After the X-Men encounter a band of human criminals, one of the Marauders’ most powerful mutants dishes out brutal punishment.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for King In Black: Marauders #1 by Gerry Duggan, Luke Ross, Carlos Lopez & VC’s Cory Petit, on sale now.

Iceman has always been one of the most powerful X-Men, especially after unlocking his full potential. In the Krakoa era, he’s considered an Omega-Level mutant. But he’s also getting more creative with how he uses his powers, including a specific use for them during his newest way of dealing with human criminals.

And in King in Black: Marauders #1, Iceman just revealed a perfect and harsh punishment for a group of human slavers, with the group forced to walk through the desert with a reminder of Iceman’s “mercy” as their only sustenance.

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The Marauders are some of the heroes venturing into the Knull-controlled New York City, on a specific mission to try and rescue, or take down, the corrupted Cyclops and Storm. Along the way, however, they end up coming across a shipping vessel that’s under attack from the symbiote dragons and change course to rescue them. After saving the crew and bringing them aboard their ship, the Marauders initially plans to move on and let the ship sink. However, Bishop recognizes a message in morse code calling for help and discovers a number of people trapped in cages within the bowels of the ship. Enraged, the Marauders rescue the people and bring them aboard as well, before turning on the nominal crew of the ship, now revealed to be slavers.

Since they’re in the middle of the ocean and don’t have time to deal with them in any legal manner, Kate orders Iceman to take them somewhere “safe” and away. Walking through a Krakoa Gate and speaking with Sage, the pair briefly alter the Gate so humans can pass through it and lead them into the Namib Desert. Iceman walks through the gate after them, giving them directions towards the city of Sossusvlei, which is roughly a day’s walk away. The sailors plead not to be left behind, but an unmoved Iceman only provides them with some water, albeit in the form of blocks of ice that they can carry for substance as they walk.  Iceman then walks through the gate and leaves them to their fate.

It’s if it’s a non-violent punishment, it’s still a decidedly harsh move for Iceman to make. Considering the slavers attempted to hide their crimes and simply let the people they’d captured drown in the process, the X-Men show a minimal amount of mercy and still rescue them. Even their punishment isn’t that bad, as Knull’s overtaking of the world in darkness will keep the sun off the slavers as they make their way through the desert. The long-time Omega-Level X-Man has been embracing a harsher sense of justice as of late, especially in the aftermath of Kate Pryde’s brief demise. But while he seems to have come back from the brink, it appears that Iceman has grown tired of being just the typical jokester he used to be.

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Instead, he’s quietly fine dolling out impressive punishments to criminals and paying them the barest mercies for their crimes. It’s also an effective way to deal with criminals when incapable of just jailing them or giving them over to the authorities and does keep them alive and relatively safe during a time when the rest of the world is consumed in conflict thanks to the arrival of Knull and his forces.

It’s the sort of tactic that the X-Men should remember for future use, especially after the Quiet Council made it a high crime to murder a regular human and one that the harsher Iceman might be increasingly at peace with carrying out given how harsh his encounters with members of humanity have been lately.

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