SYNOPSIS: Defeating her now-estranged husband, Mr. Freeze, isn’t enough to sate Nora Fries’s bloodlust as she usurps his frozen throne, establishing herself as the first ice queen of Gotham. The Dark Knight will have his hands full as Nora unleashes an icy hell unlike any other on his city’s streets.
Here we are yet again, another conclusion for All-Star writer Peter Tomasi.
This Mr. Freeze story was better than I could have asked for. Something bold and new, rejuvenating a villain that we can’t help but feel sorry for. A villain who meets his most tragic ending in a way you don’t see coming. Doug Mahnke and Tyler Kirkman share the artwork this issue but it’s not their fight scenes or splash pages that catch your eye, it’s their unique panel placement.
Tomasi’s Freeze is a bit different this time around more brash and bitter. Kidnapping women like a Gotham version of Ted Bundy. Freeze is still the same character at heart, with the same motive that he had from day one, love. What I found so interesting this arc was Nora and her acceptance of what Victor has done for her. We have all felt for Victor on more than one occasion, but this time was different. He finally won, he brought Nora back and she accepted him and his new life with open arms. Everything was coming up roses for Mr. and Mrs. Freeze. Until Nora turns on Victor in a way that I didn’t see this coming, it was so utterly gut-wrenching to see Freeze go down like this after finally getting his beloved back. My jaw fell to the floor, you think Tomasi is taking you one way and he quickly shifts gears. No warning, no signals, you don’t see it coming and that is the best part. After all this time, all the effort all the crimes committed, Mr. Freeze is now on the other side of the glass. Talk about one of the better surprises to end an issue, wow!
For the second issue in a row artist, Doug Mahnke shares pencil duty, this time bringing in an artist just as good in Tyler Kirkman. These two do not miss a beat, I never once noticed one way or the other who was drawing. It’s almost like one artist drew the issue. These two lean a bit more detailed in the artwork, almost that super-realism, lots of shading and what I want to describe as cross-hatching detail. This dynamic artistic duo delivers some fun splash pages and some solid action to the table but what stood out while reading the book was panel placement. Lots of overlapping, lots of long rectangles over/under squares. I noticed the negative space and the borders the most. Some borders are clean and sharp, some with hard angles, others look like ice while some have a scribble look. It was very interesting to see what they decided to do with those borders.
The only thing artistically that I did not enjoy was Batman’s thermal suit. This thing is hideous. It looks like Batwoman meets Black Manta, too much red, too many tubes. I do not know if this is a toy mandate or just the artist trying something new but please leave the Batsuit alone. Don’t mess with the classic, you wouldn’t take the pinstripes off the Yankees home uniform, would you? No, you wouldn’t. I’m all for a Batman who is prepared but a suit like this is not practical, come on.
Detective Comics #1016 finishes an arc that I really enjoyed. Tomasi brought something new to the Freeze mythos. I applaud not only the effort but the story as well, twists, turns, jaw-dropping moments this story had it all. I really can look back on this arc and say to myself “I didn’t see that coming”, “Wow, I didn’t think he was going there.” Those are great moments that take you by surprise and leave you wanting more, and this arc is filled with them. But man, let me tell you, that ending. It’s just crazy to think about, you will not want to miss this book for sure! – Peter Verra