Monday, August 8, 2011

V is also for Victor Fries aka Mr Freeze

Dr Victor Fries, through tragic circumstances, became known as the villain Mr Freeze. This is the animated Freeze we saw in "Cold Comfort", the third episode of "The New Batman Adventures". For the original first version animated Mr Freeze from "Batman: The Animated Series" (BTAS), check out my earlier post HERE.

The animation style was changed significantly for "The New Batman Adventures". The art was more streamlined, giving Batman a more sleek, buffed appearance and the Batsuit's colors become significantly less colorful, with the bat emblem's yellow ellipse being removed. Mr. Freeze's eyes were made red (instead of the red lensed goggles he wore in BTAS) plus his Sub-Zero suit's color was changed to black, replacing the sky blue and navy blue suit.

Unlike the past, when his ultimate goal was to cure and be reunited with his wife, this time Mr Freeze is only bent on malicious and spiteful vengeance as a way to lash out against all humanity, because he decided if he can't have happiness then nobody can, and makes the big mistake of targeting Bruce Wayne's loved ones.

The New Batman Adventures premiered almost three years after production on Batman: The Animated Series had ended. Although bearing different character designs and animation styles, both shows take place in the same continuity, with TNBA set two years after BTAS.

The tone of the show shifted between "light and charming" to "dark and serious", with some of the darkest episodes ever seen in a cartoon ("Over the Edge" featured the death of Batgirl, albeit as a dream), and another episode featured a near word-for-word adaptation of a scene from "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns". Check out "The Dark Knight Returns" action figures HERE as well as the stunning "The Dark Knight Returns" statue.

As explained by Freeze himself, apparently the accident that had caused his "immortality" had actually deteriorated his body. Though his head was able to continue functioning, the rest of him withered away. He constructed an insect-like robotic carriage for his head, as well as a larger shell resembling his human form.

Freeze ended up looking like a spider which is pretty eerie. In the animated series, when Batman tried to creep up behind Freeze, he turned his head a full 180 degrees because his head is on a mechanical base and can swivel without having to move the rest of his body. Creepy!

Freeze's next (and last) appearance in the DCAU is the Batman Beyond episode "Meltdown," where his head is being kept in storage by Wayne-Powers. How this came about is not explained in the animated continuity, but Batman Adventures (Vol 2) #15 (based on the continuity) explains that the head was acquired by Derek Powers's father.

Mr. Freeze's original character design for "Batman: The Animated Series" was done by Mike Mignola, at the request of Bruce Timm. Mignola's own comics feature at least two characters who exist as disembodied heads attached to robotic bodies: Herman von Klempt, a mad Nazi scientist whose head is kept in a glass jar, and The Amazing Screw-On Head.

Check out the Mike Mignola Hellboy Herman Von Klempt head by Mezco HERE

Another Mr Freeze was created for "The Batman" animated series (2004-08)" with a whole new look. Check out the Mattel "The Batman" Mr Freeze action figure HERE