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DC's Year of the Villain Offers a Major Batman Foe a Wild Hunt of His Own

WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Detective Comics #1011, by Peter J. Tomasi, Christian Duce, Luis Guerrero and Rob Leigh, on sale now.

When Lex Luthor embarked on his gift-giving in DC's Year of the Villain, fans were eager to see which Batman rogues would receive power upgrades from the Superman nemesis who's now transcended into the Apex Predator under Perpetua's watch. Ra's al Ghul has been made an offer, and most notably, Black Mask now has shape-shifting abilities, making it clear Lex wants to wage war on the Dark Knight and, thus, weaken the Justice League.

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One other Batman villain he approached in Detective Comics #1008 was none other than Mr. Freeze, and while it's been a slow, cold burn, three issues later, Victor Fries has taken it to the next level by setting off on a wild hunt of his own, albeit for his own selfish purposes.

Lex's offer was a cure for Fries' beloved wife Nora, who's been reinstated to cryostasis in the DC Rebirth era. She was retconned into Nora Field in the New 52, during which Fries had a delusion belief that she was his wife. However, now that the status quo has been restored to their classic relationship, Lex found him at the Gotham Pine Barrens in his makeshift lab, trying to cure her of the terminal illness.

While the specifics aren't revealed, Lex has made his mysterious offer, leaving readers clueless about what's happening. The conclusion of Detective Comics #1011 sheds more light, as we see Freeze with his own legion, although we don't know where they originated or what weapons they boast.

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Most importantly, Freeze disburses folders with targets for them to hunt, warning that anyone who gets in their way has to die. They're priority targets to be tranquilized and brought back, as he needs them to be alive for some mysterious experiment, which can only be to save Nora, perhaps using some scientific code Lex cracked for his partner. Freeze makes it clear they've been chosen for certain physical traits, and when you look at the final page, it's clear he's going to utilizing their body parts to build a new Nora.

We see his monitor highlighting her eyes, facial structure and limbs, etc. which could mean Lex gifted him the pieces that can make her whole again, turning Victor into a Dr. Frankenstein. The list of victims has been kept under wraps, but Freeze's behavior is similar to Kraven's hunts in the Marvel Universe. Only here, it's not for sport; it's out of necessity. What's intriguing is future solicits show Nora going off the hinges, turning into a violent killer, and even being aggressive toward Freeze.

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She doesn't seem to return to life as his wife, so could the woman he married and love of his life have to be put down? DC is clearly angling that way and while Bane tried to co-opt Freeze for his own war, he has shown somewhat of a working relationship with Batman in the past. However, the Bat did almost go to prison for beating him near-death in Tom King's run, so whatever they decide, they'll have to put aside differences. The Dark Knight has always empathized with Nora's plight so he might be the best bet to bringing her in safely and undoing the mistake Victor is about to make.

Detective Comics #1012 goes on sale Sept. 25.

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