As a classic member of Batman’s rogue gallery, Mr Freeze is one of the Dark Knight’s most prolific enemies. Starting off as a throw-away character called Mr Zero in the 1960s, Freeze was transformed into a more complex character in Batman: The Animated Series.
Victor Fries became a scientist who was fascinated with cryogenics. He fell in love with a woman called Nora, but after learning that she’d contracted a fatal illness, Victor was determined to find he cure.
He froze Nora in suspended animation, only to have his experiments ruined by his boss, Ferris Boyle. The interference caused an explosion, which lowered Victor’s body temperature to the point he could only survive with a special suit. Vowing revenge on Boyle, Mr Freeze turned to a life of crime.
Freeze’s tragic origin story ties into his desire to bring his wife back to life. In his quest to cure Nora’s disease, Freeze has done terrible things in the name of love. Other times, Freeze has been so focused on his cryogenic research that he’s killed anyone who stood in his way, but sometimes his cold-hearted nature can take things to the extreme, to the point where he’s cemented himself as not just one of Batman’s greatest adversaries, but also his most ruthless.
10. Freezing Animals
Freeze developed an interest in the cold long before he met Nora. As a boy, he felt connected to the snow, intrigued by how it could preserve objects so perfectly. To stimulate his interest, he started freezing animals as a hobby. Victor encased whatever small creatures he could find, i.e. butterflies and squirrels.
During his experiments, Victor would start by freezing a small part of the animal to see how it was affected. In his adult life, he admitted to the Penguin that his most vulnerable subjects were birds, noting how even a tiny bit of frostbite could make his subjects helpless.
When his parents found out they were horrified. They sent Freeze to therapy in the hopes that it would fix him. He continued to be interested in cryogenics, so his parents shipped him off to a strict boarding school that discouraged individualism. Miserable and detached from humanity, Victor withdrew into himself.
Animal cruelty is an early warning sign in children who display psychopathic tendencies. Victor grew out of this habit when he met Nora in college, but it still laid the foundation for who he would become. Perhaps if he’d never met his wife, Freeze would have gone down a dark path all the same.
9. Creating A Cryonic Device To Freeze Catwoman’s Heart
Mr Freeze has a reputation for working alone, but he has formed alliances with other villains when it suited his needs. In Heart Of Hush, Thomas Elliot came to Freeze to help him punish Batman by getting to Catwoman. Wanting Batman to truly understand the pain he felt over losing Nora, Victor agreed.
After Hush captured Catwoman and surgically removed her heart, Freeze supplied him with a cryogenic preservation device. The apparatus slowed the beating of Selina’s heart, allowing it to be kept on ice.
The device is an example of Freeze’s evil genius at work. His ice gun isn’t the only deadly thing about him. Mr Freeze’s true weapon is his mind. He’s a brilliant scientist with advanced knowledge of medicine, engineering, robotics, biochemistry and more.
8. Killing Armed Guards With A Glass Of Water
Mister Freeze has demonstrated his resourcefulness on several occasions. An infamous example occurred during a breakout in Arkham Asylum. Victor killed his therapist, broke out of his cell and reversed the temperature controls within the prison. Gaining control of the temperature allowed him to walk around freely without his suit.
In the main hall, Freeze was surrounded by guards. Instead of surrendering, he drank a glass of water and sprayed it onto his opponents. The sub-zero climate froze them solid, giving Victor the opportunity to escape.
The feat is even more impressive when you consider that Mister Freeze didn’t have access to his suit or weapons. Seeing as how some comics tend to gloss over the character’s cold-bloodedness in favour of showing his love for his wife, it’s easy to forget how ruthless Freeze is when pushed.
7. Helping The Court Of Owls
The Court Of Owls is one of the biggest threats that have ever plagued Gotham. For decades, the court manipulated the direction of the city. Whenever someone got in their way, they sent the Talons, a group of immortal assassins who killed their targets without mercy.
Batman spent a long time figuring out how to defeat the Talons and he learned they were vulnerable to extreme cold. To combat this weakness the court reached out to Mr Freeze, promising they would help to restore Nora. The court used his cryogenic-thaw formula to revive the Talons and then they tried to kill Freeze.
Freeze’s mistake caused even more chaos in Gotham. The Talons attacked every member of the Batman family and they might have succeeded if not for everyone working together. Victor managed to escape from the owls but was unable to revive Nora as he’d planned.
6. An obsessive personality
It’s no secret that Freeze’s fixation with his wife is unhealthy and he may be suffering from complex bereavement disorder. When framed in another context, Freeze’s love for Nora can be described as an obsession. That’s exactly what happened in the New 52 reboot.
During the reboot, Victor’s origin was changed so that Nora was no longer his wife. In the new story, Nora was born in 1943 and diagnosed with a terminal heart condition at 23. Her family placed her in cryogenic stasis in the hope that a cure would be found in the future.
After writing his doctoral thesis on Nora, Freeze took a position as a cryogenic researcher in the facility that she was housed. Victor became increasingly obsessed with Nora and dedicated his life to finding a way to revive her. Bruce Wayne ordered the project to be shut down because he was concerned with Freeze’s interest in the girl.
An argument between Bruce and Victor led to an eruption of cryonic chemicals that transformed him into Mister Freeze.
5. Pushing His Mother Into A Frozen Lake
The New 52 changed details about Freeze’s childhood as well. One day, he and his mother were walking through the snow and she fell into a frozen lake. The ice was able to preserve her long enough for help to arrive. This sparked the young Victor’s fascination with the cold.
In addition to being left in chronic pain by the accident, Freeze’s mother developed psychological problems. The incident caused her mind to wander, which drove Victor’s father away.
Wanting to end his mother’s suffering, Freeze brought her back to the lake and pushed her in. He watched her slip away beneath the surface, musing that she had already abandoned him a long time ago.
From that moment on, something inside the boy froze. Watching the ice preserve his mother may have become the inspiration for his animal experimentation in the New 52.
4. Turning His Family Into Human Icicles
While locked up in Arkham Asylum, Freeze received regular counselling sessions from a psychiatrist who enjoyed teasing him. During one session, the doctor mentioned that Victor’s father had remarried and had a new family. Eager to make contact, Freeze writes numerous letters to his dad that are never answered.
When the Crime Syndicate attack Arkham, Freeze finds his moment to escape. He goes in search of his long-lost family, wanting to explain what had happened to him. Eventually, Freeze tracks them down and tells them the story of how Batman shattered his dream of leaving Gotham with Nora.
The creepiest thing about the sequence is that Victor talks to the frozen statues of his father’s new family. He goes out of his way to set them up around a dining table. The woman toasts him with a glass of wine, while the children are stuck in eating positions.
The story ends with Freeze claiming his family will never leave him again. Talk about abandonment issues.
3. Designing A Sub-Zero Machine For The Secret Society Of Super Villains
At one point, Mister Freeze joined up with the Secret Society of Super Villains. He was brought into the group by Nyssa Al Ghul, who offered him the use of a Lazarus Pit for Nora. Nyssa and her sister Talia planned to carry out Ra’s Al Ghul’s dream of remaking the world.
Nyssa commissions Freeze to create a sub-zero device to capture Batgirl. She also hoped that he would agree to help her alter the environment with his cryogenic technology. Once the world had been allowed to heal, she and Talia would lead a revolution.
Victor’s willingness to go along with the plan shows how much value he places on Nora’s life. He didn’t care about how many people his inventions would kill, so long as his wife had the chance to live again.
2. Unleashing Lazara
While working with Nyssa, Freeze became impatient. He lowered Nora into the Lazarus Pit without considering the adjusting properties of the pool. Nora absorbed the full power of the chemicals within the pit, becoming insane. She returned to life as the twisted Lazara, feeling nothing but hatred towards her husband.
Gaining the power of fire manipulation from the pit, Lazara lashed out at Freeze and everyone around her. Blaming him for the pain she felt, Lazara estranged herself from Victor. He was given no choice to refreeze her.
It’s ironic that Freeze unleashed a greater evil on the world when he resurrected Nora. Despite his best intentions, he failed to restore their relationship to the way it used to be. Even if Nora had accepted what Victor had done to her, he would never have been able to hold her because of her fire powers.
1. Causing A New Ice Age
One of Mister Freeze’s most diabolical plan to date involved him trying to create a frozen world in the pages of All-Star Batman: Ends Of The Earth. In the story, Freeze awakens an army of people who had been in suspended animation. He sent them to gather resources for his research into curing Nora’s condition and his own.
At the same time, he planned on releasing bacteria that was held within an ancient ice core. Freeze had grown weary of seeing humans scurry across a dying planet. He refused to let Nora awaken to it, so desired to give her a more peaceful existence. Once unleashed, the virus would spread to every living thing and gradually turn the globe into a frozen wasteland.
Batman stopped Freeze’s plan by injecting himself with a cold-resistant antidote. When his skin was exposed to the virus’ spores it stopped them from spreading.