Review: Detective Comics #1014
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Doug Mahnke, Christian Alamy & Mark Irwin
Colors: David Baron
Letters: Rob Leigh
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Victor Fries successfully brings Nora back to life, but how will she respond to the years she’s been “asleep?” Plus, Batman races against time to save the women upon whom Freeze experimented.
There’s a real excitement to this issue as Nora Fries responds to her awakening. Victor’s exuberance is contrasted with Nora’s confusion and anger at Victor for cryogenically freezing her. This builds a tension that runs through the entire issue as it’s not clear how this will change the status quo for Mr. and Mrs. Fries.
There’s a palpable emotion in Nora Fries that is the highlight of the issue. Detective Comics #1014 is driven by Nora’s emotions. It’s hard not to feel for her and subsequently Freeze himself as he finally succeeds in reviving Nora and giving her a chance at life again. It’s a true “page turner” in this respect.
While there’s no doubt that Freeze’s action in harming the innocent are wrong, the issue does suggest that there’s a bigger question to be answered. Nora is at first unhappy to learn what Victor has done because it went expressly against her wishes. What is the moral right in this situation? Leaving out the harming of innocents, was it morally right for Victor to do what he did to possibly save her? Additionally, is it right for Victor to force Nora into a cold existence like his?
While both characters are depicted joyfully for their reunion, there are a few moments that delve into the complexity of the situation. Nora and Victor clearly don’t understand what the other has been through. This interesting moment is only touched on briefly, but it adds a layer of subtlety to the storytelling. However, it feels like this should be revisited at some point.
Batman’s desire to save the Freeze’s victims demonstrates that he truly seeks to help others. It’s a solid character moment that cements what we know about the Dark Knight. His determination is illustrated as he warns Alfred of some “24/7” shifts. The presentation draws the reader in making him or her feel part of the team.
This sequence allows Tomasi to delve into some of Bruce’s scientific knowledge. It’s not an aspect of the character that gets a lot of attention, but it’s been there since his first origin back in Detective Comics #33. This leads to Bruce enlisting Lucius Fox’s help and it’s always nice to see Batman playing nice with others.
The only thing that feels off about Detective Comics #1014 is Nora’s seeming quick turn. It’s all a whirlwind for her, but when she appears to join Victor as a partner as Mrs. Freeze at the end of the issue it feels wrong. This aspect needs some more exploration. It feels like we’ve been rushed to the end to make way for the Legion of Doom’s appearance in the sky.
Detective Comics #1014 is another big win for Tomasi, Mahnke and crew! The character work is excellent and it drives the story. You will feel yourself on the edge of your seat as you read this one. The solitary negative is fairly small in the grand scheme and not a reason to skip this or any issue of Detective Comics right now!