Iceman #5 Review: Came For The Juggernaut, Stayed For The Emotional Intensity

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Iceman #5 Review: Came For The Juggernaut, Stayed For The Emotional Intensity

The Juggernaut is among my favorite Marvel characters. As a villain, a hero, an anti-hero, Cain Marko looms very close to my heart. He's a brute, but he's smart and self-aware. He struggles against the demon that gives him power, he's tried to do good with the strength given to him by Cytorrak, but he still functions as an immensely powerful bad guy when you need him to be. I prefer him as a redemption-focused character, but he is still cool as a rogue. And I LOVED him as a Thunderbolt.

That's why I decided to pick up Iceman #5. I was not prepared for what I'd actually get.

Bobby Drake has come out to his traditionalist parents. They're on the verge of a meltdown, and Bobby is trying not to do the same while explaining everything to them.

Unfortunately, the Juggernaut is in town looking to settle a score with the young X-Men: Blue team (not realizing they now live in Madripoor).

Can Iceman settle things with his parents, or will he be crushed by the Juggernaut before that can happen. Which fate would he even prefer at this point?

This is an emotional heavyweight of a comic, and it handles itself with the skill and balance of an old-industry pro. What Sina Grace accomplishes here cannot be overstated; this is a brilliant damn comic.

The confrontation between Bobby Drake and his parents has an intensity that is more threatening than the return of the Unstoppable Juggernaut himself.

It's all so palpable; so real. The dialogue between Bobby and his mother and father sounds like a thousand such conversations between queer children and their parents.

One of my oldest and closest friends was forced to come out by his snooping religious fundamentalist parents, and let me tell you, this gave me flashbacks to the things they said to him. I was on the verge of tears.

Iceman #5 Review: Came For The Juggernaut, Stayed For The Emotional Intensity

Yet, it doesn't go out of its way to demonize the Drakes. They're allowed sympathetic moments, and the comic gives panel space to their views and confusion. They say some rancid things, but the comic doesn't hate them for it, and doesn't expect you to, either.

The following fight between Iceman and the Juggernaut gave some additional catharsis that this situation needed. It also gave Alessandro Vitti and Rachelle Rosenberg some space to get really creative with Iceman's growing omega-level powers. He gets to do some cool stuff in this comic.

The detail and styling on display works really well for the plot. The aesthetic looks gritty and drained, and it fits the emotional atmosphere of the proceedings.

The parallels between Iceman's self-discovery and his growing powers is a creative and narratively concise means of developing this X-Man. It's one of those seemingly small details that helps the comic work as well as it does.

It is a little disappointing to see Juggernaut reduced to a near-two-dimensional brute while saying "fake news" at one point, but, even as a Juggernaut fan, I can understand giving him some breathing room would subtract from the more important and pressing narrative taking place between Iceman and his parents.

This is one of the most socially relevant comics I've read in some time. As yet another straight, white, cis, male maybe I'm not qualified to say this, but Joe Glass's glowing review allows me to feel confident in saying that this is a skillful encapsulation of the struggles of a LGBTQ+ youth having to struggle with their traditionalist parents. This comic deserves to be supported. Pick it up.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.
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