Do anything for love? Mr. Freeze's arc in "Detective #1014" makes some chilling ethical arguments

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi, Pencils: Doug Mahnke, Inks: Christian Alamy, Mark Irwin, & Mahnke, Colors: David Baron, Letters: Rob Leigh, Cover: Mahnke & Baron.

“I would fight back with every ounce of my soul against whoever and whatever stood in the way of my listening to your heart beat once again…” — Victor Fries

"Detective Comics #1014" cover by Mahnke and Baron

Peter Tomasi’s Victor Fries/Mr. Freeze arc comes to a conclusion, beginning with Victor finally (successfully?) reviving his terminally ill wife Nora from cryogenic suspension. As her cold suit approaches absolute zero, Doug Mahnke’s zoom-in on her increasingly terrified face and crystallizing eyeball is…chilling.

That page makes for a great segue to say how underrated an artist I think Doug Mahnke has been for DC over the last two decades. From his beginning as an artist on satirical / grotesque comics like The Mask, Lobo, and Major Bummer, Mahnke has grown into a seriously solid superhero comic artist, able to draw a badass version of any DC character, and able to convey serious drama and gravitas as expertly as he did gross-out humor. His work is gritty, detailed, powerful, and NEVER boring, and this issue of Detective Comics is no exception, starting with the dynamic cover image of Mr. Freeze holding his revived wife in one arm, and in the other, Batman’s cowl and cape, fluttering behind Freeze as if he were wearing it.

The Fries’ tragic and twisted love story is familiar to any fan of Batman comics or the legendary 1990s Animated Series. But this story arc takes it to another sadistic level, as Freeze has been experimenting on other women to perfect the revival process. Shockingly, Nora seems to be OK with what Victor has done and his plans to finalize the process and make her just like him, no matter the criminal and human cost.

Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne has been using all the facilities at Batman’s and WayneTech’s command to reverse Freeze’s experiments and save his frozen victims.

Will either man succeed in his mission?

Find out in Detective Comics #1014 from DC Comics, on sale October 23, 2019.


Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995)

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