Romance and Cold Tragedy – “Victor and Nora: A Gotham Love Story” Graphic Novel Review
Victor and Nora: A Gotham Love Story is a young adult graphic novel love story that takes place in Batman’s fictional city of Gotham. Anyone familiar with the backstory for Mr. Freeze can guess what will happen within the pages of this book, but it is more than worth the read.
I was provided with an eARC of Victor and Nora: A Gotham Love Story from DC Entertainment. All opinions are my own.
Trigger Warning: This review mentions suicide.
I was actually very intrigued to see that DC Comics would be doing an origin story for Mr. Freeze for young adults. It wasn’t something I had expected to see and I was excited to read it. The story, of course, has some very sad elements, but at the same time, I was happy to see a lot of joy and love within its pages. It was just plain fun to read and probably one of my favorite DC young adult novels that I’ve read so far.
Please note that there will be some spoilers below.
Victor and Nora: A Gotham Love Story begins with 17-year-old Victor Fries in a cemetery visiting his older brother Otto’s grave. Victor “tells” Otto about how he is now an intern at Boyle Labs and that he knows his brother would have been proud of him. Since Otto had died, Victor’s world had gone up in flames and now is full of ice.
Next, we are introduced to 16-year-old Nora Faria. She, her father, and her younger brother (Julian) are headed to their Gotham summer home. They wanted to be close to where her mother who had passed away a few years prior was buried. The first thing Nora wanted to do once she got to Gotham, was visit her mother’s grave. This is how our star-crossed lovers meet.
Nora is different. She’s very warm, alive, and a free spirit. Victor doesn’t know what to make of her at first. But she draws him in with her persistence to talk to him. She is a bit flippant about death (discussing the worst ways she could think of to die) which surprises Victor. Nonetheless, the two become fast friends and eventually boyfriend and girlfriend.
The good times don’t last though. Nora is sick. She has a degenerative incurable illness and her health will quickly deteriorate. She doesn’t have long left to live. Victor, as a scientist who already lost someone close to him, becomes obsessed with finding a way to cure her. He doesn’t have enough time to come up with a cure, but maybe… maybe he can freeze Nora until he can. But, is that a step that both of them would be willing to take?
Victor and Nora: A Gotham Love Story is written by #1 New York Times bestselling author, Lauren Myracle who is best known for her books for children and young adults. This is her second graphic novel for DC Comics. She also wrote A Catwoman Tale. Myracle paints a brilliantly tragic yet amazingly fun love story. They’re teenagers so they fall in love fast and hard. Despite the fantastical elements in the story, it felt very real. It’s a story of young love that is overshadowed by a terminal disease. The author does not shy away from that nor does she shy away from Victor’s dangerous obsession to cure Nora.
The art by Isaac Goodhart (who also worked on A Catwoman Tale) is gorgeous and whimsical. His characters are full of life and I enjoy his use of the pages. Not all of the illustrations are inside the panels and the overall layout is different from what is typically seen – in a good way. This is something I like to see as a typesetter myself. It works really well sometimes to see an artist work outside of the box. (No pun intended!)
I also love the use of colors by Cris Peter. Victor’s portions of the story are in darker cool shades of blue, while Nora’s are brighter fuchsia and purple colors. When Victor and Nora are together, their colors meet and join together. It illustrates well how they affect and influence each other when they are together. They bring something more to each other when they meet. Also, panels that are more one shade or the other helps to indicate which character point of view we’re seeing in any given panel. It’s very creative.
Victor and Nora: A Gotham Love Story is recommended for readers ages 15+. Please note that this story does make mentions of sex and contains a very vague sex scene. It also deals with suicide contemplation though the person in question does not end up taking their own life. So, there are definitely some heavier topics involved in this graphic novel that readers and parents will want to take note of. The last page contains a number of resources and suicide hotlines for anyone needing help in any way.
I really enjoyed Victor and Nora: A Gotham Love Story. It’s not your typical coming-of-age first love story. Sure, there is some drama and a lot of tragedy, but it does not play over the top at all. I feel that the subject matter was handled respectfully and while I personally would not agree with Victor’s choices at the end, I know why he made them.
What I like specifically about this graphic novel is just how beautiful and fun it was. The art is fantastic, the page layouts are beautiful and the story still ended up being a lot of fun, despite the tragedy to come. It was overall a very enjoyable read. It’s easy to see from Victor’s passion and love for Nora, how he became the Mr. Freeze we know him as. Nora is his single focus and nothing is more important to him than saving her.
I recommend Victor and Nora: A Gotham Love Story to anyone who may not know as much about Mr. Freeze, or maybe didn’t even really consider him before. This story certainly paints him in a different, and perhaps even more sympathetic light. The novel is also a lot of fun for anyone who is looking to read a little romance between characters who learn to see the wonder in a sometimes dark and hopeless world through each other.
Victor and Nora: A Gotham Love Story is available today from DC, comic book shops, local and online indie bookstores, and your local library digital apps.
Author: Jessica Rae
Jessica has a BA in music with an emphasis in voice and spends her day typesetting, editing, writing, and moderating webinars. Jessica primarily reviews anime and comic book series. She also offers insights on various movies, books, games, and other geeky topics.
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