SYNOPSIS: “Year of the Villain” kicks into overdrive! Victor Fries has only ever wanted one thing…to bring his wife Nora back to life in a healthy body. Now, with Lex Luthor’s aid, Victor’s wish will finally come true. But how will Nora adjust to the new world she has missed? And how will Batman try to tear Victor’s dream away from him?
Our first issue back in the concert jungle and it’s like we never left. Tomasi had been very vague with his teases of Mr. Freeze over the past few issues. The tragic love-struck villain sulking over his wife in her cryogenic chamber. From there we take a deep dive as Detective #1012 gives us an idea as to what Mr. Freeze is planning.
While Doug Mahnke provides stunning stoic artwork of our hero with his crisp clean pencils. Tomasi and Mahnke have provided Mr. Freeze more creepy and malicious than he’s ever been. This Mr. Freeze totally belongs in a horror comic. This is a darker side to one of Gotham’s greatest villains.
Detective #1012 has that vintage Batman feel to it, part 70’s detective story mixed in with some 90’s grit, combing two of my favorite decades. Freeze is snatching up beautiful blondes across Gotham. While Tomasi allows us to tag along with Freeze’s masked goons as they pick off women like a toned-down version Ted Bundy. All are in different settings, a night on the town, the local YMCA and the house next door. Freeze seems to be collecting the women for experiments and is a bit more twisted than usual.
What I found very interesting about this story is the amount of personality inside. As we have seen in previous issues Alfred’s dry wit cannot be matched. Alfred and Bruce share a wonderful scene together in the cave/manor. Bullock even has time to shine in his brief appearance while he is filling in for Gordon. It is always a great time when Bullock and Batman have a late-night rooftop rendezvous. What really stuck with me was how ruthless Tomasi’s Mr. Freeze is. From kidnapping, the operating table to cold-blooded murder (no pun intended). This Mr. Freeze is short on patience and I’m not talking about ones for his experiments.
Just as we welcome back Batman to Gotham City we welcome back Doug Mahnke with open arms to Detective Comics. Mahnke delivers wonderful artwork as expected throughout the book. The little things like snowflakes falling on Mr. Freeze’s tongue to incredible poster worth panels of our Dark Knight standing tall while investigating, there is not one bad panel in this book. Mahnke has all his artistic abilities on display and he does not disappoint. The kidnapping panels hit close to home, almost ripped out of Abducted in Plain Sight on Netflix. The details of Freeze working in his lab are terrifying, a mad scientist gone off the deep end. Alfred suspended from the rafters of the Batcave as he welds the Batwing is every Bat-fans dream. There is so much flavor to sink your teeth into artistically, I could go on and on for paragraphs.
Enjoy flipping those pages!
My only gripe with the artwork is I am not a fan of Freeze’s design. The one sleeve and ice gauntlet cant replace the classic ice pistol. While I also prefer his fishbowl helmet. It’s such a definitive part of the character. It’s like Mysterio or Black Manta not wearing their helmet, it almost feels incomplete. That may not be on Mahnke; I am not sure who came up with this new look. I’m just not feeling it, personal taste.
Detective #1012 is a must-add for your pull list. This is a great start to a brand new arc with a classic villain. Considering we got little to nothing from Tomasi with his teases the last arc, it was phenomenal to come into this story and watch it unfold. This seems to be a new take on Freeze’s personality, more of an insane scientist like Dr. Heiter from Human Centipede. Tomasi and Mahnke are an all-star tandem that seems to have a story for us that will knock your socks off. Will this story rival BTAS: Heart of Ice or Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero as Mr. Freeze classics?
We will have to wait until 10/9/19 when Detective #1013 goes on sale. I know I’m looking forward to it! – Peter Verra