While it isn’t crystal clear how DC is making the determination to align what characters under which umbrellas, “Justice League of America #7.2: Killer Frost” proves to be a fine read, regardless of the criteria to warrant her association with the League that doesn’t feature her nemesis, Firestorm. Sterling Gates wraps an explanation of hypothermia around the origin story of the Nuclear Man’s frigid foe, revealing the pain that drives Killer Frost along the way.
Gates cut his teeth developing backstories for members of the Sinestro Corps and Prometheus, so finding a way to hook readers into caring about a villainous lead is nothing new to him. While Gates is most likely better known for his work on “Supergirl” with Jamal Igle, the writer slips right back into the “certain point of view” required to make Killer Frost’s origins seem tragic and painful. Gates delivers enough about the pre-Killer Frost Caitlin Snow to humanize the ice queen before bestowing the heat-sapping powers upon her. This is very much a by-the-numbers origin story, but Gates hits the numbers exactly right, giving depth to a character who simply did not have enough space to grow in the latter issues of “The Fury of Firestorm: the Nuclear Man.”
Joining Gates is artist Derlis Santacruz. The art in this story is very good, strong and clear, perfectly addressing the objectives of an origin story: characters are distinct and recognizable; setting is detailed and clear; storytelling and camera angle choices are clean and sharp. Santacruz’s art is in lock-step with Gates’ script and the characters truly become actors through the artist’s drawings. Additionally, the work from colorist Brett Smith is bright and chilly, like sun hitting a fresh January snowfall — it looks a whole lot warmer than it really is. The art comes together as one of the most solid “Villains Month” offerings to date.
With just a handful of appearances (if that many) in the relaunched DC Universe, “Justice League of America #7.2: Killer Frost” speaks volumes of the character’s potential and brand recognition. After all, Killer Frost has appeared more than once in media without her archnemesis anywhere nearby.
At its core this comic follows Geoff Johns’ experimentation of exploring the Rogues during is work on “The Flash.” Filled with brutal deaths, pseudo-science and character origins that are made for comics, “Justice League of America #7.2: Killer Frost” is a shining example of what event one-shot titles can be, functioning as an introduction, an audition and a tie-in. I’d like more, and I’d especially like to see this duo on a Firestorm story if that’s what it takes to get more.