"Cold Comfort", the third episode of The New Batman Adventures, is all about — as the name suggests — Mr. Freeze. Unlike the past, when his ultimate goal was to cure and be reunited with his wife, this time he is only bent on malicious and spiteful vengeance as a way to lash out against all humanity, because he decided that if he can't have happiness then nobody can, and makes the big mistake of targeting Bruce Wayne's loved ones.
At a museum in Gotham City, local television reporter Jack Ryder is on hand to show the world the unveiling of a rare dinosaur skeleton, the Ultrasaurus, which is the culmination of thirty years of hard work by scientist Margaret Madsen. Just as they begin filming, some women in parkas oddly appear, and are quickly told they shouldn't be there. But they are not alone; behind them is Mr. Freeze. Freeze wastes no time in marching up to Margaret and declaring that it's a pity she will lose her treasure. Misunderstanding his intentions, she pleads that no archaeological institution in the world would purchase stolen goods. Freeze clarifies his intent, drawing his freeze gun and aiming it at the colossal skeleton. In a matter of ten seconds, Madsen helplessly witnesses three decades' work brought to iced-over ruin. She cannot comprehend the motive behind his malicious act and tearfully begs to know why he has committed this act. Freeze's only reply is less than warming: "Why not?"
A few days later, at the Gotham Tricentennial celebration (a black tie affair), Bruce and Commissioner Gordon are having a chin wag about that very incident involving the 'lizard'. They both are at a loss to rationalize Freeze's motivation. As Mayor Hill opens the ceremonies, Bruce is bumped by a woman wearing a parka. Fully aware of the implications, Bruce ditches the party and makes a beeline to Alfred, who is waiting with the Batsuit at Bruce's request. Back in the ballroom, the mayor is unveiling a massive painting by Guiseppe Bianci, called Twilight in Gotham. The artist himself is there to deliver a short speech, but just as he begins saying how much it means to him, the malevolent Mr. Freeze arrives to disintegrate his joy. Similar to the dinosaur, Freeze begins by admiring the work, commenting on the mastery of the artist's technique. Just as Guiseppe starts begging Freeze not to destroy his masterpiece, Freeze callously blasts it with his freeze gun, shattering it to pieces.
This time, however, Freeze is not satisfied with the one incident of destruction, and turns his deadly ray to a woman's beloved dog. Freeze declares all should fear for the things that they hold dear, for he is on a crusade to eradicate it all. Like last time, the Dark Knight is on hand to block his rampage of ruination. Freeze orders his girls to get Batman, but he is agile enough to dodge their attack and leap onto the stage, right on top of Freeze. Unexpectedly, Freeze grabs Batman by the neck and tosses him across the stage like a rag doll. Getting up, one of the girls has Batman covered, or so she thinks; Batman uses his fast reflexes and faster mind to deflect her shot back at her. Freeze then traps Batman point-blank by using his weapon to freeze Batman's cape to the floor. Curiously, Victor relents and hints at his desire to rid himself of Gotham's hero in another fashion, and then simply departs, leaving behind a weeping artist and even more unanswered questions.
Back at the Batcave, Bruce is having a conference with Robin and Batgirl, with the latter filling in the former about Victor Fries; namely that his wife Nora has been revived, but he never made an effort to see her, and so she married another man. Somewhere else in the city, another meeting of the minds is taking place. In what appears to be a subterranean makeshift laboratory (and a very cold one at that) several doctors are tending to Mr. Freeze. Judging by the fact that Freeze's girls have their guns out and pointed at them, it is clear that the doctors are working against their will. Indeed, they tell Victor that his condition has been stabilized and there is nothing more that they can do for him, then insist that he allow them to leave. Sternly and coldly, Mr. Freeze denies their demand and adds that they will only be released at "his" discretion. Freeze then gets up, passes the cowering doctors, and leaves them locked in the lab as he makes his way into another chamber. Freeze sees Bruce Wayne making a charitable donation on television and makes him his next target.
Batgirl is running through a training course in the Batcave, displaying her amazing strength and dexterity. Nevertheless, in the end, she gets zapped by some lasers, and in a game meant to simulate real dangers, that would spell death in a real-life situation. Bruce is very quick to bring that to her attention, keeping her excitement in check about setting the all-time high score. Bruce not only tells her to continue practicing, but also raises the difficulty level from 6 to 10. Bruce wanders upstairs, leaving her to her training, and checks in on Tim, who's watching TV while he should be studying the American justice system. Bruce tries to reason with him, but Tim eventually gets the upper hand in the discussion, saying that the system is "bogus" by watching him work, and Bruce is at a loss for words.
Just then, the doorbell rings, and it's Freeze himself. One of Freeze's henchwomen pushes Alfred down the ice-covered stairs and Bruce runs to his side. Freeze then creepily glides down the same ice slide (with pinpoint accuracy), while Alfred gets up and walks away. Bruce tries to rationalize with Victor, offering to use his company's resources to seek a cure for Freeze's condition, but Freeze simply says it's too late, and backhands Bruce into the sofa behind him. Clandestinely pushing a button on his watch, Bruce alerts Batgirl that there is trouble up above. Meanwhile, Victor contemplates at a picture of young Bruce with his parents, reflecting that he was just a boy when he lost them, and since then he's been trying to build a surrogate family. He points his freeze gun at the "surrogate son", Tim, before settling on the "surrogate father", Alfred. Freeze begins blasting Alfred from the feet up, and just as it gets to his chest, Batgirl looms above to save the day. Then Tim and Bruce take care of his girls while she goes for Victor, managing not only to take his freeze gun away from him, but also shooting him with it, freezing him against the wall. Freeze manages to breaks free and smashes through the wall, while one of his girls recovers his gun by bashing Tim and Barbara over the head with a block of ice. Freeze summons the girls to come and they make haste for their van parked out front. No one is able to give chase, but Batgirl does manage to lodge a tracer into the side of their vehicle.
Alfred is enjoying a high-tech, rejuvenating Jacuzzi chemical bath. Moments later, the tracer turns up on the radar. Batman and Batgirl waste no time getting to the Batmobile. Naturally, Robin wants to go as well, but Batman insists he stay behind to look after Alfred, who sets Tim to work straight away to make tea. The tracer leads them to an old, abandoned meat packing plant, but no Mr. Freeze, despite being right on top of him (according to the tracer). Batman spots an entrance to a lower level, where Batgirl happens upon a spare Freeze suit, proving that he must be there somewhere. Just then, from an adjacent room, the muffled sounds of people struggling can be heard. Batman blasts the door open to see the three doctors tied up, gagged, and hanging from meat hooks. After they're free, they immediately begin filling in Batman with all the details, but are suddenly halted by two of Freeze's dames.
The heroes are escorted back into the hallway and a henchwoman calls for Freeze, who comes walking out, but not as they expected to find him: to their shock, Victor Fries reveals his disembodied head, riding atop a spider-like mechanical apparatus for mobility. Batman's face reflects sympathy and astonishment as he inquires what happened, and Victor is more than willing to divulge: his body deteriorated due to his condition and thus, the doctors were only able to halt it in time to save his head. Freeze goes on to say that his bodiless existence is the impetus for his not having contacted Nora and why he has sought to wreak havoc on any and all of those around him. Climbing into his suit, Freeze tells the three doctors they can go. Batman and Batgirl, on the other hand, cannot. Wishing the hero to feel an equivalent loss, Freeze reveals his ruthless plan to annihilate all of Gotham with a Reverse Fusion Bomb. To guarantee that they see the repercussions of such a weapon of mass destruction, Freeze decides to leave Batman (and Batgirl) under the guard of two henchgirls, and orders them to shoot only their legs should they try anything. Not surprisingly, before the helicopter can leave the "hangar", they are disarmed and Batman has launched his grappling hook into the base of the helicopter.
Aboard the flying doom machine, Batman tries to creep up behind Freeze, not realizing that his head is on a mechanical base and can swivel 180 degrees. A fight ensues and Batman is clearly out-muscled, so he has to rely on brains to get himself – and the rest of Gotham – out of this precarious situation. Batman kicks the yoke and the craft rises sharply into the sky, sending Freeze tumbling to the back. Batman steers towards the water, but before he can do much else, Victor hoists him into the air. Ingenuity doesn't fail Batman as he launches his grappling hook at the bomb, then attaching the handle to the back of Mr. Freeze, and finally releasing the bomb into the water below. The bomb explodes in the water, creating a tower of ice and a brief flurry of arctic wind. Batgirl radios Batman and asks if everything is all right. Batman confirms mission accomplished and adds that he thinks that will be the end of Mr. Freeze, as he flies the helicopter past the tower of ice which now encases Victor's suit. However, Freeze's head is missing.
- Mr. Freeze's next and final 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 an extended version of the Batman Adventures (Vol 2) #15 script (based on the continuity) shared on the ToonZone message boards explains that the head was acquired by Derek Powers's father.
- Batgirl refers to how Nora Fries was revived, as seen at the end of the feature film Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero.
- After one of Freeze's henchwomen accidentally freezes her foot and is unable to move, Freeze doesn't help her and apathetically leaves her to her fate as he escapes. He showed this exact kind of treatment to his former henchman Johnny, who found himself in the same predicament in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Heart of Ice".
Home video releases
- Batman: The Animated Series, Volume Four (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero (Blu-ray)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (Blu-ray)
- This episode has many placement inconsistencies:
- At the beginning, when the man tells the girls in the parkas they can't be there, he steps towards them, away from the cameraman, but moments later, in another frame, we see him once more back next to the cameraman.
- When Batman leaps at Mr. Freeze on stage, they slide back behind where the painting once was, but when Freeze tosses him, they are in front of the painting's (former) placement.
- When Batgirl stumbles upon the Freeze suit, she and Batman hear the voices and run across the room (about seven running steps), yet when they come out, it's simply a narrow hallway that is barely five people wide.
- When the first shot of the tricentennial celebration is shown, the banner on the stage reads, "GOTHAM TRICINTENNIAL." Later, when Mayor Hill is speaking on the podium, the correct spelling of tricentennial is used.
- Freeze's suit changes in size between shots.
- Doctor Madsen tells Freeze no one would buy a stolen fossil; however, the Ultrasaurus is a skeleton, not a fossil.
- Doctor Madsen seems to have archaeology confused with paleontology.
- 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.
- Cree Summer and Lauren Tom would both appear together on several episodes of Batman Beyond, as Maxine Gibson and Dana Tan, respectively.
- This episode features the first appearance of Jack Ryder.
|Kevin Conroy||Batman/Bruce Wayne|
|Tara Charendoff||Batgirl/Barbara Gordon|
|Michael Ansara||Mr. Freeze|
|Bob Hastings||Commissioner Gordon|
|Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.||Alfred|
|Lloyd Bochner||Mayor Hamilton Hill|
|Mathew Valencia||Tim Drake|
|Jeff Glen Bennett||Jack Ryder|
Museum security (uncredited)
|Tress MacNeille||Dr. Margaret Madsen|
Ice Maiden #1 (uncredited)
Terrified lady (uncredited)
|Ian Patrick Williams||Guiseppe Bianci|
|Cree Summer||Ice Maiden #2|
|Lauren Tom||Ice Maiden #3|
Freeze: Search your hearts for the thing you value most, then despair, for I have come to take it from you.
Bruce: Alfred tells me you failed a civics test.