Credits: Scott Lobdell (writer), Joe Madureira (penciler), Tim Townsend (inker), Comicraft (lettering), Steve Buccellato & Team Bucce! (colors)
Summary: Iceman watches over his father in the hospital, as Storm and Gambit arrive to visit. Iceman tells Storm the details of the past day. While riding in Graydon Creed’s limo, Creed pointed Iceman (still disguised as a campaign worker) towards the nearby woods. As Creed flew away in his private jet, Iceman discovered the battered body of his father. Creed’s men had tracked down his father after his earlier outburst, and connected him to Iceman. Meanwhile, in Atlanta, Creed begins to question Cannonball. Phoenix later asks him if he wants to abandon the undercover mission, but Cannonball decides that Creed no longer suspects him. In New York, Creed’s henchmen prepare to attack the X-Men gathering around Iceman’s father, but Wolverine stops them. While watching over his father, Iceman tells Storm that he’s leaving the team in order to spend more time with him. After Storm and Gambit leave, Iceman’s father begins to regain consciousness.
Miscellaneous Note: According to the Statement of Ownership, average sales for the year were 455,570 with the most recent issue selling 426,229 copies.
Review: Well, it’s an entire issue built around Iceman’s father getting beaten. Take on its own, it has some nice moments, but it doesn’t exactly work if you’re familiar with Lobdell’s earlier interpretation of the character. There is a brief attempt to justify his change of heart, but it doesn’t go any deeper than the senior Mr. Drake declaring that Creed threatened his family, and he couldn’t have that. If Iceman’s father had only been portrayed by Lobdell as just a normal bigot, and not a super-bigot, this would’ve been more palatable. Knowing that future stories just ignore his father’s condition (unless this is one of the forgotten plots Mike Carey’s picked up), also dampens the impact of the story, making it feel like a quickie justification for writing out Iceman, rather than an important event.
I do like the conversation between Storm and Iceman, which has Iceman struggling with his feelings over a verbally abusive father, and Storm mourning the parents she barely knew. It’s a pairing of two long-time X-Men who’ve barely ever spoken to each other, and Lobdell makes it work. The art is Madureira’s typical blend of manga and Western superhero comics, and it’s as strong as usual. Rather than distracting from the quiet scenes, Madureira’s stylized characters help to sell the story and keep the visuals interesting.