Backstage - Batman Adventures #15


[PLEASE NOTE: THE FOLLOWING IS COPYRIGHT 2004 - JASON HALL AND ANY AND ALL PHYSICAL, ELECTRONIC, OR ANY OTHER REPRODUCTION OF ANY KIND IS PROHIBITED. CHARACTERS ARE COPYRIGHT DC COMICS, INC.]

"Best Served Cold"
A BATMAN ADVENTURES story by Jason Hall


The story begins with a TV news report (which plays out in parts over the three "mini-scenes" described further below). Gothcorp's patents were sold out from under Wayne Enterprises to the newly founded Powers Technology. Due to a hidden clause in Gothcorp's initial take-over, former Gothcorp CEO Ferris Boyle, recently released from prison, earned a reported 7 million dollars on the deal, which was spearheaded by Dr. Francis D'Anjou -- head of the "Immortality Project". Not only was that project's research included in the deal, but also that of the infamous Victor Fries, aka "Mr. Freeze" -- which ironically enough includes Freeze himself, as the accident that transformed him was a result of an experiment originally owned by Gothcorp. Victor Fries's whereabouts are currently unknown. Ferris Boyle (from "Heart of Ice") is watching the news report and entertaining a lady friend in his penthouse -- that is, until a small mechanical spider-like robot sneaks in and freezes him to death (with Freeze-type technology). Cut to Blackgate prison, where Grant Walker (last seen in B:GA #5) is being kept in the hospital wing, his body being slowly destroyed from his systemically damaged DNA (the same thing that ultimately made Mr. Freeze a head in a jar). Another mechanical spider infiltrates the facility, freezing Walker solid then shattering him to pieces. Cut to the home of Francis and Nora D'Anjou. Francis is getting ready for bed when one of the mechanical spiders enters his bedroom and freezes him. However, Nora (who has discovered Francis was hiding letters from Victor to her) is planning on leaving her husband, pretending she's heading to the lab for some late night work. She comes back into the house because her car won't start for some reason -- and finds the frozen form of her husband in time to save his life. Cut to the two at the hospital, where Nora confronts Francis about his selling Victor's patents -- but Francis tells her that he did it for the both of them, for their marriage. He doesn't want their lives to have anything to do with Victor Fries. It's obvious Freeze was behind his attempted murder, and the murders of Boyle and Walker -- finally getting his revenge. Nora doesn't believe Victor would do this. Francis tells her that she shouldn't be fooled by any false sincerity Freeze may display. He pleads with her to see Victor for what he really is -- a monster.

At the Batcave, Dick is asking Barbara out on a date, and she's attempting to make up an excuse to turn him down when the call comes in from Batman about the murders. Batgirl and Nightwing meet up with Batman and Gordon on the roof of police headquarters to discuss the situation. Francis has been placed in protective custody, but Nora left the hospital and her whereabouts are unknown. The conclusion is drawn that Mr. Freeze is finally exacting revenge on his enemies, perhaps even kidnapping Nora. However, we then see that Nora (unawares to the "Bat-gang") is paying a visit to the Gotham Orphanage -- meeting Koonak (the young Eskimo who lived with Freeze in "Sub-Zero"). He recognizes her from when Freeze had her in suspended animation. She has the letter Victor sent her (at the end of B:GA #51), which is postmarked from somewhere in the Arctic circle -- and she asks Koonak where Victor would be. She refuses to believe he's behind these recent murders. But Koonak tells her that while Freeze took care of him, he's still crazy -- he's witnessed it firsthand. However, Nora is determined to find him.

Using the Batcomputer, Nightwing taps into Gotham International Airport's security cameras and discovers Nora buying a ticket to the Arctic Circle. She hasn't been abducted after all. Batman plays a risky hunch and decides to let her go, thinking she'll lead them to Freeze himself. He and Batgirl will take the Batjet and follow. Nightwing says that perhaps he should go as well, but Batman tells him that he and Batgirl can handle it. He wants Nightwing to inform Francis that they're going after Nora and then to start looking into the murders. If Freeze were actually behind them, why would he leave Gotham without contacting Nora? As Batman and Batgirl depart, it's obvious that Nightwing is more than a little jealous.

At the offices of Powers Technology, CEO Warren Powers (new character -- father to Derek Powers from "Batman Beyond") receives a phone call informing him that Nora is on her way to find Freeze in the Arctic -- and the call is from Francis D'Anjou!

The Arctic circle: Nora finds Freeze and they have the heartfelt reunion fans have been wanting for years. Nora tells him about the murders, which Freeze denies having any part of. And Nora believes him -- because she loves him. Victor begins to do his usual spiel about being frozen to emotion and not expecting her to have any feelings for the physical monstrosity he's become. Nora tells him that he always did talk too much and then kisses him passionately -- finally thawing his cold heart that's been frozen for so long.

Nightwing investigates the Freeze attacks/murders at the D'Anjou residence. He discovers that the starter had been disconnected on Nora's car. In the basement lab, he finds similar tech to that of the mechanical spiders, as well as the unopened letters from Freeze that Francis had been hiding from Nora. Suddenly, he's attacked by one of the mechanical spiders, but manages to defeat it -- and begins to piece together who was really behind the murders. "Talk about your jealous husband..."

Back at the Arctic circle: Victor tells Nora that he's done some terrible things and he doesn't expect her to forgive him for that. But before she can answer, Freeze's robotic body is suddenly frozen in place, just as a Powers Technology helicopter arrives -- armed to the teeth with machine guns and missiles. Freeze disconnects his head from his body and Nora runs from the pursuing helicopter with the head in her arms -- the helicopter opening fire with its guns! Nora is hit in the shoulder and Freeze's head flies from her arms -- a blood-rage taking him over at seeing his beloved Nora hurt...possibly dead. He activates a remote signal from the base of his helmet and a new powerful Mr. Freeze body bursts from the ground (the suit could be a cross between his present-day armor and what he had in "Batman Beyond"). Freeze attacks the helicopter, freezing its rotor blades as it falls to the ground. But before he can deliver the fatal blow, the Batjet arrives on the scene, shooting a net around Freeze. Batman swings down and he and Freeze do battle -- Freeze must answer for his crimes. As they fight, Freeze says to Batman, "I know you must understand loss, Batman. I refuse to believe a man would devote his life to fighting crime as you do simply due to an over-zealous sense of justice. You've lost someone. Someone important. So did I. But now I've got her back and nothing will stop that. Just think, Batman -- what would you do if you could have your loved one back? Anything, right?" Before Batman can answer, he is interrupted by a message from Nightwing, who reports that Freeze is not responsible for the murders. It was Francis D'Anjou who set it all up, including having himself attacked -- so he rigged Nora's car so it wouldn't start, insuring that she'd find him in time to save him. Before Batman can say anything to Freeze, the downed helicopter fires a missile at Freeze, blowing his suit apart and creating an avalanche. Nora (whom Batgirl has helped) screams, "Victor! No!" But it's too late. Batman stands looking at the pieces of Freeze's destroyed suit -- silent -- his fist clenched at his side.

Later, in the Batcave, Barbara confronts Dick (continuing their dating conversation from earlier), telling him that he had his chance with her awhile back, but he decided not to take advantage of it -- and now it's too late. She just didn't want him to go on thinking that there was still a possibility of anything more than friendship between them. Besides, who has time for a relationship with the nights already spent fighting crime? Barbara then goes off to practice sparring with Bruce, as Dick watches. Alfred asks if anything is the matter, and Dick replies that it's nothing. He just feels a bit...cold.

Nora meets with Francis in Blackgate Prison. He tells her that he'd always suspected she was still in love with Victor, but he just couldn't put up with it anymore. She was the only one who didn't see Victor for the insane murderer he was. He had to make her realize the truth. He tells her that he did it because he loves her. She says perhaps he has more in common with Victor that he realizes. Except that Francis was still alive and Victor was now dead. She tells Francis goodbye and leaves -- and once outside, with a tear in her eye, she whispers, "Victor..."

We cut to Powers Technology, where the helicopter pilot is reporting to Warren Powers that they have successfully retrieved their property from the site of the avalanche. Powers is pleased, saying that it might come in handy some day. The secrets of immortality are locked inside that head. Then we see Freeze's head being placed in cold storage. Just before the door closes shut, we see Freeze say, "Nora..." -- then the door closes.

THE END

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I'm glad I had the opportunity to share that with you all. Of course, keep in mind that since it's my original plot (and wasn't really used as is), that there would have been minor adjustments/tweaks/changes to it if I had gone to full script (like whether or not Francis meant to kill Walker and Boyle, or even if I'd be able to have people die in the story) -- that's pretty much a normal part of the process, at least for me. The initial change from this longer version was due to editorial decisions, which you can read more details about it here.

Take care! -- Jason H.

The following was submitted after the script above

My original story for B:GA #51 that I had originally come up with right after the first airing of "Heart of Ice" (back when I was first starting college, I think). At that time, it seemed Nora was dead, so my original idea was that the story starts relatively soon after that episode. Freeze is still in his cell at Arkham and sees, miraculously, Nora standing outside his window calling to him! At first, he thinks he's going nuts, but when it happens again, he manages to break free from Arkham and has a teary reunion with her. She explains that she woke up in a hospital (or something like that) and doesn't remember what happened. Victor surmises she must have been pulled out of the accident (which, of course, if what really ended up happening later on the show). Then the story plays out basically the same with her getting his help on developing the compound for a mysterious benefactor. They learn it's Daggett (I think that scene took place in his office and there was something about him taking over Ferris Boyle's Gothcorp company, though I can't remember for certain), Nora goes nuts, changes to Clayface and attacks Daggett. Freeze flips at being duped (an even worse dupe, as Nora is actually dead -- so his hopes were REALLY up) and attacks them both, and Batman shows up on the scene. Obviously, there was probably more, but those are the basics I can remember. Then they brought Nora back, and over ten years later, I got to do a version of my original idea I had as a fan of the show in the actual comic based on the series! A nice turn of events! :^)

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Oh, yeah... I forgot the most important part of that original idea I had for the story I did in B:GA #51 -- at the end, Freeze dies! And the last image we see is of him in the warm clouds (or something) seeing Nora, who's hand is held out waiting for him, he puts his hand in hers and we get a VO that's a repeat of the "someplace where a warm hand waits for mine" line from "Heart of Ice"

-- The End.