Iceman #5 deals with several familiar X-Men tropes. There’s the idea that coming out as a mutant is a metaphor for coming to terms with one’s sexuality. There’s the fact that Bobby Drake is too fearful and self-loathing to tap into the full extent of his mutant power. And there’s the obligatory fight with a rampaging Juggernaut. Familiar or not, writer Sina Grace is able to blend these tropes into an effective whole as Bobby finally gets in touch with his inner Iceman.
At the heart of this issue is the uncomfortable heart-to-heart between Bobby and his parents. Remember that iconic scene from X2: X-Men United where Mrs. Drake says, “Have you tried… not being a mutant?” That’s pretty much the reaction Bobby faces here. It’s to Grace’s credit that he doesn’t opt for the predictable, feel-good route here. The interaction here is messy and awkward. Grace talks here about how his own personal experiences informed his handling of this issue, and there is a real sense of authenticity to the dialogue and Bobby’s strained attempts to make his parents understand. In the process, Grace makes a strong case for why revealing Iceman’s homosexuality is a natural evolution for the character. So much of Bobby’s ongoing struggle has centered around repression and self-esteem. If anything, it feels like Grace is finally getting to the root of the character’s psychological woes.