Brrrr!!! The holidays are behind us and we’re entering the coldest time of year. Snow and ice abound, and the chill in the air is enough to cause even the most stalwart among us to shiver. For most of us, the cold temperature is probably just the weather, but the good people of Gotham always have to wonder if maybe it’s something—or someone—else.
Someone like Mr. Freeze, the coldest killer this side of Arkham.
Batman’s frostiest foe has a criminal legacy that stretches back over sixty years, and by now, you may think you know him. Cold can do strange things to a person’s mind, however, and you might not be as well acquainted with Victor Fries as you think. Let’s see if we can surprise you with five Mr. Freeze facts you didn’t know.
Mr. Freeze Was Not His First Villain Name
Not everyone gets their super-villain name right the first time, and when the Dynamic Duo first tangled with Mr. Freeze in Batman #121, the ice-themed crook was calling himself Mr. Zero. It wasn’t until when George Sanders played the villain on the 1966 Adam West Batman television series that the name Mr. Freeze was used for the first time. The new moniker stuck, and Freeze’s comic book counterpart adopted it when he returned in Detective Comics #373. Freeze’s new super-villain name was cool, but that early spaceman version of his costume was not.
Nora Isn’t His Only Mrs. Freeze
Years before Freeze’s wife Nora was introduced in Batman: The Animated Series' "Heart of Ice," the villain attempted to cryogenically preserve another blonde beauty in Batman #308. Due to his unique biology, Freeze thought he was destined to live alone as an immortal without finding love…until he met Hildy. Freeze searched for a way to give Hildy the same frosty physiology he had so they could grow old together. Surprisingly, Hildy played along, but she secretly despised Freeze and was only in it for the immortality. Who would’ve thought that an iced-themed villain could be so unlucky with love?
He Was Killed by the Joker
Mr. Freeze is part of a very prestigious club of people who can say they were murdered by the Joker. In Robin II: Joker’s Wild #1, Freeze tried to take over the Joker’s old gang while the Clown Prince of Crime was incarcerated. The Joker, however, never stays caged for long, and once he escaped, he took his gang back and quickly disposed of Freeze. A few acid shots and an electrocution iced the villain, but like the actor who played him in 1997's Batman & Robin, he’d be back. In Detective Comics #670 Freeze returned, after being rejuvenated in a block of ice.
Nora’s Comic Book Cure Didn’t Go Well
Since her introduction, Nora Fries has been revived a couple of times, never to good results. It was first explored in 2005’s Batgirl #69-70 when Mr. Freeze threw his wife into a Lazarus Pit. Unfortunately, the Nora who emerged wasn’t the sweet woman Freeze remembered. She was covered in flames and had the powers—and complications—of the Pit. She resented Victor for what he had done to her and wanted nothing to do with him. Rechristened as the villainous Lazara, Nora fled away to parts unknown.
He Was Once Defeated by a Hug
For a villain who is known for having an emotional backstory, it may be surprising to hear that Mr. Freeze was once defeated by a mere hug. In Detective Comics #805, a hostage named Michelle manipulated Freeze into hugging her. Michelle’s body warmth raised Freeze’s temperature, causing the villain to become easily incapacitated. Maybe the Dark Knight should try that trick sometime.
Ice is a strange thing. It’s never quite as clear as you think it is. So, don’t feel bad if any of these facts surprised you. After all, knowing Mr. Freeze too well can be hazardous to your health. For now, though, the temperature outside isn’t getting any warmer, so we suggest bundling up and making yourself something warm to drink if you’re going outside. Or better yet, staying in. After all, it’s probably just the weather that’s behind all the snow and ice…but you never really know.
A version of this article originally ran on DC Universe. Be sure to subscribe to DC Universe Infinite for unlimited access to more than 25,000 comics from every era of publishing, plus original titles, special fan events and more!
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com and DCUniverse.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.