Kevin Conroy, Efrem Zembalist Jr, Michael Ansara, Mark Hamill
Directed by: Bruce Timm Written by: Paul Dini
Mr Freeze - "Rest well my love, the monster who took you from me will soon learn, that revenge is a dish best served cold."
IT'S AMAZING HOW...
....a re-think on a classic character can give him a new lease of life. You see before the episode, Heart of Ice, Mr Freeze was a minor villain in the Bat-universe, best remembered for a few appearances in the 60's Batman TV show. His freeze gun and pale complection were no more than gimmicks that made him different from the other villains that Batman faced and apart from the fun aspect of his character....he was pretty lame. Thankfully a tweak or two later from the pen of writer Paul Dini and Freeze suddenly became not only a formidable player in Gotham, but the most tragic of all of Batman's villains. Heart of Ice was a tight, concise episode, that left the question of who the true villain was in the story very much up in the air.
Dr Victor Fries was a scientist at Goth-Corp, who specialised in cryogenics, working on what he claimed was the first step towards immortality. His research had an ulterior motive though, because his work focused on a special cryogenics chamber that contained the body of his wife Nora who was dying from an illness. Fries hoped he could cure her once she was in suspended animation but the experiment was interrupted and shut down by Ferris Boyle, chairman of Goth-Corp. The forced shutdown ended in disaster and Fries and his wife were left for dead. After the accident Fries was forced to exist trapped inside a suit which kept his body at subzero temperature and he was no longer a man, but an immortal being forever denied the warmth and feeling that everyone else took for granted. Not only had his body changed, but he had just one concern, one thought.... and that was revenge!
Freeze's back story, like a number of the Bat-rogues in the series, was tragic and by the episode's end the sympathy lay squarely with the cold-hearted villain. After the accident changed him all he wanted to do was destroy everything connected to Boyle and that was what put him at odds with Batman. The Dark Knight knew that the events that transformed Fries were terrible and that Boyle was to blame, but he couldn't let Freeze's vendetta go unchallenged. Batman stepped in to save Boyle but also it was an attempt to save what was left of Fries as he had once been a person consumed with love and the real tragedy was how that love had been re-shaped. As Freeze sat in his cell (once captured by Bats of course) staring at a make-shift snow globe that represented his lost love, Batman watched on, knowing that justice had been served, but the damage that had been done would never be rectified. Heart of Ice was arguably Batman:TAS' most memorable and most powerful story because it not only blurred the lines between right and wrong, but it also demonstrated that anyone's life could be changed with the right story.
COLD HARD FACTS: *Following Heart Of Ice, Mr Freeze next appeared in the episode Deep Freeze before his storyline was more or less wrapped up in the movie Batman: Subzero (1998). He then reappeared in one episode of The New Batman Adventures and an episode of Batman Beyond.
*Mr Freeze's back story from Heart Of Ice was so popular that it was developed into the official DC Comics continuity.
*Ferris Boyle was voiced by Mark Hamill....who also voiced a character called the Joker. You may or may not have heard of him?!