Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Be Nice To Ice

A couple of weeks ago over at the DC Source blog, mention was made of a new origin being pulled together for Ice, the formerly shy and retiring member of Justice League International. According to the editor of Justice League: Generation Lost, Brian Cunningham:
For those of us that read the Super Friends series in the 1970s where Ice was originally introduced as Ice Maiden, we all know how absurd her origin was. With Gen Lost #12, writer Judd Winick provides Ice with a credible and tragic origin that does not negate what we already know.
Oh dear. Have I given Judd Winick too much credit over the last couple of months? I've been quietly enjoying both Justice League: Generation Lost and Power Girl (the latter much to my surprise) since he took them over but now, this news leaves me feeling disappointed, mainly because they're confusing Ice with Icemaiden. They're two separate characters, neither of which have particularly "absurd" origins, at least in the comics world.

Icemaiden was originally Sigrid Nansen from Norway, daughter of an over-bearing scientist mother who wasn't as good in the lab as her mother. Determined to prove her worth, she volunteered to be a test subject:

as shown in blue-hued flashbacks in Justice League America #102 from 1995. Sure enough, the Norwegians hooked her up to some bizarren experiment, gave her ice powers and sent her off to join the Global Guardians where she met Fire (then known as Green Fury/Flame)

Thing is, not long after, a genuine ice-maiden from a long forgotten mythical ice tribe turned up:

Which left Icemaiden feeling blue (sorry!) and she left. That's the ret-con to it all anyway - according to both ComicVine and the Comic Book Database, Icemaiden made one appearance in the Super Friends (#9 if you're interested) and then disappeared for a few years before turning up in Infinity Inc for a few issues as a member of the Global Guardians.

Ice (called Icemaiden at that point) meanwhile first appeared in Justice League International #12 in 1988 as a member of the Global Guardians who were disbanding following the formation of the UN-sanctioned Justice League. She and Green Flame soon ended up joining the JLI and changed their names to Fire and Ice. In that same year, she had an appearance in the Who's Who: Update '88 #2:

where she's described as having super-powers "not quite as impressive as some other JLIers such as Martian Manhunter or Guy Gardner"!

She also made an appearance in Secret Origins #33 from the same year where her origin was expanded upon. Intent on having a Norwegian superhero, the Norwegian government hire a guy called Rod (who has apparently studied loads of American heroes) to head up into the frozen wastes to find the ice-folk. Rod doesn't believe in them:

Hardly surprising if all he reads is Marvel Comics! As this would be a rather dull origin story if they didn't exist, after being forced to land, Rod and his pilot quickly find:

Ice, complete with a handy caption written into the ice and rock above her! This is Tora Olafsdotter, a different character from Icemaiden though using the same name at this point.

Rod and the pilot end up being captured and taken into the ice-folk's caves by the king, who happens to be Ice's father. Ice herself faces a life of boredom and reproduction in an obviously chauvinistic society:

Determined to see more of the world, she frees Rod and the pilot from the ice capsule prisons they'd been held in

Which leads to Rod paying a little too much attention to Ice's spandex clad butt:

How did that get past the editor!!

Anyhow, Ice convinces her father to let them go, Rod realises he's too much of a cad and a bounder to look after her and instead takes her to Paris and drops her off with the Global Guardians where she meets Fire.

So there you go, two origin stories for two separate characters. One was the child of an overbearing mother who underwent experimental treatment that resulted in super-powers; the other was the child of a mythical race who was born with her powers.

Even if Brian Cunningham has confused Ice with Icemaiden or if he thinks Ice first appeared in Super Friends, his assertion that her origin was "absurd" doesn't really hold up.

Neither of them are any more absurd than Wonder Woman's for example: a child made from clay who was blessed by the Greek gods.

I dread to think what this "credible and tragic origin" is that Winick's come up with.

1 comment:

  1. Well, considering Ice is a sweet girl (who for some reason is attracted to Guy Gardner of all people), and this is today's DC, you have reason to worry.


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