Batman Annual #1 Review (Mania.com)
Review Date: Saturday, June 02, 2012
While reviews have been mixed on DC’s New 52…and when you’re relaunching your entire line it only stands to reason that not all of the titles are going to be well received…the one title that has seemed to garner universal acclaim has been Batman with its “Court of Owls” storyline. Resisting the need for a reboot, The Court of Owls storyline has never the less added a potential new twist to the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents and his entire motivation for becoming Batman.
Batman Annual is tangibly related to the Court of Owls/Night of the Owls storyline but is a side story featuring a far older Batman villain, Mr. Freeze. Freeze had been targeted by The Court of Owls and it was his formula that was used to revive the Talons, the Court’s assassins. Freeze has again escaped Arkham Asylum and is wants to recover the body of his cryogenically frozen wife and leave Gotham City once and for all. He plans to infiltrate Wayne Manor and kill Bruce Wayne. Freeze’s obsession with resurrecting his wife has been a running theme throughout the history of the character. But you can forget all that…
In keeping with the theme of the New 52, Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV have created a new origin for Mr. Freeze, making him a far more tragic and mentally fragile character, but possibly even more obsessive. I’m usually not one for wholesale changes to a character’s origin, but Snyder and Tynion come up with a believable and quite creepy origin for Freeze while maintaining the spirit of the character. I think you’ll agree that this makes him a more interesting, and more deadly character than ever before.
If it’s possible for artwork to “feel” cold then Jason Fabok has accomplished the feat. He, along with colorist Peter Steigerwald (and yeah…I just gave props to the colorist!) convey a sense of cold and ice that you can practically feel radiating off the pages. The great part of Batman Annual #1 is that while it does have a tie-in to the regular series, it works well as a standalone story if you haven’t been reading Batman.
Mania Grade: A-
Title: Batman Annual #1
Writer: Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV
Artist: Jason Fabok
Publisher: DC Comics