Nora Fries Finally Free, and Ready to Be a Villain

FTC Statement: Reviewers are frequently provided by the publisher/production company with a copy of the material being reviewed.The opinions published are solely those of the respective reviewers and may not reflect the opinions of or its management.

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. (This is a legal requirement, as apparently some sites advertise for Amazon for free. Yes, that's sarcasm.)

Detective 1015 Mr and Mrs Freeze Year of the Villain

Of all the DC Universe events to actually start crossing over into the regular titles, it had to be the unfollowably tendrilous merger of DARK NIGHTS: METAL and whatever it is going on in Justice League that involving Lex Luthor becoming "Apex Lex," both of which converge to cause the "Year of the Villain" theme.

In Detective Comics #1015, we find that Victor Fries -- aka Mr. Freeze -- has found a cure for his wife, Nora, freeing her from the cryogenic tube where she's been held in stasis for who knows how long. With her fate no longer a driving force, Mr. Freeze no longer has a reason to be a criminal. And yet, he's training his wife on how to pull heists using his cold weapons. Also, she's just as blue-skinned as he is now, so we can safely assume she is Mrs. Freeze.

Entering into the story by Peter J. Tomasi, we find Bruce Wayne, Alfred Pennyworth, and Lucius Fox all busily hammering at keyboards trying to find a way to safely thaw out some frozen victims of Mr. Freeze. Oh wait, let's be specific about those victims, because they were very specific about them in the story:

Page One: "Still nothing on the last synthetic cellular x-factor in the women or the theater-goers."

Page Nine: "We can start administering the shots to the women and the --"

Page Fifteen: "Even at the cost of the women and all those people in the theater..."

That'll teach me to skip an issue. Becaue apparently among the four-hundred-plus frozen people in the audience, there were women frozen as well. And they must have been very important women to be singled out like that consistently -- although not important enough to merit names or any other signifier as to why they were separated from the other victims in conversation.

And while the Bat-crew work feverishly to find a cure, Mrs. Freeze makes a decision about her marriage: she decides to let it go, and go out into the unknown. (And no, she doesn't want to build a snowman.) Victor's plans to amass just enough money for them to go retire in Alaska is just too simple of a life for her, so she leaves him to go it alone in villainy, prompting Victor to put a call in for help to Batman himself.

Too much is glossed over in this issue, and too much simply doesn't make sense. When Lucius develops the first serum, he won't test it on Bruce, so Bruce has Alfred shoot him in the arm with one of Mr. Freeze's rifles, forcing the issue. The serum raises his body temperature, but Bruce can't feel his arm. So they have to keep working on the serium until they find a way to get past the nerve damage -- discounting the fact that Batman's nerves are already damaged and they're now looking for a cure for that. By midnight, this dream team could cure cancer, if they were just up against a villain who inflicted it on the masses.

I will give props to the artwork, beginning with the clever acetate cover design, which is what primarily sold this book. Paolo Panalena and Arif Prianto did a bang-up job on this, and the interiors by Doug Mahnke and Jose Luis are beautifully detailed with some very fine linework here. Unfortunately, the story itself is falling flat for me on this one, which is a shame because the concept has a lot of great potential. I can't help but think this might have worked out much better if it had happened during the old Underworld Unleashed event, when Neron was ramping up villain's powers in exchange for their souls.

3.5 / 5.0