Astonishing Iceman #2

Issue Date: 
November 2023
Story Title: 
Out Cold, part two

Steve Orlando (writer), Vincenzo Carratu (artist), Java Tartaglia (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Travis Lanham (letterer), Tom Muller & Jay Bowen (designers), Jesus Saiz (cover artists), Ejiwa “Edge” Ebenebe; Junggeun Yoon (variant cover artists), Jay Bowen (production), Drew Baumgartner (assistant editor), Mark Basso (editor), Jordan D. White (editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief)

Iceman created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

Years ago, Bobby Drake used his powers to protect himself and his date, Judy, from bullies like Rocky. But the bullies retaliated and stormed Bobby's home when his parents were at home. Today, Bobby's childhood home is under attack again, this time from the Elements of Doom, employed by Orchis to capture the elusive Iceman. The Element of Doom called Helium has trapped Bobby's mother, Madeline Drake, while various others torment other parts of the town, including a school, and the mayoral office, occupied by former bully Rocky, now the city's mayor. In his ice-palace at Antarctica, Bobby talks to Romeo about how his empathy brought him back, before they learn of the attack at Bobby's childhood home. Bobby leaves, and Romeo remains in Antarctica to continue to act as Bobby's anchor. While Helium continues to hold Madeline Drake prisoner, Bobby arrives at the school, where he rescues several students, before visiting the mayoral office and saves his former bully, Rocky. Bobby is able to save his mother from Helium, before Helium launches an all-out assault on Bobby. Romeo tries to latch in on Bobby to help keep him stable, while Bobby turns himself into an ice-spire, launching Helium into space, where he casts him out into the depths of space in a chunk of ice. Bobby returns to Earth and is reunited with his mother, who apologizes to him for not reaching out to Bobby following the death of his father. They hug, before bobby melts away. Romeo's love enables Bobby to return to Antarctica. Meanwhile, Agent Pequod of Orchis enlists the assistance of Mister Clean in Orchis' efforts to eliminate Iceman.

Full Summary: 

(Years ago)

Fort Washington, Long Island, where Judy Harmon screams 'BOBBY!' as Bobby Drake blasts Rocky Beasely with some ice, freezing him in place on the sidewalk. Bobby tells Judy that it is all right now, that Rocky won't bother them anymore. 'What did you do to Rocky? What's happening? Where's your skin? You're just ice – get away from me!' Judy cries out as Bobby approaches her. Judy looks anxious and tells Bobby to stay back and not to touch her. 'But Judy, I did it to save you! Those thugs were going to -' Bobby begins, while Judy runs away as several others run after her, one of them shouting 'He covered Rocky with snow! He just tossed it from his hand!' to which another points out that he froze Beasely solid with some sort of mutant powers. 'Anyone with that kind of magic at his disposal... must be destroyed! They exclaim.

Later outside the Drake home, a crowd has gathered. 'We got no beef with you, Mr Drake! We want your son!' one of them shouts. 'Can't risk this happening again! That boy has to be locked up!' another calls out. William and Madeline Drake appear at a window. William holds a baseball bat and warns the crowd that anyone who wants to harm his son is going to have to go through him to do it. 'If that's how you want it, Drake! Come on, man... let's get that FREAK!' someone shouts as they smash the front door down, knocking William aside. Bobby is another room, covering his face with his hands, 'They're like wild animals, crazed with fear...' he utters to himself, while a voice can be heard on the other side of the door: 'Come on, fellas! He's in here! The mutiev trash!' They begin banging on the door. 'Don't try no funny stuff, boy!' one of them shouts. 'We're wise to your magic tricks – and they ain't gonna save you!'


Fort Washington, Long Island, where the neighborhood is a mess. A fire rages, smoke fills the air. One street has broken ground, trapping people. Vapor fills the air nearby. Madeline Drake has found herself lifted into the air by a strange being who grins at her and tells her that time is up, that this town has cheated justice for too long, and Orchis are limp diplomats. The creature announces they are Sapien League soldiers. 'To humans, guardians – the elements of life. To mutants – the elements of death' the creature declares, before introducing itself to Madeline, the woman who gave the world Iceman, as Helium the Unfreezable Man, the Chief Element – and her filthy son's executioner. 'You people unleashed Iceman on us all. On decent humans. You could've stopped him – you didn't'. Helium declares. Suddenly, 'Iceman? You think we want him here?' an angry man shouts nearby. Helium tells Madeline that she is the lure, that either Iceman will die saving her, or they will all die instead – the price for sheltering mutants. 'Guess the Sapien League didn't hire you for your brains. These people didn't shelter my son – they tried to kill him!' Madeline declares. 'Not hard enough' Helium responds while keeping Madeline suspended in the air above the town.

At that moment, another of the Elements of Doom arrives in the office of the Mayor – Rocky Beasely, and tells him that he heard he was tough on mutants, while Rocky looks on in confusion.

Meanwhile, in Antarctica, within the ice-palace created by Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman. 'I told you we'd figure out a way to keep warm' Romeo remarks as he and Bobby lay snuggled together under a large fur blanket within the ice-palace. They kiss, and Bobby replies 'When you're right, you're right' before telling Romeo that he wishes he knew what his was. Bobby pulls away from Romeo, who reminds Bobby that he almost died, and that his empathy is an emotional anchor that keeps him solid physically. 'I've even got a sleep projection that tells me how you're holding up when you're out' Romeo adds. 'Right. You're my lighthouse. My glue. Doesn't that sound like a commitment?' Bobby asks. Rome pulls the fur up around him as he gets off the bedL 'I love you. I pulled you back from the brinnk of death. That's not enough?' Romeo asks. 'It should be. I'm trying to go with it. But out in the world...I can barely stay in one piece. I can't control my own body. So maybe I'm just looking for some control. Putting a label on this might help' Bobby explains. 'I know what it is, Bobby – exactly what I need right now. And what I hope you need -' Romeo starts to respond, when suddenly, Romeo appears in pain as he detects something. 'What is it – a new spike?' 'A big one. Get the war room!' Romeo responds.

Shortly, Romeo has dressed and he and Bobby stand before a holo-projection of Earth. Romeo tells Bobby that emotional fronts cover Earth, like weather – fear, hate and panic, and he senses the spikes, so this war room helps focus his power so he can track them. Energy radiates from Romeo as he informs Bobby that it is coming from Long Island. 'You grew up there. If I know, so does Orchis' Romeo utters. “Grew up” Bobby quotes, telling Romeo that is one way to put it. 'Kids attacked me and my girlfriend. I fought back. Used my gifts. But Judy – I terrified her. People ran me out of town. My father's gone, but my mom...she's still there' Bobby remarks. Romeo reminds Bobby that Orchis is dying to lure him out, as he is their primary target, so this has to be a trap. 'So what? When I saw what I was, I had no one. Someone could be in town, right now...feeling the same wat. I'm going. And if it is a trap? I'll put it on ice!' Bobby retorts as he opens two large doors to his ice palace and then slides away on an ice-sled. Romeo hangs his head, and tells Bobby that he will be watching. 'Stay focused. Stay cool. I'll hold you as long as I can. But you... you damn well better come home' Romeo smiles.

Back in Fort Washington, several of the Elements of Doom have rounded up civilians, while Helium continues to keep Madeline prisoner. 'Why would the Sapien League send you here? This town didn't raise Iceman – I did! I'm his mother! You want to punish someone? Punish me -' Madeline begins, before screaming as Helium grins and pushes the air from Madeline's lungs, while his elemental militia lays ewaste to Madeline's neighbors. The other Elements of Doom flood the town hall with poison and set schools ablaze. 'Lost children don't bother us. Our compassion was cut in a recent upgrade' Helium states. Helium boasts that the Elements of Doom have a fiery need to protect humans from mutants and their allies, and warns Madeline that if Iceman doesn't show himself, then they will all be killed. 'Such is the penalty for aiding and abetting a mutant in his crib' Helium informs Madeline, before remarking that if Iceman does come, then he will die. 'What can your fake god of a son do...against an unfreezable soldier?'

'Is it me? Or was it getting a little hot in here?' Iceman smiles as he arrives at one of the schools that were set ablaze and covers the flames in ice. Several students look on, and Iceman tells them not to worry about the Elements of Doom. 'Synthetics!' he exclaims as he knocks on one of the ones which he froze. 'Solid as a rock. They're going nowhere' Bobby announces. 'But you're Iceman! You're why they wanted to hurt us – they said so!' one of the students calls out, pointing at Iceman. Bobby tells the students that they can't hurt them now, not anymore. 'But I do have a mission for you. Want to hear?' Bobby asks, before telling the students to stay here and guard these weird statues, while he goes and talks to the mayor.

Inside the mayor's office, Mayor Rocky Beasley crouches on his deck, as one of the Elements of Doom lurks towards him. 'Mercury's rising – a fine end for a mayor who's soft on mutation' the Element of Doom utters. 'You hate mutants? Do it right – do it like Orchis! The good guys!' Rocky retorts. 'Dude...they are Orchis' Iceman mutters as he freezes the floor which was covered in a substance courtesy of the Element of Doom. 'Drake' Rocky responds, coldly. 'You say that like you're not a fan, Rocky' Bobby responds. Rocky kicks the frozen Element of Doom, shattering it. 'These freak robots are only after us because of you – the big fugitive' Rocky complains. 'If you'd surrendered to Orchis -' Rocky begins, to which Bobby frowns at him and informs him that the Sapien Leauge is dead, that it's a cover story, and Rocky is eating it up.

Iceman and Mayor Beasley head outside, where two more of the Elements of Doom are tormenting the locals. 'Hostages. Threats. Ransoms. This is Orchis. It's what they do' Iceman tells Rocky. 'You wish. They're humanitarians – they'd never allow this!' Rocky responds. 'Right. Good talk. So good, it makes me want to save your town. All you've got to do is shut up...and watch the snowmen' Iceman replies as he creates over a dozen ice-golems which begin to attack the Elements of Doom. 'Hey! Hands off – think I'll let you freeze me again?' Rocky snaps as Bobby puts an arm around him. 'I'm busy, rock. You're not worth the ice' Bobby responds as he concentrates on controlling the ice-golems, explaining that he pulled a squad of semi-sentient snowmen out of what is left of the air's moisture. 'Believe it or not, keeping an army of drones on task can take it out of a guy' Bobby adds, before pointing out that Helium has got his mother, and Rocky's constituent. 'So this Iceman's going to need all the strength he's got left'.

'Just leave these people alone!' Madeline Drake calls out Helium puts two fingers to her forehead. 'Sure. After your son's dead. And long after your brain's been choked of air' Helium responds, when suddenly, 'Hey, gasbag!' Iceman calls out. Helium releases Madeline, who falls to the ground, and turns to Iceman: 'Come get your prize! Orchis wants you in prison – but the Elements of Death need you in the ground!' Helium declares. 'Like you're not Orchis? All your missing is the flower brooch, bro!' Iceman responds. 'No!' Madeline cries out as she looks on as Bobby's right arm is blown off thanks to an attack from Helium. 'Chill, Mom. I've got this' Bobby responds as he falls backwards, but aims an ice-blade at Helium – striking his foe in the head. 'Do you? I don't freeze. You'll die here with the humans who harbored you. Humans who've voided their right to our protection' Helium grins.

'How about mine?' Bobby asks as he squats down and creates a massive amount of ice that wraps around Helium, encasing the Element of Doom. 'Try again, genejoke. I can't be frozen. You can't stab me. Every Achilles has a heel. This “gasbag” is yours. Helium is beyond your reach. You can't touch me. But I can shatter you like glass' Helium grins as he smacks Iceman backwards, then transforms his arm into a blade, slashing against Iceman's side.

Back in Antarctica, Romeo's connection to Bobby is wavering. 'Display's acting up. Shock. Urgency. You're pushing, Bobby. Whatever you're doing – finish it. Fast' Romeo exclaims, concerned.

'You can hurt me, dude. Not beat me!' Iceman exclaims as he slams some ice into Helium and uses the ice to push Helium upwards towards the sky, passing through dark clouds that have formed above. 'What? What? Nooooo!' Helium calls out as Iceman uses the ice to extend his own body upwards, he clings to Helium, wo asks 'Ice? Is this a joke?' But Iceman smiles and tells Helium that he has never told a joke, and that this is a bottle – and a trip to the highest possible shelf. 'Let's say, lower orbit?' he suggests.

Romeo tries to keep the empathic energies under control, and tells Bobby that he is worn to thin, that he can feel him coming apart. 'Hell, I see it. It's too much. You're slipping, and I...I'm trying' Romeo utters. He concentrates hard as he uses his empathic abilities to seal cracks as fast as he can, calming Bobby's stresses as they appear. 'But if you fall apart before this ends... everyone dies' Romeo remarks.

Encased within Bobbby's ice-jar, and high above the Earth, Helium asks Iceman if he thinks this matters. 'They hired us, they'll hire more. Mutants are societal tumors! Devo won't stop until you're all -' Helium begins, before Iceman interrupts him: 'Director Devo. So you are Orchis – I knew it'. Bobby's face appears at the top of the ice-jar and he smiles. 'Cool confession, dude. And, hey, while you're up here...enjoy the view'. Bobby then breaks off the top of the ice-jar, severing Helium from the rest of the ice that rises up above the Earth, and now begins to break away, while Helium floats out into space.

The ice begins to splash down back on Long Island, where Madeline Drake looks up at the falling ice. 'Bobby' she utters. 'Who's everybody waiting for?' a voice calls out. Madeline turns and sees Bobby re-form his body from the fallen ice. 'Guy must be pretty important' Bobby smiles. Madeline walks towards her son as she tells him 'They – they said you were dead. Called you dangerous. A terrorist...but that's not you. We've had our ups and downs...but I still care. I never stopped. You know that, right?' she asks. 'Sure. And it's not unfair to say I was a bit of a problem child' Bobby responds. Madeline tells Bobby that he wasn't – that he was just him. 'Orchis can keep lying. I know my son' she adds, remarking that if people here want to believe the news, that's fine – she will never listen. 'Mom, I -' Bobby begins, but Madeline interrupts, and admits that she should have reached out to Bobby after his father died, but she's doing so now. 'I see the news – I know you're out there helping people. I'm proud of you. I'm so proud. And if anyone here doesn't like that, they can take it up with her. Bobby frowns, before he and Madeline embrace and hug.

'Bobby?' Madeline asks, as Bobby's body begins to melt into slush around her feet. Madeline looks shocked to begin with, before smiling and waving her hand as flakes of ice begin to drift away. 'So, is he dead? Damn muties always putting us in the middle of their -' Gordy Saint begins before a woman called June tells him that if he makes one more word, her foot will be right in the middle of his – 'No, June. He can talk all he wants. Talk won't stop my son' Madeline smiles, proudly.

Back in Antarctica. Romeo sits on his throne, emotional energies wafting around him, he tells Bobby that he knows he is there, cast across the atmosphere. 'Reach for me like last every time. I'm your lighthouse. Your anchor. Follow me back. Take hold – there!' Romeo declares as he finds Bobby, and the moisture in Romeo's breath gives life to Bobby, reforming him. 'Bobby – I missed you. I always miss you' Romeo utters. 'Always?' Bobby asks as hhe begins to reform behind Romeo. 'Fractionally less if the next thing out of your mouth is a pun' Romeo smirks. 'So edgy! Be gentle – I'm still brittle' Bobby responds, before wrapping his arms around Romeo, who turns back to Bobby and smiles. 'Your body or your ego?' Romeo asks. 'Wow so mutaphobic! Ego is a cornerstone of our culture. I swear. Bobby responds, before jokingly telling Romeo to judge him at his peril.

Meanwhile in Earth's orbit, aboard the Orchis station known as the Bloom. Agent Pequod decides to let Helium rot in orbit, and instructs the comms department to get him a secure line for a planetside call – he needs to talk to the Cleaner.

At an undisclosed location, wearing an apron and gloves, Paul Botham a.k.a. Mister Clean shoves a knife into the stomach of a deceased Inhuman, who lies on a table. Blood seeps down the side of the table, as Mister Clean remarks 'I get it. You felt safe – you're no mutant after all. You're Inhuman. Orchis doesn't want you. But they will run out of mutants' Mister Clean decides. 'And when they do, I'll want to know my targets. Inside and out -' he begins, before he is interrupted by a phone call. Peqoud greets Mister Clean as if he knows him, and tells him that they have a problem, one in need of his unique methods. 'An Iceman problem' Pequod explains. 'Drake's a dead end. Kill his body, sure. That's a party. But his mind don't die' Clean replies as he pulls the knife from the Inhuman's body. 'So we thought. Then our latest thermal scans showed supercooled air exiting Long Island... before becoming so dispersed, it couldn't be tracked'.

Pequod informs Clean that he has cross-referenced this with their previous data – and this end is not dead. 'He doesn't disappear into nothing. His mind does somewhere. Iceman has a home, Clean. And we need you to burn it down' Pequod instructs. Mister Clean smiles wickedly, then plunges his knife back into the body of the Inhuman. 'When do I start?' he asks.

Characters Involved: 




Madeline Drake


Rocky Beasely

June, Gordy Saint and others in Fort Washington


Agent Woodrow Pequod (Orchis)

Mister Clean


Bromine, Europium, Helium, Radium, Sodium, Tungsten, Zirconium (all Elements of Doom)


Unknown Inhuman


(in flashback)

Bobby Drake

Madeline & William Drake


Rocky Beasely

Judy Harmon


Story Notes: 

Rocky Beasely and Judy Harmon previously appeared in X-Men (1st series) #44.

This issue includes an Orchis Protocol from Agent Pequod to Director Devo discussing the acquisition of the Elements of Doom and the suggestion to use them to destroy Iceman.

Bobby's father, William Drake, died in  Marvel's Voices Infinity Comic #2 from undisclosed causes after refusing to take life-saving Krakoan medicine.

This issue includes a note by Agent Pequod listing a new solution to the Iceman problem, being “The Cleaner”, and lists the pros and cons of engaging Mister Clean's services.

Mister Clean has previously appeared in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #395-398. In House of X #4, it was noted that Mister Clean was the eighth most deadly threat to mutantkind, having been responsible for 126 mutant deaths.


Written By: