In a ‘Night of the Owls’ tie-in that takes in between the events that occurring in the regular bat-titles. This is probably one of the most anticipated “annual” books this week since it’s the introduction of Mr. Freeze to DC’s New 52 universe and boy does it deliver!
When the story opens, we’re treated to a flashback to a young Victor Fries as he witnesses his mother’s accident wherein she is injured while falling through some thin ice and into a lake. Cut forward to modern day. Victor is in the middle of a therapy session and discussing his mother’s accident and how he just wants back his Nora. Nora is apparently Fries’ wife who was frozen after she fell ill and Fries has been trying to find a way to revive her ever since.
The rest of the issue follows Fries as he makes an escape attempt from Arkham. His intent: get the man who took Nora away. And that man’s name? Bruce Wayne.
As Fries goes on a rampage against the backdrop of the Night of the Owls, he runs across both heroes and villains alike and leaves a path of frozen destruction in his wake. Interspersed with Fries’ attempt on Wayne’s life are more flashback sequences that tell the new origin of Fries’ journey to become the ice-cold villain Mr. Freeze. When the issue finally gets to his climax, there are some twisted reveals that change Freeze’s origin from the pre-New 52 universe. I’m sure some fans are going to be upset with these changes, but I think they’re brilliant and only serve to make Freeze into a much creepier character than he was before.
Scott Snyder has given us a bang-up introduction to one of Batman’s classic villains, while updating him to modern times and making him (at least in my opinion) much more interesting than a mere cold-themed villain. Plus he manages to weave Fries’ frozen experiments into the creation of the Court of Owls’ undead assassins, the Talons.
The artwork from Jason Fabok is some of the best I’ve seen in ‘Batman’ so far. I’d really love to see more of Fabok’s work in the bat-universe. His pencils are smooth and thin with an almost hyper-realistic look to them and they are a perfect fit for this type of comic.
BATMAN ANNUAL #1
Story by Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
Art by Jason Fabok
Colors by Peter Steigerwald
Letters by Sal Cipriano
Cover by Jason Fabok