If you’re a fan of comic book movies, you’ve undoubtedly seen your fair share of the X-Men saga. With diversions into origin stories and parallel dimensions, the X-Men franchise now includes eight movies (nine if you count Deadpool, which takes place in the same universe), and the next in the franchise, The Wolverine 3, will be released in 2017. This franchise has been an epic saga that spans the length of 16 years and five directors. The movies are all based on the Marvel comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The first issue was released in 1963 and it was one of Marvel’s first team of superheroes (following shortly on the heels of The Fantastic Four). One of the most important and beloved characters of the comic franchise, though, is often one of the most overlooked in the modern cinematic series. The movies we have grown to love and admire so dearly hold a certain core group of mutants: Wolverine, Storm, Jean Grey, Mystique, and Cyclops, with a very significant presence of Professor Xavier and Magneto (of course). However, that’s never what the comic writers had intended. One of the most significant characters of the comic franchise that the movies never gave enough screen time to was Bobby Drake, better known as Iceman.
Get to know the X-man that may someday receive the movie time he so deserves, which some rumors have dictated that he will get his own film down the line. Check out our list of the 15 things you didn’t know about Iceman, and see what Hollywood has been missing out on.
15. He Doesn’t Create Ice, He Freezes The Air
It’s a small misconception, but important to address nonetheless. Bobby Drake isn’t just constantly generating more ice and shooting it out through weird slits in his hands since he’s a much more highly sophisticated superhero. Before we get to the technical methodology of his powers, we ought to remind you that this is a superhero movie after all and you shouldn’t get all nit-picky about the science behind this fictional comic book character. Iceman has a very cool set of abilities. He is able to cool and freeze ambient water vapor (essentially, humidity) in his immediate surroundings. When freezing, he’s able to direct where these cooled water molecules in the direction he chooses, giving the impression that he’s throwing or “shooting” ice out of his hands. Additionally, when he uses his powers, his body temperature cools equally as much. His body has mutated to accommodate such conditions and he’s able to transform into a frozen form.
14. He Is Virtually Indestructible In His Frozen Form
When Bobby enters his frozen state, he basically turns into a man-shaped block of ice. His shape and form have evolved over the course of the comics but the one thing that has always stayed the same is that when Bobby freezes over, very little can harm him. The movies put Bobby in a position where he was a young student, very unaware of the extent and limits of his powers, and he doesn’t quite figure out how to ice over into his frozen state until the third installation of the X-Men franchise, X-Men: The Last Stand. The movies have contradicted the comics’ insistence that Bobby is impervious in his icy state on few occasions, one of which being in X-Men: Days of Future Past when the sentinels are able to damage him with intense heat and then break him in half. Doesn’t seem that they would have it that easy since Bobby would be near impossible to put down permanently.
13. Bobby Is Known For His Honesty And Transparency
Iceman is just like the ice he embodies. This is not necessarily in the terms of a cold demeanor, but for his transparency. Though he’s a bit of a class clown at times, he is most loved for his honesty and can always be counted on to give a serious and sobering opinion in tight situations. Comic writer, Mike Carey, who has worked on several branches and versions of the X-Men comics and is the author of the highly anticipated science fiction film soon to be released, The Girl With All The Gifts, has professed that he believes honesty is Bobby Drake’s best quality. Carey stated, “He is devastatingly honest, he is very upfront with his emotions and his thoughts all the time. He’s obviously incredibly brave both in terms of facing external, physical danger as well as facing up to unpleasant situations and admitting his own mistakes.”
12. He’s The Second Founding Member Of The X-Men
The films give the impression that Bobby is not fully inducted into the core team of X-Men superheroes until the third movie, X-Men: United, when a rag-tag team must be assembled in response to the many deaths of X-Men. However, this was not at all the case in the comics. When the first issue was written back in the 1960s, the core team consisted of Scott Summers (Cyclops), Warren Worthington III (Angel/Archangel), Hank McCoy (Beast), Jean Grey (Marvel Girl), and Bobby Drake (Iceman). Of the group, Bobby Drake was the second to be recruited for the team by Professor Xavier, following shortly after Cyclops. The films preferred to portray Bobby as one of the students rather than one of the professors, which isn’t entirely untrue. Bobby was always the youngest of the group of superheroes and had much to learn when the Professor took him in. Many believe that Bobby Drake has yet to discover his full potential, even in the comics being released today.
11. He Used To Appear Snow-Covered
From the first time we saw Iceman transform into his colder state, he has always appeared as an icy figure. Yet, this wasn’t always the design and the characters’ look has evolved much more in the comics than it has in the films. In the first comics, whenever Bobby Drake would transform into his cooler state, he had the appearance of snow with a more opaque and luminescent white surface. This was justified as the writers said it was a frosting over of his skin when he utilized his powers. His appearance evolved when Bobby learned how to coat himself in a flexible but hard ice, which is more familiar to the crystalline icy version of his appearance that can be seen in recent films. Though Bobby Drake has learned more about how to best coat himself in frosty fixtures in the comics, the movies have so far maintained the glossed over icy-visage.
10. He Was Never Romantic With Rogue
In the comic books, Iceman and Rogue never had the romantic relationship that fans are so accustomed to seeing in the movies. However, Rogue is a very different character as she was portrayed in the comic books. She was introduced in the 1980s and actually grew up under the direction of Mystique as a villain before reforming and turning to the side of the X-Men. Her ongoing love interest in the comics is Gambit (the character briefly introduced in the movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine and portrayed by Taylor Kitsch), and she never has any romantic-type encounters with Iceman though the two fight alongside each other. The movie writers obviously made some changes to the basic story here, possibly due to the fact that actors, Shawn Ashmore and Anna Paquin, had an adorable chemistry together. However, as the movie series continued past the initial trilogy, fans have had a glimpse at a potential romantic chemistry between Bobby Drake and other female characters.
9. He Was Romantic With Kitty Pryde And Mystique
Just because Bobby Drake was never romantic with Rogue doesn’t mean he never had any love connections. Quite the contrary since Bobby has had many girlfriends, crushes, and unrequited loves over his years in the comics. The most significant love interests have been Mystique (the long-time enemy of the X-men) and Kitty Pryde (the young superhero who can walk through walls). His relationship with Mystique kindled out of a dangerous interaction, though Bobby thought he could persuade her to turn hero. Their relationship ended when Mystique betrayed him, as one might have predicted would happen. He later dated Kitty Pride but they also broke up. He’s had a few other crushes for characters like Polaris (the hero that controls magnetism, very similar to Magneto) and for the school nurse, Annie, but those loves have been unrequited. Northstar also had a crush on Bobby, but never told him how he felt because he feared Bobby would not return his affection.
8. Havok Was Iceman’s Romantic Rival
Remember those two crushes Bobby had that were unrequited? Well, that’s because he wasn’t the studly, bad-boy that Alex Summers, aka Havok, was. Havok, the younger brother of Scott Summers (Cyclops), has always been a moderately rebellious and strong-willed man. To Iceman’s chagrin, Havok attracted the affections of Polaris due to the fact that they both sometimes detested the decisions and agency the X-Men assumed. The two nearly married, but Havok left Polaris at the altar to pursue a new love interest. The new love interest was the nurse at Xavier’s School For the Gifted, Annie, whom Bobby also felt an affection for. Needless to say, Havok can certainly get under Iceman’s skin. However, if someone was grabbing up the people you fell in love with and constantly berating and contradicting your superhero team, you’d be pretty annoyed with them too. However, since Bobby is such a sweet and good-hearted individual, he’s never allowed his jealousy or frustration surface in his superhero work.
7. Shawn Ashmore Is The Only Actor To Portray Iceman In Person
Shawn Ashmore is the adorable face, sexy voice, and talented actor behind the Iceman character that most of us are familiar with. Though Ashmore starred in many small roles and several TV movies throughout his youth, his true “big break” came from achieving the role of Bobby Drake when he was merely 21-years-old. Since then, he’s been in a total of four of the X-Men movies and a lead character in X-Men: The Official Game. To this day, the actor claims it’s been his favorite role and he constantly speculates in interviews what might happen next and what he’d love to happen with his character. Though he’s made appearances in other movies and television shows, like Fringe, Smallville, The Following, and Quantum Break, he still loves his X-Men character and can’t wait to start his next project with the cast. He’s also delighted at the prospect of Iceman gaining more prominence in the series or getting his own movie.
6. Bobby Drake Discovered His Powers Through Chivalry
Every X-Man has an origin story, and Bobby’s is sweeter than most. Bobby Drake grew up in a normal, healthy family with very little stress or drama. However, he went on a date with his high school crush, Judy Harmon, and things went awry. A bully named, Rocky Beasley, attempted to steal Judy away for himself in a typical “Back to the Future” type fashion (namely, the scene where bully Biff practically tries to rape Lorraine in front of George). Well, pretend George was a mutant who could shoot ice from his fingers and you’ve got Bobby Drake. Bobby saved Judy from danger, but of course his newly discovered powers terrified his date, himself, and everyone else around. An angry mob came after Bobby and he was put in jail by the sheriff “for his own safety.” Who knows what might have become of Bobby had he not been rescued by Cyclops and Professor Xavier?
5. Iceman Is Spikier Than The Movies Suggest
As we mentioned earlier, the only icy version of Bobby Drake that fans of the movies are familiar with is the glossy, nearly crystalline version of him that we see in movies like X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: Days of Future Past. However Iceman’s appearance in the comics has evolved even further, beyond what the movies have shown. In the comics, Emma Frost takes over and manipulates Bobby’s mind in a crazy adventure in The Uncanny X-Men that changes Iceman forever. While Emma is in his head, he changes his appearance to have spiky hair, enlarged veins, and bubbles throughout his icy form. Once he regains control of his consciousness, he elects to keep some of his jagged spikes and even give himself more spikes over his arms and spine. The newest appearance looks more like an Arctic frozen form than the snowman he began as.
4. Bobby And Hank McCoy Were Considered “Comic Reliefs”
These were the goofballs of the original troop. Of the main original heroes (Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Iceman, and Angel), Beast and Iceman were quick to befriend each other and became the jokers and clowns of the group. Of course both were very serious and terrifying when they needed to be, but during their down time they were both funny buddies that loved to lighten up every situation. It’s hard to imagine this kind of relationship given the virtual non-existence of their friendship in the X-Men movies, especially when the young Bobby was always busy trying to maintain his romantic relationship with Rogue and prove his worth as a fighter while Hank McCoy was an incredibly serious and somber diplomat that was rarely known to laugh or smile. Yet, it’s true. Iceman and Beast were thick as thieves and were quick to make snappy one-liners and provide levity in all sorts of situations.
3. He’s Able To Liquefy Himself
This is a power that has certainly never been touched upon in the movies, but is one of Iceman’s coolest auxiliary abilities that could save his life or at the very least get him out of a tight fix. Mike Carey, one of Iceman’s writers, has described Bobby Drake as an Omega Level Mutant (one of the most powerful classifications), with powers that can actively affect and change not only himself but his surrounding ecosystem. One such ability is being able to merge his cooled molecules with those of bodies of water around him. He’s then able to re-separate his bodily molecules from that body of water. He’s only able to do this when in his frozen form, but it’s still an incredible power that could save his life if ever he were injured in battle or needed a quick escape. That is, as long as that battle took place next to a fast running river or creek, of course.
2. He Can Also Absorb Water To Enlarge His Figure
Another power that the movies never touched on was Bobby’s ability to absorb water molecules and retain them. Similarly to the previous point we made, wherein Bobby can merge his molecules with those of a body of water and become part of a stream, he can also merge water molecules with those of his body and become a larger, bigger man. Imagine if Bobby stood in a pond or lake and absorbed all of the water, growing in size and mass until he was a towering monolith of a man and hero. Nothing could stop him! This power has rarely been utilized in the comics, but it was always a grand tool he could use when the situation called for a big move that could quickly eliminate a formidable opponent. Very similar to the hero, Doctor Manhattan, from the graphic novel Watchmen, Iceman would be able to win a war with ease in this state.
1. Iceman Is Gay
Perhaps Northstar should have told Bobby about his crush after all since there is a possibility that Iceman may have returned his affections. Back in 2012, in the comic series, All-New X-Men, Iceman traveled through time and readers discovered the older version of himself was gay. When the two versions of the same men discuss it, Iceman revealed that for most of his life (since he joined the X-Men as a young teenager) he had focused most of his energy on being a hero and developing his powers, and he used the excuse of being busy to avoid coping with the realities of how he felt about his sexuality. To avoid persecution and personal shame, he repressed the feelings and tried to change his sexuality by pushing himself to be in relationships with women he admired. However, he finally admitted to Anole (a reptilian mutant who is an openly gay character) that he has been denying his true self all of these years. Actor, Shawn Ashmore, loves the development and hopes movies keep the character development in future films.