Get ready for the darkest, most disturbingly racist origin story yet, as issues 45 and 46 conclude the tale of how Bobby Drake became Iceman, the youngest member of the X-Men. He and Scott are almost strung up by their necks by a bunch of ignorant country bumpkins. These vignettes in the backs of these issues are getting tiresome, but I have to admit they’re often the best part of the issue.
When we left off, Bobby had been arrested after an altercation that wasn’t his fault. His powers were revealed in public, causing fear and panic. It is about to cause a hate crime. Scott has intervened in an attempt to rescue Bobby from a threat he has dangerously underestimated. He’s sitting in jail, sure that he will get a fair trial and be set free. After all, he is innocent. He and his date were attacked in the park. He’s a young fool who doesn’t realize the danger he’s in. The townspeople are stricken with fear, their judgemnt clouded. His own date would probably testify against him, judging by how she ran off in terror. Scott tries to talk some sense into Bobby, and when he won’t listen he takes matters into his own hands. Showing some unusually split-second decision making, our usually overburdened and mopey leader actually does something bold. He blasts a huge hole in the wall, grabs Bobby, and makes a run for it.
The angry mob outside doesn’t waste any time proving Scott right. Immediately they declare open season on all mutant teenagers in the area. Screw the law. Screw procedure. Screw ethics. We must all fear the ice! Xenophobia now! Guns and ammo! Rev your engines boys! It’s ‘Murica Time! Lets exercise our freedom to be the only people around here with any god damn freedoms! Boo-Rah!
Bobby doesn’t get the memo. He can be really dense, even for someone made of ice. He still thinks Scott is ruining his chance at a fair trial, so he starts a fight. Scott and Bobby are attacking each other in the street while they should be running from the blood-thirsty mob. The two soon tire each other out without a clear winner. This allows the mob to take the advantage, and soon Scott and Bobby are being held at gunpoint.
The mob immediately starts talking about killing them, and the sheriff has to step in and uphold the law. There is at least one good man among them. However, he is but one and they are many.
The sheriff is dragged away while the mob gets ready for a lynchin. This is the most direct and serious reference to real life racism that we’ve ever seen in an X-Men comic up until this point. We’ve seen angry mobs throwing obscenities and rocks, but we’ve never seen anything this deadly.
Bobby is sure that the two of them are doomed, but wrong again Bobby! Professor X is rushing in to save the day. To make a long story short, they escape. I bet you can imagine how. I’m much more interested in the bloodthirsty mob than the short fist fight that ends it. Just look at those guys getting the noose ready. No enemy, not even Magneto or the Juggernaut, have given us such chilling imagery.
When it is all done, Bobby’s parents are understandably devastated. Their town isn’t safe for Bobby anymore. Charles was conveniently able to erase this incident from the minds of everyone in town, but it’s only a matter of time before Bobby’s abilities are revealed again. It is decided that he should go with these two mysterious strangers, the old man and his teenager in spandex and what could easily be considered some sort of weird sex fetish mask. The man owns a private school in upstate New York. It’s totally cool, I swear it. Bye mom.
The Professor has now recruited two students, and for the first time he commands a team.