Authors: Dan Curtis Johnson and J. H. Williams III
Artist: Seth Fisher
Titan Books
RRP: 7.99, US $14.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84576 481 4
ISBN-10: 1 84576 481 1
Available 25 May 2007

At the dawn of his career, Batman feels that safeguarding Gotham City is too big a job for one man, and recruits allies for his war on crime. With a clandestine team in place, the Caped Crusader branches out to secure the city he's sworn to protect. But everything changes when a brilliant scientist's desperate attempt to save the life of his terminally ill wife goes tragically wrong - and a new type of threat is born. As the Masked Manhunter faces his first super-powered villain, Mr. Freeze, he begins to realise that malfeasance comes in many deadly forms, and some offenders are more powerful than he is...

Snow is one of those origin tales that I thought I was sick of reading. Thankfully it's not another origin of the Batman story, rather it shows how Doctor Victor Fries became Mr. Freeze. Of all Batman's enemies Mr. Freeze is the one character (possibly along with Two Face) that fans can sympathises with most.

We all know that Fries went a little crazy after his wife was killed and his body was altered after an experiment went wrong. This graphic novel not only shows Fries's tortured past, but ties it in with Batman's first attempt at building a team to aid him in his fight against crime. He seeks out, and employees, the best men and women in various fields and gives them the means to work undercover gathering evidence on criminals.

In this tale it would seem that Mr. Freeze is the first costumed criminal the Batman has come across, and he and his crew are not entirely sure how to handle him. In fact, a lot of this story is involved with the Batman feeling his way around uncertain territory as he tries to form a better relationship with the police, through Jim Gordon, as well as trying to fathom how he can be everywhere at once.

While Dan Curtis Johnson and J.H. Williams III's script is nice and punchy (even if it's not exactly very demanding), I felt that Seth Fisher's artwork was a little on the drab side. There was a slight retro feel to the look of the Batman - which was probably intentional as this follows his early career - and while the panels seem busy there's not really a whole lot going on in the background (other than the comical weird placing of bats everywhere)

At the end of the day this doesn't really stand out as anything that different from what has come before. It's a nice little yarn, but nothing more.

Nick Smithson

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