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CSBG Archive

The Abandoned An’ Forsaked – Is Ice a Goddess or What?

Every week, we will be examining comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent). Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of The Abandoned An’ Forsaked. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

Today we look at the shifting origin of the Justice League International member known as Ice…

The funny thing about Ice is that it is not like her original origin was some awesome origin. So while the change was not particularly good, at least it wasn’t going from an awesome origin to a terrible one.

In Secret Origins #33 (in a story by Gerard Jones), we learn how a U.S. superhero expert is sent to investigate a possible paranormal situation in the icy mountains of Norway. He discovers the “Ice Folk,” a people with powerful ice magic…

Eventually, using a camera to show his “magic,” the agent convinces the king to let Tora go to “Man’s World” and become a superhero.

Ice soon became a member of the Justice League where she was a popular member for years.

Years later, during Dan Vado’s run on the book, the Justice League traveled to Ice’s home.

Fastforward a decade or so and Judd Winick revealed Ice’s TRUE origin in Justice League: Generation Lost #12…

Obviously, he has issues with his father, which we see later in the issue…

Note that this is the explanation for Ice’s personality. Her father always forced her to be meek.

After Tora’s father took her away to hide from his own father, his father eventually tracked them down….

After a struggle, her father told her to let loose…

So yeah, she killed her own father and her grandfather.

This is why she invented a fictional origin (the “Ice Goddess” origin)…

“But wait, Brian, the Justice League visited her ‘Ice Goddess’ home, right? And wasn’t Ice involved in the War of the Gods with her people?” Why yes. But…well…I guess Superboy punched a wall. So there ya go!

I don’t know which origin they’re using for Ice in the New 52.


Arrgghh! I don’t know…I think that Ice’s original “origin” was actually pretty fabulous! It was certainly much better than the X-men knock-off generic origin that Winick decided to give her…and which incidentally had NO impact on the plot whatsoever. None.

In the new Justice League International, Jurgens has Guy and Ice talking and he points out that she’s a Goddess, which greatly intrigues Gavril…so she’s been restored to her rightful beginnings. Thank Goodness!

Let’s hope that it’s back to the first origin. It’s much…cooler.

I always thought Winick’s redoing of the origin was pretty ridiculous. It seems he wanted to find the ‘dark underlying reasons’ for why she is a good person. I just never understood this attitude. I have plenty of friends who are good people, and it is not because they accidentally killed their father or whatever nonsense. But, this was typical of how writers thought at this time, constantly trying to turn every character ‘grim and gritty’, even the ones who were fine just the way they were. I suspect this is why the new 52 was done, to get rid of all this unnecessary baggage was was created just recently in comics.
And, yes, I also consider the new 52 changed this back to what it was, since Guy does state she is a goddess.

Don’t forget that Ice originally wasn’t even Tora Olafsdotter wasn’t even her original secret identity. According to Who’s Who #9, she was really Sigrid Nansen of Norway. I think that they might have retconned that into being a DIFFERENT Icemaiden than the one who appeared in the JLI, though.

Ethan Shuster

June 10, 2012 at 7:13 am

Yes, they did later introduce another Ice Maiden in one of the later incarnations of the league.

The suddenness of the New 52 still seems strange to me, as if they sprung it on everyone. Winick gives us this new origin in Generation Lost, and then everything gets rebooted in, what? Was it even a year? That is one of the major things that turned me off of this new 52. Infinite Crisis and the comics that followed had given us another sort of reboot, and some of what came after interested me enough to pick up a series or two. Then we get the New 52 and some weird half-reboot, where you can’t tell what has been kept and what hasn’t. That kind of became too much for me.

It is because of stories like Winick’s that people (like Didio) can make the argument that continuity is a burden rather than a tool. The Winick origin is comic book generic, like Sallyp said, and an example of Winick trying to be deep, but just being out of his depth, like Lyle kinda said.

I think it is also worth mentioning that Winick had previously used a very similar story in his Green Lantern run (Green Lantern (vol 3) 147 I think) in which we find out that John Stewart can not walk because he feels guilty over the (repressed) memory of accidentally causing his sisters death (he even forgot he had a sister…).

Icemaiden first showed up SUPER-FRIENDS as one of what would later be the Global Guardians. Then we got Ice in JLA under Giffen and I think later they established Icemaiden was someone else. But I didn’t follow that period of JLA very closely, so I might be wrong.
That was indeed an impressively bland retcon by Winick. And I don’t see the point in making her a Roma–it doesn’t add much to the story.

That’s just what Ice needed: a history of emotional abuse.

The revised origin took away everything that was interesting about the character. Never mind the “ice goddess” stuff, which I liked well enough, but Ice as a character had been unique in her wide-eyed innocence and sweet soul, and the JL:GL undermined that with an incredibly generic “tragic history.”

Oh, come on, Brian – -this is the nu52! Where princesses are actually the naive daughter of a nation of sex pirates/murderers — which origin do you think they’ll use?

Heck, killing one person isn’t enough for this new, bold approach — she’d have to freeze a city to make an impact, right?

Becca, is “nation of sex pirates/murderers” an actual 52 plotline?

DC Comics-Screwing things up for years.

the NEW “Ice Goddess” origin, is horrible. dark and lame

if you wanna know the real ICE, please read, some 90`s comics about her,

It’s a major part of the plotline in the Azzarello/Chiang Wonder Woman series being done right now — the Amazons would raid ships to have the crew impregnate them, kill the sailors, then sell the boy babies to Hephaestus for his weapons.

The only one not partaking of this, it seems, is Diana — but her birth is in part responsible for the whole island being turned into snakes, and Hippolyta a stone statue — turns out that Hera doesn’t appreciate Hippolyta and Zeus indulging in a little Wonder-making on the side.

Superboy punched a wall… many and many and many and many and many times.

That’s the old and plain DC.

Becca, thanks.

what about ice ressurections, she at least died more times than jean grey.

What difference does it make with the recent cancellation of JLI? I find the first origin totally over the top and 90’s bombastic ( don’t care what era it was created in). Despite Lyle’s objection to the second origin that is what comics of that era were,”grim and gritty” ,and what sold at the time, so get over it.Time moves on Dude maybe it’s time for a new hobby? DC fans and supposed new readers aren’t supporting these books no matter what so none of this really matters.

Wow, I don’t even know which one of these decently-drawn piles of manure stink harder. So she’s either the ridiculously-dressed heiress of a race of laughable fantasy cliches, or she’s a traumatized mutant heiress of second-hand crime-thriller cliches? Wow.

Arguing about which of these is “better” is like arguing whether it’s preferable to get kicked on the face or on the throat.

Alton, if the first origin wasn’t grim-and-gritty enough, that still didn’t mandate a new one–just never bring up the origin except in passing.

@ lilian: not really, Ice has only died and come back the one time.

Personally, I had completely forgotten about this new origin. I think that says a lot about its quality. Now that I’m reminded, though, I remember never being terribly impressed by it – less because of the portrayal of the Roma (although I totally can see why that pissed off so many people), but mostly because it made absolutely no damn sense. Ice has always been defined, like Shaun M. said, by her sweet and gentle nature – adding suppressed familicide seems to exist primarily to say “No, look, Ice is cool! See, she killed some people! Killing is cool, right? Now lets make her angsty! People love angsty!” Which, of course, is a total misfire.

It doesn’t help much that it also totally negates a fairly long arc in the early-90s JL books, but it does feed into a theory I’ve had for awhile now that – pre-relaunch, of course – DC pretty much regarded everything between Breakdowns and the start of Morrison’s run as non-canon.

“that is what comics of that era were,’grim and gritty’ ,and what sold at the time, so get over it.”

That ERA was at most two years ago — GLost was part of the Brightest Day banner. I doubt the market has changed that much; in fact, given what’s selling in the nu52, I’d say it’s not changed at all.

But what I find really amazing — on a blog entitled Comics Should Be GOOD — is that the “get over it/find a new hobby” line is being pushed in any context. We want comics to be better than what was — that’s the whole point of this blog. If that’s not what you want, go find another blog that suits your view. Tthere’s plenty around.

Leslie Fontenelle

June 10, 2012 at 11:27 am

Becca, the problem is that some readers actually consider what DC publishes today to be “Good Comics”, which is hilarious. Some people actually believe this moribund industry dedicated to a rapidly-shrinking pool of diehards is on the right track!!

And since they think the industry is doing just fine, anyone who questions the books’ quality or the editors’ wisdom needs to “get over it”. They supposedly know what they’re doing, despite all evidence to the contrary!

I don’t know which origin they’re using for Ice in the New 52.

I’m pretty sure they don’t either, based on how I’ve seen the New 52 handled in general so far.

Everyone take a deep breath…..now exhale.
they’re just comic books.
All is well.
Thank You

LOL — what are we supposed to talk about on a comic book blog — ice sculptures? (Aside from the ones she made her family into, of course)

liked the first origin for her better mostly because she was a little bit like wonder woman before she leaves paridise island the other one even though it made ice more a regular human and not a goddess made her also killer for having to whack some of her relitives

BeccaBlast, there actually are versions of the Amazon myth where the Amazons did similar stuff- Supernatural used such legends as the basis for one of their episodes.

Not arguing that at all, Michael — but it’s never been part of DC’s Amazons until now — it IS a major change for them.

Actually, BeccaBlast, it has. Marston established, way back in the ’40s, that Amazons had a regular “mating season” when they would kidnap men to mate with. The details are a little fuzzy in my memory, but I recall the distinct image of an Amazon running with a man thrown over her shoulder (no pretense of seduction here). The killing part is all new though.

Please don’t think I’m defending Azzarello/Chiang’s run. I like quite a bit of what’s been done with the reboot, but the treatment of Wonder Woman is one of the things I absolutely loath.

I’d be interested in seeing that; I love Chiang’s art, but the story has elements that I just don’t like — and I’ve liked Azzarello on other books.

Although, I’m certain that was a historical reference, and not the way they behaved on Paradise Island, right?

I haven’t read either story in full, but I prefer the latter one, which isn’t straight out of a Disney movie. It’s a nice twist that she deluded herself into thinking she was the rebellious princess who Just Wanted More to avoid dealing with the actual trauma.

Ya know, how did Judd’s second origin for Ice ever get past the editors? Because honestly I’ve never seen an origin more racially offensive to a minority that wasn’t in a Jack Chick comic. Are the people working at DC really that freaking clueless?

Thats a pretty un-PC thing for modern comics the whole “Roma people will just use her powers to steal, like we always have”.

I think for many people, anti-Roma bigotry isn’t really an issue (even though it’s a serious problem in Eastern Europe). So gypsies are never written as anything but colorful ethnic types who are sneaky and steal shit–no serious interest in their culture, traditions, etc. I remember when Wanda wanted to get more in touch with her Roma heritage, she takes up what’s apparently supposed to be Roma dancing–that’s about it.

Yeah, that line was particularly “Ouch”y.

Everyone take a deep breath…..now exhale.
they’re just comic books.
All is well.
Thank You

Man do I hate comments like this. They’re all just a cheap way to feel superiority over fellow comic fans.

If you’re too good to debate the merits of comic book stories, maybe the strange one is you for being on a comic blog, especially in the comments section. I don’t go to baseball blogs, go into the comments section and complain it’s just sports, or go to political blogs and say it’s just politics. Comic blogs seem to get these types of posts regularly, and they’re always just a way for the poster to make themselves feel better about their hobby by reminding themselves and others that they’re not “one of the bad ones.”

The worst part is before you posted that, no one was particularly hyperventilating, overreacting or anything close!

Ethan Shuster

June 10, 2012 at 6:46 pm

The problem with changing Ice’s origins is the suggestion that something sort of fun and charming isn’t mature and traumatic enough! You can’t have a cute back story for someone. Deciding that a somewhat innocent, sweet character needs to be changed is really just taking away what makes the character unique. Here she just takes one more step closer to being generic, and takes away some of the fun. The fun (and admittedly sitcommy) dynamic between Fire and Ice is just washed away because we need things to be SERIOUS. And yes, it does seem very “X-Men-ish”.

Holy gosh is that first origin corny. Makes most ‘I love you but your strange’ seem edgy and brilliant. Second one wasn’t much better ‘You won’t steal? You have abandoned your heritage!’ On the other hand, I didn’t even know Ice existed before JLI, so there you go.

After Ice was killed in the battle with Overmaster, Guy goes to her kingdom to pay his respects to her mother. She tells Guy she’ll always think of him as a son, or something like that. I guess that never happened, either.

That 1st origin just seems like a big Wonder Woman rip-off.

Ah the one REALLY Judd-ish issue/story beat of Generation Lost. And also the one most ridiculous, most worthless issue. It was downright painful reading that.

I feel like Giffen had helped him plot through everything else, but that this was just shoehorned in and was completely atonal and irritating compared to everything else in the surprisingly enjoyable series.

“Come back here! your food is getting warm!” :-)

Yeah, it’s nice to not have an angsty character.

Ice is one of my favorite characters, partly BECAUSE she is sweet and nice and cuddly. Mary Marvel used to be that way too, but DC sure put a stop to that. Does EVERY thing have to dark and grim? Ice was unusual because she was so mindbogglingly nice. And she was best friends with Fire, who was a lot…sassier. It is a great combination. There really aren’t that many female friendships, other than the Birds of Prey.

So, not everyone has to love her real origin. That’s ok. But the reason for her retcon just didn’t exist. It added nothing to the plot, it was just there to fill in some time between issues…and presumably to explain why Winick suddenly had the nicest person in the DC universe whining and swearing. It also wiped out a LOT of continuity, such as Guy being practically adopted by Ice’s mother…who also showed up at Warriors on Christmas Eve, and that entire story arc when the Justice League goes to help her fight her evil brother. And this was before, the new 52 relaunch.

And yes, they are just comic books. But dammit, they’re MY comic books!

Oh, Sally, did you have to remind me of that horrible Dark version of Mary Marvel?

@ SallyP. Anytime you want to march on Castle DC to burn down the Frankenstein monster it has become, count me in. This villager has a huge laundry list that they must pay for!

It doesn´t matter anymore, because the new 52 erased it all. Heck, all stories dont matter anymore, even if DC says it does. That´s a fact.

I think this story at least matters in how ignorant and racist DC can allow their writers to be. Not exactly the best thing to remain…

Yeah, that comic was super-racist. I was shocked when I read it.

It doesn´t matter anymore, because the new 52 erased it all. Heck, all stories dont matter anymore, even if DC says it does. That´s a fact.

Yeah, but to be fair this was a company that has a history of deep retconning, with the deepest of all being Crisis on Infinite Earths. So if a reboot means stories don’t matter anymore, than DC made that statement in 1985 with the original Crisis.

I hate the reboot, but not because it wiped out old stories. After Identity Crisis onward, a lot of stories needed wiping out. My problem with the reboot is that it was done by the same people who broke the old universe to begin with.

Does EVERY thing have to dark and grim? Ice was unusual because she was so mindbogglingly nice. And she was best friends with Fire, who was a lot…sassier.

It’s unfortunate that the dynamic of “polar opposite best friends” has sort of died off. Fire and Ice aren’t the only victims of it; killing off Nightcrawler simply to replace him with the AoA Nightcrawler reeks of the same sort of thing and shows a complete lack of understanding of the role Nightcrawler played as the conscience of the X-Men.

The belief is that it sells and it’s what, as others have said to death, the fans want.

What’s unfortunate is that it has led to the tearing down of every bit of nobility in any character’s back story simply for the sake of grim and gritty (WW, Abin Sur, looks like Captain Marvel is headed down that path…).

AoA Nightcrawler? What’s that an abbreviation for?
Sometimes I think Captain Marvel is the best argument for a multiverse. The kind of lighthearted whimsy of his glory days could then exist in its own world without trying to rework him to fit the main DCU.
What did they do to Abin Sur?

Travis Pelkie

June 13, 2012 at 1:56 am

Fraser, AoA Nightcrawler is Age of Apocalypse. Smokescreen maybe should have had a spoiler warning there… :) It’s in Uncanny X-Force.

And hear hear to Captain Marvel and lighthearted whimsy. If you find the Smithsonian Book of Comic Book Comics (the original from the late ’70s, early ’80s, but I think it’s since been reprinted), it reprints the story from Captain Marvel Adventures 100, involving dimension hopping, creation of new elements, high tension and utter delight. I mean, if you can’t dig Tawky Tawny, I don’t know what’s wrong with you :)

And I second T’s comments on the new 52 and on “it’s just comics”.

No that doesn’t sound at all like a good replacement program for Kurt. Thanks for clarifying, Travis.
Is that CMA story the one with Sivanium, Shazamium and Marvelium? Because it is indeed a joy to read–I have it in one of DC’s old tabloid-size reprint issues from the late seventies.

I liked both origin stories. Both comics were entertaining to me at the time that i purchased/read them. Everybody loves to pile on Winick, but I felt like Generation Lost was a good reboot of the JLI. The book had alot of momentum until the nu52 killed it again.

All I ever hear is hate on comment boards anymore. I would rather just talk about what I like.

There is a bunch of great comics out there. They don’t have to be made by the big two to enjoy them.

I don’t know, whatever.

Travis Pelkie

June 13, 2012 at 4:06 pm

@fraser, that is the CMA story. So good!

Isn’t it though? I think the light tone makes it easy to ignore how well executed and imaginative so many of the old Fawcett stories were.

I hate it when Winnick rewrites. I like some of his stories, but hate it when he redoes others are milks the easy ones. THE RETURN OF JASON TODD, is the worst I think.

“I think it is also worth mentioning that Winick had previously used a very similar story in his Green Lantern run (Green Lantern (vol 3) 147 I think) in which we find out that John Stewart can not walk because he feels guilty over the (repressed) memory of accidentally causing his sisters death (he even forgot he had a sister…).”

Not to mention he ripped off the last episode of MASH in that one. John (Hawkeye) kept thinking the dead sister (baby) was a puppy (chicken) until he had a sudden revelation at the truth.

Yikes, Judd Winnick really is a horrible writer. Granted, not surprising, considering how much of douchy pretentious tool he was back in the day when he was on The Real World.

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