now?' Jean asks. Bobby points out that it is his birthday, and declares that he wants to celebrate. 'It is?' Ice-Master asks, surprised. 'You can travel back in time but you can't remember your own birthday?' Bobby asks as he begins to ice-sled away from Central Park, with Jean flying alongside him. Ice-Master follows, pointing out that he is old and has lived for centuries, and adds that he doesn't have much time left. 'You know, we just closed out so many time paradoxes -' Jean begins, to which Bobby suggests they deal with that later, as this dude has talked his ear off.

As they drop down outside the Java-a-Go-Go, they find Christian Frost waiting for Bobby. Christian tells Bobby that he needs a moment, so Bobby tells Jean and Ice-Master to go on and he will catch up with them. 'I gather it's your birthday. Emma had only told me that I'd find you here' Christian remarks. 'Your sister is cute like that, with her half-truths' Bobby replies as he switches to his human form and stands in front of Christian. 'I'm not wanted. I get it. I'll be quick' Christian assures Bobby, as he hands him a check. 'What is this?' Bobby asks. Christian sips a cup of coffee and tells Bobby that it is a thank you gift, that his father's estate granted hiim some liberties with how to divest funds. Christian tells Bobby that Emma is used to living in other people's heads, but all he knows is his. He adds that his head still feels like a pit of echoes, and reveals that when he was in Bobby's mind, he felt so empty, but he filled that void with something Emma couldn't show him herself – hope. Bobby stares at the check in awe as Christian throws his coffee mug to the ground and declares that money is a great liberator as he turns and walks away, suggesting to Bobby that he use this to make whatever life he wants for himself. 'Thanks for helping me not kill myself' Christian adds.

Shortly, 'HAPPY BIRTHDAY!' Bobby's friends shout as they celebrate Bobby's special day. Several of the X-Men and their allies gather around including Jean, Nightcrawler, Rogue, Storm, Colossus, Kitty, Darkveil, Oya, Michaela, Genesis, Glob, Northstar and Kyle. Soon, Johnny Storm the Human Torch approaches Bobby, 'I wrote a little jingle about our bromance! I call it “A Song of Ice and Fire”' Johnny smiles as he strums a small guitar. 'Uh, Johnny...' Bobby replies, backing away. 'Can you bring back the young Bobby? I miss him' Genesis tells Bobby, who doesn't respond. Kitty goes over to Bobby and throws her arms around him, wishing him a happy birthday, she tells him that she spent two hours keeping his parents from asking everyone inappropriate questions. 'Kitty, I love you thiiiiis much!' Bobby replies, holding his arms out. 'You better' Kitty snaps back.

Simon Lasker a.k.a. Pyro approaches Bobby and hands him a drink, 'Figured you'd need this' he smiles. 'You're so kind' Bobby smiles. 'Well, I didn't get you a gift, so...' Simon remarks, before leaning into Bobby and uttering 'There's nothing serious to pursue between us, but if you want -', to which Bobby quickly tells Simon that he will go say hi to his parents then they can get out of here.

'How's your birthday been, baby?' Madeline asks Bobby as he sits down across from her. 'Can I be honest?' Bobby replies. 'We get a choice?' William mutters. Bobby tells them that firstly he was offering relief with the floods in Delaware, and got a brick thrown at one of his golems, then he spent the rst of the day fighting with an ice-wizard version of himself from the future, who tells him that he is the reason the entire galaxy is put in jeopardy. Madeline notices the Ice-Master sitting at the bar. She stares at him, and he waves at her. 'Nope, not dealing with any more of this time-travel $#%&!' Madeline declares as she gets up and storms away, almost crashing into Darkveil. 'Watch out, sis!' Darkveil exclaims.

William tells Bobby that parenting is a lot of learning on the job and constantly moving forward. He adds that nothing stops, that when it's time to sleep, you hope for the best that nothing is on fire. 'I'm not pregnant if that's what you're wondering' Bobby smiles. 'What I'm getting at is this – you dont do tomorrow like you did today right. You do tomorrow like you could have done todat better' William explains. Bobby smiles at his father and tells him that was vaguely comforting. 'Turns out the parenting advice I was saving for you applies to complicated X-Men drama' William replies. 'Dad said that...?' Ice-Master asks, surprised. Bobby tells his father that they should keep this conversation going, but that he has to go talk to his partner-in-crime real quick, and he goes over to the bar where Lucas Bishop is waiting for him.

Ice-Master is still sitting at the bar, and Bobby remarks 'I see you've met my future half, Bishop'. 'Not as chatty as you' Bishop replies, looking at Ice-Master. 'Thanks for honoring the dress code' Bobby jokes, as Bishop is wearing his X-costume. Bishop tells Bobby that he doesn't trust parties, and asks what Christian Frost was doing here. Bobby holds up the check and reveals that Christian was visiting as a good Samaritan, and that he gave him this check for helping him mellow out. 'Damn' Bishop mutters, looking at the check. Bobby tells Bishop that he wishes Professor Xavier were here, as he would tell him what to do. 'The Professor would tell you to stop looking to other people for answers you already have' Bishop states. Bobby suddenly exclaims that he knows what to do, and look over at Ice-Master: 'Hey, Old-Man Bobby... wanna go on a field trip, or do you need to head back to your time?' As Bobby and Ice-Master start to leave, Jean approaches Bobby and asks if they are okay. 'There's been enough explosion for one day. Consent to read my mind' Bobby tells Jean. 'Nike off-whites cost that much?' Jean replies as she connects with Bobby's mind. Bobby laughs and tells Jean that they are good, before excusing himself, explaining that he has one last thing to handle.

Later, near the catacombs where a faction of Morlocks live, the purple-skinned mutant called Madin is sitting on a large tunnel opening, singing in another language. 'That was so pretty, Madin. Did you just make that up?' Bobby asks as he sleds towards Madin, Ice-Master riding on the sled behind him. 'You're funny' Madin mutters, looking up at Bobby. 'I know you don't mean that' Bobby responds, before asking Madin if she is sure she is okay. 'Skin's purple, but I'm feeling blue' Madin admits, lamenting that things would have been better if she had gone to Sarah Lawrence. She rubs her skin and points out that she could be studying music, not tearing her skin open every night she uses her light blades – and her brother wouldn't be in jail. Iceman smiles and tells Madin to not regret fighting for what is right. 'How's this for a “What If”?' he then asks. 'What if I was able to help with legal fees, fundamental infrastructure, improvements to the catacombs and heck – college too?'

Bobby holds up a large mock ice-check and smiles, informing Madin that he got a ton of money for his birthday and he wanted to make things right by them – the X-Men and the Morlocks. 'You and me seem pretty solid as is' Bobby points out, before assuring Madin that this isn't the actual check. 'Bobby, what...this is all for us?' Madin asks, taking the large ice-check. Bobby explains that he can handle disbursements to keep the Morlocks off the grid, and adds that he is thinking of setting up an LLC in Delaware – the bane state of his existence – as that will make it easy to write off anything the Morlocks need without much fuss. 'Iceman, I...we...' Madin utters. 'Don't thank me. Thank Frostbite LLC' Bobby calls back as he sleds away on an ice-sled, deciding that he will sort out the name later. 'Well, still... thank you' Madin adds.

Bobby glances back on the ice-sled and tells Ice-Master that he isn't looking so hot – or cold. 'You okay?' he asks. Ice-Master reveals that he came here and thought this would be his last trip – that he would die, or that Bobby would kill him. 'Never thought you'd convince me...' Ice-Master remarks as his form suddenly begins to break apart. 'I'm dying. Never thought this trip would be a reminder...that you could actually change...' he utters. 'One-way ticket. Thanks for letting me end on a high-note' Ice-Master tells Bobby, before he vanishes completely. 'You're, you're – you're welcome?' Bobby replies, standing on his ice-sled under the night sky.

The next morning, the sun shines down on the Xavier Institue, where Bobby sits at the desk in his bedroom, tapping away at his laptop, while Simon's feet can be seen hanging off the bed as he continues to sleep. 'Ugh. Not even a whole day of this facial hair nonsense and I feel scratchy' Bobby mutters, deciding that he can shave whenever he wants. Bobby looks down at the email h has written to Judah Miller. A photo of Bobby and his time-displaced younger self sits on the desk.

The email reads:

Hey Judah,

Thank you for the gift! I read it in one sitting.

Actually, it's really good timing to hear from you. Remember my mini-me time-traveled self? We had to send him back, and... it sucks. I miss him, but what's weirder is that now I have his memories. On the one hand, I can now remember what it feels like to be in love – which is insane! But on the other hand? He's gone, and I know he now has to live the life that I had... it sucks.

Don't want to say no to any friends right now. If your offer still stands to be an ally to me, I'd really like that. Pinky swear I won't put you in any life-threatening danger.

All this is to say...I'm glad I met you.

Talk soon,


And with that, Bobby Drake smiles.


Characters Involved: 

Angel, Bishop, Kitty Pryde, Rogue, Pyro II (all X-Men based at the Xavier Institute)
Gambit, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Storm (all X-Men based at Searebro)
Cannonball, Colossus, Northstar
Genesis II, Glob Herman, Michaela Ladak, Oya (all X-Men students)
Kyle Jinadu-Beaubier
Christian Frost
Madeline & William Drake
Human Torch II
Bernard the Poet



in Ice-Master's reality:
Banshee, Chamber, Colossus, Daken, Kymera, Wolverine III (all X-Men)

Erik the Red
Shi'ar warriors

in photograph:
Iceman (time-displaced)

Story Notes: 

This issue takes place after Iceman (4th series) #5 and before Uncanny X-Men (5th series) #1.

This issue comes with an Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe entry on Shade/Darkveil, and reveals that their real name is Darnell Wade.

Bernard the Poet is a character who debuted in X-Men (1st series) #7 and made several appearances during the X-Men's early years.

Ice-Master is a character from the “Battle of the Atom” crossover.

Northstar mentions being in town for Senator Allen's speech, which can be seen in Uncanny X-Men (5th series) #1.

The young, time-displaced Iceman was revealed by the time-displaced Jean Grey to be gay in All-New X-Men (1st series) #40, while the present Iceman identified as gay in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #600.

The time-displaced X-Men were returned to their true time period in Extermination #5, and afterwards the present-day X-Men absorbed their memories.

Iceman refers to his younger self falling in love during his time in the present, presumably he is talking about the Inhuman Romeo who had a brief relationship with.

Madin refers to attending Sarah Lawrence. Her ambitions to study were revealed in Iceman (4th series) #1. Her brother was arrested in Iceman (4th series) #4.

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