published by DC Comics
and created by Dave Wood
. Mr. Freeze first appeared in Batman #121
The story of Victor Fries is one with many elements: love, loss, obsession, and revenge. Victor began life as a child in Austria, the son of Charles and Lorraine Fries. From an early age, Victor was facinated by the idea of freezing things and began to perform his own makeshift experiments into freezing small animals and the like. When his parents, who were severe disciplinarians, discovered Victor's experiments, they forbid him to do it further and then sent him to a strict boarding school. In the years to come, Victor grew further and further isolated from the people around him, with one exception. Victor met and fell in love with one of his school mates, a girl named Nora. The two grew closer and closer, with Nora becoming Victor's only link to humanity as he became more and more obsessed with his freezing experiments.
The two went to college and during that time were secretly married. Victor graduated with honors and took a job with Gothcorp, an corporation in Gotham City, which further funded his research. Tragedy struck the couple soon after when Nora was diagnosed with a rapidly spreading and incurable type of cancer. Victor was crushed by the news, but soon threw himself into his work with further abandon, seeing his only hope to save Nora as being to perfect his freezing method so that she could be frozen and revived when there was a cure for her condition. Victor began to divert funds and resources from his work to aid in his research and this came to the attention of his supervisor, Ferris Boyle. On the night Victor was using his research to attempt to freeze Nora, Boyle confronted him and attempted to stop the experiment. Deranged, Fries fired on Boyle and the bullets struck a pipe containing the solution to be used in the process, dousing Victor. Victor survived and the process to freeze Nora was successful, but Victor's body temperature was permenently stuck at zero celsius and he was only able to survive by designing a refridgerated suit that he had to constantly wear.
Soon Fries, who had adopted the name Mr. Zero, began attacking members of the Gothcorp staff he held responsible for his condition. Fries used a gun that fired freezing solution as a weapon and soon the freezing deaths of a number of Gothcorp employees gained the attention of the Batman. Tracking Fries, Batman confronted him as he attempted to kill Ferris Boyle in Mr. Zero's lab. During the ensuing battle, the machine that kept Nora frozen was damaged and she died, an event that Fries holds Batman responsible for and forms the reason for their battles in the years since.
Mr. Zero, who eventually began using the name Mr. Freeze, has continued to fall into madness over the years, but always seeking revenge upon the man he believes killed his wife. Freeze even made a bargain with the demon Neron who transformed Freeze into a soulless killer who could generate intense cold, but when Neron was defeated by the Flash and some of his allies, Freeze was returned to his original form.
Mr. Freeze has been portrayed in a number of other mediums over the years. First, he was portrayed by two actors in the 1960's Batman TV series. First, Mr. Freeze was portrayed by Otto Preminger, but he was so difficult to work with that later actor Eli Wallach took up the role. It was the fact that the character on the TV series was called Mr. Freeze rather than Mr. Zero that prompted the name change in the comics. Later, the character was regretably played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the film Batman and Robin. Finally, Freeze was portrayed in voice by character actor Michael Ansara (who has been in everything from The Robe as Judas to Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy) in Batman: the Animated Series and was featured in one of that series full length features, Subzero.