Victor and Nora: A Gotham Love Story

DC Comics. Nov. 2020. 200p. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781401296391.
Gr 7 Up–Myracle and Goodhart present possibly the most powerful reinterpretation of Mr. Freeze since the iconic 1992 “Heart of Ice” episode in Batman: The Animated Series. “Heart of Ice” may have introduced the villain’s quest to save his dying wife, but in this graphic novel, Nora is no longer merely a frozen doll in a man’s narrative; instead, she tells her own story. Years before he would become the villain Mr. Freeze, Victor Fries is an adolescent prodigy consumed by his work in the lab and grief over his brother’s death. Nora Faria is a teenager tormented both by a progressively worsening neurological disorder and by a desire to live life to the fullest—at least until her next birthday, when she plans to kill herself. When the two fall in love, Victor strong-arms Nora into a reckless science experiment rather than lose her, a final act of control over Nora that adds a darker shade to Mr. Freeze’s tragic backstory. The art is excellent, particularly the use of emblematic colors for Victor (blue) and Nora (red) and the use of both hues throughout the book to represent the intertwining characters’ lives. There is an attempted suicide in the book, and DC includes a list of suicide prevention resources at the back. While Victor is white, Nora is brown-skinned and coded as South Asian. Fans of other DC YA titles will enjoy this, as will many fans of Spider-Man (another teenage genius with a complicated love life).
VERDICT This beautiful interpretation of Victor and Nora’s relationship is essential for all graphic novel fans, especially lovers of superheroes.

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