Detective Comics #1015
The Year of the Villain is in full effect. With Lex Luthor giving offers of power to every big league player in the DC Universe and Victor having used his gift to finally resurrect his darling Nora, will he come to regret his decision when she decides to go into the business of herself, leaving him behind in the snowy aftermath?
The book begins with the team of Batman, Lucius Fox and Alfred (pre-Batman #77) doing their best to find a cure for the other women that Victor froze in his attempts to experiment with the cure for Nora’s condition as well as a theater full of people in cryostasis, left behind in the Fries’ wake. Batman, Lucius and Alfred all look amazingly tired, indicating that they’ve been working for hours upon hours looking for a cure that won’t kill the victims or leave them with permanent nerve damage. It’s a tense situation and Batman feels the need to test himself once Lucius says he might have a solution.
Meanwhile, Victor looks upon his wife with both fear and adoration. He’s absolutely enjoying his time with Nora, but as it goes on and on, he soon sees that she seems to have acquired a taste for the violence that they’ve inflicted on the people of Gotham, turning her away from the woman that he had once fallen in love with. When they manage to get a moment’s rest, he tries to convince her of a new life for them, a life where the don’t need to be villains and she rebuffs him, asking “What if I like having power over people for once?!” It’s a stark and drastic turn from the reunion that we all expected from the couple.
She says that she no longer needs and him and I can almost feel the cracks in his cold heart as it slowly breaks. Victor initially threatens her with his own cold gun, but she knows that he won’t fire and calls his bluff only to pull her own trigger on him. In what is potentially the worst break up since Kitty Pryde and Colossus (or Batman and Catwoman, you take your pick from two equally awful weddings), she leaves him frozen in a block of ice and drives off while he calls her name. I suppose most readers expected them to have a good fairytale ending to their villainous lives, but it seems it was not meant to be.
Batman has Alfred shoot him with one of Mister Freeze’s Cold guns and then has Lucius inject him with their new serum. Doug Mahnke does an amazing job of showing the strain that the serum takes on Batman with sweat and tears pouring down his eyes, anguish on his face and anger after realizing that he can’t feel the nerves in his hand. He refuses to leave anyone else like that and tells his team to continue looking for a better solution. Soon after, the Bat Signal shines in the sky, dwarfed by the Symbol of Doom above every sky in the DC Universe at the moment.
Waiting for Batman is Freeze, who offers him a real cure in exchange for helping him find and stop his wife. Batman doesn’t believe him initially, but then Freeze injects him with a serum that allows him to feel his nerve again. Batman also urges him to cure the people in the theater if he has any hope of redeeming himself for what he’s done. Jose Luis takes over on art for these pages and while his style isn’t too dissimilar to Mahnke’s, he does allow for colorist Rob Leigh to change up the cool tones of the snowy Gotham night and shading used for Batman’s gear.
Nora,with her newfound freedom takes the time to visit her parents graves, telling them how much she missed them and how they never got to see her dance. So she does what any supervillain with parent issues might have done and creates an ice mausoleum for them and does a routine in front of their graves. Elsewhere Victor and Batman gear up to take her down – return of the Batman Fire Suit! Mahnke returns for these final pages and draws Nora with a ferocity and grace that I hope we see more of in the future as a recurring villain. She looks so free, yet with the caveat that she might be turning insane!
While this does knock a bit of the wind out of my sails, the story, art and direction is still good. This is exactly what I expect when I read Detective Comics; a story with twists and turns, awesome villains and stories that we might not get out of the main series. Peter J. Tomasi and Doug Mahnke have been allowed to go hog wild with the stories they’re telling and seamlessly weaving it into Year of the Villain only makes it so much better. So while this issue lacked the emotional impact of the last few, it was still dramatic and interesting to read.
Detective Comics #1015: Love in a Cold Climate
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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