Wherever he went, his name struck fear into the hearts of those that opposed truth, justice, and the Goody-Good way. He showed no mercy when dealing with cold [sic], inhuman criminals, and he was the best at what he did. His secret life was Bobby Drake, roving ex-student from Xavier's school for ex-men. But in reality, he was ICEMAN, pursuant perpetrator of evil and wrong-doers. He was the type of guy that would grab your car in an ice structure if you ran a red light.
Bobby Drake was feeling relaxed that day, wandering home at his usual time of a half hour after midnight. Suddenly, the yuckey stillness of night was shattered by gunshots and two thieves wearing nylon stockings over their heads. The pair of thugs was dashing madly away from the first national bank of Syria carrying a sack with a dollar sign on one side.
"This looks suspicious," said Bobby in his dumpy secret identity voice. "And it also looks like a job . . ."
He pointed his palms at his feet as streams of ice gutted from them and began to encase him in a block from the feet up.
". . . for . . ."
The ice completely engulfed his body, making him look like a Frigidaire commercial. Inside the ice block, Bobby pushed on the sides, cracking the frozen water apart and sending it flying in little chunks. It was the crust of ice armor remaining that transformed him from Bobby Drake into:
"I C E M A N ! ! !"
His voice was about an octave and a half below his previous Bobby Drake speaking voice. It was commanding, rippling with power and cold [sic] determination.
Aiming his hands to the ground, a frozen-TV-dinner-thick sheet of ice formed beneath his feet and curved up and forward of him like a slide. He began to ice skate forward, gaining speed and altitude as he did so. His ice slide kept on forming at the ends of the ice streams from his hands, leading ever higher and closer to the two escaping criminals. Using this technique, Iceman could get a speeding ticket on the freeway.
"Look!" exclaimed one of the crooks. "Up in the sky!"
"It's a contrail!" the other suggested.
"It's a popsickle!"
Then, in unison: "IT'S ICEMAN!"
They were frightened out of their wits. The first took aim and fired two shots right into the frozen form. These leaden projectiles might have slowed him down had they not all been easily stopped by his ice armor.
"Hey," commented the other. "Didja ever notice that his ice slide is usually several miles long, hanging in midair, with no structural strength or supporting beams?"
"You sure pick a funny time to be a perfectionist!"
Iceman swooped down on the grovelling two, firing an ice blast with one of his free hands. "Sorry to cool down your operation, but I just can't stand to see burglars get away with cold cash!"
"Aaaaagh!" the two said, both in response to his churning ice ray and his bad pun. They were whisked off the street in a deluge of extremely cold water, and at last lay suspended in the center of an ice ball five meters across.
Iceman had a tendency to overkill his opponents.
"Good work, Iceman," said a police sergeant when he arrived on the scene a few minutes later. "You're a credit to this country!"
"Just doing my job, officer," he replied, and ice slid away into the dark of the night.
"There goes a fine American. We'd probably have lost World War II without him."
"But sir, Iceman didn't exist until 1963."
"See what a good job he's done? He didn't even have to be there, and he still won World War II for us!"
In the High School cafeteria, Bobby Drake munched absent-mindedly on his hamburgersickle while he picked his nose with an ice pick. He hadn't seen Angelica Jones or Peter Parker around recently, and was beginning to wonder if Peter had run off with his girlfriend.
'I hope not,' he thought. 'Angelica was really hot stuff.'
Suddenly, the yuckey stillness of cafeteria food was shattered by gunshots and two thieves wearing nylon stockings over their heads. The pair of thugs was dashing madly away from the serving kitchen carrying a sack with a cents sign on one side. Bobby slipped away into a nearby telephone booth as soon as the guy with the S on his chest got out.
"This looks like a job . . . for . . ." Crash!! ". . . ICEMAN!"
He quickly ice slid out of the remains of the phone booth after the criminals. There was only one question on everybody's mind: 'Where did Iceman come from? He must be faster than we thought!'
The blue-white figure boldly charged at the two frightened crooks. One of them took out a machine gun he had in his pocket and riddled Iceman's armor — to no avail. He pulled a bazooka out from his other pocket and was about to flatten the Man of Ice, but Iceman got the first move.
"Now it's my turn, criminal scum! Cool your jets!" A ray of ice came from his right hand and solidified in midair. It rammed into the bazooka and thrust it from the crook's hands into the far wall. The rocket launcher went off on impact, shattering a piece of the ceiling and jailing the criminals in a pile of fallen debris.
"We give up! We give up!" they said in unison.
The population of the cafeteria cheered wildly for the man who was their hero and their idol (several macho men had lost their girlfriends because they couldn't fire ice blasts like him). Iceman immediately stopped sliding around and congratulated himself on a job well done. After a few bows to his audience, the police came and took the criminals away.
"You again?" asked the police sergeant. "Boy, you sure get around. What would we do without you?"
"Probably burn up at the crime rate. So long!" He slid off into the midday sunset.
"What's your name, mister popsickle?" asked a three-year-old girl down by the pond. She'd never seen a guy bring his own roads with him before.
"The name's Iceman, little girl. Say, would you like to see me freeze that pond?"
"Well, I —"
She actually didn't have much to say in the matter. Iceman stared at the pond intently and within a second it was solid H2O throughout. "That's nothing," he commented. "Watch this!"
He aimed his hands at the base of the pond and sprayed his icy stuff again. The pond, frozen fish and plants and all, rose skyward on a column of Iceman's patented Handy Ice.
"How did you do that?" The girl's father had joined her, and was far more impressed than she was.
"Easy. I'm Iceman, that's how!"
"Yeah, I know, but I mean how?"
"Well, you see, I'm a mutant with the ability to freeze moisture from the air."
"There couldn't have been that much moisture in the air."
"Well, you see, solid ice, due to its crystalline structure, takes up more space than does the same mass of liquid water."
"But not that much more space! And what's this about being a mutant? The mutants I know are missing arms and legs and things. I know this one mutant who's called 'Cyclops' because he was born with only one eye. . . . Hey! Where'd he go?"
The man shrugged it off and turned his back to the situation. On the rear of his tee-shirt was a picture of Spiderman with a red circle around it and a line through it. Below this was printed, "Make mine D.C."
The Iceman show had just been nationally televised for the first time, and already Iceman could begin to feel his head swelling inside its ice plating. This was the first live action show that fictitiously reproduced the adventures of a real life super-hero — in fact, of the real life super-hero. He hadn't been on the street two minutes before he was surrounded by autograph hounds and people wanting to see him "do that ice slide trick."
"Hey, do that ice slide trick," they said.
"Glad to oblige." He carefully sprayed his ice in front of him in exact measured doses, which seemed on the outside only to form another big ice block. Then, carefully measuring his blow, he punched the structure at a key point. The ice on the outside fell away, exposing a statue which looked alarmingly like a playground slide.
"There you are. One genuine ice slide." That got a few chuckles from the group, but there were a few who ignored it. They were the swooning girls begging to be noticed by him.
"Hello, miss," he said as he put a hand on one of their shoulders.
"He touched me!" she crooned, and fainted.
"Gee, I didn't mean to give her the cold shoulder."
That was all the kid in the back could stand. He took his slingshot from his back pocket, removed the wad of gum he was chewing on, took dead aim and . . .
"Oh no you don't!" Iceman's keen, icy eyes caught it just in time. He let fly an ice ray which turned into a snowball some two meters in diameter. This stopped the kid quite well, who had some trouble getting out from underneath it.
"Sorry I had to bowl you over."
The kid let fly with his gum wad anyway. It hit Iceman on the palm of his left hand, where it quickly turned brittle and shattered from the quick-freeze.
Iceman's impressive victory was cut short by a man in dark sunglasses and a three piece denim sport coat. "FBI" he said, shoving the appropriate badge in his face.
"So? Don't bother me with petty details. I have important work to do!"
"But this is important! It's a matter of national security."
"Sure it is. Just like the time you told me to stand in while the White House refrigerator was on the blink. Get back to me when you have something important to say."
He ice slid off out of hearing range. He followed up this quick maneuver by ducking down below radar level and skimming the alleyways for a while. Finally, when he made it to the next city over, he decided to rest. He slumped down on the backside of a building beside a row of garbage cans.
"But it is important!" the FBI man popping out from the third garbage can said. It was the same man.
"Oh, all right. What is it," asked the Man of Ice.
"Harry 'Phoenix' Roberts has just escaped from prison."
"'Phoenix' Roberts. I've heard that name before. What was he in for?"
"Arson. He burned down three city blocks at once."
"Oh yeah. I remember that: the 'Phoenix' Bonfire. I still have nightmares about that news flash."
"Well, he's escaped, and he's on the move. We need you to catch him; you're the only one who can do it."
"But why me? I'm just your friendly neighborhood Iceman!"
"Because it's a known fact that opposites attract. You deal with cold, he deals with fire. You'll be drawn to each other like flies to female flies. Comprende?"
"Oui oui, mon sewer. This looks like a job for. . ."
In unision, they both chanted: "I C E M A N ! ! !"
"It's so much fun being an ego maniac," he thought as he slid into the sunset. "I'm best at everything: ice sliding, refrigerator repair, saving the world, modesty, you name it."
He entered the Sleez Ball bar & grill non-chalantly, looking like any other suave and famous super-hero off the street who was coincidentally covered with ice. "Howdy, bartender. Give me a beer."
"What kind do super-heroes drink?" asked the bartender as he dried a glass. Bartenders don't normally dry glasses, but it always looks nice on film. "Coors? Bud? Schlitz?"
"Root." he said with his commanding voice. The bartender wouldn't think of cracking a joke about it. "On the rocks. And put it in —"
"I know, a dirty glass. One root beer, comin' up!" He poured a glass of Coors, then ground a couple of tree roots into it and handed it to Iceman.
"Say," asked Iceman casually, "Have you heard anything about Harry Roberts?"
"'Phoenix' Roberts? Sure. He's over there in the west corner. He's been drinking himself silly all day, ordering round after round of Everclear — that's ninety-five percent grain alcohol — and sprinkling some weird powder on it. He has plenty of dough with him, but I do wish he'd pay me in money for a change. I don't understand how anyone could ingest that much pure ethyl alcohol and not pass out. Oh sure, he's acting a little strange now, but he just won't pass out."
"Thanks pardner. I think I'll mosey on over there and check this feller out." Iceman proceeded to mosey.
"Strange fellow. I've never seen a guy act western in a British bar before."
Iceman arrived at the west corner and addressed the table's single occupant. "Harry Roberts?"
"Yes, that is I. What want you?" His voice sounded strangely malevolent, but Iceman hardly noticed that when compared to the smell of pure C2H5OH on his breath.
"Give it up, 'Phoenix' Roberts. I've got you cornered, and no human force you can conjure up can stop me from taking you in."
"That's true — no human force can stop you. But . . ." Before another word could be spoken, Harry Roberts clenched his fists and pointed them at Iceman. Twin streaks of flame roared out from seemingly nowhere on them, catching Iceman square and knocking him down. The heat had fazed him.
". . . ha ha! I am only barely human now!"
"Oh oh," thought Iceman. "Here it comes. One more super villain origin. . . ."
"Ten years ago, a fiery bolt from the heavens intersected me while I was robbing a candy store. At the time I thought nothing of it, since fiery bolts from the heavens hit people every other Wednesday. But by and by my perspective of the world began to change. I became less interested in theft and more interested in pyromania."
"From larson to arson, eh?" suggested Iceman.
"Don't interrupt! Anyway, I soon realized that I could start fires without matches or having to rub boyscouts and girlscouts together. I realized that this power came from a powdery residue the fiery bolt left on my body. I scraped the powder off, and lo and behold, my power to start fires at touch was gone.
"But my pyromania remained. What power could I get, I thought, if I ingested this powder? I tried this and it did absolutely nothing. Well, back to the good old matches. It wasn't long before I wound up in jail for the 'Phoenix' Bonfire."
"And that's what gave you your nickname Phoenix, right?" asked Iceman.
"No, I got that name because I reminded people of a day in the Arizona Desert. Anyway, a few days ago, it finally hit me. Instead of taking the powder straight, I should mix it with something! I broke out of jail, dug my stash of powder out from where I'd hidden it, and got to work. I had to mix it with something that'd be flammable, yet wouldn't kill me if I ingested it."
Iceman's eyes opened wide in terror. "Ethanol," he whispered in awed fear.
"That's right. And now, as you have seen, the transformation is almost complete!" His voice was taking on a more megalomaniacal tone than Iceman had heard in a long time. This was the first time in his life the super-hero Iceman had ever been genuinely scared of someone or something.
Phoenix held his mug of Everclear/pyropowder boldly before himself. "This is it! One more swig of this magical mixture, and no force on Earth can stop me!"
"Oh, no you don't!" Iceman supported his weight on his right hand and fired an ice blast at the mug with his left. His aim was good, but Phoenix managed to pull the mug out of its way.
"Ha! You missed!" he said as he proceeded to chug-a-lug down the last of the stuff. He threw the glass to the floor where it crashed into hundreds of pieces, but no one seemed to notice. Not when Phoenix's body was beginning to rumble and take on a new shade of black. Flame oozed from the figure's fringes like a halo as he bellowed, "At last, I have found it! I have shielded the cosmic rays from the body of Alex Summers, and I am at last becoming the Living Monolith!
"Whoops! Wrong giant origin. But I am managing to get 'up in the world'."
Phoenix wasn't kidding. His head was already crashing through the roof of the bar, and his body size easily matched his height. And his growth was accelerating.
When he was finished, he towered sixteen and a quarter meters above the smouldering remains of the Sleez Ball bar & grill. Fortunately, none of the people had been killed . . . yet.
"Phoenix!" shouted Iceman. "You look so black! . . . so dark! . . ."
"Well, then," suggested the humanoid monolith, "I suppose you can call me 'Dark Phoenix.' But I'd really prefer it if you just called me . . . FIRE MAN!!"
Iceman's pulse was racing. It could have won the Indy 500 if the Indy 500 were open to pulses. His temperature reached a searing forty degrees Farenheit. He was doing what he hadn't done for the past eight years; he was sweating liquid water.
With all that going against him, true believers, is it fair that he has to fight the Fire Man?
"Maybe not fair," the big guy suggested, "But it sure sounds like fun! Perish, mortal scum!"
Fortunately, Iceman had recovered enough to ice slide out of the way of Fire Man's deluge of flame. Again, no one was killed (we can't kill people in super-hero comics cartoons). Iceman set himself up in what he deemed was a good position, six meters above ground, and put nearly everything he had into his ice blast. The blow did little more than manage to annoy the flaming Dark Phoenix.
"Fool! Do you not realize that you are only prolonging your demise by taunting me?"
"No, I thought I was just giving you a snow job." Iceman's voice didn't even waver.
"Grrrrr! Hold it! What am I thinking? I don't have to deal with you! All I have to do is destroy the city. You'll be compelled to stop me by your own petty moral code. And I think I'll start with that group of people over there!"
There was no way Iceman could let this go unchallenged. "Oh, no you don't!"
"That's the third time you've said that todghrghplg —"
Iceman had commandingly surrounded Fire Man in a silo shaped cage of ice a meter thick. It would take a forest fire three hours to eat through that much special ice.
But Fire Man did it in only seconds. "Great snowflakes!" exclaimed Iceman. "No one has ever melted that much ice before — not even the Hulk! Come to think of it, I never iced the Hulk before, anyway."
"That was a good one, icicle. Now its my turn."
Like he had done before, Fire Man aimed his fists at Iceman and let loose twin beams of fire. The only difference was that this time the beams were much bigger. Iceman tried desperately to evade the shots, but the left beam hit him square.
Iceman was knocked from the sky. His armor was half melted away, showing vague hints of his Bobby Drake identity. His ice slide had peeled way back and was far out of his reach. His weakened armor would never be enough protection against the six meter drop, and to top it off, he was unconscious.
If Bobby Drake were an ordinary man, he would be dead meat by now. But Iceman was not an ordinary man; if he were, this comic wouldn't have been made, right? He recovered from the blow mere milliseconds before he hit the ground. Thinking instinctively, he anchored a new ice slide to the air and whisked himself along in a slow arc, saving himself from certain doom.
"You survived! Hey, what's holding that ice ramp up, anyhow?"
"The usual. Nothing, of course!" Iceman aimed an unexpected attack straight at the eyes of the monster. The attack succeeded, and Fire Man's windshields were iced over.
"Yaah! I can't see!"
'This is just the opening I need,' Iceman thought as he set himself up for his next move. This would require the cunning and brains found only in one such as . . . ICEMAN!!
'This guy was created by a fiery bolt from the heavens. If I could get my hands on an icy bolt from the heavens, I may be able to match his power level! Now where am I going to find one of those? . . . Wait a minute! What am I worried about? I'll make an icy bolt from the heavens!'
Iceman fired one of his biggest ice blasts ever straight upward, just as Fire Man cleared the blinding ice wall from his eyes. "Now, human scum," howled the Man of Fire, "Prepare to meet your doom!"
"Not if I can help it! Have another ice blast in your eyes!"
"You don't think I'm going to fall for that trick again, do you? All I have to do is cover my eyes," he said as he covered his eyes.
'Good,' Iceman thought. 'He fell for it!' Iceman put both of his arms out straight, palms facing Fire Man's abdomen, and fired twin beams of cold like they were going out of style.
"Arrrgh!" the Fire Man yelled as he moved his arms from his eyes to his gut. "Your cold blast can't kill me, but I would prefer to be in a little less pain."
Fire Man extended one of his arms until his hand was blocking the cold path. Now the pain had moved from his stomach into his palm. He clenched his hand into a fist and began to project fire from it. ". . . and firing my blast is a lot less painful than taking one of yours!"
Iceman recognized this scene instantly, even through his mounting fatigue. He was firing his cold blast right into Fire Man's heat blast, and the effect was that of a push-of-war. Should he give in even a little, although his armor had refrozen itself, he would be well done. He put his head down to endure the strain a little longer.
"Got to . . . keep this . . . up, or my . . . goose is . . . cooked! Can't . . . talk without . . . using ellipses . . . between my statements!"
"Nothing can save you now, you reject from the frozen meat section!" Fire Man raised his other fist into position and readied to add its might into his blast.
All-of-a-sudden, a whistling burst into their ears. When Iceman looked to its source, he saw a big ice chunk hurling at him from straight above, shaped like a non-pointed industrial screw.
"Cold diggity dog! My icy bolt from the heavens!"
"What?" thundered Fire man. "Why . . . it is an icy bolt from the heavens!"
The bolt stuck down on Iceman and began surrounding him with psychadelic ice shades as dramatic music began to play. He started chanting, "By the power of Grayskull! . . ."
The dramatic music also chanted as Iceman's body slowly gained size: "Ice-MAN! (dah, dah, da-da-da-da-dah) Ice-MAN! (dah, dah, da-dah)"
Iceman slowly gained size and mass as his body grew proportionally larger, meter by meter. Finally, it reached its maximum of sixteen meters high, nearly the same towering size as Fire Man.
"I have the power!" bellowed Iceman, concluding the chant. The icy background ceased along with the music.
"Okay," he continued, "Now we're an even match!"
"Oh, no we're not! I'm Fire Man, remember? I'm a better match than you are, any day!"
"You'll pay for that pun," Iceman said as he blasted him with his newfound might.
"AAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!! Never in my entire three minute career as a supervillain have I felt such power! I . . . must . . . counter it!"
Fire Man engaged his own brand of mighty blast, but this time he was at a disadvantage. Iceman's first sixteen-meter-high onslaught had weakened him, and now he had to repel Iceman's superhumanly powerful ice blast with everything he had.
The two forms of nasty stuff clashed in mid-track, sending peals of thunder over the landscape. This thunder went on to create a 6.7 earthquake which wrecked several buildings and injured many people, none of whom were killed, of course.
"No!" screamed Fire Man. "I've run out of fire!"
Iceman snickered, "Well, that's too bad for you!" He aimed his hands at him, but instead of producing ice blasts, the only things that came out were a few normal-sized ice cubes before his hands stopped emitting altogether. "Well, whadaya know? I'm outa snow!" This was not surprising, since by now Iceman's "freezing moisture from the air" bit must have reduced the humidity level in that city to the equivalent of Death Valley.
"It looks like we're going to have to fight this one out hand-to-hand," Iceman said as he grappled the burning black excuse for a humanoid.
The two titans clashed meters above the ground. They stepped wildly from side to side, crushing what remains the earthquake left behind. Their points of contact were sending out violent sparks of rushing, charged air.
Iceman had to win, otherwise Fire Man would crush the Earth in his hellish grip.
Though they couldn't detect it, both Iceman and Fire Man were slowly shrinking, losing their mass energy as they cancelled each other out and returned to their original size. By the time they realized what was going on, they were back down to their less-than-two-meter heights.
"My size," Fire Man cried. "What happened to my size?!?"
"You just lost it in a poker game. My poker game. Now you're down to a size I can handle."
"Hah! I may have lost my sixteen-and-a-quarter-meter height and my fire blasts, but I still have my body flame!"
"And your burnt toast coloration. It looks real strange on a caucasian like you," Iceman said as he ice blasted Flame Man (one step down from a fire).
"Argh. How'd you recover your ice blasts so quickly?"
"The same way you got back your flame blasts: we're not wielding nearly as much energy, so we're not draining our respective power sources nearly as fast."
"Oh? You mean I can flame blast? Thanks!" Flame Man blasted Iceman.
"Yii! I shouldn't have opened my big mouth. Hey, cracklin' brand, how'd you like a few ice balls!"
Two ten-centimeter diameter ice baseballs flew from Iceman's hand and hit Flame Man square (Fire Man had been too obsessed with his absolute power to figure out how to dodge). They flung him back onto the ground, the impact of which nearly gave him a concussion.
"Ouch! All right, no more mister nice guy!"
He never completed the threat. Iceman created a cylinder of ice three meters high by three meters wide above Flame Man's head, and let his own heat melt it. The deluge immediately doused his fire, turning him back from Flame Man into Harry "Phoenix" Roberts.
"If there's anything I can't stand, it's a megalomaniac. I think I'd best 'freeze your assets'."
Iceman froze Harry Roberts in a humanoid ice shell sixteen-and-a-quarter meters high as he screamed, "Nooooooooo!! . . ." It was an overkill to say the least, but it was a fitting ending.
"Good work, Iceman," said the same police sergeant. "This statue will block traffic for a few miles back, but we haven't had much traffic since the big quake, anyway. What would this town be without you?"
"Probably a lot better off, since someone else could probably have handled Fire Man without turning this place into a shambles. But don't worry . . . I'll repair the damage."
Iceman ice slid away quickly and began rebuilding every structure from memory as best he could recall, turning the rubble into an igloo emporium. When his work was through, he turned back and said, "Oh, don't thank me. We're all on the same team."
His ice slide carried him boldly into the gold-hued sunset.
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