Writer: Scott Snyder
Alaska, 300 Miles North of the Arctic Circle…
The issue opens with narrative about a 10-year-old boy and a school project that involved memorizing a poem. The poem he chooses is quite grim, at least his father thinks so. But the boy seems to see the good in the poem. While we are reading this narrative, we see Batman making his way through the dangerous winds of the Arctic Circle. He’s wearing some sort of armored arctic bat suit that looks pretty damn cool. It has some sort of heated gauntlet of sorts that shoots pure copper batarangs. We see him make his way to some sort of facility where inside he finds all the workers frozen solid and hears a spiraling shriek that rattles his suit. Batman is then greeted by what looks like some kind of zombies and the art here fits the tone perfectly. It’s dark and grim and the shading with the blues and whites are so well done.
Batman is attacked by the zombie creatures and tries taking them down with the copper batarangs (they generate heat) but there are too many of them and his suit gets messed with. I really enjoyed the little comment Batman makes at this point about calling them mitten warmers to Alfred and Alfred not finding it very funny. I could just picture it in my head. Now Mr. Freeze comes to deal with Batman and show him what he is up to and I think Mr. Freeze looks pretty creepy and I love it.
The “Dreaming” ...
Mr. Freeze proceeds to tell Batman that he has been waking frozen bodies up with a deadly bacteria found in the ice core that he believes will open new world. He thinks this is the only way that people put into cryogenic sleep can be cured. Batman knows this isn’t true and that it will really kill everyone on the planet. He tries to convince Freeze to stop by telling him of an oncoming air strike and by bring Nora into it. Freeze doesn’t listen or care and goes into cryogenic sleep while releasing the gas and this is where things get weird but cool?...
Mr. Freeze starts to dream of his utopia but is interrupted because it turns out Batman has injected himself with another kind of virus that becomes airborne when in contact with Mr. Freeze's virus. Batman and Freeze fight a little bit and Batman is not being very nice at this point, mocking Freeze, asking him if he can hear his wife screaming yet. Freeze thinks he can but it turns out to be the planes coming to bomb the facility. Batman grabs Freeze, locks them into a chamber and watches as the facility is bombed. Batman is insanely creepy looking in the last panel I’m not going to lie. It all comes full circle with Mr. Freeze saying he realizes he liked the poem for the wrong reasons. It was the ice that kept the promise. Obviously!
The Cursed Wheel Part 5
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Francelesco Francavilla
I haven’t been the biggest fan of the Cursed Wheel story, but I did quite enjoy this one. Duke and Batman are dealing with one of Riddlers yearly attacks that he does on the anniversary of Zero Year. He claims to have set up all these attacks in advance in case he didn’t succeed. This one has to do with a crossword puzzle. Batman can’t seem to figure it out and just as the timer runs out Duke is caught in an explosion while trying to rescue a hostage who was being made to be part of the riddle. Is Duke alright? Did he survive? Of course he did! But we shall see where this damned cursed wheel goes next issue. Hopefully it starts moving along a little quicker.
This story so far is probably one of my favorites of the series and that’s saying a lot since I’ve enjoyed almost every issue so far. But unfortunately it still isn’t perfect and left me a little confused at times. For example, the ending where Batman becomes that crazy looking fire virus bat thing. I want a bit more explanation on that please. And would that chamber really survive that blast? Other than that I thought Mr. Freeze was really creepy and portrayed really well. The art fit the tone perfectly. I hope to see more Jock on future issues. As for the cursed wheel, I did enjoy this one more than past issues, but it still wasn’t anything crazy exciting.
Rating: Holy ★★★★★★★☆☆☆
Brandon Reid | NCR