Written by Steve Orlando and Jody Houser
Art by Mirka Andolfo, Arif Prianto, & Clayton Cowles
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: January 25, 2017

You can be ready for anything.

Caitlin is hungry, but she won’t let that stop her from changing her life. Amanda Waller plays tricks at every turn, locking the cryomancer in tight dilemmas. Caitlin knows how to play the game, though, showing Waller, Batman, and herself that she has what it takes to get out of Belle Reve.

I jumped into this story as soon as I could, wanting to see what it had in store. I was continually surprised through each page and by the end I was in awe. Jody Houser and Steve Orlando being at the helm of this one-shot made every bit of sense. These two writers together tell a story that is sensitive in an incredibly thorough way.

Caitlin’s story isn’t one of a sudden change of heart; it’s done with depth and acute consideration. Stories about personal struggle, especially ones akin to addiction, can easily become contrived, but Houser and Orlando deftly tell a deeply emotional story about a woman who wants to change her life around in a way that honors her needs, her dedication, and her difficulties.

I like Mirka Andolfo’s stylish take on Caitlin. Feelings surface within each panel, manifested in characters’ expressions and movements, that fit the complex tone of Caitlin’s story. While the anatomy of the characters appears relatively realistic, there are slight changes that fit Caitlin’s edgy exterior. These stylistic elements add youth to the issue, suggesting the same flux and adaptability which mirror the change from villainy to superheroism.

The warmest images feel at odds with Caitlin and her story, save for the presence of Heatstroke, whose compassion emanates from the page through the bright orange of the flames sprouting from her head. Arif Pianto’s colors for Marder, Waller, and the other villains are a jarring set of hushed hues which instill a sinister opposition to Caitlin’s emerging heroism. The rest of the story is captured within the soft azure tones, signifying our protagonist’s endeavor to be better. Prianto’s contrasts create emphasis in a manner which embeds meaning in each character, even down to the dark and shadowy Batman, one of the major elements in Caitlin’s redemption.

I really had no idea what to expect out of this story and it’s made me so much more excited to read more about Caitlin and Justice League of America. You should be reading this one-shot yesterday, and you’re never going to regret having it in your longbox. I hope this means something vitally new for the character, and that the little seeds planted at the end of the story, reminiscent of the long-form storytelling of older cape comics, end up becoming something more critical later on. While I’d love to read this as a Caitlin solo, JLA Rebirth: Killer Frost definitely looks like it points to.

The Verdict: 10/10


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