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[personal profile] lucean posting in [community profile] scans_daily
As I was thinking about the current theme of the week, I recalled two scenes which I have been hoping to post for a while now, both from David Lapham 's superb City of Crime. However, as I looked at both of them, I realized that the context is kind of required and thus going against the theme of the week, but decided to post them anyway with the context leading to those moments of beauty, beginning with Mr Freeze 's wedding plans. This contains two pages from Detective Comics 803, seven pages from Detective Comics 804 and six pages from Detective Comis 805.

A quick gathering of the events leading to this in the epic story. Batman, torn by guilt over a death he could in no way prevent, stumbles across a room filled with dead pregnant girls while helping people escape from a burning house. The room hits the news and a mother comes forward claming that her missing, pregnant daughter maybe was among those dead and demands the police to find the truth. Bruce, still torn, meets with the mother and tells her that he will find her daughter. Turns out that the operation is linked to shady conspiracy connecting every level of Gotham City, but that is for the larger story. For this part, the reader only needs to know that Penguin and Ventriliquist were running the pregnant girl operation and get orders to bury leads, which basically means killing all the girls held in similar rooms across Gotham. They have the perfect man for the job, but surprisingly things go wrong.

Unfortunately for Penguin, not only does Batman find the same room and get the same information, but the conspiracy takes steps to eliminate Penguin, of course failing, but that is another story. Instead let's see what are Mr Freeze 's intentions and find them to be purely honorable.

Freeze has that covered, of course, the frozen staff of the place. He's just considerate like that.

Batman's investigations lead him to Arkham to Dr Lovely, who was overseeing Freeze's therapy and has now killed himself in order to avoid repercussions for providing Freeze to the bad guys to help with his own financial difficulties. The good doctor had chosen a regression method for Freeze, basically intending to remove Freeze's obsession with Nora and rebuild the psyche after that. Unfortunately it seems to have had little side-effects.

Meanwhile, Scarface, and of course the Ventriliquist, determines to remove the problem from the game. We rejoin Mr Freeze staring at something with tears running from his eyes as the narration tells us 'Dearly Beloved'.

I can not say enough of Bachs work here. Just look at the top-most panel in that last page, how the ice almsost gleams in that image and how he works with the shadows, the rain and the details. It is simply stunning to look at.

As Batman takes care of the attackers, in an awesome badass manner of course, and finds that they dissolve in to mud after being defeated, Freeze manages to rise to his feet and stumble away.

And Freeze turns the temperature down, because things weren't bad enugh for the priest and the girl yet.

I hope you find that last scene as purely awesome as I did. Next from the storyline shall be the song of a simple man who learns the great joy of flight.

Date: 2010-07-25 06:30 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
A problem I have with this is that the artist evidently sees the nature of Mr. Freeze's problems in a very different way than I do. The thing is, I don't see Freeze as INSANE so much as OBSESSED. He is madly in love with his wife, and while she is sick and frozen, he will go to any lengths to cure her - but that's as far as it goes. I mean, after Nora Fries WAS cured, and went crazy and all, Mr. Freeze has remained on the scene, but as best I can tell, this is largely because he continues to hope for a reconciliation, not because he's actively nuts. Everything he was doing, after all, was to cure his wife, which he's done - the roots of his obsession have been purged. Here, however, he seems to be genuinely delusional, in a way that reminds me more of that one Clayface who was in love with a mannequin than anything else - he's seeing his wife in places she isn't; he's projecting her onto innocent people. That just doesn't read 'Freeze' to me.
Remember that scene at the end of 'Sub-Zero' where he overhears from a TV set that his wife has been cured? What does he do? He trudges back into the Arctic wilderness, icy tears of thankfulness trickling down his cheeks, content to live out the rest of his days as a hermit now that his love is safe and happy once more - he knows she can't be happy with HIM; he's just overjoyed that she's all right again. And he sticks to this - he doesn't reappear in Gotham until life takes a nasty new turn for him, and he has a new reason for crime. Now, I know that was DCAU, and this is DCU, but the latter version of him is inspired by the former, and I just can't see that Freeze doing stuff like he does here. It doesn't click with me.

Date: 2010-07-25 06:54 am (UTC)
tsunamiwombat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] tsunamiwombat
I have to agree with this. I also find the idea of Freeze killing pregnant women terribly squick inducing. Freeze iscruel, Freeze is heartless, but what he does he does purely in the persuit of curing Nora and as revenge against those that took her from him.

I don't see Freeze going around slaughtering innocent women. If anything, he would see Nora in those women being abused and used, and turn around and start massacring the Penguins whole operation.

Date: 2010-07-25 08:40 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
It's not even that that I have a problem with so much as the whole 'seeing random pregnant teenager as his wife and kidnapping her for purposes of marriage' thing. I mean, yes, I'm sure Freeze WOULD be against killing whole bunches of pregnant women (hell, that's even pretty low for the Penguin, who's much more amoral), but he HAS been portrayed as heartless and 'dead to emotion', so I can live with that. The rest, though, is just not him - Freeze is not delusional. He never has been - if anything, his problem is exactly the opposite; he has a relatively realistic goal that he heads towards come hell or high water, regardless of who or what may get in his way. This, on the other hand, portrays his love for his wife as a sort of maniacal fetish that he projects onto whichever random woman catches his eye, which I do NOT appreciate - it's basically turning him into a crazy stalker with a freeze-gun.

Date: 2010-07-25 01:18 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Thank you for articulating my point way better than I did! This isn't any version of Freeze I've come across before, and it makes him infinitely less interesting because he's just a delusional killer with a gimmick, rather than an obsessive with an (admittedly deranged) mission.

Date: 2010-07-25 09:22 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
No problem; any time!
Of course, one could technically argue that this is sort of returning Freeze to his roots, given that for many years, he WAS basically a 'delusional killer with a gimmick' (albeit less a killer, per se, and more of your standard amoral crook), but then, there is a reason why BtAS moved him AWAY from that. This, after all, was the version of Freeze that Animal Man encountered in Limbo, stuck in the middle of his own private snowstorm, horribly lonely and bellowing desperately at AM's departing back that he'd make a perfectly respectable arch-villain for someone, anyone, if they'd only give him a chance. This was the version of Freeze that, in the initial 'Robin' miniseries, got taken out by Joker in something like ten seconds with the aid of a squirting flower - and not even an ACID-squirting flower, just plain ol' regular water. This was the version, in fact, if you want to go back to his Golden Age origins, who was initially named 'Mr. Zero' - not the most inspiring of names, no? This, to sum up, was the version of Mr. Freeze that was pretty much a pathetic D-lister for many years. So why on Earth would one go back to his roots, when the revamp is so infinitely better?

Date: 2010-07-26 07:20 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
Oh, I know he wasn't returning to those SPECIFIC roots; I was just saying 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'.
Really, though, here's the issue I have - while opinions may differ on this, as far as I'm concerned, Freeze doesn't HAVE difficulties dealing with reality. If anything, his problem is that he deals with reality too directly and pragmatically - his determination to save his wife is not delusional, it is very, very REAL. The problem is that, while others might accept the situation, he cannot; he will go to any lengths to fix this very real problem. He has NEVER projected his love for Nora onto others - that is not only delusional, it's unreal, and Freeze is very, very focused on what's real. Can this un-Freezelike behavior be explained by the psychiatrist messing with his head? Yes, but it doesn't mean it does the character as a whole any good. Freeze is at his best when he's in hot pursuit (if you'll excuse the term) of a very personal, very precious, very elusive yet very REAL goal - making him focused on something UNreal, in my opinion, erodes the basic nature of who he IS.


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