Synopsis: The world of Batman: White Knight expands with this standalone tale! On the night of Bruce Wayne’s traumatic birth, Victor Fries must intervene to save the lives of Martha Wayne and the future Batman.
Review: In this fresher take on Batman mythology. We get a very cinematic story about the night that Bruce Wayne was born.
Much of this story focuses on a youngish Victor Fries, who is working in the field of Cryogenics for Wayne industries for Thomas Wayne. When Thomas and his wife Martha visit the lab. Martha who is heavily pregnant begins to struggle and starts to go into premature labor. Victor acts fast and uses his cryogenic technology to slow the birth down and try to save both mother and child. While Victor allows his extremely dedicated staff to get on with preparations. He and a very worried Thomas Wayne start to talk and Victor tells his boss the story about how his father Baron von Fries who helped innovate the field of Cryogenics with his Jewish Partner Jacob Smithstein wound up working for the Nazis. Baron Fries as a member of the Nazis and Smithstein as little more than a slave. We learn how the two men start out as friends, but when the Nazi Party takes power Baron Fries pretty much sells out to them to protect his and Smithstein’s research.
Of course, the story ultimately ends in tragedy for the Smithstein family, but we learn that Victor is able to keep a very important promise to one of the two father figures.
The art from Klaus Janson has a somewhat cinematic feel to it. I loved how it was mostly made up of rather subdued colors during the present-day parts of the story whereas the parts set in Nazi Germany were varying shades of blue and grey.
Given that the narrative is mostly telling a story from the past. There was not really a ton of action in the story, but the one action sequence there was is done spectacularly. Basically after having seen his friend Jacob killed by a Nazi soldier. The Baron realizes he has made some awful choices and heroically uses the Freeze gun they have developed on some soldiers in order to get Jacobs family to safety. The art for this section of the book was eerily beautiful as we see the Nazi soldiers turned into solid blocks of ice.
Sean Murphy delivers a solid story here, which will both entertain and educate. I really loved the segment at the very close of the book where we meet the White Knight version of Batman during a visit to an older Victor Fries. But it is the story within the story about Victor’s father the Baron and his surrogate father Jacob, which will melt even the iciest of hearts.