Mr. Freeze: Where Do I Start?

As a illustrious member of Batman’s rogue’s gallery, Mr. Freeze stands somewhat apart from his fellow villains given his unique abilities, his scientific mind and the motivations for his crimes. Although not introduced until 1992 (over 30 years after his debut), Freeze’s back-story of committing his crimes in an attempt to find a way to save the life of his terminally ill and cryogenically frozen wife, Nora. That, combined with his keenly astute scientific mind and his chilling inventions like his ice gun made him a unique and memorable adversary and character in his own right.

Originally introduced in 1959 by creators Bob Kane, David Wood and Sheldon Moldoff as Mr. Zero, this was a character quite different that what we know of him as today. It wasn’t until the Adam West Batman show in the 1960s that he got his name Mr. Freeze, and was permanently entrenched as one of Batman’s top-tier villains. But he wasn’t much more than a guy with an ice-gun until Paul Dini invented Freeze’s pursuit of a life-saving treatment for his sick and cryogenically frozen wife, Nora in Batman: The Animated Series, which was then brought back into the comics. Although his depiction in the  movie Batman & Robin by Arnold Schwarzenegger was a big blemish on his history, Freeze has outlived that to become a threatening villain with a tragic back-story that makes him stand apart from most other DC villains.

Batman: The Animated Series, “Heart of Ice”: Although I don’t normally recommend non-comics for Where Do I Start? columns, this is the epitome of exceptions. This 1992 first season episode of B:TAS is without argue one of the best of the season and of the series all together. Directed by Bruce Timm, written by Paul Dini and with a new Mr. Freeze design by Mike Mignola, it’s a murderer’s row of talent brought to bear. Together, they re-interpret Freeze from a low-tier Batman villain to an engaging, sympathetic and morose bad guy who is just shades away from being an anti-hero. It won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Writing in an Animated Program, and was the talk of the comic shops and school hallways when I first saw it.

Batman: Snow: This overlooked arc from Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight by artist Seth Fisher and J.H. Williams 3 and Dan Curtis Johnson teaming up to write shows an early Batman just feeling out his career choice of Gotham’s protector. Using a network of civilians and criminals as informants, Batman meets one of his first major villains in Mr. Freeze. Visually this is a blockbuster thanks to Fisher’s artwork, and Williams and Johnson really dig deeper than doing a typical Batman/Mr. Freeze fight for a nice series of fights, confrontations and one-upsmanships.

Gotham Central: In the Line of Duty: For some, Mr. Freeze is considered one of the more milquetoast members of Batman’s rogue’s gallery, but in the first two issues of Gotham Central collected here he is masterfully shown as dangerous, effective and creepy. Written by Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka and drawn by Michael Lark, they show the GCPD thoroughly outmatched by Mr. Freeze like Law & Order if they faced a super-powered super villain. A great piece showing Mr. Freeze as a great bad guy.

Batman: Mr. Freeze: As I said earlier, I’m of the opinion that Mr. Freeze’s animated incarnation in Batman: The Animated Series… and as it turns out, DC thought so too. The publisher enlisted the writer of those B:TAS episodes, Paul Dini, and partnered him with a young Mark Buckingham to re-create the story and tone of the B:TAS episode I featured earlier, “Heart Of Ice.” Although some of the animated magic is lost in the translation, it still stands on its own as a good introduction to the character.

Batman: Gotham Nights #59: This one-off issue by Robbie Morrison and Charlie Adlard, but it’s an easy (and cheap) find in back issue bins or online. In this story, titled “Fire & Ice,” readers find Mr. Freeze and Batman trapped in one of Freeze’s icy hideouts. Although eternal adversaries, they are forced to put aside their differences and work together if they hope to escape from death inside Freeze’s icy bubble.


  1. I just watched Heart of Ice last night, and it is one of the best episodes on the BTAS. I also watch the commentary its pretty cool to see the younger versions of people like Geoff Johns and Kevin Conroy.

  2. Ice…to see this up on site, hopefully it breaks the ice for some readers…

  3. No mention of the Batman Annual from this year? that was a great revision of Mr. Freeze in the New 52 universe.

  4. I miss Seth FIsher. He had such an amazing, clean style.

  5. Freeze is such a great character. Always been one of my favorites.

    Man, I love that cover of Gotham Knights.

  6. love Mr Freeze. sad Snyder butchered the character.
    i had no idea Mignola redesigned the suit. so cool(heh;p).

  7. I completely agree with the inclusion of Batman: TAS episode in this list. It is certainly the Mr. Freeze that I remember anytime the name is mentioned.

    Also really enjoyed the Annual with Mr. Freeze in it.