"Best Served Cold"
"Koonak of the North"
Artists: Kelsey Shannon(p), Terry Beatty(i), Heroic Age(c)
I'm tempted to give this dreck one bullet, but the artwork by Kelsey Shannon, Terry Beatty and Heroic Age throughout the two stories keeps in time with the model of the series while adding animated flourishes that enliven the characters. Okay. Let's see there's been to my recollection no more than two or three issues of the various Batman books tying into Batman: The Animated Series that have earned below four bullets. Usually, this title is a sure thing. The tone and intelligence of the fifteenth issue of Batman Adventures can easily gibe with the DCU. That's not a compliment.
"This is how I'll always remember you. Surrounded in winter, forever young. Rest, well my love, for the man who took you from me will soon learn that revenge is a dish best served cold."--Mr. Freeze; Batman the Animated Series: "Heart of Ice"
In the epilogue of the underrated direct-to-video release Batman: Sub-Zero. viewers learn that Dr. D'anjou finished what Victor Fries started: resurrecting the preserved Nora from Victor's life-saving, cryogenic sleep. In a chilling episode of Batman/Superman, viewers discover through a mere mention that Nora has married Dr. D'anjou and that Victor has tragically due to the saboutage that catalyzed his unwanted rebirth as Mr. Freeze literally lost his body to atrophy. He is only a head crowning a robotic body.
The plot to Batman Adventures involves a little robot freezing Nora Fries' new husband immediately after she has discovered a heartfelt letter apparently written by Victor wishing her happiness and the hope that she will forget him. Upon seeing the block of ice encasing her husband, Nora presumably calls the hospital, and it is here that she vanishes.
SPOILERS SKATE AHEAD!
Was Nora abducted by Freeze? Is Freeze behind the impromptu popsicling of Dr. D'anjou? Batman, without anything but the most obvious evidence, certainly believes this to be the case, and there in lies the problem. In "Best Served Cold" Batman the World's Greatest Detective does not detect. He assumes. Batman should never assume. Batman should always deduce, and up to this point, the animated incarnation of Batman seen in the comics has brilliantly ignored sore-thumb clues and observed what others have missed to provide satisfying conclusions. Sadly, there isn't too much to this mystery, and the solution to the crime is so blindingly obvious.
First, a cursory examination of the security cameras in the hospital should clue in Batman that Nora left of her own free will. Second, the fact that Nightwing tells Batman that "Nora booked a flight to the Arctic Circle"--which is a dubious action in and of itself--should give Batman a hint that Nora is acting alone. She's not as we see in the second story, but Nightwing doesn't mention two tickets, and besides, Koonak would be booked under his own name. Third, Batman knows that "Freeze would never harm Nora," so why on earth would he haul Batgirl's cute tuckus to the Arctic Circle when nobody's life is in danger?
Batman's too smart to fall for the overt ploy used by the true villain. I really don't think commercial flights travel to the Arctic Circle, but surely, all Batman has to do is check the flight schedule to come to a conclusion that's obvious to anybody with half a brain. Victor Fries can't be in two places at once. He can't be in Gotham City and the Arctic Circle, and he couldn't possibly control the robot from the Arctic Circle either. Forget programming it and sending it without supervision. Victor would never have taken the chance that the robot might have hurt Nora instead of the intended target.
Batman by this time has enough evidence to come to the conclusion that Victor Freeze is innocent of the crime. He did not freeze D'Anjou. He did not abduct Nora. Since nobody abducted Nora, Batman has no reason to leave Gotham to pursue her. Certainly, Mr. Freeze has committed crimes in Gotham and even as related in the second tale threatened to destroy the city, but his blood lust seems to have come to an even chill. It's inconceivable that Batman would hunt down a man who is innocent of the crimes he is currently investigating. This is drastically out of character.
Further out of character is Batman becoming a villain. Batman's actions endanger Nora's life. She is running from the Batwing--not Freeze. He sees Mr. Freeze rescue her. This apparently does not quell his suspicions. We see also no reaction shot where Batman should at least be displaying shock and remorse for Nora's near second "death." Furthermore, Batman when confronting Freeze destroys him. Wait. Nobody's endangered. Gotham City is safe, and Batman uses an electrified Batarang to destroy him? What the hell! As lethal as the original Bat-Man of Bob Kane and Bill Finger was, he would have never done that! Never.
Other problems occur within the story. Batgirl while looking cute does absolutely nothing. Yes, I too find the character of Batgirl to be sexy. However, her appeal is based more on the fact that she is an intelligent, dangerous crimefighter not because she wiggles and makes googly eyes. If the police investigated, why didn't they find the letters forged by D'anjou? Why did they not find the robot in his workshop since he cleverly hid it under a sheet on a table in plain view? Why doesn't Nora recognize the letter is forged? The letters do not even appear to have the same handwriting. Why is D'anjou being given blood through an IV when he hasn't even been wounded? The only way out of a Freeze ice-cube is the method first used by Batman in "Heart of Ice." No transfusions needed. If Batman "jammed Victor's robotic body" how can Victor move the body even if by remote control to save Nora? Why would Victor tell Nora to "run" when he knows that the safety of the snow and ice cannot be so easily judged? Ooooooooooooooo, I'm just livid!
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