Personally, and aren't all reviews based on personal preference, I liked the animated series version of Mr. Freeze best. I wasn't a fan of how he was revamped in the New 52. It made him much more of a villain and a lunatic, which I guess is what DC is going for, but it took away the sympathetic layers that made him such a great villain in the animated series. Now he feels less like a shakespearian tragedy and more like your run of the mill insane comic book villain. Somehow the trade just doesn't seem worth it to me.
That being said, the angle taken by this issue intrigues me. It helps me see the New 52 Freeze in a different light than before. While I still don't approve of losing the sympathetic side to his character I do now think that his obsession with being loved is an angle worth investigating.
The final page was, of course, predictable. After all, he freezes people and he's obsessed with preserving those he loves. And he does it by freezing people. So it's no surprise that he freezes his new family. Personally I would have prefered to see the family before they were frozen. Or, the fact that they ended up getting frozen at all is a bit tired. I have a hard time complaining about this because what else would Mr. Freeze do?
And isn't that the biggest problem with retreading old villains? We love them, but for most of them everything has been said that needed to be said. I feel it would be more in their favor to leave their pasts as is, and just use them as antagonists rather than spending so much time trying to look deeper into their psyches. Then again, that would be lazy writing, which puts us at a dilemma. At least with Mr. Freeze they're trying something new. It may not be the best version of the character, but there is courage in taking a beloved character and changing them.
In a way I share Freeze's obsession with preservation. The animated version of him is the best version, and I'd rather preserve that form of him rather than see him change. And just like that I have a connection to Mr Freeze, one deeper than I ever thought Id' have. And in a way that connection this story builds between us and the character is absolutely brilliant.
Batman: The Dark Knight #23.2:
Reviewed by Derek Bown