www.cbr.com

How the Batman Animated Series Introduced Mr. Freeze's 'Heart'

In this feature I spotlight changes made to comic book characters that are based on outside media, as well as characters who entirely came from outside media. I’m sure you can think of other examples, so feel free to e-mail me at brianc@cbr.com if you want to suggest some other examples for future installments (as an aside, if I'm reading this correctly, it's almost been a YEAR since I've last done of these - that can't be right, can it? How odd).

Today, we look at how the Batman Animated Series changed the Batman villain, Mister Freeze, for good.

When Mister Freeze debuted in the late 1950s in Batman #121 (by Dave Wood, Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris), he went by the name Mister Zero, but had the same basic set-up. He was a guy who needed to live in absolute zero temperatures and had a freeze gun and that was pretty much it...

Batman cured him at the end of the issue and he was pretty much done as a villain, until the Batman TV series revived him and re-named him Mister Freeze (and yes, that's a Follow the Path in and of itself!) and so, in 1968, he was back as a villain, only now renamed Mister Freeze in Detective Comics #373...

He was a relatively infrequent Batman rogue over the next couple of decades. One notable change occurred in the mid-1980s when he was part of the Super Powers action figure line, so he received a costume revamp for that series (yet another Follow the Path moment for Mister Freeze that is unrelated to the main one we're talking about here). Still, his new costume did not really raise his profile much and he once again was just a relatively rare Batman rogue.

In fact, in the second Robin miniseries (by Churck Dixon, Tom Lyle and Bob Smith), he was even killed off by the Joker and part of it seemed to be, "Wow, look how goofy this guy is")...

Luckily for Mister Freeze, that same year saw the release of the Batman: Animated Series and in the third episode of the series period, Paul Dini wrote "Heart of Ice," which revamped Mister Freeze and now revealed that he was driven by the love for his wife, Nora Fries, who he had place in cyrogenic storage to try to save her life (Bruce Timm directed the episode. It was the first episode Timm directed and Dini wrote)...

The episode was a major critical success, as it won one of the (if not THE) first Emmys for the series.

Dini then told a classic Mister Freeze comic book story for the Holiday Special of the comic book series based on the cartoon series...

The cartoon's set-up was the basis for Mister Freeze in Batman and Robin...

And that set-up the story finally making its way into the DC Universe!

1 2
Ghost Rider RObbie Reyes
Ghost Rider Just Ditched His Hellcharger For a Bigger and Better Ride

More in CBR Exclusives