Thursday, 28 January 2010

Comic Musings III - 2000!

Comic Musings

In which we reach 2000 US floppies

Batman 308I knew from my database that I was approaching the 2000 mark. Note: This doesn't count all the Transformers, M.A.S.K, Real Ghostbusters, Battle, Eagle etc... that are in my parents loft. (Assuming they haven't been eaten by mice and rats that is.) It also doesn't include trades or collected editions. I figured I should do something a bit special to mark the event.

One of my saved ebay searches threw up a comic I'd been trying to track down for awhile. Well technically it came with some more (#298,#302,#313,#314 & #317 fact fans) and any of those could have been 2000, but I got the batch for Batman #308.

The first thing that strikes me about it is that they did covers a bit differently back then. Mr Freeze gloats over a frozen Batman awakening from a coffin. Mr Freeze says "This is the moment of my greatest triumph!" and the word baloon is all frosty. As a further call to action the cover asks "Now that he is the frozen slave of Mr Freeze, what chilling fate awaits the Batan and the World?". Well he get's his back broken in just under two hundred issues but I doubt that's what it means.

Onwards! The indica says it's from February 1979, which makes it older than me. Hurrah! The story is officially titled "There'll be a cold time in the old town tonight!". It's written by Len Wein and illustrated by John Calman and Dick Giordano. Giordano I'm familliar with as he did some work on the classic Denny O'Neil / Neal Adams Green Lantern / Green Arrow run that I read recently. A man watches Batman swing past his window and thinks about calling out for help but decides against it.

Thought baloons, that's another thing that is sadly missing from today's comics. As Mr Freeze bursts in with what I can only call Ice Zombies, we learn that this guy is called Jakob Riker and he's made some sort of deal with Mr Freeze and tried to double cross him. Bad move pal!

Elsewhere, Selina Kyle aka Catwoman comes to visit Bruce in Wayne Enterprises tower. Apparently she's given up being Catwoman. I doubt that'll last. As an aside, I love the old adverts in comics. "Pick up a crossman. You won't believe it's an airgun!" Indeed. She convinces Bruce to take a donation of an old inheritance as he can't discriminate against her for her criminal past. I imagine she's been through the revolving door of the local prison recently then. Bruce goes too see Lucius Fox and orders a full background check on her. Just to be sure. We also meeet Lucius' daughter who is involved in some sort of anti drugs program.

Later, Batman reflects on his relationship with Catwoman, also thinking about some woman called Silver St. Cloud, whoever she is. Gordan summons Batman to the frozen remains of Jakob Riker who Mr Freeze iced earlier. (Sorry for the Batman & Robin esque pun).

Elsewhere, a Mr McVee visits Mr Freeze in his icey lair, he's helping him make money somehow. In return he's being promised Immortality by Mr Freeze. I'm not sure that's in Freeze's MO, McVee, I'd check the small print of this agreement if I were you.

Mr Freeze leads McVee to another toom with a futuristic coffin in it, abley modeled by his assistant. Seriously, how do supervillians attract woman. It's not like there was an internet site they could use back then. NcVee is turned into a frozen zombie, apparently Freeze was planning something else. It seems he can't get the brain to remain past the freezing process. Ah, the lass is only after immortality too. That makes more sense I guess.

Now we're at S.T.A.R. labs, who are performing some experiment on a subject that they got from Wayne Enterprises. He doesn't survive. I guess that this came from an earlier issue, as I don't really get what's going on or rather why it's going on. Maybe this bit was cut from the edition I read as I don't remember it.

Off panel, Batman has done some world's greatest detecting to find Mr Freeze's lair and is about to bust in. Disastor! He can't punch the Ice Zombies as they're like punching solid ice! Not even a good old WHAM or a WUMP seems to have an effect on them. He should have tried a Caf-pow. After a bit more fighting Freeze shows some intelligence and freezes Batman's feet. Job done. He's led to the same chamber that McVee ended up in and we know how well that went. Holy frozen Batman!

Now we're at the bit promised by the cover with an Ice Batman Zombie. Mr Freeze's current squeeze, Hildy, is still plotting against him tho. Freeze goes off to the adjacent room and leaves her with the Ice Zombies, she laments on what could have been between her and Batman, but realises that the frosting on his cheek is fake. Before she can do anything with that revelation Freeze bursts in calling here a traitor. As he's about to shoot her with his ice gun (no innuendo intended) Batman stops faking and leaps at Freeze. That ticksy Bats!

It's Batman vs the Ice Zombies round two, and it seems to be going the same way as the first round. Batman realises that Freeze himself is the weak spot as the Ice Zombies are mindless and need Freeze's orders to do anything so he chucks a block of ice and Freeze's helmet. Problem solved.

It's a quick fight and Batman rips Freeze's gun away from him. Hildy picks it up to ice Freeze (sorry), but despite Freezes warnings shoots him anyway. As it's disconencted it backfires and she is frozen dead. It's left to Batman to sum it up. "Let's go Freeze, it's over! Your Hildy wanted to stay young and beautiful forver, and it looks like she's finally got her wish.

We finish with a page dealing with the burial of the body from S.T.A.R. labs earlier, but wait! It's not dead as hands burst out of the grave, presumably coming for Batman next issue.

So finally, that was as good as I remembered it, it's held up very well, considering it's age. Mr Freeze doesn't have the depth that Dini gave him in the animated series, but is still a decent villain here, but it's really Hildy's story. There's a lot more text in it that in modern comics, which imo is a good thing. Thought balloons whilst cheesy are missed nowdays. In the current days of month long arcs, it's nice to read a story that's done in one. I guess if it was written now, Batman tracking down Freeze would probably take at least an issue rather than happening off panel. Until next time...

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