HEROES

The Fan Fiction Fanzine

BENEATH THE MASK: Breaking the Ice By Caleb Kincaid

By • Nov 13th, 2008 • Category: Features, Lead Story
I figured I should start this with some kind of analogy, so here goes: Bobby Drake is like a goldfish. He’s low maintenance, and he’s…got a memory that lasts two minutes? That would explain the constant fluctuations in his powers, but no. How about: Bobby Drake is like water. He’s unassuming but has the power to level cities; he’s an integral ingredient in some of your favorite teams; and he…turns into ice. Yeah, not quite. Getting warmer, though.Look: Iceman’s appeal is pretty simple. He’s the quintessential every man. He’s middle class, average height, average build. He’s not a genius. He’s not a super-model. He’s not an alien. He’s not the living embodiment of some ill-defined cosmic force. He’s not holier-than-thou. He’s not perfect. Not by any means. He’s your best friend. He’s you or me. He’s sitting on the couch at 3 a.m., watching a poorly dubbed chop-socky flick on cable in his boxers and munching on BBQ Fritos*.

He’s, frankly, kind of a slacker. On Bobby’s report cards, Professor X probably wrote “courteous and cooperative, a pleasure to have in class, needs to apply himself” because Iceman’s a perfect example of the law of inertia. Unless pushed by some outside force (usually an evil outside force, usually entirely against his will (see: Loki, Mikhail Rasputain, Emma Frost)), Bobby coasts along, resting on his laurels. He squanders his potential, and there’s plenty of potential to squander. Any bio will tell you he’s an Omega Level Mutant, capable of altering the world on a fundamental level.

A lot of writers want to exploit that facet of his character. They want to have Iceman freeze oceans or stop the polar ice caps from melting or turn active volcanos into hot tubs. But, that’s not Bobby’s style. Not by a long shot. Drake is a low key kind of guy. He blends in. He likes blending in. He likes being able to go home–back to his regular, average, suburban home–and hang out with his middle class mom and dad. Huge power displays aren’t his game. He’s snowballs and icicles, not avalanches and blizzards.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for a more imaginative Iceman. I thoroughly enjoyed the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby/Roy Thomas/Werner Roth/etc./etc. era because Bobby reveled in his abilities. In any given Silver Age issue, you could find him fashioning ice-slides or ice-rockets or ice-boxing gloves or ice-whatever. The constructs were crude back then, but they were functional. And, therein lies the key to tapping into Drake’s potential: think practical. Is it the dead of summer? Bobby’s on tap for a brisk breeze. Is it raining? Bobby can freeze those droplets into fragile crystals that shatter on impact. Are you surrounded by an army of angry anarchists? Bobby can whip up a dozen decoys to distract ‘em.

Bobby Drake isn’t flashy. He isn’t into spectacle. He isn’t the guy you aspire to be. He’s the guy you are. And, in a universe populated by other-worldy beings and perfect specimens of human evolution, being an every man is pretty unique.

* – Kenney insists that, if you mix BBQ Fritos with Big Red, your taste-buds will think you’re chewing pumpkin pie. I thought you should know.

is a 32 year old happily married man who loves comics and the characters associated with them so much he writers Fan Fiction based on them. Currently He is the Editor in Chief of Altered Visions, Marvel Reborn, and Ultimate DC.
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