Mr. Freeze: The Most Sympathetic of Batman’s Villains

Good day, everyone! I hope your week is going well. For this week’s post, I want to focus on another Batman villain the way I did the Joker many weeks ago. This time, I want to look at Mr. Freeze, Batman’s most underrated and sympathetic opponent.

Mr. Freeze (originally named Dr. Victor Fries and called Mr. Zero) was created in 1959 by Bob Kane, David Wood, and Sheldon Moldoff. At first, he was a somewhat ridiculous, generic ice villain, of which there were several in the Silver Age (the Flash’s Captain Cold being another notable example). And Mr. Freeze remained an unremarkable sometime foe of Batman for decades, despite a slight bump in popularity during the Adam West years based in no small part by portrayals by such esteemed actors as Eli Wallach. That is, until the 1992 episode of Batman: The Animated Series entitled “Heart of Ice.”

The animated version of Mr. Freeze (voiced by the late, great Michael Ansara) was an entirely new take on the character defined by his sorrow and his quest for vengeance against the company that pulled funding on his studies to cure his wife (then in suspended animation) of an undisclosed terminal illness. The resulting seizure of his lab by its big businessman owner (Ferris Boyle of Gothcorp in some versions) ended with Victor Fries being bathed in a cryogenic formula that drastically lowered his body temperature and made it nearly impossible for him to survive exposure to even the mildest environment without the aid of an armored suit.

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