Astonishing Iceman #4

Issue Date: 
January 2024
Story Title: 
Out Cold, part four

Steve Orlando (writer), Vincenzo Carratu (artist), Java Tartaglia & Chris Sotomayor (colorists), Virtual Calligraphy's Travis Lanham (letterer), Tom Muller & Jay Bowen (designers), Jesus Saiz (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: 

Iceman's Amazing Friend, Spider-Man, finds himself up against Feral, Reaper and Fatale, battling them in the middle of Manhattan, only they're infected with the Techno-Virus, making them more savage than usual. The trio are hunting a Genoshan mutate, who finds herself being defended by Spider-Man. Iceman arrives to even the odds, but the infected mutants sure put up a good fight. Spider-Man rescues the mutate from Reaper, while Feral and Fatale pursue Iceman on an ice-ramp, eventually trapping them in an iceberg, which is then teleported away by Orchis, who nearly capture Iceman in the process, thankfully he is rescued by Spider-Man. Iceman and Spider-Man spend some time discussing their lives, while Agent Pequod of Orchis summons the Vulture to explain for his failures, and tells him that he is no longer part of the plan. Iceman returns to Antarctica to find that his ice-palace has been breached by Mister Clean, and his boyfriend Romeo lies motionless at Mister Clean's feet.

Full Summary: 

Antarctica, where an icy wind howls around the ice-palace home of the mutant hero, Iceman. There is a flash of energy, signalling Iceman's departure from the ice-palace, while somewhere, a figure observes the ice-palace. 'Off you go, Iceman. Better hurry – all those innocent marks in danger. Not smart to leave your house unguarded, though... especially with a wolf at the door'.

Manhattan, where Maria Callasantos, the feral mutant called Feral... infected with the Techno-Organic Virus, has shoved Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man to the ground. 'Really, Feral? It's Midtown – there's a bite on every corner – and you want me?' Spider-Man exclaims, while a woman called Chantal looks on in horror. 'Tourists' Spider-Man mutters as he kicks Feral off of him. Spider-Man turns to Chantal and tells her that the Hounds have got her scent, so she needs to run. Chantal reveals that she is Genoshan, and a mutate, but got her tattoo removed. 'I've been hunted enough – New York was a fresh start' she adds. 'Fresh, right. Fresh and deadly -' Spider-Man begins, before his spider-sense begins to tingle as the mysterious mutant known as Fatale lunges at him and attacks him with a blade extended from her hands, shoving Spider-Man through a hot dog cart. 'The mutate's ours, Spider. Don't get in the way' Fatale exclaims.

'Come on, Fatale – in my way's my favorite sport!' Spider-Man replies, before asking her where her friend is as he fires webbing across her face, causing her to stop fighting him and try and remove the webbing. Spider-Man turns and sees Pantu Hurageb a.k.a. Reaper raising a blade above Chantal's head. 'Do it! Go ahead! I won't beg!' Chantal exclaims. 'Hard to beg with your throat cut' Reaper replies, bringing his blade down – right against Spider-Man's chest as he lunges between Reaper and Chantal. 'My blade!' Reaper cries out as his blade is shattered – he realizes that it was frozen. 'How weird. Did I mention I've got friends?' Spider-Man remarks as he swings away on some webbing, where he swings alongside Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman, who arrives on an ice-sled. 'Sorry to leave you cold, Reaper. But Iceman's got a reputation to protect' Iceman smiles. Chantal tells him not to joke, as the Hounds come in three, and Feral has gone. Iceman smiles again and tells Chantal to relax, as Feral is a sore sack of fur. He boasts that he can ace “Farmer Death” with his eyes closed. 'What's the worst one spooky slice lady could -' Iceman begins, before Fatale appears behind him, and slices his head off!

'Iceman!' Chantal exclaims as she, Spider-Man and Reaper turn to look at Iceman's head as it rolls onto the ground. 'Screaming won't save you, mutate. Surrender to Orchis!' Fatale snaps as she and Feral close in on Spider-Man and Chantal. 'Or your head joins Snow Miser's on the asphalt' Fatale threatens Chantal. Chantal goes wide-eyed as the Hounds continue to move in on her, with Spider-Man at her side. Suddenly, 'Sick burn, grandma – that crack come with a werther's?' Iceman asks as he picks up his decapitated head after forming a new one. 'You people – you and Orchis – you'd like us to obey. And you're so confident about it. Too confident' Iceman remarks as he tells Fatale that he could see her the whole time, hiding, thinking she was in control. 'But the fact one ices Iceman!' Bobby shouts as he hurls his decapitated head at Fatale, smacking her in the face. 'You'll forgive me for trying!' Feral snarls as she leaps towards Iceman, while Chantal turns to Reaper and tells him to count the fists – he's outnumbered. 'My gift's to never get tired. If you want me, you'll have to fight' Chantal announces, while Spider-Man asks her if it is wrong that he is a little bit scared of her. 'Very natural' Chantal responds as she picks up an iron pipe and tells Spider-Man that he is the first spider that she hasn't squashed in years. 'We know' Spider-Man replies.

'Attack all you like, mutate! Only two paths await you. The cell block or the dirt – the choice is yours!' Reaper exclaims as Chantal smacks the iron pipe against his blade-hand. 'She'll have the vegetarian platter' Spider-Man jokes as he swings his web and kicks Reaper backwards. Feral lashes out at Iceman, telling him that it is good of him to show up. As he stumbles backwards, he finds himself up against Fatale, who asks 'Why kill a knockoff when you're mutant fugitive number one?' Fatale asks. Iceman gathers himself and escapes from the mutants in an ice-sled, 'You know what? That's a great point. COME AND GET ME!' Iceman shouts as he dodges high-rises in the city, while Feral and Fatale begin to follow him. He glances back and tells Fatale that she was so close to killing him, and tells Feral that her hackles are up. 'Don't quit now!' he tells the women. 'He mocks us. Mocks Orchis' Feral declares. 'Let him. He can run his mouth right off a cliff... and into our hands' she adds.

Meanwhile, 'Keep running, woman! You can't escape who you are – none of us can!' Reaper exclaims as he lunges at Chantal, but misses, as he follows her through an alley. 'You can't even escape where you are, killer. X marks the spot!' Chantal tells him, to which Reaper asks her what she is rambling about – just as Spider-Man drops down from above, landing on Reaper. 'Sweet plan, right? Chantal's, but the way, never anger a commuter' Spider-Man declares. Reaper gets up and tells Spider-Man that it's pointless, as bruises heal, bones can be reset. 'Charade's been fun. It's almost too bad I won't be here...when you realize the mutate's not our target' Reaper reveals, when he suddenly disappears. 'Hey! What was that light? Is Reaper down? What's he -?' Chantal calls out as Spider-Man swings away from her, realizing that the target was Iceman, and that Orchis wanted him alone.

'Looking good back there!' Iceman calls back to Feral and Fatale as they run along the ice-ramp that Iceman slides along. 'I'll eat his entire face!' Feral snarls. 'The face's yours. I want to see how many brains he can grow back' Fatale declares before firing an arrow which skims Bobby's face. 'Some say I'm still working on my first -' Bobby begins, before the arrow strikes him. He stumbles, and Feral rakes her claws across his back. 'They're right, moron! You could've turned yourself in! Surrendered! Randall's Island is right here. Mutants have their place. But, no – you chose death!' Feral exclaims. Iceman turns back to her and smiles, 'If I need to – but not today. Boys? Care to step in?' Bobby calls out, as two snow-drones rise up from the ice-ramp and lunge at Feral and Fatale. 'He used them in Long Island. It – it was in the briefing. They're -' Fatale begins, as Feral lashes out at one of them: 'A minor inconvenience' she declares, slicing one of them in two. As Feral turns her attention on the other, Fatale leaps towards Iceman and smacks into him, telling Feral to join her once she's finished.

Bobby falls to the ground and Fatale shoves a blade through his right calve 'You had a good run, Drake. But hunts only end in death or disappointment. And I hate being disappointed' Fatale grins. 'Then you won't love the next part' Iceman smiles back. 'Next what?' Fatale asks nervously as a loud rumbling can be heard – and suddenly – a massive iceberg rises up from the water next to where Iceman had landed, and Feral and Fatale find themselves trapped inside the iceberg. 'Sit tight, ladies. They'll thaw you out for the handcuffs. Promise' Iceman smiles at the captive mutants. There is another rumble, and as Bobby stands on top of the iceberg he sees a teleport field, and realizes that Orchis is about to teleport the iceberg away, with Fatale and Feral inside. 'Slicing up my head's bad enough. But stealing my iceberg? Honestly, these gene manners!' Iceman exclaims as the iceberg begins to vanish. He quickly tries to form a new ice-ramp, but as he steps onto it, he finds that it shatters beneath his feet, and he begins to fall. 'Son of a – that should've been solid ground!' Iceman exclaims.

'Not like you to be on thin ice' Spider-Man jokes as he swings down and grabs Iceman, pulling him to safety before he falls into the portal with the vanishing iceberg. 'Ask my exes!' Iceman retorts, before thanking Spider-Man as he drops down on a nearby bridge. Bobby explains that he is a little overextended, before pointing out that it has been a minute since he and Spidey last caught up. 'You're telling me' Spider-Man responds, before reporting that Chantal is safe, and the Hounds are gone – for now, as Chantal wasn't the real target. 'The Hounds wanted you' Spider-Man reveals. 'No joke. Orchis has been luring me out for weeks' Iceman smiles, joking that it is nice to be wanted, before asking what else he can do, as people as always watching them. Nearby, an older woman is on her phone: 'Hello? I'd like to report a mutant sighting' she snarls. 'They gossip. They rat out their neighbors – no mutant is safe. And they don't all have my power. I know I'm the target, Spidey. I can't afford to care' Iceman explains. 'Let Orchis come – the more they hunt me, the less they're after anyone else, right?' he suggests, before telling Spidey that before he leaves his adoring fans, there is one thing he needs.

Shortly, Iceman and Spider-Man sit on the edge of a rooftop, the sun glows down on them, and they're eating. 'Couldn't get real bagels on Krakoa, never mind Antarctica' Iceman remarks. 'It's the water. But keep quiet about toasting them – you've got enough enemies' Spider-Man responds, adding that Bobby doesn't seem to notice, as he is always so chill. 'A pun? You do care. But listen..I was scared today. They don't get to know that' Bobby admits to his friend. 'Never let the fascists see you flinch, right? Don't give them that. Flinching's for friends. Historically, the best defense against enemies...I...almost died, Spidey – really. What was left of me drifted to the coldest place on Earth' Bobby tells Spider-Man. Spider-Man listens as Bobby tells him that Romeo saved him, his empathy helps keep him solid, which is why the ice broke back there. 'I'm working on it, but it's hard to stay in one piece when we're apart. And it... it's not safe for mutants to get together. For anyone... it's like my family's gone' Bobby adds.

'Good thing you've got more than one, Bobby' Spider-Man smiles as he puts a hand on Bobby's shoulder. ' know, I used to worry I was a mutant. It terrified me. I can't even really say why' Spider-Man admits, supposing that perhaps he didn't want to be hated – hated more than he was. 'I was afraid, I guess. Afraid of that life. Of going through what you already lived through every day. I don't know how I didn't see it then...but I see it now' Spider-Man explains, before telling Bobby that he can always come to him 'Us menaces got to stick together' he adds. 'Spider-Man... I... hey! Check this out! I'm wet, Spidey! This is how it always starts!' Bobby grins as touches his head, which is beginning to melt. 'The more I ice, the faster I melty...then fall apart'. Looking down at his bagel, Bobby reveals that he has been lasting longer when he is away from Romeo. 'In all this gossip and gluten, I forgot about the clock. This is... it's the longest I've been solid on my own! And there' still some time for a killer send-off!' Spider-Man asks Bobby what it will be – once more about the island? 'Two dashing heroes wowing the masses below?' Spider-Man asks. 'Is that even a question?' Bobby grins as he slides down an ice-ramp while Spider-Man swings alongside him.

Meanwhile, on Randall's Island, Agent Pequod is standing in a meeting room when the Vulture enters. 'I'm only here on Director's orders, Pequod I won't apologize to you for being late' the villain announces. 'Good. Apologies are the poetry of the weak' Pequod responds. 'Poetic. Performative. Just what i'd expect from a career climber like you' the Vulture responds, noting thatr he knows an opportunistic predator when he sees one. 'You went over my head' he then tells Pequod. 'Convinced Director Devo to order me to make my Hounds available to you. How sad...that you couldn't get things done without appropriating the success of others' the Vulture declares. Pequod slams his fists on a table and calls the Vulture an oldman thirsty for relevancy after years in a green turkey suit. 'There's only one throne, Vulture. You don't like me playing with your toys?' Pequod asks. He then grins and tells the Vulture not to come here and puff his decrepit feathers. 'Outmaneuver me. Outpolitic me. I'm done with your dogs. They kept Iceman out of Antarctica. Exhausted him. The plan goes on, Toomes – but you're no longer part of it' Pequod grins.

Back in Antarctica, Bobby returns to the ice-palace, and exclaims 'Wild. That's totally wild. Almost... almost a full day. Haven't held tight that long since the Gala. Can't wait to tell – Romeo – No... Romeo!' Bobby looks concerned, he goes wide-eyed and begins racing through the ice-palace, he knows something is wrong. 'No! This can't happen! I disperse – hide my return path! We've got the escape hatch! Clyde's supposed to guard the door!' Iceman calls out urgently as he races into another room, whereupon a look of horror falls across his face, and a voice calls out 'Oops. Never leave a snowman to do an Iceman's job. Check the forecast, mutie...winter's over!' It's Mister Clean, and as he sits on the throne in the room, Romeo lies on the ground, blood pouring down his face, while Mister Clean grins and boasts that he is about to bring the heat.

Characters Involved: 





Fatale, Feral, Reaper (all Hounds)

Agent Pequod (Orchis)

Mister Clean





Story Notes: 

This issue includes a copy of the front page of the New York Bulletin, with the headline “Mutants Sink Manhattan?” and a smaller headline indicating that Spider-Man raised questions about possible mutant heritage.

This issue also includes a hand-written letter from Iceman to Romeo.


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