REVIEW: ‘Batman: White Knight Presents Von Freeze,’ Issue #1

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Batman: White Knight Presents Von Freeze

Batman: White Knight Presents Von Freeze #1 is published by DC Comics, written by Sean Murphy, with art by Klaus Janson, colors by Matt Hollingsworth, and letters by AndWorld Design. The issue is part of Sean Murphy’s Batman: White Knight universe that includes the current ongoing series Batman: Curse of the White Knight.

Batman: White Knight Presents Von Freeze #1 is an origin story for the universe’s Victor Fries. Victor Fries is there on the night of Bruce Wayne’s birth and must intervene to save the lives of Martha Wayne and Bruce. In an attempt to calm Thomas Wayne’s nerves, since he is unable to assist with the birth due to having not practiced medicine for years, Victor distracts him a story about his own childhood and his father figures, the Nazi and the Jew.

As the Third Reich takes power, the relationship between the Baron von Fries, Victor’s birth father, and his research partner, Jacob Smithstein, the man who treated Victor like his own son and the first parental figure to truly show him love, begins to crack. When the Nazis order the speed development of their cryotechnology, Smithstein is forced to go into hiding to save his wife and infant daughter. But as the S.S. ramps up surveillance over the project, young Victor begins to question his father’s true allegiance and both families are forced to make an impossible choice leading to a horrific standoff.

Through this story, we learn about the complicated origin of cryotechnology and how it was used in service to the Nazis as well as tested on Jewish people. Despite being created by a Jewish man, the Nazis still commandeered the technology for their own gain and at the start of the issue, Victor’s assistant takes issue with this and her part in the continued use of it in their own lab.

Batman: White Knight Presents Von Freeze #1 attempts to create an ethical dilemma with the technology. However, it never really follows through with it nor does it further explain Thomas Wayne’s motivations in regards to Victor Fries’ story Batman: White Knight. In Batman: White Knight, the Neo Joker uses a superweapon, created by Fries Sr., to freeze Gotham harbor. Earlier, Bruce discovered Thomas Wayne funded Baron Von Fries, the Nazi, to create the technology and circumvented US laws by tunneling under Gotham’s German embassy to do so.

Batman: White Knight paints Thomas Wayne in an extremely murky light having funded a known Nazi to create a weapon that was later used by a supervillain. And while Victor is not his father, the story doesn’t really acknowledge Wayne’s part in what happens in the future of the universe.

Outside of Murphy’s narrative, Hollingsworth’s colors shine. The muted color palette paints the pages in cool tone blues with that majority of the flashbacks being much darker, fitting the tone of the time period they are set. Additionally, Janson’s art is well done and his double-page spreads adequately capture the horror and fear Victor and his family went through.

Overall, Batman: White Knight Presents Von Freeze #1 is not a bad comic but it adds little to the overall narrative of the Batman: White Knight universe. The story of Victor is interesting an could be its own series but as a one-shot, it doesn’t do enough to fully grab my attention. That being said, fans of the series should pick it up.

Batman: White Knight Presents Von Freeze #1 is available now at comic book stores everywhere and online.

Batman: White Knight Presents Von Freeze #1
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TL;DR

Overall, Batman: White Knight Presents Von Freeze #1 is not a bad comic but it adds little to the overall narrative of the Batman: White Knight universe. The story of Victor is interesting an could be its own series but as a one-shot, it doesn’t do enough to fully grab my attention.