Robert Louis “Bobby” Drake was born in Port Washington, Long Island, New York, to William Robert Drake and Madeline Beatrice Bass-Drake. His father is Irish Catholic, and his mother is Jewish. Bobby’s powers first manifested when he was on a date with Judy Harmon, and a local bully by the name of Rocky Beasely tried to take Judy away for himself. Knowing Judy could not put up a good fight, Bobby pointed his hand at Beasely and encased him in a block of ice. Later, the local townspeople, having heard of the incident, came looking for him in the form of an angry mob. The local sheriff had no choice but to put Bobby in jail for his own “protection”. While Bobby sat in his cell at the sheriff station, the outer wall was blown open, and a young man named Scott Summers walked in and offered to take Bobby with him. After Bobby turned him down, the two mutants got into a short battle, which was soon ended by the arrival of Professor Charles Xavier.
After Xavier spoke with Bobby and his parents, Bobby’s parents suggested that he go with Professor Xavier to his “school for gifted youngsters”. Bobby took the suggestion and left with Professor Xavier and Cyclops to become the second member of the X-Men. He is later joined by Henry “Hank” McCoy, Jean Grey, and Warren Worthington III as the founding members of the X-Men. Iceman quickly befriends Hank McCoy (Beast), and the two serve as comic relief for the team. Drake remains self-conscious regarding the fact that he is the youngest member of the group. Appearing in his original snow covered form, he first battles Magneto along with the rest of the team, and later the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Bobby Drake’s first girlfriend is Zelda. Not long after, he takes on a new ice-covered form. He then teams up with the Human Torch for the first time. The two would become close friends as time went on. With the X-Men, he visits the Savage Land and meets Ka-Zar for the first time. He then battles the Juggernaut, and is badly injured in his first battle against the Sentinels. He next battles Magneto by himself. Later, he visits Subterranea for the first time. Then, he and Beast battle the Maha Yogi. During his original stint with the X-Men, Drake pursues a relationship with Lorna Dane, although the relationship does not last. Iceman is among the original X-Men captured by Krakoa, leading to a new incarnation of X-Men of which he is not a member. With most of the original team, he quits the X-Men.
Champions and Defenders
Iceman moves to the American west coast to attend UCLA and becomes a founding member of The Champions of Los Angeles. However, the Champions soon dissolve.
Iceman is then abducted by Master Mold, and alongside Angel, he encounters the Hulk. Iceman next aids the Thing in battling the Circus of Crime. Drake retires from life as a superhero to earn a college degree in accounting – but apparently at a college on the east coast, not UCLA.> While in college, he briefly rejoins the X-Men to rescue the captives of Arcade’s henchman, Miss Locke.
Iceman is reunited with Beast, encounters Cloud, and then returns as a full-time superhero in an incarnation of the Defenders alongside his former teammates, Angel and Beast. He also battles Professor Power’s Secret Empire while with the Defenders. After the Defenders disband, Drake embarks on his career as an accountant.
Some time later, Iceman encounters Mirage, the “daughter” of Oblivion. Iceman journeys back in time and meets his parents before he was born, and battles Oblivion and Mirage. He then reconciles with his parents.
The original X-Men, including Iceman, reunite to form the superhero team X-Factor. With this new team, he encounters Apocalypse for the first time.
During his time with the team, Loki captures Bobby, hoping to use him to gain control over the Frost Giants. Loki enhances Bobby’s powers and then extracts them to restore the size of the Frost Giants. Iceman is rescued by Thor. Loki’s tampering increases Bobby’s powers to such an extent that he begins to lose control of his abilities. During a later battle with the Right, he is fitted with a power-dampening belt which actually helps him control his abilities. Once able only to sheathe his own body in a protective coating of ice, Bobby finds he can encase the entirety of the Empire State Building. With time, Bobby gains sufficient control over his augmented powers and is able to stop using the inhibitor belt. Believing he has achieved his full potential, Bobby does not attempt to develop his abilities further.
With X-Factor, Bobby then defeats Apocalypse’s Horsemen. Iceman helps watch over many of the younger superheroes, something he once was. Most notably, he and Beast help Boom Boom gain a more normal life. For a brief while, he also helps supervise the New Mutants and their sister team, the X-Terminators. They, in turn, save him from the deadly kiss of Infectia.
Bobby also develops a romantic relationship with Opal Tanaka. After a session of ice sledding, she discovers threatening mail in her mailbox, a precursor to harassment by her cybernetically-enhanced relatives of the Tatsu Clan of the Yakuza, which Bobby helps her out with.
After the “Muir Island Saga”, Iceman rejoins the X-Men along with the rest of X-Factor.
Back with the X-Men
When he rejoined the X-Men it seemed that he learned to control his powers and no longer needed the inhibitor belt, this made him believe he reached the limit of his powers.The X-Men were separated into two groups, Iceman was placed in the gold team, led by Storm, along with fellow original X-Men Jean Grey (now sans codename) and Archangel.
One day he took Opal to eat with his parents, however his dad began humiliating her because of her Japanese heritage. The four are attacked by the Cyber-Samurai, which added to William Drake’s prejudices about the girl. When Bobby came across Mikhail Rasputin he used his mutant abilities on him. Bobby discovered that his potential was still far from being reached as he converted his body into ice, not just covered by it. By turning his entire body to ice, instead of just wearing an icy exterior, Bobby now was capable of using his power in new, aggressive ways, adding spikes and padding to his ice structure.
Too busy with the many threats that the X-Men faced every day, Bobby let his relationship with Opal deteriorate and, when they finally saw each other again after weeks, it was only to save her from an attack by mutant haters. Annoyed that she could only gain his attention by nearly getting killed, Opal broke off their relationship.
Later, as he was checking on Emma Frost who was in a comatose state after the mutant Trevor Fitzroy unleashed the mutant-hunting Sentinels on Emma Frost and her students known as the Hellions, the mansion was hit by an electricity breakdown. Emma woke up disoriented, possessed Bobby’s mind, and used his powers in ways Bobby never had; she froze an entire river and traveled through water. She was looking for her pupils but after finding out they were dead, she left Bobby’s body.
Bobby invites Rogue to tag along on a visit to his parents. Wrongly assuming a romantic relation, his father disapproves of Rogue, verbally attacking them with the same prejudices he expressed with Opal. This time, Bobby had enough and left after telling his father that he should just accept the fact that he is a mutant and he would never fit the definition he has of normal. He was upset that Emma exhibited greater control of his powers than he had. Since Rogue was having problems with Gambit, the two of them go on a road trip to ease their minds.
During the Legion Quest, Iceman was one of the X-Men who went back in time to stop Legion from killing Magneto. They succeed, but only partially. Legion does not kill Magneto, but instead accidentally murdered Xavier, his own father, years before Legion had been conceived much less born. This paradox caused the events of the Age of Apocalypse. At the last moment before the original reality ended, Iceman’s fellow X-Men, Rogue and Gambit shared a kiss. When reality resumed, Rogue’s mind-absorbing touch renders Gambit comatose. Having absorbed some secret haunting memories, she needs to get away from the X-Men and Iceman volunteers to join her on a road trip, though at the same time he was starting to see visions of Emma Frost. When Gambit awoke from his coma, he tracked them down and confronted Rogue about what she saw in his mind. She broke off their relationship officially and left for good. Iceman and Gambit returned to the X-Men.
When the entity known as Onslaught first appeared, Iceman was chosen as one of his test subjects, along with Storm, Cyclops and Wolverine. They were pitted against a servant of Onslaught named Post, in a specific battle area of harsh environment to test the extent of their abilities. They won and were returned to the mansion. However, Iceman’s chest had been shattered in his ice form during battle, making it impossible to change back to human form. He confronted Emma Frost and demanded to know what she did to his powers in his body and how to save himself. She refused to help since she knew that Bobby would have to do it himself. When he captured her with his ice powers, she telepathically showed him his insecurities. By confronting Opal and his father in her simulation, Iceman realized that Emma was right and managed to transform back to his human body with his chest fully intact.
When Graydon Creed was running for President (with a heavy anti mutant campaign), Bobby was chosen to infiltrate in the campaign. His father stood out in a crowd and spoke in favor of the mutants, which came as a surprise to Bobby. His father’s connection with Bobby was discovered, so the people that worked for Graydon captured him and almost beat him to death. Bobby decided to stay away from the X-Men for a while to be with his dad.
Zero Tolerance came across and Bobby found and helped Cecilia Reyes who was trying to keep a secret that she was a mutant. They also joined with Charlotte Jones and the morlock Marrow. After Bastion was defeated, he took Cecilia and Marrow to the mansion, and soon left the X-Men again for a while to be with his parents.
Much later, the X-Men found evidence in one of Destiny’s journals of a group known as the Twelve, including Xavier, Magneto, Cyclops, Phoenix, Iceman, Polaris, Storm, Cable, Bishop, Sunfire, Mikhail Rasputin and the Living Monolith. They also learned that the Apocalypse’s Horsemen had been kidnapping these mutants from around the globe. Iceman was captured in the woods near his home by Deathbird, who had become the Horseman War. Gathering the remaining Twelve, the X-Men traveled to Egypt and confronted Apocalypse and the Skrulls. Apocalypse and his forces captured all of the Twelve during the battle, using them in a ritual to give the Chaos-Bringer a new body and incredible power. Magneto and Polaris created opposite magnetic polarities, Iceman, Storm, and Sunfire provided elemental extremes, Cyclops, Phoenix, and Cable gave the sheer power of family, Xavier represented the power of mind and Bishop and Mikhail stood for time and space, while the Monolith linked all their energies together. Nate Grey was to be Apocalypse’s new host, a powerhouse to store his massive lifeforce. The Twelve managed to free themselves and Cyclops sacrificed his own body and lifeforce to keep Apocalypse from getting Nate. Though the new Apocalypse was defeated, Cyclops seemed lost forever.
After that incident, Iceman helped the Beast to secretly enter Genosha, as he wanted to study the legacy-infected mutates. When the High Evolutionary released his anti-mutation wave, they were trapped in the war-ravaged country. With the aid of Magneto, they escaped and joined forces with the rest of the scattered X-Men. They raided the Evolutionary’s satellite, disabled the mutation field and defeated Sinister, who had been manipulating the Evolutionary.
Iceman was recruited by the living ship Prosh, along with other mutants, like Jean Grey, Mystique, Toad and Juggernaut, to preserve evolution and save it. In this journey Iceman developed his powers even further, which led him to no longer be afraid of the natural course of his powers and he returned to the X-Men. He joined a new team of X-Men, consisting of Angel, Nightcrawler, Wolverine and Chamber. He was using his abilities in a whole new way now, just channeling the power and not turning his body into ice.
During a heated battle with a recently evolved Black Tom Cassidy, he received a chest wound. After returning to normal his chest did not fully recover and some parts of it remained icy, and he was unable to return them to normal. At first he became afraid of it but in time it made him gain a new attitude in life, even rude at some times.
Nobody seemed to realize it at the time, but evidently this was an early sign of Iceman undergoing a secondary mutation of his own. When he repeatedly tried to evade his regular medical check-ups, school nurse Annie Ghazikhanian recognized that something odd was going on with him and pressured him to show her the wound. Bobby made her promise not to tell anyone and showed her that parts of his chest are now made of ice and he is unable to change them back to flesh and blood. Iceman wonders if he will entirely turn into ice on a permanent basis.
He developed an attitude that, to some of the newer addition to the X-Men, like Stacy X, Juggernaut and Northstar, he comes across as rather arrogant, denouncing their status as team members, as they have not been around as long as he. Iceman even went as far as offending Nightcrawler by claiming that only the original five, and no one else, has the right to call themselves an X-Man.
Bobby was further frustrated when Havok and Polaris announced their imminent wedding, him having carried a torch for Lorna for quite some time. In his frustration he turned to Annie, who had problems with the wedding too, as she was secretly in love with Havok. The nurse surprised him with the accusation of him being a racist – feeling comfortable as a mutant who could pass like a human when needed, opposed to being a fully obvious mutant or a “mere” human. With his secondary mutation manifesting, though, Iceman was in danger of losing this status. Shocked by the truth of her words, Bobby fully opened up about his fears, that as a man fully made of ice he could never feel the warmth of a physical relationship again. Touched, Annie allowed him to kiss her, but when Havok called off the wedding, wanting to be with Annie instead, she quickly dumped Bobby.
Upon encountering Azazel and his followers, Iceman’s body is shattered from the neck down. Afterward, he regains his entire ice form, but cannot change back to his human appearance. As a result, Bobby becomes both bitter and despondent because of this drastic change.
Following the war with the Phoenix Five, as Cyclops begins to lash out against government “oppression” of mutants, a chance comment by Bobby about how the old Cyclops wouldn’t tolerate what he is currently doing inspires Beast to travel back in time and recruit the original five X-Men to stop Cyclops. The past and present Bobby are particularly shocked when they see each other. Later, the younger, time-displaced Bobby is forced to confront being gay by his teammate, Jean, who privately asks him why he calls women “hot”, when she knows via her psychic abilities that he is gay. This causes the younger Bobby to speculate as to the complicated identity issues faced by his older self and the decisions his older self may have made in the time between them. Together with the young Jean, the young Bobby confronts his older self, who admits to being gay, having ‘concealed’ that part of himself so that he could have avoid being prejudiced against for another part of himself.
Powers and abilities
Iceman possesses the power to instantly decrease the temperature of ambient water vapor in his immediate environment to below zero degrees Celsius, thereby freezing it into ice. He is able to make ice that will not break unless he wills it to. In this manner he is able to quickly form a great variety of ice structures, including projectiles, shields, ladders, baseball bats, etc. He often makes ice slides which form rapidly beneath and behind his feet, moving him along the slick surface at high speeds. He is also able to form exceedingly complicated structures within relative short time, such as miniature cities. Originally, Iceman’s own body temperature would lower dramatically when his powers were active, reaching −105 °F (−76 °C) within a few tenths of a second (now his body usually converts to organic ice; see below). Iceman is immune to sub-zero temperatures; he is also able to perceive the thermal energy level of objects around him. Because cold is the absence of heat, Iceman does not actually ’emanate’ cold; rather, he decreases thermal energy. As mentioned by writer Mike Carey, Iceman is “an Omega level mutant…[and] has powers that can influence the ecosystem of the entire world.” Iceman has yet to tap into his full mutant potential, but over the years he has taken more interest in developing his abilities.
In his early appearances, Iceman generally covered his body in a thick layer of what appeared to be snow; hence he looked more like a traditional snowman than an ice-man. Upon further training in the use of his powers, he was able to fashion an armor of solid ice around his body when using his powers, which afforded him some degree of protection against concussive force and projectiles. Later on, he manifested the ability to convert the tissue of his body into organic ice. He sometimes augments his organic ice form with razor sharp adornments to his shoulders, elbows, knees, and fists. Iceman has also been able to move rapidly to another distant location while in his organic ice form, being able to deposit his bodily mass into a river and reconstitute his entire mass a great distance away in a matter of minutes (by temporarily merging his molecules with those of the river). On one occasion, Iceman suffered a severe chest injury while in his ice form and was able to heal himself by converting back into his normal human form.
Iceman is also able to reconstitute his organic ice form if any part of it is damaged, or even if it is completely shattered, without permanently harming himself. He can temporarily add the mass of a body of water to his own, increasing his mass, size, and strength. He can survive not only as ice, but as liquid water and water vapor. He can also transform his body from a gaseous state back to a solid, although it is physically and mentally taxing. Iceman can also freeze sea water, as seen during the “Operation Zero Tolerance” story arc. While he usually does not use his powers in lethal ways, his powers are so vast that they extend to the molecular level, to the point that he can freeze all of the molecules of an object/being with a thought; he once froze every single molecule of water within the body of David Haller.
Iceman is also able to dissolve his own icy constructs.
Iceman’s powers were pushed to their limit while possessed by Emma Frost, who used Iceman to discover the fate of her Hellions. During this time Iceman was able to control all forms of moisture, freeze fluids inside people’s bodies, travel as a liquid, solid or gas. Not even the combined might of the X-Men Gold team was able to stop Emma Frost in Iceman’s body. Following this, Bobby confronted Emma about how she was able to use his powers so effectively. While together they made some initial progress, she refused to train him further. Instead he turned to Storm because they share similar elemental powers and she agreed to tutor him.
When Iceman was injected with Sinister’s neuro-inhibiter by Mystique, he was able to save himself by drawing in all of the ambient moisture around him, rapidly replacing his poisoned cells with healthy material before the injection could kill him.
During the 2013 – 2014 “Battle of the Atom” storyline, Iceman’s future self revealed that he has the ability to create semi-independent ice structures that can act on their own, although one of these structures – demonstrating a Hulk-like physique and intellect – has gone on to join the future version of the Brotherhood.
Aside from his superhuman powers, Iceman is also a fair hand-to-hand combatant, and received combat training at Xavier’s School as well as coaching from the Black Widow and Hercules while serving with the Champions of Los Angeles. Iceman has taken as much combat training as Cyclops or Beast.