Opal Tanaka

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Opal Tanaka
Opal Tanaka.jpg
Opal Tanaka, from X-Factor #65 (Apr. 1990).
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceX-Factor #51
(Feb. 1991)
Created byLouise Simonson
Terry Shoemaker

Opal Tanaka is a fictional supporting character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. She is known primarily as the former girlfriend of Bobby Drake (Iceman), a member of the mutant superhero team called the X-Men.

Publication history[edit]

Tanaka was first introduced in issue #51 of X-Factor on February 1990, created by Louise Simonson and Terry Shoemaker.

Character background[edit]

Opal Tanaka lives in New York City and when X-Factor's ship takes up residence in the city, it blocks the sunlight that would strike her apartment, causing her plants to wilt.[1] She encounters Iceman, who had come into the music store where she works, and expresses her views to him. Bobby, smitten with the Asian-American, asks her out. Intrigued by Bobby, she accepts.[2]

After a few dates she becomes his girlfriend and the two seem very much in love. Opal is abducted by Cyber Samurai one day who seeks to return her to Japan. Once there, she learns that her grandfather, Lord Tatsu'o, seeks for her to marry one of his "Cyburai" so that his criminal empire will have an heir.

Iceman and Jean Grey follow Opal to Japan where they meet up with Mariko Yashida and attempt to rescue Bobby's love. Bobby is overly eager and his impromptu rescue attempt fails. Bobby and Jean then seek to confront the crime lord and his henchmen head on. Iceman challenges Hiro, Tatsu'o's lead Cyburai, to one on one combat, with no powers. Bobby is no match for Hiro as Hiro is more machine than man. When Opal points this out, Hiro does the honorable thing and ceases to fight, allowing Bobby to win.[3]

Some time later, Hiro interrupts a dinner where Bobby is introducing his parents to Opal. The Cyburai have been sent by Lord Tatsu'o to kill the Drakes. Iceman, per Hiro's orders, removes Opal from the fight. As soon as the restaurant is clear Hiro activates his self-destruct, killing himself and his fellow Cyburai.[4]

This event strains the relationship between Opal and Bobby, as Opal cared for Hiro. When the Phalanx begin targeting associates of the X-Men, Bobby comes to her rescue. Opal however is not pleased that Bobby just charged over with his teammates instead of giving her a heads up.[5]

This event ends their relationship and Bobby has no contact with Opal again until he receives a mysterious e-mail with a picture of a baby that looks very much like him named Robert Tanaka. Bobby arrives in Hong Kong and is forced to cooperate with Winterbrand Corp., who are holding baby Robert hostage. Iceman helps save the baby and when he plans to leave the X-Men and move to Hong Kong he finds a video from Opal stating that he is not Robert's father. She dated a man that looked very much like Robert while she was in Europe. She leaves thinking that he'd never want anything to do with her again but Bobby knew the baby wasn't his and was prepared to be with the two of them anyway as Opal is his one true love.[6]

Other versions[edit]

In X-Men Forever, Opal Tanaka attends a meet-up in Summers Cove, Alaska alongside Iceman and several other members of the original X-Men, including Jean Grey, Cyclops, Gambit, Rogue, Nightcrawler and Shadowcat. During the conflict with the Shi'ar, Opal helps defend the Summers' residence against the Shi'ar Imperial Guard.[7]


  1. ^ X-Factor #51, Feb. 1990
  2. ^ X-Factor #52-53, Apr.-May 1990
  3. ^ X-Factor #63-64, Feb.-Mar. 1990
  4. ^ Uncanny X-Men #289-290, May-Jul. 1992
  5. ^ Uncanny X-Men #305, Oct. 1993
  6. ^ Iceman vol. 2 #1-4, Dec. 2001-Mar. 2002
  7. ^ X-Men Forever Giant-Size #1, June 2010