Writer: Scott Snyder
Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
Letters: Steve Wands
Shut up! Stop being a smart a**. Snyder and Jock are writing this new arc of All-Star Batman and that’s all that needs to be said about this subject. I repeat, Snyder and Jock are working on a Batman book. Scott Snyder and Jock. Remember the last time they worked together? Like on a full arc? Remember? It was The Black f’n Mirror. Dick Grayson was Batman, the main villain was ole’ Jimmy Gordon’s secret anti-social son, and with no other identifiable Batman characters it became an all-time classic. That’s the talent we’re dealing with here. Imagine what they’re going to do with Mr. Freeze.
Honestly, you’re wasting your time reading this review. The book is phenomenal and all I’m going to do is find crafty, cheeky ways of saying “good book, go buy.” You already clicked so I have the hit, you already know it’s good so, we’re square. Just go to your LCS and buy it. Go on. Fly away you majestic social outcast. Still here? Fine, whatever. Here we go.
Scott Snyder at this point is writing Batman because he can. With every keystroke on his keyboard, with every panel of dialogue, he’s slowly and systematically redefining every facet of Batman’s mythos. Last arc was one giant, violent, incredible, Mad-Max style chase scene starring Batman and Two-Face that completely reinvigorated the tragic relationship between Harvey Dent and Bruce Wayne. Now he’s looking to tackle Mr. Freeze.
The story starts off with Batman finding Freeze in the Artic Circle (where else would he be). There he has a confrontation with his Freeze and his new group of ice-zombie-people henchman. Along the way, Freeze hits the standard beats of “I’m so cold that I hate everyone now,” “everything should be cold like me,” and “Nora!!! NORA!!!!!!!” that everyone’s used since Paul Dini’s seminal B:TAS episode. Freeze reveals his evil plan (like I’m going to spoil it), Batman-Batman’s him, and there’s a killer hook for the next issue.
Jokes aside, Snyder’s writing and story-plotting are phenomenal. The story may seem standard but I assure you Snyder makes it special. How? Well he uses a prose style not unlike the approach he uses in his on-going Afterlife A.D. You’d think that may hinder the story but his writing is so effectively nimble and potent that it moves the story excellently. Also, he uses Robert Frost’s, “Fire and Ice” at the beginning to dovetail and introduce the readers to the thematic elements of the book. This was an inspired choice as I immediately began to question how the poem related to Freeze and the overall narrative.
Most importantly, Snyder demonstrates a concrete and thorough understanding of Freeze himself. Freeze was a victim of the New 52 era as his character was butchered and relegated to obscurity but Snyder primes him for a comeback. Not only does he remind us of why we love Freeze by hitting all the aforementioned, P. Dini character beats, but also takes them to their logical conclusion. Without spoiling it, Freeze’s scheme in the book is, yes, motivated by the standard Mr. Freeze logic we all know but Snyder’s depiction has evolved his mindset past the point. This Mr. Freeze isn’t out to just cure Nora, he’s looking to eliminate the vices in the world that left the both of them in their current state. That’s what elevates this story more than anything else and exemplifies why Snyder has earned his reputation as being a definitive Batman author.
Art? Like I’m qualified to even talk about how good Jock is in the book. How many people do you know that can get away with calling themselves by only one name? Every time he draws Batman he leaves the audience with new, iconic images that are plastered on prints, posters, and cell-phone wallpapers and this book is no exception. What I particularly appreciated was his shadowing. Jock knows how to position his shading to make Freeze and his henchmen foreboding and terrifying that elevates the whole affair. Furthermore, he is able to render Freeze in such a way that reflects Snyder’s depiction of a hollowed and decayed man who has given up on humanity.
Verdict: This is what an instant classic looks like.
It’s cliché to talk about how good this book is. Snyder with his words and Jock with his pictures craft an can’t miss, sure fire, instant classic of a Batman comic. I loved every page, every twist, and ever panel. Wonderfully written, wonderfully drawn, and wonderfully thoughtful, this book will make you love Mr. Freeze again and leave you begging for the next issue. It’s phenomenal.