In typical Snyder fashion, this book takes multiple stories and intertwines them cleverly throughout the read to form one, compact final product. We see a disturbing flashback to Mr. Freeze's childhood relationship with his mother, a flashback to Freeze's initial attempts to bring his love back from her cryogenically frozen state, and a look at current happenings with Mr. Freeze and the Night of the Owls (the current Batman event going on right now about the Court of Owls). The first story mentioned serves as the opening and closing of the book, and does a wonderful job of starting and ending the book with some rather dark stuff. The second isn't anything wildly different from what has already been written in Batman stories, but it is a well-done showcase of Victor Fries' mad-scientist-origin for people new to Batman, as well as avid comic book fans that are eager to see how Mr. Freeze is going to be portrayed in the New 52.
Mr. Freeze plays a large role in the Court of Owls story, in a way that should have been more obvious than it was to guess. Freeze feels as though he has finally perfected the formula to bring his love back to life, but the Court of Owls steals it from him to use on their assassins, according to his side of the story. This shows more than just about anything else that Scott knows what he's doing when it comes to creating a Batman story that fits right into place with everything else.
Through a fun run-in with The Penguin, as well as an awesome one with Nightwing and Robin, the creative team here shows just how badass Mr. Freeze is. He's a cold (no pun intended), angry, smart-but-crazy man with an obligatorily sweet ice-blasting gun and get-up. Our villain also hates Bruce Wayne, and greatly desires revenge on him for halting his unregulated research on restoring his love. He doesn't get to see Bruce in this issue; or at least he doesn't think he gets to see Bruce. He ends up mono y mono with Batman at the climax.
It's at this point that we see some satisfying fisticuffs between the two. Batman combats Freeze's icy attacks with heated gauntlets (or at least that's what I'm calling them) in an entertaining blur of action and a chain of heated dialogue. This dialogue mostly feels good, but can veer a bit in the corny-direction here and there. However, it's at this point that the artwork is at its peak: It's great stuff, overall. Motion is gotten across very well, faces are drawn very well, and the coloring is done very well.
I came off of this book feeling very excited about what I read. Batman Annual #1 introduces a very badass Mr. Freeze into the New 52 with a book that fits snugly into Scott Snyder's Court of Owls plot. The book's method of story-telling through multiple, intertwining stories blends together perfectly and the artwork is easy on the eyes. This is my favorite Batman book so far from the New 52 and I highly recommend giving it a go.