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Mister Freeze

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Batman rogue
BBR
Mister Freeze
Mrfreeze
Information
Real name: Victor Fries
Species: Metahuman
Hair: None (formerly brown)
Eyes: (Originally) Black;
(As a head) Red pupils[1]
Relatives: Nora Fries (ex-wife);
Dora Smithy (sister-in-law)
Koonak (surrogate son)
Base: Gotham City
Rogue of: Batman;
Batman II
Abilities: Withstand subzero temperatures
Superhuman strength and invulnerability
Genius-level intellect
Decelerated aging
Cryogenics expert
Weaponry: Cryo suit
Freeze Gun
Voiced by: Michael Ansara

"Nora was the only good thing in my life and they took her from me. I don't care what I have to do to get her back!"[2]

Through tragic circumstances, Dr. Victor Fries became known as the villain Mr. Freeze.

History

Tragic Accident

Victor Fries was one of GothCorp's most brilliant scientists and cryogenic researchers. When his wife Nora Fries became infected with a deadly disease, he developed a special freezing cell and planned to cryogenically hold her until a cure was found. However, Fries had been misappropriating GothCorp's money, leaving the company in debt and the experiment unauthorized. When he was interrupted by GothCorp CEO Ferris Boyle, a fight ensued and Fries grabbed a handgun, pointing it at Boyle and his security guards. Fries was then calmly ordered to drop the gun; reasoning that it is not his nature to resort to violence and that a possibility may exist for him to legitimately bankroll Nora's experiment. When Boyle's smooth talk got to Fries as he relaxed and let down his guard, the deceitful CEO kicked the scientist into a lab table full of beakers which exploded. The resulting explosion smashed Fries into his cryogenic freezing tanks and the accident soaked his entire body with the freezing solution and rendered him unable to survive outside of a sub-zero environment. Vowed revenge on those who had wronged him, he became known as "Mr. Freeze" after creating a vacuum tight suit which maintained his body temperature at 50 degrees below zero and tripled his strength as well as building a laser-powered cold gun.

Revenge

Driven by hatred over the destruction of his life and maddened by his condition, Mr. Freeze sought revenge on Ferris Boyle. He first attacked GothCorp, although his plan was stopped by Batman who managed to capture one of Freeze's underlings. Freeze intended to kill Boyle in revenge at a party where the GothCorp CEO was due to earn the "Gotham Humanitarian of the Year" award, but Batman foiled it on account of Freeze putting innocent civilians in danger in his quest for vengeance. Freeze managed to trap Boyle in an ice cake up to his waist when Batman tackled him and the fight ensued. However, Batman had defeated Freeze using a thermos of chicken soup at the spur of the moment to crack Freeze's helmet, thus raising his body temperature and rendering him unconscious. Batman handed over the video security footage to the Gotham Police; presenting evidence that led to Boyle's arrest for his misdeeds. Fries was also arrested and placed into a sub-zero holding cell in Arkham Asylum. Unsuited, Freeze wore a prison uniform and holding a snowglobe of a ballerina which resembled his wife and crying to himself that he failed to save her but hopes she is living peacefully in Heaven.

Further harassment

Sometime later, entrepreneur and businessman Grant Walker discovered Nora Fries's frozen (but living) body and used her as a bargaining chip to gain what Mr. Freeze had always seen as a curse: immortality. Freeze transformed Walker's cell structure to a frozen prison similar to his own. Upon completion, Freeze betrayed Walker and destroyed the "Utopian" society he'd been building. Freeze then secluded himself in a self-made ice block, floating to colder waters until he finally settled in the Arctic. He stayed there with Nora, continuing to look for a cure.

Saving his wife

Unfortunately, an exploration crew inadvertently crashed into Mister Freeze's home. Nora's containment cell was destroyed and her deadly disease progressed into its fatal stages. After freezing the entire crew of the sub, Freeze headed to Gotham City with Nora, his surrogate son Koonak and his two polar bears Notchka and Shaka, to enlist the aid of head cryogenic researcher Gregory Belson. Though he was hesitant, Belson was eventually "persuaded" to aid Freeze. Together they found a way to cure Nora's disease, but it required an organ transplant. With no deceased donors available, they were forced to pursue a live one. The "donor" they chose was Barbara Gordon and they proceeded to kidnap her. However, Batman and Robin managed to interrupt the operation before it took place; the battle that ensued caused Freeze's lair to explode. Batman, Robin and Barbara were able to evacuate Nora and Koonak in time, but Freeze had fallen into the fiery blast and was assumed dead. Some time later, Freeze watches a news report through a window and hears that his wife is alive and well thanks to his efforts. He shed a tear in happiness and wandered off into the Arctic with his two bears.

Withering away

"Ironic, isn't it? After all I did to keep my wife whole, I end up like this. You understand now why I could not return to my Nora. My treasure. There's no hope for me... or you or your city. Everyone's going to feel my loss."[3]

Mr. Freeze's new body

Mister Freeze with his robotic body.

In Gotham City, Nora waited patiently for her husband to return, but received no form of contact from him. Unbeknownst to anyone, the effects of the accident that had made him "immortal" was causing his body to deteriorate. By the time, Freeze was able to kidnap doctors to halt the deterioration's progress, only his head remained intact. He used robotic spider-like legs attached to his head's capsule to maneuver around and a larger body shell when needed. Resigned that he would never again be united with his beloved wife, a new layer of ice froze over his heart. Having lost that which was most precious to him, Freeze resolved to stamp out warmth wherever it glowed.

With a newer, more powerful robot body and a chillingly sardonic personality, Freeze lost his obsession over his wife and instead concentrated on bringing misery to the people of Gotham and its protector Batman. With a group of "Ice Maidens" armed with ice guns based on his own designs, he launched a series of attacks on Gotham City, seeking out that which renowned individuals valued most and destroying them.

Despite a few encounters with Batman, Freeze succeeded in ruining many dreams and bringing terror to Gotham, even attacking Wayne Manor and freezing Alfred Pennyworth. This, however, was only a prelude to Freeze's ultimate blow against the Caped Crusader: using a "reverse fusion bomb", he hoped to leave all of Gotham frozen solid, thereby destroying Batman's hope. Fortunately for Gotham, Batman and Batgirl stopped the plan, with the former flying Freeze's bomber plane over the ocean before dropping the bomb with its maker attached to it. The blast created an enormous pillar of ice in the water, with Freeze's suit trapped within - however, the icy villain had managed to escape.

Redemption

"You've got to get out of here, Fries! The whole place is gonna go!"
"Believe me, you're the only one who cares.
"
Batman and Victor Fries[1]

Freezebb

Victor Fries in his most powerful suit.

For forty years, Victor Fries's disembodied head somehow ended up in storage at Wayne-Powers until Derek Powers and Stephanie Lake transferred his consciousness to a new clone body built from his baseline DNA (as a test of an adequate subject who had systemically damaged DNA for Powers as Fries also had systemically damaged DNA).

At first, the process seemed to work for Fries. While Victor and Lake visited the burial for his original body's disease-ridden head, an assassin attempted to kill him out of vengeance for his own murdered family that Mister Freeze killed years ago but was thwarted by the new Batman. Much to Batman's surprise, Fries let the assassin go and promised to show he was a changed man. To that end, Fries used an interview to announce that he established a foundation to make amends to Gotham.

After his interview, his clone body started showing signs of reverting to his original body's previous low-temperature state. As a result, Powers and Lake opted to terminate the experiment by turning up the temperature drastically in Fries's sealed cubicle. Realizing what had happened, he escaped.

Using a suit he had in "cold storage", Fries returned to exact revenge on Powers and Lake, as well as destroy the compound so he could commit suicide. During the assault, Fries is confronted by the new Dark Knight. This was interrupted when Blight attacked and badly injured Fries. Fries recovered in time to save Batman from Blight, blasting him out of the compound just as Blight was about to land the finishing blow. Fries's last act was to delay the compound's collapse long enough for Batman to escape the destruction while he remained at its heart and was assumed dead when the building exploded.

Powers and abilities

As a result of the accident, Mr. Freeze's normal body temperature leaves him able to withstand levels of cold ordinarily fatal to other humans. The reverse of this is an extreme vulnerability to heat to the point where he cannot survive outside of a subzero environment. Another side effect of Freeze's condition is that his body's natural aging process slowed completely. Freeze maintains his body's temperature with a cybernetic environmental suit that also triples his strength to superhuman levels and is heavily armored.

His signature weapon is his freeze gun, a ray gun that can create ice from airborne water vapor or any nearby water source. Both the suit and gun are of Freeze's own invention and he has developed several other pieces of technology that make him extremely dangerous.

Revamp

Much like the other characters of Batman: The Animated Series, Mr. Freeze underwent a stylistic change when the show transferred to The New Batman Adventures. His changes were subtle, and the character's story was augmented with the introduction of his deteriorated body.

Background information

  • Mr. Freeze had been a rather poorly received, clownish "villain" from the old live action Batman television series and the DC Comics of the 1960s prior to Batman: The Animated Series. Paul Dini and Bruce Timm re-imagined the entire history and motivation of Mr. Freeze to produce a villain that could be taken as both a believable character and a deadly, serious threat. The creative team invented the character of the terminally ill Nora Fries to flesh out the backstory of a fully-realized tragic villain. It was the first complete overhaul of a pre-existing character in the DCAU, and to this day it is arguably the most successful.
  • The DCAU backstory on Mr. Freeze became so popular that it was used as the backstory in the Joel Shumacher film Batman & Robin (with Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze) as well as the comics. However, the Mr. Freeze in Batman and Robin was much more campy, as he used anything with the word "freeze", "ice" or "cool" in just about every sentence, having Nora hidden in an ice cream shop and many more campy subjects, part of what made the film a critical disaster.
  • Mr. Freeze's overall backstory has often been cited among fans as one of the most humane and sad episodes of Batman: The Animated Series.
  • Mr. Freeze's original character design for the series was done by comic book artist Mike Mignola (later of Hellboy fame). Interestingly, Freeze bears a marked resemblance to other Mignola characters, most notably mad Nazi scientist Herman von Klempt whose disembodied head is kept in a glass tank and is attached to a robotic body. There is also a similarity with Mignola's The Amazing Screw-On Head.
  • The character's history in DC comics was likewise retconned in keeping with the DCAU version. In the revamped comics, Victor Fries first developed an interest in science as a child, freezing insects and small animals in water to preserve them. Interestingly, this childlike obsession is shared by Karl Ruprecht Kroenen (another of Mignola's characters) experimenting with cryonics and ways of re-animating the dead from an early age.
  • Mr. Freeze's appearance in Batman Beyond was originally supposed to be a cameo. When Bruce Wayne tells Terry McGinnis to go to the fridge to get him a drink, he does so and finds Freeze's head staring right back at him when opening the fridge. However, the producers felt that the character deserved more than that to do his character justice which resulted in the episode "Meltdown".
  • In the comic Batman: Gotham Adventures, Mr. Freeze is suspected of killing Ferris Boyle as well as Grant Walker. However, it turned out to be a robotic duplicate developed by Nora Fries' new husband Francis D'Anjou, who was frustrated that Nora still had affections for Victor Fries, whom he viewed as being a monster. By framing Freeze, D'Anjou tried to prove that he is completely irredeemable. At the end, Freeze is seemingly killed in a fight with the robot, and Nora leaves Francis looking for her husband.
  • According to Martin Pasko, Leonard Nimoy was initially approached to play Mr. Freeze but declined.

See also

Appearances

Batman: The Animated Series

Feature film

The New Batman Adventures

Gotham Girls

Batman Beyond

Feature film

Justice League Unlimited

Other

Footnotes

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