X-Men Origins: Iceman

Issue Date: 
January 2010
Story Title: 
The Icy Beginning!

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (writer), Phil Noto (artist), Rob Steen (letterer), Daniel Ketchum (associate editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Madeline Drake witnesses her twelve-year-old son, Bobby, manifest his mutant power in the swimming pool at their suburban home. She and her husband, William, try to explain to Bobby that he is special, and that there are others like him. They warn him that he is going to have to be very careful for the rest of his life. Bobby starts to practice his power, eventually being able to turn into a man of snow and ice. At school he spends time with Judy Harmon. Both of them are subjected to the taunts of Rocky and his gang. Bobby and Judy start to plan to do something for Bobby’s birthday, while Madeline learns about a man called Charles Xavier. Bobby starts sneaking out at night, practicing the use of his powers, though he isn’t sure what for. He walks through town and sees Rocky and his gang harassing a waitress, so freezes the tires on their car. Bobby returns home and asks Judy to go to a movie with him for his birthday. After the movie, Bobby and Judy share a kiss, only for Rocky and his gang to approach them, and start harassing them again. To protect himself and Judy, Bobby uses his powers on the bullies, freezing Rocky and causing the others to run off, but Judy calls Bobby a freak and warns him that people will come for him. Bobby races home on an ice-sled, and distraught, confesses to his parents what happened. The Drakes decide to leave. But as Bobby starts to pack, police officers arrive, and they promise to keep Bobby safe, so Madeline and William hand Bobby over to the police. Protesters gather outside the jail where Bobby is being kept, while Scott Summers breaks into the jail and tells Bobby to come with him. Bobby resists, and they fight for a short time, until Charles Xavier appears and introduces himself to Bobby, explaining that he runs a school and wants Bobby to join the X-Men. Xavier explains that he has used his telepathic power to make everyone forget about Bobby having powers. Bobby agrees to go to the school, and says goodbye to his parents and Judy. He accompanies Xavier and Scott to the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters, and takes the name Iceman, the second of the X-Men.

Full Summary: 

Fort Washington, Long Island, a nice suburb, clean-cut, green, tidy. The home of William and Madeline Drake. Loving wife and mother Madeline is in the kitchen, ‘Hush little boy… da-da-dee… da-da-dum…’ she sings to herself while preparing some sandwiches. She then calls out to her 12-year-old son, ‘Bobby? Lunch, kiddo! Come on, enough - swim…ming…? Bobby?’ Madeline goes wide-eyed and her jaw drops as she looks up from the sandwiches and out the window, where she sees Bobby in the swimming pool, which is now complete solid ice, with Bobby trapped in it waist-down. ‘I… I don’t know what happened. I just thought it. And then… help! Help me, Mommy’ Bobby calls out, scared.

Later, night has fallen, and Bobby has been freed from the frozen pool. He sits on the edge of his bed, with Madeline and his side. His father William stands away from them, hands on his hips. ‘The first thing you should know is… you haven’t done anything wrong and this isn’t your fault, son’ William tells Bobby. Madeline tells her son that they have seen on the news, stories about other people like him. ‘Like me?’ Bobby asks. ‘Who can do things… like you do. Who are special’ Madeline explains. ‘What’s wrong with me? Tell me, Dad’ Bobby asks. William sits down beside his son and explains that the news calls these special people “mutants”. ‘Which, if you are, it doesn’t mean we don’t love you’ Madeline assures Bobby. ‘Because we do, Bobby. It just means… you’re going to have to be very careful… for the rest of your life’ William adds.

Later again, Bobby stands in front of a full-length mirror. ‘My name is Bobby Drake and I’m not like anyone you’ve ever met’ he thinks to himself. ‘I can do things no one else on the planet can’. He points at the mirror, sensing moisture in the air, he can feel the water and he freezes it - covering the mirror and part of the wall in solid ice. He clenches his fists and concentrates hard as he collects the sweat on his body, and literally turns into a man of snow and ice. He grins with pleasure. ‘Pretty cool, right?’ he thinks to himself. ‘Pretty amazing’.

Another day, at school, ‘Bobby? Bobby Drake? Earth to Bobby…’ a girl sitting across the table from Bobby smiles. ‘Sorry, I was just…daydreaming, I guess’ Bobby replies. ‘About what?’ the girl asks. ‘Nothing important, Judy’ Bobby tells her. Judy smiles and tells Bobby that he is getting introspective in his old age. ‘Old age, right. Just ‘cause it’s my birthday -’ Bobby begins, ‘Tomorrow, I know’ Judy interrupts, before asking Bobby what they are going to do to celebrate. ‘Uhm…’ Bobby begins, when suddenly a voice calls out: ‘Hey, Drake!’ Bobby and Judy turn to see a guy leaning out of a car window.

‘Rocky Beasley. God, I hate that -’ Bobby begins, before Judy calms him down. ‘Sweet girl you got there, Drake! You taking care of her?’ Rocky calls out. ‘Because if you aren’t, we’ll take care of her. All of us. Happily!’ ‘Woo-Hoo!’ he shouts as the car speeds off, with the driver giving a hand-signal out the other window. Bobby stands up, frowning, Judy tells him that it is okay, as they are idiots. Bobby’s fists are clenched, blue almost. ‘Hey, did you feel that?’ Judy asks, hugging herself. ‘What?’ Bobby asks. ‘It got cold all of a sudden’ Judy tells him.

Later again, Madeline sits on the sofa in her living room and watches the television, where the talk show host, Tom, introduces the audience to educator and mutant advocate, Charles Xavier. ‘There’s been a lot of debate recently about the so-called “mutant problem” -’ Tom begins, before Xavier interrupts him: ‘The words you’re using, calling mutants a “problem”…it’s reductive and dehumanizing, Tom. It’s the language of racism and oppression… I hate to say it, Tom, but you, yourself, are encouraging hatred and violence against the world’s mutant population’.
Madeline watches intently, ‘Do you know a lot about this man, Bobby? This… doctor, or whatever he is?’ she asks, but turning to look away from the television, she sees that Bobby has vanished. ‘Where did you go?’ Madeline calls out.

But Bobby is upstairs in his room. He climbs out the window, thinking to himself that ever night, there are reports about mutant-bashing, which is why he has started practicing, and he turns himself into ice. He slides along on an ice-sled, smiling, through the woods that he used to play hide-and-seek in when he was a kid. Now, these woods are where he hones his “special gift”, where he trains in the use of his power - though for what, he is not sure.

Shortly, the ice has gone from Bobby’s body, and he walks down a street, where hateful slogans have been spray painted onto buildings - “Kill all mutants” “Die, mutants, die”. Bobby narrows his eyes, and thinks to himself that Fort Washington is a nice, safe place - he knows that - but even here, he can feel it getting more and more tense. He walks towards Marie’s Diner, and sees Rocky’s car parked out the front. He sees Rock and his friends sitting in a booth, purposely tipping their food onto the table as they harass the waitress. ‘More dangerous’ Bobby decides. ‘Like the time for little gestures… is ending’. Bobby then uses his powers to freeze the wheels on Rocky’s car, and casually walks away, hands in his jacket pockets, whistling.

Bobby goes to a high point in the town and looks out over the suburbs, the lights from the houses shining in the darkness. He wonders about other “special” people like him - the other so-called mutants. ‘How many of them are there? And where? Living lives of fear and quiet desperation? Well, whatever. I’m not like them. Like the ones on the news. I’m not a freak. I’m not pathetic. I’m normal. I’m good-looking. People are jealous of me. People - people love me’ he thinks to himself. He returns home, and sneaks back into his bedroom through the window. He sits down at his desk and picks up the phone. ‘Judy? I’ve been thinking about my birthday. You know how they show old movies at the community center sometimes?’

Later, Bobby and Judy sit with some locals at the community center and watch a film. “We fought hard for this turf and we ain’t gonna give it up” the cast on screen calls out. “The war council or me!”. “I’ll let Bernado know. I’m not one of ‘em, Maria”. Bobby then casually yawns and puts his arm around Judy’s shoulders. “But you are not one of us, and I am not one of you”. Judy looks at Bobby’s hand, then smiles, letting him leave it wrapped around her. “To me, you’re all beautiful!”

Bobby and Judy leave the community center when the film finishes, but as they walk down the street, Judy asks Bobby to stop for a second. ‘Something wrong?’ Bobby asks her. ‘Nothing, silly’ Judy replies as she leans in and kisses Bobby on the lips. Bobby looks at Judy and tells her to listen to him. ‘Before we go any further, I have to tell you something about my -’ he starts to say, before a voice calls out ‘Well, well, well. Look who’s finally getting some action!’ It’s Rocky and his friends. They walk towards Bobby and Judy, and Rocky asks ‘Is that sweetness just for Drake, babe, or can we have some sugar, too?’

‘Bobby?’ Judy calls out nervously. Bobby tells her to get behind him, and he holds an arm out in front of her. ‘Sorry, Drake, you’re not my type’ Rocky declares, before ordering his friends to grab Bobby. They do so, while Rocky puts his arms on Judy. ‘Dammit, Beasley -’ Bobby shouts. ‘You don’t wanna do this, I’m telling you’ he warns the bully. Bobby can smell the alcohol on their breaths - they are drunk. ‘You’re telling me? You think you can back that up, Drake?’ Rocky asks, grinning. ‘Oh yeah - I can back that up’ Bobby replies, as he starts thinking cool thoughts, and two of the bullies who are holding onto him suddenly find their hands frozen over with ice. ‘How?’ one of them asks. ‘It’s Drake - Drake’s doing it!’ one of the others shouts.

Bobby knows that this goes against everything his parents taught him about hiding his powers - but these are desperate times. ‘Judy - down!’ Bobby calls out, as he fires a beam of ice at Rocky, and starts to freeze the bully in solid ice. ‘OMIGOD!’ Rocky calls out, then again and again, as he becomes trapped inside a block of ice. ‘You - you killed him!’ one of the other bullies exclaims. ‘Freak, you murdered him!’ another shouts, while the third suggests they get out of here. ‘No.No, he’s not - not -’ Bobby calls out, while Judy hugs herself and asks ‘Bobby… what are you? What did you do?’

Bobby suddenly realizes that it is over - the life that he knew - there is no going back. Bobby tells Judy that Rocky isn’t dead, as there is air trapped inside with him. ‘And once the ice around his body melts -’ Bobby begins to explain, while a wide-eyed Judy gasps ‘Oh, God - you…y ou’re one of them, aren’t you?’ Bobby reaches out for Judy, she can’t even say the word, as if it is dirty. ‘Judy, please, you have to understand -’ Bobby begins, but Judy pulls him away and tells him not to touch her, while calling him a freak. A look of despair falls across Bobby’s face. Judy’s words cut like a knife, stabbing him in the stomach. Judy begins to cry, ‘I’m sorry, but I just can’t!’ she tells him. ‘Ever be with you. Ever love you. Ever even talk to you again’ is what Bobby imagines she wants to say. Judy suggests to Bobby that he get out of here, as Rocky’s friends will tell people about this. ‘They’ll tell people, and they’ll come for you, Bobby’ she warns him.

Bobby leaves, streaking through the night on an ice-sled, back to the only place he has left. Bobby knows that in some places, in some small towns, mutants have been killed, lynched, by bloodthirsty, terrified mobs. ‘Mom? Dad?’ Bobby calls out as he opens the door. ‘Bobby?’ Madeline calls out, standing up from the sofa. ‘Son?’ William asks. Bobby rushes over to them and tells his parents that he did something tonight, something terrible. ‘Oh God’ Madeline utters, while William asks Bobby if he did it in front of anyone, if anyone saw. ‘I…I had to. They…they were gonna hurt Judy’ Bobby explains. ‘Oh my God, William…’ Madeline utters, while William tells his son that they have to get out of here, and instructs him to get upstairs and pack.

Bobby does as he is told, and starts to pack a suitcase. He remembers seeing a news report a couple of weeks ago about mutants - about how when they are discovered, most mutants kill themselves - slit open their veins or take whole bottles of sleeping pills, out of fear. ‘That is not going to be me. That is not -’ Bobby tells himself, before seeing a light flash outside. He goes over to the window, and sees police officers pull up outside his house. ‘Oh, my God’ he utters. Bobby rushes down the stairs, ‘Mom - Dad - it’s too late - they’re already here!’ he calls out, before suggesting that he can pull together a wall of ice around the whole house - but as he reaches the living room, he finds the police already in the house. ‘Mom? Dad?’ he calls out to them. Madeline tells her son that the police are going to protect him, that they have promised they are going to keep him safe.

‘Safe. Right… tell that to the mob outside’ Bobby thinks to himself sometime later as he finds himself in a jail cell. He creates a small ice-step so that he can peer out the bar windows, where he sees a mob rallied outside the jail, protesting against Bobby. Madeline and William stand nearby. ‘My God, William, they want to kill him! We shouldn’t have handed him over’ Madeline wails. ‘Over my dead body will they touch a hair on Bobby’s head’ William assures Madeline.
Suddenly, a bright red beam shatters open the wall to Bobby’s cell. ‘What now?’ Bobby wonders, turning, he sees a young man wearing a blue and yellow costume, with a visor standing in the rubble. He extends a hand to the frightened young man. ‘Oh, this can’t be good’ Bobby decides, while the new arrival tells him to hurry. ‘I’ve been on the receiving end of a pitchfork, and let me tell you - it sucks’.

‘I - I don’t know who you are, or what you’re after, but if you think I’m going anywhere with you, you’re nuts!’ Bobby replies. The man in the blue and yellow - Cyclops - sighs. ‘I told the Professor you’d be trouble’ he remarks, before firing a small optic blast towards Bobby. ‘This is for your own good’ Cyclops tells him. ‘Are you kidding?’ Bobby exclaims as he darts out of the way. ‘Something you’ll learn about me? I don’t kid’ Cyclops tells Bobby as he grabs him. ‘Hey, pal - do me a favor and cool it!’ Bobby replies as he encases Cyclops in a block of ice. ‘Ugh. Lame one-liner’ he thinks to himself, but at least his powers do their trick. ‘Nice try, Drake, but my optic blasts beat your ice any day of the week!’ Cyclops declares as he easily blasts his way free from the ice.

Backing out of the cell into the adjoining alleyway, Bobby tells Cyclops that he has never tried to freeze someone from the inside-out. ‘I wonder how it would work’ he remarks, when suddenly, he hears a voice inside his head. ‘That’s enough, young man’. ‘You jerk! We’re trying to help you, but if we need to get tough -’ Cyclops begins, about to fire another optic blast, when he also hears a voice: ‘You too, Scott’. Both Bobby and Scott turn to see Professor Charles Xavier enter the alleyway in his wheelchair. ‘I believe this evening doesn’t have to degenerate into violence. Further violence’ Charles tells the young men, while Bobby realizes that he recognizes this guy from television - the “mutant expert”.

‘Not just an expert, Bobby. I, too, am a mutant’ Charles reveals, explaining that he is a telepath who has just “prodded” the mob in front of the jail to disperse peacefully and forget all about young Bobby. ‘You…you van do that for real?’ Bobby asks, rubbing his head. ‘Can and did, my young friend’ Charles replies, adding that he sent Bobby’s parents home as well. ‘Why? What do you want from me?’ Bobby enquires. Charles informs Bobby that he has been tracking his development from afar for a while now, and that he is here to make him an offer. ‘I want you to join my X-Men’ he explains. Charles tells Bobby that he runs a school in Westchester County, for people with their sort of abilities - and Cyclops, Scott, is his first pupil. Charles informs Bobby that at his school, he will be trained, his powers honed and he will learn how to use them to fight against the people who would destroy them.

‘This is crazy. This is -’ Bobby thinks to himself, before telling the Professor that his Mom and Dad would never - ‘I mean, I can’t just leave them’ he points out. ‘Mama’s boy’ Cyclops mutters quietly. ‘Scott’ Charles scolds him, before informing Bobby that he would make it so that his parents know nothing about his powers. ‘So that they think you’re merely a student at my school for…I call them “Gifted Youngsters”’. Bobby knows that the Professor is telling the truth, he knows it in his heart, as insane as it sounds. ‘But if you do that, then…they won’t really know me, will they? My Mom and Dad? We’ll be strangers to each other’ Bobby points out. ‘You’ll learn, Robert, that sometimes… sometimes it’s better for our loved ones not to know’ Charles explains. Bobby looks sad, but he knows that the Professor is right. And decides that it is time his parents stopped living in fear, and he embraced what he has been preparing for all these years. ‘You said something about the “X-Men”, Professor? What’s an “X-Man”?’ Bobby asks. ‘My dear boy…you are’ Charles smiles.

All that is left then, is for Bobby to say goodbye. Firstly to his parents, who are now suddenly, completely unaware that he is a mutant. Charles and Scott wait by the car as Bobby and his parents spend their last moments together. Then, to Judy, who doesn’t remember about Rocky attacking them or what came after, and then, as they pass a sign that says “Now leaving Fort Washington. Come back soon”, Bobby says goodbye to the life he knew. ‘Bob? Earth to Bob-oh!’ Cyclops calls out as he drives the car. ‘What, Summers?’ Bobby snaps. ‘For the record? What you’re feeling right now? It’ll pass’ Scott assures Bobby.

But for Bobby, it doesn’t pass, it just becomes something else, and soon they arrive at a sprawling mansion. ‘Wow. This is… I mean, wow’ Bobby utters as he gets out of the car and looks around. Scott offers to give Bobby a tour, but Charles suggests that Bobby explore the grounds himself - as Iceman. ‘Isn’t that what you were thinking?’ Charles asks. Looking somewhat sheepish, Bobby replies ‘Maybe. I don’t know. Yeah. I guess’. ‘By all means, then, do’ Charles tells his new student. Bobby smiles and thinks cool thoughts - he is not afraid. He switches into his Iceman appearance, and takes off on an ice-slide to explore. Scott smiles and tells the Professor that Bobby really moves on that thing. Charles smiles and remarks that this is an historic day for them. ‘Where there was only one… now there are two’ he points out.

Very shortly, Bobby has created a huge ice-slide across the grounds of the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters. Bobby smiles, and thinks to himself ‘My name is Bobby Drake and I’m not like anyone else you’ve ever met. Or maybe I am. I’m a mutant. And, I guess, soon to be an X-Man. Whatever that is’….

Characters Involved: 

Bobby Drake / Iceman

William & Madeline Drake

Judy Harmon

Rocky Beasley and his friends

Professor Charles Xavier

Tom, the talk show host
Local civilians
Police officers

Story Notes: 

Though it is not made clear in the story, some time must pass between Bobby discovering his powers in the pool and the scene at school with Judy, for in the next page Madeline appears, but her appearance has changed, now sporting shorter and darker hair, while the layout of Bobby’s room has also changed.

The film that Bobby and Judy watch at the community center is “West Side Story”.

This story is consistent with Bobby’s origin as revealed in the back story in X-Men (1st series) #44-46.

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