Friday, June 1, 2012

JT's Take: Batman Annual #1

Hey X-Maniacs, it's I, your friendly neighborhood Blogger-Man, the guy here that's not a Vampire, and your favorite bench rider, JT! Since our buddy Vampire X is feeling a bit burned out I'm gonna pick up the slack here. Of course, the week he wants me to pick up the slack is the week only I bought three books, but we'll make it work! I had a joke about Vampire X not sucking blood, but just sucking, but I figure why not just get to the review? So let's get started!

Batman Annual #1

Summary:  So in this issue we kick off with Mr. Freeze in Arkham Asylum, recounting the story of his mother falling through Ice during Winter about thirty years ago, she was frozen which kept her alive until help arrived.When he's stalled long enough, Freeze kills the psychiatrist and uses the man's crayon (something Freeze couldn't use as a weapon) and uses the crayon to jam the electric currents that keeps Freeze's room hot. Once the room becomes cold, Freeze uses it to his advantage pretty damn awesomely to break out. I say this a lot but words can;t do it justice, Snyder really writes Freeze like a bad ass in this scene. Freeze then meets with Penguin and is looking for guns, as he's ready to retrieve his wife, Nora Fries, and leave Gotham once and for all, due to his recent Bat and Owl problems. We then see a flashback to six years ago, as Bruce Wayne and Victor Fries meet for the first time, via Lucius Fox. Basically, the project Fries was in charge of, Bruce didn't feel comfortable doing and decided to end it, this didn't go over well with Fries though since he thought the project could save Nora.

Freeze finally returns in the present day with a serum he believes will cure Nora, as it's the serum the Court of Owls used to awaken the Talons, but he finds his wife is no longer there, and he's also met by Robin and Nightwing. Freeze eventually gets the upper-hand on the former Dynamic Duo and is about to freeze and shatter Damian's arms until Bruce Wayne interrupts over an intercom and tells Freeze he's in the penthouse and to come up. As Freeze goes to meet Bruce we see another flashback where Bruce finds out about Fries' experiment with Nora and tells him he's shut the program down and called the authorities because he can't allow Fries to play mad scientist. An irate Freeze hurls a chair which blows up a cryo-container that explodes over Fries. He wakes up in an emergency room hearing Doctor's talk about how his body temperature is 27 degrees Fahrenheit and he shouldn't be alive, and his blood cells are capturing the cold air. Upset at Wayne and clearly his current condition, Freeze kills the doctors and yells that he's coming for Wayne. Back in the present Freeze arrives upstairs looking for Wayne but finds Nora's cryogenic pod, as well as Batman busting through the skylight and beating the hell out of Freeze for his actions tonight. Freeze subdues Batman long enough to get to Nora, but Batman says he's not letting him leave with her because they both know she's not his wife!!!! Bats drops the bomb that Nora Fields (?!) was born in 1943 and frozen when she had an incurable heart condition. Fries wrote his doctoral thesis on her over a decade ago but never knew her and she's old enough to be his grandmother. Bats eventually uses the cure Freeze planned on using on Nora on Freeze, which causes him to overheat and become unable to move, so Batman calls Nightwing to return Freeze to Arkham. As the issue closes we see a young Victor Fries taking his confused, forgetful mother back to the ice she once fell in, and pushing her in as a sympathetic yet insane, peaceful ending to her life.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed the bit of Freeze's past we saw, and it explains a lot about who he is and why. I also liked how well Snyder portrayed him here, he had that same swagger as Freeze pre-reboot but seemed so much more dangerous without his suit and gun, which is a vibe Freeze never really gave off before this issue. What else? I HAVE to give a full point to any book I can see someone kick Damian SQUARE in the face... man that was priceless. Oh, the explanation for how Fries became Mr. Freeze was excellent, as well as why he has to wear the goggles. Before the reveal this comic was a damn good comic, after the reveal it became an EXCELLENT comic book. This is probably one of, if not THE best single issue I've read all year.

Score:  Perfect Score, 10/10!

Batman: You love the cold, Victor. Even if you did bring her back, you'd end up destroying her. Because you love an idea, Victor. An Obsession. And that I do understand.

Man, that review was much longer than I expected, but damn that was a great comic. Anyway, as always, thoughts and comments are welcome, I look forward to seeing what you all thought of this issue, I'll be back tomorrow with a review for the Amazing Spider-Man Annual, until then, this is Jason Todd, signing off.


  1. Completely agree with everything in your review dude. I loved this issue and I've never been a Mr Freeze fan.

  2. Yup, that's what I was waiting to see, JT. I read this one overnight at work and was like, "Well I'll be damned, I think I just read a perfect comic!" Yep, everything about this comic was awesome. And now I finlly have a reason to care about Freeze. I mean he's always had the all important look down, but character-wise he was kind of blah. But now, especially after the swerve with Nora? He rules all! So yeah, when I do another quickie post, you know which book will be pulling down a perfect score, 'cause this was great and is a frontrunner for best single issue of the year.

  3. X-MAN
    i agree that this was a really great comic, but i really dont get the "Now i care about freeze"
    before nora being his wife and all we wanted him to get to her and save her, now.......... he is just a delusional stalker, and we want bat to keep him from her.......... i just cant get that, sorry :/

    agreed, i do like that they made freeze a threat even with out his outfit and freeze guns.
    but im glad they didnt make him all out have like frezze blast from his hands and such or he would be to silmilar to the new 52 captian cold.

    great comic and great review guys :)

  4. Thanks for the comment guys, glad to see you guys pretty much agreed that this was a hell of a single issue. I LOVED the fact Freeze kinda has powers now instead of just being a decrepit old scientist, now I actually wanna see more of him.

    I think the reason we all enjoyed the Nora swerve, Movieartman, is that it came outta nowhere! I know I was wondering why Bruce wouldn't let Victor help his wife, and the swerve made sense for why Victor is insane and why he was in Arkham. He is insane, he's not some guy trying to save his wife, he's an insane, lonely, mad scientist that wants to be viewed as a good guy so he's fooled himself into believing something that isn't true, which was amazing. Snyder really stole the show with this issue.

  5. Yup, JT pretty much summed up my thoughts, Movieartman. Before the swerve, Batman was kind of/sort of the bad guy here... I was reading and thinking, "Damn Bruce, just give the man his wife back!!" Then we actually have a reason WHY Freeze shouldn't get Nora back, he's crazy... And she's not his wife! Before I always saw Freeze as almost respectable, somebody trying to do right by his wife, but going about it wrong. Now I see him as Arkham crazy. Plus the stuff with his mother, and explaining the things that he did to animals to Penguin? It was masterful writing that actually has me looking forward to the next time Freeze shows up!

  6. First DC book I ever bought. You sold me guys!

  7. Whoa Trobb, that's pretty cool actually. Hope you enjoy it as much as we all did.

  8. Totally, totally agree, JT. To me, it actually makes MORE sense the Freeze we get here. One of things that bothered me about the DCU Freeze is that I never really understood why he so easily turned to murder and theft to help Nora. He just seemed so damn crazy, whereas you'd think he probably could've found SOME WAY to find a job that would help him help her without resorting to crime. As you said, I spent most of the issue wondering why Bruce was being such a dick, since I'm pretty sure that Bruce would normally have been that job that would've let him work on Nora as a project in his spare time. Here, it now finally makes sense that no company was willing to help him revive her and he had to turn to crime. It's because he was so damn crazy to start! Brilliant.

    One quesiton I had thought is what do you think the cuts on his mom's hands meant at the end. I know they're supposed to mirror his goggles, but did she accidentally carve her hand. That part didn't make a lot of sense to me.

  9. Good question JW, I actually didn't even pick up on the goggles thing until you said it. As for why, I'd assume she was so far gone from the accident that she was pretty much child-like due to being momentarily brain-dead, so she actually carved her hand up to represent the apples. That's how I interpreted it anyway.