Iceman is not only one of the founding members of the X-Men, he is a central part of the team -- and occasionally the most immature part, too. While Robert “Bobby” Drake may have started off as a class clown at Xavier’s, he has grown up into one of the most true and courageous heroes the team has ever seen. Over the years, Bobby has appeared in multiple X-Men animated series and video games. He has also featured prominently in the original X-Men film trilogy and the inbetwequel film, X-Men: Days of Future Past (particularly in The Rogue Cut). Iceman doesn’t just have a cool mutation, he is a complex and interesting character who has only gotten better with age.
Recent years have seen Iceman go through a lot of changes. He went from a smooth icy exterior to one of icy spikes, he has worked side-by-side with his younger self who was brought to the present, and he has come to acknowledge and embrace life as a gay man. His abilities have also grown increasingly more dynamic and powerful. He has earned the ranking of an Omega Level mutant, putting him in the same league as Jean Grey, Cable, and Rachel Summers. But Bobby is not all superheroics and goofy puns; he has experienced a taste of darkness that almost led him to ending the world and also struggles continuously with his relationship with his father. Many may see Bobby as the X-Men’s cool comic relief, but there is so much more to him than most realize. Here are 20 frosty facts about Iceman that every fan should know.
20 INSPIRED BEAST TO BRING BACK THE ORIGINALS
As we make our way through the conclusion of the time-displaced young X-Men narrative in "Extermination," we are reminded of how Beast started this all. Seeing the dark path of revolution that Cyclops was on, Beast knew something needed to be done to stop him. His next move was to travel back in time and recruit the original five X-Men. The idea to do this, however, actually came from Iceman.
As the X-Men of the present struggled with their feelings over Cyclops’ increasingly aggressive behavior, Bobby offhandedly commented on how if young Cyclops saw what his adult self was doing, he would not stand for it. Inspired, Beast took it from there.
19 HE CAN CREATE ICE GOLEMS
Iceman’s powers are literally cool, ranging from turning the water vapor around him into ice he can manipulate, to turning his own body into ice. Bobby’s powers have increased over the years to the point that he now classified as an Omega Level mutant. One of the ice-skills he learns to master is creating ice golems.
Much like Clayface in The New Batman Adventures, Bobby can produce somewhat sentient, functional golems that follow his direction… more or less. This ability first came to light during the "Battle of the Atom" event in 2013. The young, time-displaced Iceman began trying to learn the skill as well. He eventually created his first ice golem while trying to defeat the Mole Man in All-New X-Men #33.
18 WAS JAILED
In X-Men #1, we see Jean become the last recruit of the original five X-Men. The other four were already on Xavier’s roster and initially had no origin stories. It wasn’t until X-Men #44 that we got Bobby’s origin story. While the “The Iceman Cometh,” was dry at first, the end of the first part was unexpected.
After a date gone wrong, the manifestation of his powers, and being chased by an angry mob Bobby was locked up in the local jail. Suddenly, Cyclops blasts through the wall of Bobby’s cell and offered to break him out. Bobby declined and the two got into a fight before eventually being captured by the mob and almost lynched. Professor X intervened and later enrolled Bobby.
17 SAVED PYRO IN X-MEN: THE LAST STAND
In X-Men: The Last Stand, we never saw what happened to Pyro after he fought Iceman on Alcatraz Island. Most assumed he was left to meet his end while everyone evacuated the island during Jean’s full Phoenix rampage. According to the film’s novelization, written by Chris Claremont, Pyro lived to see another day. As Kitty tries to flag Iceman during the evacuation, Claremont writes that “Bobby ignored her signals as he approached with John Allerdyce slung in a fireman’s carry over his shoulders.”
If you prefer proof from within the films themselves, Days of Future Past also suggests Pyro survived. In Warpath’s memorial for Sentinel war victims, John’s lighter can be seen among the mementos. He may not have survived the war, but he survived Dark Phoenix.
16 MEMBER OF THE NEW DEFENDERS
When we here the term “defenders” today, we immediately think of the heroes that make up Marvel’s Netflix lineup. However, there was a time in the comics when there was a different group called the Defenders, and Iceman was one of them. Alongside fellow X-Men Angel and Beast, Iceman took over managing the group when the original founders, including Doctor Strange and the Hulk, left.
Unfortunately, the group eventually disbanded after most of its non-X-Men team members appeared to pass away. Later, Doctor Strange created the Secret Defenders, which Bobby was a part of from time to time. Based on the threat at hand, Doctor Strange would select heroes best able to combat it, which often included Iceman.
15 ICE WIZARD
The “Battle of the Atom” event revealed a few things about Iceman. Beyond his ability to create ice golems, we also learned that Bobby becomes an Ice Wizard in the future. This version of Bobby is older, wiser, and unquestionably Omega Level. He also looks like an iced-over Gandalf complete with pointed hat, staff, beard, and robes.
Ice Wizard, young Iceman, and present-day Iceman work with both the X-Men teams of today and the future to save the day. Ice Wizard then returns to his future, but not before giving both Icemen a tip on how to get women in the future. This opens up many new questions regarding Bobby’s current status. Ice Wizard appears again later in Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme #10.
14 ATTENDED UCLA
Like other X-Men including Jean Grey and Kitty Pryde, Bobby took a break from being a superhero to get a higher education. He enrolled at UCLA along with fellow X-Man Warren Worthington III. Unlike Jean and Kitty however, Bobby and Warren quickly came to miss being X-Men. Luckily for them, they were quickly sucked back into the world of heroes and villains when Harpies attacked them on campus.
Not only did the two opt to combat the harpies, but they teamed up with Black Widow, Ghost Rider, and Hercules. The group continued on for a while as the "Champions of Los Angeles." As for Bobby, he was able to complete his studies and become a Certified Public Accountant.
13 AN EX-X-MAN IN THE ANIMATED SERIES
When the '90s X-Men animated series first aired, we wondered where Iceman (or Kitty Pryde) was. Eventually we realized not every X-Men member made the cut, even if they were a founding member. It was a surprise, then, when Iceman appeared in the episode “Cold Comfort” as a former member of the team.
It is not unheard of for members of the X-Men to lock horns with Professor Xavier. However, Bobby was so at odds with him that he quit the team and took off with Lorna Dane to live a “normal” life. You know how well that goes for just about anyone is the Marvel Universe. Bobby never rejoins the team, but he does appear in other episodes in flashbacks.
12 EMMA FROST IS A BETTER ICEMAN
Emma Frost has boundary issues, specifically when it comes to possessing members of the X-Men. She did so with Storm, so she could attack the X-Men and, more recently, she has done it to Bobby. When Emma and her student, the Hellions, were attacked by Sentinels, she ended up unconscious. When she awoke, she slipped into Bobby’s mind, utilizing his mutation in ways that far exceeded what Bobby himself could do.
With Emma at the wheel, Iceman could control moisture at every level, including that of people’s bodies, and travel in liquid and gas forms. When she discovered her students were gone, she abandoned Bobby’s body. Iceman’s powers were also once enhanced by Loki who also used them for his own means.
11 INVOLVED WITH SHADOWCAT
When Iceman was paired with Rogue in the original X-Men films, many fans were none too pleased -- Rogue belongs with Gambit! Also, she and Iceman just never won us over. In X-Men: The Last Stand, Bobby and Kitty started to get close and eventually ended up together, a film pairing that is true to the source material.
In the comics, Bobby and Kitty were on the X-Men team for some time without really interacting with each other. Bobby, realizing that pursuing impulses helped him tap into his untapped mutant powers, began pursuing Kitty because he kept feeling the impulse to kiss her. The two managed one date before things fell apart in the wake of the events of “Battle of the Atom.”
10 HE CREATED AN ICE HULK
As mentioned earlier, Bobby’s abilities eventually enable him to create ice golems. It gets to a point where he can split up his consciousness among the golems, making them somewhat autonomous yet lacking full intelligence. In “Battle of the Atom” we learn that in the future of Earth-13729, one of the golems was able to permanently separate from Bobby.
The Ice Hulk, named for his Hulk-like build, is both resilient and has super strength. Also referred to as Ice Thing, this creature became a member of the futuristic Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and travelled with them to deal with the time-displaced X-Men problem. He returns to his own time but is later referenced in Iceman #3 when Bobby reflects on his potential future.
9 WAS SMASHED TO PIECES BY THOR
After a while, you start to wonder what (or who) Thor hasn’t smashed with his mighty hammer, Mjolnir and Iceman appears to be no exception. During Astonishing X-Men Vol 3 #64, Bobby turns into somewhat of a villain after becoming infected by Death Seed that contains the power of Apocalypse. Iceman starts to lose his mind while also experiencing a surge in his mutant power -- he nearly froze over the entire planet among other dark deeds.
To stop Bobby, the X-Men collaborate with Thor. Iceman actually almost bested the God of Thunder, but Thor got the upper hand and shattered him. He eventually pulled himself back together, mentally and physically, but he remains haunted to this day by the many lives he took during his freezing episode.
8 WAS GAY ALL ALONG
There are fan theories that Jean Grey, who realized Bobby was gay by reading his mind, made him gay out of vengeance for how he treats women. Others think she did it accidentally, unable to fully control her power. Neither have been substantiated. Iceman’s coming out simply reveals he’s always been gay.
Bobby never could have been a gay character in 1963. He’s now in a world where he can be himself. Jean shouldn’t have forced him to confront it before he was ready, but the fact remains there was something there to force. Bobby has had several (failed) relationships with women, sure, but that doesn’t negate who he is. It simply means he felt compelled to live someone else’s life for the sake of others.
7 FIRST X-MAN TO STAR IN AN ANIMATED SERIES
Iceman may not have been headlining the '90s X-Men cartoon, but he does have the distinction of being the first of the X-Men to star in an animated series. In the 1981 series Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, Iceman starred alongside Spider-Man and the newly created character Firestar.
The premise of the show is that Iceman and Firestar left the X-Men to go to college. There they met Peter Parker and decided to form a team. The creative team also added to Bobby’s backstory, creating the new character Aurora Dante, aka Lightwave, his half-sister. The series ran for three seasons before ending in 1983 after 24 episodes. The show’s core heroes teamed up with other Marvel characters and teams including the X-Men.
6 MYSTIQUE WAS OBSESSED WITH HIM FOR A MINUTE
Bobby’s romance with Mystique is one for the books. After resuscitating Iceman in battle, Mystique claimed to have reformed and joined the X-Men. She and Iceman became involved, but she had an alternate agenda as a spy for Mister Sinister. She broke things off with Bobby yet remained fixated.
In somewhat of an overreaction to Logan’s claim she would pass away alone, Mystique reappears as Bobby’s ex, Opal. She then shoots him and throws him out of his own jet before blowing it up, tries to poison him, and sets a truck on fire while he is inside it. Finally, she disguises herself as Iceman and, from the top of the Golden Gate bridge, threatens to blow it up. Perhaps not her finest moments.
5 DATED AN INHUMAN DURING THE WAR
The saying that “all is fair in love and war” perhaps crossed young Iceman’s mind when he joined the X-Men in attacking the Inhumans for the underlying reason of saving his boyfriend, Romeo. The two had earlier crossed paths while both of their teams were on a mission in Miami. Romeo, an empath and a member of the Royal Inhuman Diplomatic Mission, gave Bobby his number and they began seeing each other.
Just a few dates in, however, the X-Men launched an assault on the Inhuman’s base, so they could destroy the Terrigen Mist, which ends mutants, uninterrupted. Bobby joined the invasion but then pretty much abandoned his team to get Romeo to safety. During the chaos, they shared their first kiss.
4 LITERALLY PULL HIMSELF TOGETHER
As mentioned earlier, Mystique once resuscitated Iceman. This happened after he was completely vaporized during a battle with the Children of the Vault. He was thought gone, but he managed to pull himself back together from steam to ice to his natural state. This new-found aspect of his ability is part of what elevated Bobby to an Omega Level mutant.
Later when Thor shattered Bobby with his hammer in Astonishing X-Men, his broken pieces became one with the surrounding snow which he could manipulate at will, even after losing the Death Seed. Bobby has also demonstrated the ability to reattach broken limbs while in his ice form.
3 THE HELLFIRE CLUB EMPLOYED HIM AS A NINJA
The world of the X-Men boasts several team members with ninja skills including Kitty Pryde, Psylocke, and in the alternate reality of Marvel Mangaverse, Iceman. In the eight-issue 2003 series X-Men: Ronin, Bobby is a ninja assassin working alongside Pyro and Avalanche as thugs-for-hire employed by the Hellfire Club.
Under Emma Frost’s direction the three attempt to collect Jean Grey and have her join the Hellfire Club. In the process, Iceman proves to be a dangerous foe. Ultimately, Bobby and his teammates meet and untimely end at the hands of a Phoenix-crazed Jean Grey. If you think those aren’t enough liberties for this title to take, they narrative also sees Charles Xavier as head of the Hellfire Club and Emma’s father.
2 HE WAS PASSED OVER FOR SPYKE
The premier of 2000’s X-Men: Evolution animated series was another instance of fans asking where Iceman was. As with the '90s series, Evolution did not feature Bobby -- at least not initially. Originally, Iceman was intended to round out the first class of X-Men in the series, but he was dropped in favor of Spyke, aka Evan Daniels, Storm’s nephew.
Spyke, like the Wolverine clone X-23, was created specifically for the series. However, he eventually faded away, making room for more appearance by Iceman who made his debut as a member of the second class of X-Men, the New Mutants, in season two. In the final moments of the series’ finale, the future X-Men team can be seen with Iceman part of it.
1 FROZE HIS FATHER’S HEART
Bobby did some horrific things while influenced by the Death Seed, but his encounter with his father seemed darkest of all. Even casual X-Men comic readers have probably encountered the horrible relationship Bobby shares with his father. Bobby was never unable to gain the approval of a hateful father who won’t understand him.
During his dark episode, Bobby stops by his parents’ house. He tries to understand why his father never accepted him as a mutant. They argue, and Mrs. Drake breaks them up. Bobby announces he no longer needs his father. While leaving, he mentally begins freezing his father’s heart. “You had a cold heart already, I just made it even colder,” he sneers. He didn’t pass away, but it was a harsh experience nevertheless.