BATMAN ANNUAL #1

• MR. FREEZE is introduced to The New 52!

• What is Mr. Freeze’s relationship to the COURT OF OWLS? Is he an ally – or do they want him dead?

• “NIGHT OF THE OWLS” continues here!

Story by Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
Art by Jason Fabok
Colors by Peter Steigerwald
Letters by Sal Cipriano
Cover by Jason Fabok

Price: $4.99
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 47.8%

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Comments

  1. This must be the first time an annual gets the most pulls. Curious to see what another of Snyder’s ‘pupils’ can bring to the table.

  2. Wasnt Mr. Freeze in Redhood’s court of Owls issue?

    Really looking forward to this and Animal Man this week. If I had to choose between Snyder and Lemire I don’t think I could.

    • jwt6577 jwt6577 (@jwt6577) says:

      He wasn’t really in it, so much as he was the mcguffin. I didn’t realize I had two books this week, I thought the annuals didn’t come out until August.

  3. my goodness, the lines on Freeze’s forehead

    dude needs to use some skin cream

  4. It’s co-written by James Tynion IV so it’s not a proper 100% Snyder story really.

    • Yeah – but they’ve teamed up to do the Batman back-ups that have been fun.

    • I’m not sure what you’re point is (the solicit makes it pretty clear that Snyder and Tynion co-wrote this), but I was really happy with last summer’s Gates of Gotham mini-series, and James Tynion’s backups in Batman are off to a solid start, so Scott Snyder plus a co-writer presents absolutely zero problems for me!

    • From Snyder’s Twitter:

      “Nope. Fully co-wrote. RT @coolstoryaj: @Ssnyder1835 Wait, so you plotted the annual and @JamesTheFourth scripted it? Crazy excited for it.”

    • it’s not the story that i’m worried about. it’s the art. i don’t think i’ve read a comic with him on art detail before. i googled his work, and it looks solid, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he can tell a good story panel to panel, ya know. i guess i’ll see.

  5. MadCowDzz MadCowDzz (@DarylFritz) says:

    I’m reading the Batman ongoing: is this one a necessary read or is it more of a side-story?

  6. anybody know how many pages for that extra buck?

    I’m really loving this story Snyder has been telling, so if i’m gonna take a flyer on an annual, this might be a good one.

  7. It seems obvious to me that Freeze is going to be essential to stopping the Talons because of the way they regenerate. I hope I’m wrong outright or at least it happens in a cooler way than I can imagine. Snyder hasn’t let me down yet and i don’t expect him to. Can’t wait.

  8. so pumped for this and “Death by Design” this week

  9. Definitely looking forward to this. The Red Hood issue with Mr. Freeze got some flack for what seemed to be obvious plot holes, but maybe this will shed some new light on that book.

  10. is James Tynion IV from Westeros?

  11. I take it this Mr. Freeze is a different one from the Batman #1 one?

    • Ah, good point. It would be kind of funny if this run had an inconsistency so soon. That design was different, and Batman said there “I’ve seen a few Mr. Freezes, two Black Masks”, if there are actually two current Mr. Freeze’s that be weird. So hopefully they just explain that he broke out of Arkham, and the different look well that’s fine.

    • Yeah that was my thought process exactly. The run has been consistent so far and I was re-reading issue 1 and noticed Freeze there. I’m thinking he’s likely a different Mr. Freeze, but as you say it would be strange having two of them at the same time.

      I’ve got to wait until tomorrow to get my issue, due to my local store having delays. Guess I’ll find out then!

  12. Hey guys – just want to say I hope you enjoy the annual. Freeze is one of my favorite villains, and James and I tired to take out fav elements from the comics, the animated series, Beyond, The Batman and combine them here to present a version of Freeze that honors and builds on what came before but also gives a bit of a twist to his character that I personally, think makes him a stronger villain for Batman – gives them more in common – but also keeps all the history I love. Again, hope you enjoy. Worked hard on it. Thx! S

    • we can’t wait to see what you guys came up with.
      i’ve always found the animated version of the character to be the most compelling, so i’m glad to hear you drew inspiration from the cartoons.

    • Thank you for posting.

    • Thanks for posting man!

      I’m sure we will enjoy the annual, can’t wait to see your own take on Mr. Freeze and I’m sure it’ll live up to my now very high expectations!

    • You had me at The Animated Series. Always been my favorite Freeze. Extra pumped for this now.

    • Great issue, dude. Thanks!

    • Fantastic issue.

    • GREAT ISSUE! I liked your New 52 take on Freeze. I got the feeling you were going for a ” They both strive for what they can never have” thing between Bats and Freeze. Thanks for the great work!

    • Mr. Snyder – if my comments reach you, I’ll be flattered.

      I finally signed on to this hobby with the DC reboot, and your work with the Court of Owls story inspired me to go and read some of your earlier work. I enjoy how you create a history and lore in each story, and make it essential to the plot – particularly in this Owls. To a degree, I think of you as a Ken Burns of things not actually real.

      What hooked me in with the Black Mirror was the premise under which you introduced Gordon’s son. This was in part because I’m a sucker for a redemption story. But firstly, I consider the dullest villain to be the one who is evil for evil’s sake. The most fascinating villain is the one with whom we are forced to empathize (bonus points if the protagonist is there with us) – and this is what I looked for in that story. At least in my first reading, I felt that this character was robbed of some of his complexity in the story’s resolution. I plan on rereading the story, as I certainly was looking for depth of character in but one dimension.

      I bring up this criticism only to give context to my satisfaction with your work in the Annual. Your treatment of Victor Freis gave me exactly what I look for in my villains. Thank you for giving him the origin of a typical person (maybe this existed before? Again, I’m new). Thank you for the dialog that tries to reason with him, and not simply shut him down. Batman tells him that he’s never felt love. Either Batman doesn’t see the depth to this character that we’ve just been let in to, or he sees it and exploits it. Thank you for making me think about this, and creating a gray in the means of good and bad.

      Kudos on your work in this book. It will be the story I use to pitch your writing to others. I picked up Batman 10 today. It seems that many of us predicted the “whodunnit,” but I don’t consider this to be a flat part of the story given the lore and motive you established. I look forward to the conclusion, hope to learn more about our villain, and hope to see more of your work within the Batman realm.

  13. A new take on Mr. Freeze by Scott Snyder (and newcomer Tynion IV)? How can I lose?

    Also, a new joy of life is to make people on Twitter put some Arnold into their Freeze. So many people tweeted to them, and me, by saying:

    “Chill Out!”
    “Ice to See You!”

  14. Really eye catching cover, I saved this image months ago, not a fan of 4.99 issues if they’re packed with ads but hopefully this won’t be, Freeze is an odd choice to tie to the owls and curious but if I flip through this and see an ad every other page I’ll skip it and catch the scoop word of mouth. Sometimes annuals are awesome and change the course for the book and thats what I’m hoping this does in a good way even though I’ve loved it from the start.

  15. Can’t wait for this Annual. Recently watched ‘Heart of Ice’ after picking it up on iTunes and i’d forgotten how good it was. Freeze, like any villain really, can be got very wrong, and I look forward to seeing what Scott and James do with the character.

  16. Wow, I thought this was excellent! Snyder’s Freeze is a tragic character, and I found myself rooting for him for a little while there. The art was gorgeous, the story was a page turner, kudos all around! I dig the design of the character, however I’m a little thrown by the lever thing on Freeze’s arm. I’m hoping it serves some sort of purpose other than just looking “cool” (ala Liefeld’s shoulder pads/pouches).

    Most likely my POTW, but I haven’t read the Animal Man annual yet.

  17. wheres the swamp thing annual? looking forward to the animal man one thought. p.s. this batman annual looks sweet too.

  18. I thought this was a very well done annual. It stands on its own as a complete story but also ties into the Night of the Owls storyline logically. It was also a good reintroduction to Mr. Freeze and the twist to his origin was a good way to tie him to Batman. I’m not too sure about his little tuft of hair though, if only because the bald look from the animated series was so iconic. However, that’s a minor nitpick that I can easily forgive, considering the guards at Arkham are all wearing Captain Grid-Iron’s helmet.

  19. I’m not sure I like the new twist on Freeze, especially the change in his relationship with Nora. Also, could Victor freeze stuff just by touching it before the relaunch?

  20. Love that they’re playing with our expectations in the New 52. Didn’t see the twist coming. And upon further consideration, it definitely changes Mr. Freeze, but it almost makes him scarier, more formidable.

  21. Not sure how I feel about the origin twist, aside from that it was great.

  22. Really loved this! I think the new origin is much better. Much like penguin: pain and prejudice made the penguin much more evil and twisted this annual did the same for mr freeze, for me anyway. Totally looking forward to seeing more of this new mr freeze in future bat titles.

  23. I thought it was awesome…really kind of heart-wrenching.

  24. Enjoyed it…really quite sad…loved the “nods” in the evidence room.

  25. This didn’t do much for me. It seemed a bit oddly paced and jumpy at times and nothing got fully developed. The concept was good, the execution seemed to lack a bit.

  26. mr freeze’s best attribute(since the 90s) as an antagonist is that he has been a sympathetic one. not a trait common amongst batman’s rogues gallery. it’s why i’ve loved him and often enough actually rooted for him. he was the perfect anti-villain. that is to say, he committed evil acts, but for a noble cause. now he’s just like the rest of batman’s rogues. a twisted fuck. which is fine i guess, but this is the first time i’ve really been disappointed with the new 52. but don’t worry about me. i’ll be fine. i don’t mind him being more evil. i like it more, actually. i’ll just miss his magnanimous quest.

    i did really love the flashbacks to freeze’s youth. what he did to his mother caught me off guard. loved it.
    dig the mohawk.
    costume’s pretty cool. not too sure about it being sleeveless, though. another thing i’m not too sure about is freeze having ice powers now. i like captain cold having ice powers, but i’ve always liked freeze’s guns. they basically gave them both the same changes. so i guess they are STILL very much alike.
    also, i thought it was strange to have a therapy session at midnight.
    3.4 stars rounded down to 3.

  27. Even though this annual was barely connected to Night of the Owls, it was a great story. The art was

    amazing, I loved it. I also enjoyed the twists on Freeze’s origin, what a freak!

    Please check my mini-review here:

    http://bit.ly/K0slLo

    Comments and feedback are always welcome!

  28. I was really disappointed in this retcon of Mr. Freeze. Taking from him the very relatable and tragic love story that was his motivation, and turning him into just another psycho, with a cold gun.

    Is this the end of Snyder’s fantastic storytelling on Batman? I hope not – but this retcon, dumping one of the best villain origins in Batman’s rogues gallery, makes me wonder.

    • I’m glad I wasn’t alone with this same thought, Snyder tends to be a bit too formulaic and academic in his approach to storytelling and that kind of thing gets lost as a result, even if the story is well told losing the little touches and making yet another cookie cutter villain is a bummer. I think the whole Night of the Owls thing was too forced because of the popularity of Batman and it has caused what most likely was a well-planned out tale to get stretched out and turned into something it was not. You can see the decline from the trajectory it was on due to it all. Just MHO.

    • I’m unfamiliar with the original Mr. Freeze story. Did he originally really know the girl in the tube? If so, it sucks that he’s not as sympathetic but it also makes more sense. If that was really his wife, Batman would just be being a dick to not let him have her.

    • I hopped on to say the exact same thing. There’s plenty of black and white in Gotham. Mr. Freeze was always a shade of grey and that’s what made him a good character not just villain

    • @FishyBoy: Well-said, sir. Yet another thing in the New 52 universe I don’t like so much.

    • the end of snyder’s fantastic storytelling on batman? no. a lil’ premature to even mention, i say.
      one mediocre story does not suggest his great run is over.
      how many great batman stories have we gotten? 20? 25?
      snyder’s greatness will endure this, no problem.
      grab your shades. the future is bright.

  29. I thought this was pretty good. Although I liked his original story about the tragic love thing, this was still good too. It’s kinda like the original but with a twist I guess. I was kinda bummed that the mom didn’t have much to do with it. I thought she would be the one in the tube. But whatever.

  30. ***SPOILERS***
    Freeze has been one of my favorite batman villains, top 5 for sure, and the idea of the twist I feel was a good Idea. Thought it could have been executed a little better. Like people before mentioned I don’t like the fact that they are making him a “cookie cutter” psychopath with “the freezing animals as a child”.
    Seeing your mother have a tragic accident like this, and having her be almost helpless, would be horrible for anyone. It drove him insane to the point of murdering his own mother. I can see how freeze became obsessed with cold and ice, coming up with a concept of loving a woman he has never met because he, more than anyone, knows how it may feel to be frozen and trapped. This is a great concept and makes me feel almost sorry for him. Just wish they excited a little better.
    I feel batman was the villain here the way he treats freeze telling him he cannot understand the meaning of love, empathy, and compassion. That all he can feel is hate. What a dick.

  31. I can live with the new origin, its very well done. The issue was GREAT. The art was just fantastic, the story was compelling, the colorist who worked on the book deserves an award, the twist about Freeze and the ending was kind of sad, and made you feel kind of bad for Freeze. All in all.. 5/5 from me.. couldnt ask for more in an Annual or from the GREAT Scott Snyder.

  32. I didn’t understand the escape
    I loved.the interaction with Penguin and the ending
    I wish there had been a connection to the person in the tube

  33. consafo80 consafo80 (@consafo80) says:

    I really liked the art and also liked the new origin story. But as always it seems a lot of people still don’t get the whole new 52 concept and complain that somethings different from the old DCU.

    • So according to you if a person dislikes the new origin of Mr. Freeze, they just “don’t get the whole new 52 concept”? So anyone who doesn’t like Snyder’s new Freeze origin is just stupid and doesn’t understand simple things, huh?

      That’s pretty ridiculous, shortsighted and totally offensive.

      I don’t like the new Mr. Freeze origin because I find it to be 100 times inferior to the old origin, not because I “don’t get the concept” of the new 52.

      We’re not stupid people who don’t understand simple concepts, consafo80, we’re people who like good stories that are as good or better than the ones told before.

    • And I see you’ve only been reading comics since Flashpoint.

      Now I’m not saying your opinion doesn’t have merit, because it certainly does, but how can you possibly categorize everyone not onboard with this new origin story as ‘too dumb to understand the new 52’s concept’ when you weren’t around for the telling of the original origin of Mr. Freeze?

    • @FishyBoy: Which origin? He’s had a few.

    • @FishyBoy: I don’t want to speak for consafo80, but I think your outrage is a little unwarranted. Particularly calling him/her out for not being “around for the telling of the original origin”!

      According to Wikipedia (I’ve been reading comics for 20+ years, but I didn’t know this), Mr. Freeze first appeared in 1959. I’ll be happy to be wrong, but I don’t think anyone on this site was around for the the telling of the original origin.

      Anyway, to make an obvious generalization, comic readers dislike change.

      The whole New 52 concept, as I see it, was to streamline and change as much as possible without entirely alienating long time, change-disliking readers. You know, keep the baby, lose the bathwater.

      But despite all the press, interviews and now 10 months of books, many readers are still shocked and dismayed when a change from the old continuity is revealed.

      Now, I’ll be the first to admit that in some cases babies have been lost in favor or bathwater, but at this point, longtime readers should know the score. Therefore, the “something’s different” complaints could come off as irrational to a newer reader.

  34. Personally, I liked the origin story introduced in B:TAS, but I can appreciate Snyder’s very twisted re-imagining of Freeze. This book received a 4/5 for me, but I’m gonna go watch SubZero now.

  35. @Conor Fair point – I meant the origin that was considered official until the reboot.

    @Ken I thought I was clear with my responses (and I apologize if I wasn’t) that I was upset (not outraged – yikes) at being classified as someone too stupid to understand the new52 concept just because I didn’t like this new origin.

    Further, I thought my intention was clear (again, apologies if I wasn’t) when bringing up that he was a new reader. I only meant to bring up the “how can you possibly generalize in this way anyone who doesn’t like the new origin story when you’re a new reader and likely don’t understand why people would find connection with Freeze’s old origin story.”

    And, “outrage” is a really strong word and not representative at all of how my post was intended to come across.

    • But yes, I misspoke when I said “original origin” – kudos to both of you for nailing me on that. A+

      Again, I meant the origin considered official until the relaunch. Where Nora’s Freeze’s wife.

    • No apology necessary, because we’re just talking about comics and you are certainly entitled to define your own emotions.

      I’m glad to hear this wasn’t your intent, but it reads like you took personal offense and a general observation.

      But I called it outrage because it seemed like you took some personal offense at what I read as a fairly innocuous comment (that has a lot of truth in it, for the reasons I mentioned previously).

      And in your reply, you put some strong words in consafo80’s mouth, escalating the issue all on your own (suggesting that people who don’t like continuity changes in the New 52 must be “stupid” – a word the original poster never used). With this new premise, you kind of imply that the original poster is being offensive, and then in your second post you quote your own premise (“too dumb to understand the new 52′s concept”) in a way that looks like you think consafo80 actually said it.

      And I hate to harp on your rhetorical techniques because I think your point is a fair one that raises a great question: when the opportunity exists to streamline, simplify, or refresh a character or concept, the goal (I assume) is to tell a better or more relevant story. How does a creator decide which aspects of the previous story (or stories, in this case) are worth keeping and which have to go?

    • And that’s the thing, really, which disappointed me with the Annual: If Snyder’s going to change things up which is certainly expected in the new52 (though he told his Twitter followers over and over that the world of Batman would remain unchanged), why not make a better story of it – or at least a new take that’s the old story’s equal? In my mind the new origin of Freeze is far from equal to the old. Mr. Freeze was a sympathetic psychopath and now he’s kind of, in my perception, a James Jr. analogue with ice powers.

      Listen, as far as the original commenter goes that I was responding to, I felt it was implied pretty heavily – they never said “too stupid to get it” but when we’re talking about a ridiculously simple concept as this DC universe reboot and someone says, in essence, ‘anyone who doesn’t like the changes just doesn’t understand the concept’ that’s what I get from it: they’re calling me stupid and unable to grasp a simple concept.

      Trust me, consafo80, I understand the concept of the new52 very well – I just didn’t like this story. And that’s OK.

    • I’ll identify myself as very new to the comic world, and offer some thoughts on the wife/not wife from my own perspective.

      I get the impression that Nora-in-a-tube was Freis’ wife before the reboot. This does sound like a great motivation, and I’ll happily accept any reading recommendations that use this theme.

      Some folks are saying that this character lost his depth and grey area motive with this new telling. I interpreted things differently, partly from not knowing otherwise. I imagined a severely conflicted child executing the twist ending, committing sin from the best of intentions. The role of Nora to me was a projection of regret for this action, and a demonstration of the deterioration of sanity on behalf of Freeze.

  36. I liked the sick and some what demented twist on Mr. Freeze!! His mother fell thru the ice and his wife Nora is not even really his wife?! Wow, nice spin on a old origin that now makes Mr. Freeze a real deal kinda of sick villian. I think this has put Mr. freeze way up on the level of danger in the DCU as a villian all around.

    K

  37. Count me in as yet another who is disappointed in this Mr. Freeze origin change. I’m really starting to feel that the New 52 is making changes for change sake, and in the process it is jettisoning some really great story elements that are nowhere near tired. Batman doesn’t need any more twisted psycho rogues; the sympathetic Mr. Freeze-who-loves-his-real-wife is one thing that made him different — and now that’s gone.

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