Astonishing Iceman #3

Issue Date: 
December 2023
Story Title: 
Out Cold, part three

Steve Orlando (writer), Vincenzo Carratu (artist), Java Tartaglia (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Travis Lanham (letterer), Tom Muller & Jay Bowen (designers), Jesus Saiz (cover artists), Pete Woods (variant cover artist), 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: 

Mister Clean launches an assault on a group of Y-Men, who have gained temporary mutant powers thanks to tattoos. The Y-Men are protected by Aaron Fischer, a young hero called Captain America, until Iceman arrives, after abandoning a romantic date with Romeo in Antarctica, and just in time, as the Y-Men are not exactly trained in the use of their strange powers. Iceman engages his old foe Mister Clean to protect the Y-Men, with the assistance of Aaron Fischer, while Romeo keeps Iceman intact from Antarctica using his empathic powers. After the Y-Men are shot by Mister Clean, Bobby stops an explosion, but Mister Clean escapes in the chaos. Iceman gives one of the Y-Men the coordinates for his ex-boyfriend, Juda Miller's, apartment should they need to shelter there, before Bobby melts away. Mister Clean meets with Agent Pequod to plot their next move against Iceman, who, meanwhile, has returned to Antarctica. But he and Romeo  are only reunited briefly, before another danger is detected by Romeo's empathic scanner – this time in New York, where Bobby's Amazing Friend, Spider-Man, is under attack from...Feral?

Full Summary: 

Los Angeles, California, 'Stay behind me!' the young hero Aaron Fischer, known as Captain America, cries out as he protjects his kinetic field in front of himself and five others, protecting them from a barrage of bullets which are fired at them. Aaron raises his own Captain America shield at the same time and remarks that his kinetic field can only catch so many shots, before telling those behind him that if they hear something. 'He's out of bullets!' Aaron declares, before instructing the others to run and get to the tunnels. 'That's Aaron Fischer – the Captain America of the freaking rails! If he says run – we run!' Aaron encourages the people to keep going, and boasts that he will send this maniac's rounds right back – with interest! Aaron creates some sort of seismic wave which knocks the bullets back to where they were fired from.

The five others run down the railyard, but find themselves trapped, with their exit blocked. 'But we're not even mutants – just got mutant power tats!' a woman with dark hair exclaims. Their attacker fires something at them, but Aaron appears and blocks it with his shield. 'Don't stop! I can't bounce his artillery forever!' Aaron calls out. He instructs the others to make a break for it, while he draws the fire. Another blast is fired, and Aaron takes the brunt of it, but is knocked back in the process. 'Like hell, Cap. Bad enough our neighbors kick us out – we're not losing you too!' a woman with brown hair tells him. But Aaron tells them not to worry about him, to just get to the Morlock Tunnels, and get off of Orchis' radar. A grenade is hurled into the railyard, and when it detonates, Aaron and the others are all knocked over by the force of the blast.

Aaron calls the group the Y-Men and tells them that they are rejected for who they are, living rough, but all under his protection – and that doesn't stop until someone stops him. 'We'll never make it to the tunnels – not alone!' a man with blond hair exclaims. The others – the brunette woman, the woman with dark hair, an older man and a man with dark skin and white tattoos – all look up as their attacker stands on a ledge above them 'We're boxed in! He's got us dead to rights!' the man with the white tattoos gasps. Their attacker is Mister Clean, and armed with an assortment of weapons, he remarks 'That's where bait belongs, damn posers'. Mister Clean declares that this is sick: 'Copping powers off some low-rent mutie tat artist? You're sadder than real mutants. Those freaks just got born – you chose this. And that's a choice... that Mister Clean can't let you live down'.

Meanwhile, on the floor of the Antarctic Ocean, Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman is collecting some large pieces of seaweed. In the Euphotic Zone, he collects some shellfish.

Bobby returns to his ice-castle in Antarctica, where he begins preparing the seaweed and shellfish. 'There. Almost done, Romeo...and they say I can't cook' Bobby remarks. As the sun blazes down on the frozen continent, Bobby brings the food into a room where Romeo asks 'No iced coffee?' and Bobby suggests to Romeo that he find him another shipwreck, as they blew through the three cans he salvaged in a week. Bobby tells Romeo that this is seaweed salad and sea urchin, and points out that he is doing what he can here. 'It's fresh' Bobby adds. 'Blankets of woven, freeze-dried kelp. Foraging above and below the're doing great, Bobby. But I don't need to be waited on' Romeo replies as Bobby hands him one of the bowls of food.

'You saved my life. Now you're stuck out here in the middle of nowhere with me' Bobby smiles. 'Out here helping you save mutants and anyone like them from Orchis' Romeo points out. Bobby notes that plenty of people went looking for him, but Romeo was the only one who found him. 'Without you...I fall apart' Bobby suggests. 'So do I. So do I' Romeo replies, before hanging his head, and as Bobby begins to eat the food, Romeo tells him that he is in the fight with him, to the end, if need be. 'So I need to ask...where does this fight end? I snese an emotional spike, a crisis. You go do what you do – be a hero. Save people. But I'm your anchor'.

Romeo explains that the more he feels for someone, the more powerful his empathy gift is. 'And I love you, Drake. This palace is you. You're in every molecule of its ice. It amplifies my power...what if Orchis finds it?' Romeo asks. 'What happens if I'm not here to anchor you anymore?' Romeo queries. Bobby just smiles and assures Romeo that is not going to happen. 'I'm staying solid longer on my own' Bobby points out, explaining that is why he is pushing his time away, and if things get hectic, there is an escape hatch. 'I know, Bobby. But this is serious, I'm -' Romeo begins, before he screams, as he detects a spike – it's terror. 'Always terror...but this is multiple hits, and it's escalating!' Romeo exclaims, urgently. They both leap to their feet, and Romeo instructs Bobby to get to the War Room, where he can track the source.

Back in Los Angeles, Mister Clean leaps down from the ledge and approaches Aaron and the others. 'Step aside, Captain Kid. No tin can lid's stopping me' Mister Clean boasts. 'I'm stopping you, Clean!' Aaron retorts. 'We all are, Cap. If this killer's after us for our powers...we might as well use 'em!' the blond man declares as his eyes begin to glow. The woman with dark hair's head and eyes suddenly become very large, while the older man begins to release what apppear to be soap bubblers. The other woman presses her arms together and the radiate heat, while the man with the white tattoos stands ready for a fight. 'Big eyes? Radar? Soap bubbles? You species traitors didn't get those tattoos to fight. You got them to get ahead in your own gigs – for an edge over real humans!' Mister Clean declares as he raises one of his weapons. 'How's that advantage now? Ready to die for it?' he asks. The woman with huge eyes goes even more wide-eyed as Mister Clean prepares to fire some sort of cross-bow at her – when suddenly: 'No! It's all iced -' Mister Clean exclaims, before the cross-bow shatters.

'Careful with those fancy guns, Clean – they'll FREEZE UP on you!' Iceman shouts as he materializes before Mister Clean and grabs him by his throat. Bobby turns back to Aaron and the others and tells them to get out of here. 'This fascist freak is mine!' he adds, before Mister Clean shoves a blade into Bobby's head. 'Nice to see you, Iceman. But you got that backwards' Mister Clean declares. Bobby is surprised, as Mister Clean should be frozen solid. He tries to freeze his foe's arm, but Mister Clean opens fire, and Bobby falls backwards, as Mister Clean announces that his skin has been biochemically treated, and that he doesn't freeze easy. Iceman responds by creating a row of ice-spikes which slam into Mister Clean and knock him backwards. 'Good thing that's not my only trick' Bobby decides. 'Mine neither – look familiar?' Mister Clean asks as he licks some of the ice, and releases what he calls a molecular napalm. 'Hurt you real good at the Gala' Mister Clean exclaims as he then slams a weapon into the ice. 'Hurt me? You're not even quick enough to touch me, dude' Iceman responds as he re-materializes behind Mister Clean, who grins and asks 'You sure?'

Mister Clean then hurls some of  the molecular napalm towards Bobby, but Bobby leaps up to dodge the attack – only some of it reaches his lower leg. 'No – NO! You're not that fast – you can't me!' Iceman gasps as he watches his leg begin to dissolve.

Back in Antarctica, Romeo watches in horror as the large X in the War Room flashes red, which he knows is a panic formation. 'Okay, okay. Just hold on, Bobby. We've got this' Romeo utters.

In the railyard, Bobby tries to crawl backwards away from Mister Clean, who boasts that he doesn't need to be fast. 'I've watched weeks of footage. I do know all your tricks' he reveals, adding that he knows Bobby's worst fears, too. 'Case in point, the next few seconds...while you boil alive'. Suddenly, 'Sounds like there's no time to waste!' Aaron Fischer calls out as he slams his kinetic field into Mister Clean's back. Bobby looks down at his leg, and realizes that this is happening like before – like lava is in his skin, and spreading. 'This can't happen again. I've got to stop it!' Bobby calls out.

In Antarctica, Romeo tells Bobby that he can't see what is happening, but he knows he is in crisis. 'Slow down – remember yourself. Don't panic' Romeo utters.

'I – I got it! The pain took over last time...I couldn't think – didn't think. Didn't stop Orchis' hot mess...before it spreads' Bobby exclaims, wide-eyed, while watching Mister Clean shove a weapon against Aaron's shield. This knife's not for you, kid! You're no mutant!' Mister Clean calls out. 'And talking like that – you're no human!' Aaron responds, when suddenly, 'Know why I win, Clean? I always keep a leg up!' Iceman exlcaims as he severs his infected leg, then leaps up towards Mister Clean and slams the leg into his face, knocking him several feet away. Bobby then drops the leg on the ground and it continues to melt. 'Your jokes are more revolting than your species' Mister Clean snarls.

Iceman stands up and tells Mister Clean that he is the joke: 'Thinking I wouldn't break off my lef before you filth spread. Thinking I couldn't make a new one – from the water you've got!' Iceman then absorbs moisture from Mister Clean's body. 'Sucks to be freeze-dried, doesn't it? Sure, you had me sweating for a second... but, dude, my chill is legendary!'

'There we go. Back to blue...just stay together. I'd hate cleaning this place myself' Romeo grins as he continues to monitor Bobby's status.

Bobby's leg has fully regenerated, and he leaps up into the air, avoiding a deadly flame-thrower which Mister Clean uses in an attempt to destroy Bobby. 'Freeze-dried? Try pan-fried, gene joke!' Mister Clean exclaims. Bobby drops back down and lands on Mister Clean: 'Too slow, big man. You owe my ringer an apology' Bobby snarls as he shoves Mister Clean's head into the ground. 'No – wait! Not my face! Oh god – my skin's burning cold! It's – oops – not what you expected?' Mister Clean remarks. Bobby is able to freeze Mister Clean's hair, though, and it snaps off of his head. 'I told you – the rest of me don't freeze easy. This ain't no stalemate, Iceman. It's an ultimatum' Mister Clean announces, before asking Bobby if he notices anything about his street-rat friends. 'Something small, deadly and easy to miss... at least until the countdown ends'.

A shocked Bobby looks up and is horrified to see a small dart in the shoulder or neck of Aaron and the others. 'A – a bomb? I barely felt it' Aaron gasps. Mister Clean tells him that no one flet it, and that these are micro-charges, tipped on angel-hair needles. 'Rained down with the bullets. So much for running' Mister Clean grins, adding that he can be funny, too. 'Your friends are blowing up' he grins at Iceman. 'This is no joke – deactivate the bombs' Iceman frowns as he raises his arm which he has transformed into a large ice-spike and points it towards Mister Clean's face. 'Not likely. But I coud blow them now if you want' Mister Clean responds. Bobby frowns, and Mister Clean continues: 'No? Thought not. You've got a choice to make. Want to freeze me? You'd have to get so cold that you'd take out your friends too. Stab me? I hit the button. Freezing the bombs takes precision. You'd have to take your eyes off me. It's me or them, Iceman. You're sweating again. I woul be too. After all...what kind of god gets beaten with a needle?'

Bobby responds by announcing that this is an easy choice. He then raises a hand, and freezes the darts lodged in the shoulders of the Y-Men. 'And the wrong one' Mister Clean declares. Aaron Fischer realizes that the dart is still stuck in his shoulder, and after seeing that the others are safe, he tells himself that this is nothing that he can't handle. But as he uses his energy field to shunt the dart from his shoulder, he realizes  that he was too late – and the dart begins to explode. 'Relax, Cap. And never mind the bomb!' Iceman exclaims as he races towards Aaron and freezes the dart, mid-explosion. 'You – you caught the explosion!' Aaron exclaims. Bobby explains that he ate the heat, flash-froze the shrapnel, and only the force got by him. Bobby tells the Y-Men not to clap yet, and remarks that this would feel a lot cooler if Clean wasn't gone as hell.

Back in Antarctica, Romeo realizes that things aren't looking good, and Bobby's energy has gone back to red, so time is ticking. 'Stress is stress. The cracks always come. I've got minutes, maybe...then it's on you to hold together!' Romeo exclaims.

Iceman and Aaron examine the railyard a bit further, and Aaron sees some bones in a campfire, leading him to think that someone else came through here not long ago. He remarks that it isn't luxury, but that it is liveable, and the Y-Men will be safe here, for a while, at least. The older man approaches Cap and Iceman and thanks him, noting that they would be dead without the two of them. 'Living's the best thanks. Best revenge, too. But Orchis won't run things forever. Until then, be careful. Maybe you just wanted powers from those tats...but you've got the whole mutant package now, persecution included'. Bobby and the man with blond hair shake hands, and Bobby tells the Y-Men that if they do get compromised, if they do need shelter, to try Judah Miller in West Hollywood. 'My ex – but he won't hold that against you. Just don't reorganize his freezer' Bobby jokes. The blond man tells Bobby that he just dropped a pin – in his mind, that is. 'I'm Lojack. That's my gift' he adds. 'And you do look gifted -' Bobby starts, before he begins to melt. 'Nice. That's the longest I've lasted – ask anyone' he utters, before he splashes to the ground, a puddle of melted ice. 'The longest he's what?' Lojack asks, wide-eyed.

Randall's Island, where, after examining the facility, Mister Clean tells Pequod that this is a cool, dungeon, but that what he needs is an abattoir. 'That's why we don't ask you, Clean. Besides – you were hired to track and kill Iceman. Why would I consult a failure?' Pequod responds. Clean laughs, and tells Pequod that he will forgive that, and calls Pequod middle management – because he is stupid and manicured. 'There ain't no failure here. Hiunt's not even close to done. bleed a deer and follow it home. When Iceman does his disappearing act...your techies said he's going somewhere. That's where I kill him. In his den' Clean explains. He then pinches Pequod's cheeks and tells him to relax, as his man already has a bead on Iceman. 'I don't need your computers and triangulation' he boasts, before telling Pequod that all he needs from him is a distraction.

In Antarctica: 'Look for me, Bobby. Find me. Your anchor – your lighthouse – you're out there, scattered in the wind. Pull know how to do it. Just grab hold...and come home' Romeo calls out within the war room of the ice-castle. Energy washes around Romeo, when suddenly, Bobby begins to reform. 'Hey. Pretty wild back in the world. Cabs can fly now – it's totally the future!' Bobby jokes. Romeo calls out his name, before Bobby apologizes for the poor jokes, swearing that they are his secondary mutation. 'But you might've noticed – I stayed solid a whole six minutes longer – on my own!' Bobby exclaims. 'Impressed?' he asks as he and Romeo embrace. 'Very. Such a milestone needs to be celebrated -' Romeo begins, before he is distracted by another energy spike. 'So soon?' Iceman frowns, before wondering where Orchis is hitting now.

New York City, where a woman with long dark hair looks on in shock as Spider-Man is knocked backwards through the air, landing several feet in front of her. 'Come on, people – we talked about this! I had you penciled in for next weeks' crosstown brawl!' Spider-Man jokes. Spider-Man tells the woman that he appreciates her having his back, and suggests that to her that she runs – for once, it's not him being hunted – as a deadly Feral, infected with the Techno-Organic Virus, skulks towards them.


Characters Involved: 




Captain America/Aaron Fischer


Debrider, Jump Scare, Lightshow, Lojack, Miss Maillard (all Y-Men)


Mister Clean

Agent Pequod (Orchis)





Chantal (unnamed)

Story Notes: 

Aaron Fischer a.k.a. Captain America of the Railways first appeared in the United States of Captain America #1, as one of the Network of Captain Americas. He's mainly appeared in various Infinity Comics since then, including Love Unlimited Infinity #49-54 in which he received his ability to project a kinetic field.

Debut of this new team of Y-Men, with all characters appearing in this issue for the first time. The original Y-Men were a group who also possessed abilities thanks to tattoos and fought in the Young X-Men back in Young X-Men #5, 8-9.

Iceman was melted back in X-Men: Hellfire Gala 2023 #1 when Orchis launched their assault on the Gala.


With the exception of Lojack, none of the Y-Men are referred to by name on panel, however their names and abilities are listed in a note from Mister Clean to Agent Pequod.

Bobby refers to his ex-boyfriend, Judah Miller, whom he dated in Iceman (3rd series) #6-10 and who also appeared in Iceman (4th series) #5.

Feral, along with several other mutants, was captured by Orchis and infected with the Techno-Organic Virus as part of a storyline playing out in Uncanny Spider-Man #1-5.

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