REVIEW: ‘Batman: One Bad Day – Mr Freeze,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Batman One Bad Day - Mr Freeze #1

Mr Freeze’s dedication to finding a cure for his wife, Nora, has long been established in comics. But what hasn’t, and where Batman: One Bad Day – Mr Freeze #1 picks up, is that Batman decides that Freeze may be able to be reformed, so comes to him with an offer. Batman: One Bad Day – Mr Freeze #1 is part of a series of one-shots published by DC Comics and written by Gerry Duggan, with art by Matteo Scalera, colours by Dave Stewart, and letters by Deron Bennett.

Like with the other “One Bad Day” one-shots, this one has a small cast to really focus on the characters. An interesting inclusion that separates the book from its predecessors is the inclusion of Alfred and Robin, giving more variety to his side of the comic. They provide more than someone for Bruce to talk to, as Robin becomes crucial in the fight in the end. It was interesting to see Batman lean into his Patches Malone persona. It adds an element of humour and lightness to a series that has been almost exclusively dark. But the focus of the one-shot is Victor and Nora. The first half of the issue is reminiscent of the tales in Batman: The Animated Series, but then comes the change. It’s a brilliant, in-depth look at Mr Freeze, giving extra dimensions to the love story. From the start, there is this notion that Victor may be able to be reformed based on what happens with his wife. This theme of not letting go takes over and becomes tragic—there is an anger that threatens to disrupt that memory of a perfect relationship.

What Duggan does beautifully within this one-shot is adapt a story that has been told many times before. But the writer actually takes it one step further, progressing the story with a new amendment. The structure of the book is well done too. It skips between the main story and flashbacks of Freeze and Nora. It shifts the perspective of the situation around him freezing her, making it even darker and more tragic. There are parts of this alteration that are uncomfortable but that is a conscious decision by Duggan. There are moments of real intensity but also of investigation from Batman and Robin. The prestige-length one-shot allows the plot to be extended. The ending is actually surprising for multiple reasons, as a deep worry sets in before the last page.

The art is sublime; the inking and shadows are stunning. The book bounces between darkness and light, from barely showing the characters stepping out of the gloom to all the details of the beautiful Gotham street as the Batmobile screeches onto the scene. Some of the locations are magnificent, varying from intimate to expansive. There are some really haunting images and excellent character designs like how Scalera brings out Mr Freeze’s creepiness by obscuring his eyes with glasses. The fight scenes are full of energy and motion, possibly creating the best fight of the “One Bad Day” series so far.

The colours are also superb. There is a beautiful simplicity to the shades, but the relationship between them in each panel is terrific. The comic is set in winter, and there is both unease and serenity in Gotham. The contrast between black and white is stark and brilliant for storytelling. But there are other brilliant tones that cut through the monochrome. This can be seen in the yellows and reds that denote lights, or a light blue around Nora and Victor. Where the colours are most vibrant are on Robin’s costume, whose bright shades remain even with the limited tones involved. The lettering is also very easy to read, with Mr Freeze given a custom, blue word balloon to match his frosty demeanour.

Batman: One Bad Day – Mr Freeze #1 is a brilliant extension of one of the greatest comic book stories ever. Tapping into an idyllic love story that becomes a tragedy threatens to tarnish this issue. But, instead, it creates a one-shot filled with emotion and conflict, coming at the story from a completely different. Batman and Robin are fantastic as well, brought together in an art style that perfectly fits the mood.

Batman: One Bad Day – Mr Freeze #1 is available wherever comics are sold.


Batman: One Bad Day - Mr Freeze #1
4.5

TL;DR

Batman: One Bad Day – Mr Freeze #1 is a brilliant extension of one of the greatest comic book stories ever. Tapping into an idyllic love story that becomes a tragedy threatens to tarnish this issue. But, instead, it creates a one-shot filled with emotion and conflict, coming at the story from a completely different. Batman and Robin are fantastic as well, brought together in an art style that perfectly fits the mood.

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