Batman: Detective Comics #1013 – Peter J. Tomasi, Writer; Doug Mahnke, Penciller; Keith Champagne, Christian Alamy, Inkers; David Baron, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
Ray: The shift from the previous Deadshot/island storyline to the Year of the Villain Mr. Freeze storyline hasn’t been great for this title’s momentum, as it’s shifted the focus away from Bruce’s mission and towards a particularly crazy villain, especially in Batman: Detective Comics #1013.
Mr. Freeze is one of the villains whose characterization shifts around a lot, and usually he’s a more sympathetic character driven by grief over his wife. But since the New 52, he’s been turned into more of an insane stalker and his actions in this arc – killing hundreds of people in failed tests to prep for Nora’s resurrection – are so beyond the pale they essentially make him irredeemable in the same way that Year Zero did to Riddler, who was turned into a mass murdering terrorist. Here, Freeze’s actions include turning his victims into mind-controlled zombies that he sics on Batman – and Freeze’s extreme actions push Batman to some pretty extreme actions of his own.
There’s some good stuff in this issue – Alfred’s role is amusing, and it seems Tomasi has been really pushing the bond between them lately. Almost to make it hurt more given that we know what happened in the other title. Doug Mahnke’s art is at its best this issue, especially in a prolonged action segment that debuts a new Bat-suit for Bruce and takes place in a frozen wasteland.
The ending of Detective Comics #1013, which brings Nora back to life, was spoiled months in advance. The idea that she becomes a bigger threat than Victor has potential, but until now in this arc she’s been little more than a cipher. That’s largely the problem with this arc – it’s flashy and entertaining, but there’s little substance, and I don’t think it’s good for the long-term health of the character of Mister Freeze. Tomasi’s proven he can tell great Bat-stories, but oddly he seems to excel when the stakes are lower rather than driven by events.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.