We mused a while ago about Batman’s best nemeses. Having scarfed up Ra’s Al Ghul, The Joker, and Bane, Christopher Nolan has cherry-picked some of the best. Who will be the next pick of the litter? There are still a lot of rogues out there that could be developed but, sadly, most just aren’t worthy of a feature length film or have been trashed by previous outings. One of the characters that was doled an unfair hand was Mr. Freeze. Played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Freeze was depicted as a bad joke. Makes sense … Batman & Robin was a hot steaming pile of water buffalo dung with a shiver of dirty ice on top. The only commonality in any way between Arnold the Empregnator and Dr. Victor Fries is their Germanic ancestory (and that’s loose … Schwarzenegger is Austrian and Fries emigrated with his parents from Großweitzschen, Saxony, Germany when he was a teenager)).
So, anyway, setting that bitter fruit aside, what do we know about Mr. Freeze?
First Appearance: Batman #121 (1959, created byBob Kane (credited); David Wood & Sheldon Moldoff (uncredited))
Originally called: Mr. Zero
Origin story: Dr. Victor Fries is an expert in cryogenics. He used his skills in an attempt to cure his terminally sick wife, Nora, but instead was transformed through an industrial accident into a man that cannot live without extremely low temperatures. Nora dies, Victor goes nuts, turns to a life of crime, and uses his talents and weapons to cause havoc through freezing technologies. He was initially kind of a doofy character, but given his tragic origins, he was updated in the Batman Animated series as a more serious foe. We just think he’s kind of cool (What the?! Seriously, we didn’t make the connection when we first wrote that. It’s an accidental pun, and a stupid one at that, but we’ll own it).
In 1997, Paul Dini wrote an important story that expanded his origins and added a higher level of humanity to the character. It’s good stuff. Ready for another silly one? Brian Stelfreeze did the cover. How convenient. We do like Brian’s work, by the by.
UPDATE 4/21/2012: We couldn’t find this when we wrote the post, but what was lost now is found. This is our favorite image of Batman vs. Mr. Freeze.