DC Animated Universe

"Heart of Ice" is the third episode of Batman: The Animated Series. It was the fourteenth in production order.


Freeze makes a vow

Mr. Freeze reminisces over his wife, and makes her a promise.

As a ballerina effigy dances in her glass dome, a strange, armored man talks to the small dancer, promising a "best served cold" revenge against the "monster" for taking her from him.

Later on, Summer Gleeson gives a report on a series of mysterious heists pulled at various offices of GothCorp, all with the same M.O.: a "freeze gun" that creates a cold wave capable of generating thick sheets of ice and snow, according to eyewitnesses. Ferris Boyle, GothCorp's CEO, says he doesn't know what the mysterious perpetrator has against GothCorp, but hopes any differences can be patched up.

Batman inspects stolen tech

Batman investigates the connection between the robberies.

In the Batcave, Batman examines a list of the stolen devices, and finds that, when combined, they form a larger version of the freeze gun, large enough to become a fully-operational freezing cannon to the extent of being a city-wide threat. However, the machine is still missing one more component, meaning Batman knows where the thieves will strike next.

Batman frozen

Batman gets frozen.

That night, an armored vehicle attacks the GothCorp installation in question. When the Batmobile arrives, a freeze ray from the van creates a sheet of ice that causes the car to spin out of control and crash. Batman exits the car and engages the thieves. Their ringleader appears, a man in a strange suit of armor calling himself Mr. Freeze. He fires his freeze gun at Batman but misses and accidentally hits one of his own men in the legs, before managing to freeze Batman. Freeze orders his men to leave his comrade behind, and they escape. Batman manages to shatter the ice on himself and is forced to take care of the thug, who is dying of hypothermia, rather than pursue Freeze.

After using a special bath to revive the man and melt the ice sheet on his legs, Batman, who has himself developed a cold from the encounter, visits Gothcorp as Bruce Wayne, hoping to learn who might have a grudge against it. Boyle says the only person he can think of is dead: a former research scientist who used the company's funding for his own benefit and who apparently died in a laboratory accident. When Bruce expresses mild surprise, Boyle states that when employees get out of line, it's time to "pull the plug" so to speak, and admits that his "People's Company" speeches are just an act he puts on for the sake of Public Relations. As Bruce is leaving, Boyle comments that he is to be presented with a humanitarian award.

Freeze's tragedy

The tragic accident is disclosed.

Posing as a security guard, Batman sneaks into Gothcorp's offices and finds a security camera tape with footage of the accident: on it, a man named Victor Fries records that he has put his wife, Nora, into cryogenic stasis after she became terminally ill, to give himself time to research a cure. Suddenly, Boyle and a pair of security guards burst in. Victor protests this intrusion, but Boyle says that Fries's funding has been cut and he is using company equipment without authorization. He orders his guards to disconnect the equipment, despite Fries's horrified objections that Nora will die if they do so, but Boyle couldn't care less. In a panic, Fries seizes one of the security guard's guns and orders them to stay back. Scared, Boyle attempts to reason with Fries. Fries lowers the gun...and then Boyle kicks him in the chest, sending him crashing back onto a table of chemicals, which fill the room with vapor. As Boyle and his guards flee the room, Fries drags a hand over his wife's tank, calling her name as they are both cryogenically frozen.

Watching this, Batman can only mutter "My God!", when Fries, now Mr. Freeze, appears behind him and tells him "It would move me to tears IF I still had tears to shed." and blasts him with his cold gun.

Batman captured

Freeze takes Batman prisoner.

Batman is kept prisoner in Freeze's hideout, partially frozen and without his utility belt. Freeze's men have finished assembling the giant cold gun, with which Freeze plans to attack Boyle's award ceremony. Freeze explains his suit: after the accident, he is incapable of living outside of a sub-zero environment, which the suit maintains. Batman tries to reason with Freeze, but he refuses to let the man who ruined his life and effectively murdered his wife go unpunished.

Freeze in reach of revenge

"How I've longed to see that look frozen on you".

After Freeze leaves, Batman manages to free himself. At the building, Freeze's cannon opens fire, covering the lower part of the building in ice. Freeze tells his men to go on firing until the entire building is covered, but Batman arrives and barely stops the cannon. Unwilling to admit defeat, Freeze smashes a fire hydrant and uses his gun to convert the fountain of spraying water into a column of ice that lifts him to the top floor of the building. Smashing his way into the awards ceremony, Freeze confronts Boyle and begins freezing him slowly from the legs up. He has just reached Boyle's waist when Batman arrives and distracts him. However, Freeze reveals that his suit's circuitry also triples his strength, and Batman is outmatched.

As Freeze holds Batman aloft, helpless, Batman remembers he is carrying the thermos of hot chicken soup that Alfred gave him for his cold. He dumps the soup onto Freeze's helmet, and the temperature difference causes the helmet to crack and shatter, letting the room-temperature air into Freeze's suit and subduing him.

Freeze's sorrow

Freeze grieves for not living up to his promise.

Freeze laments that he has been denied his vengeance, but Batman instead explains justice will be dealt instead: he tells everyone what Boyle did and gives Summer Gleason the videotape of Fries's accident, then bids Boyle a sarcastic "Good night...humanitarian'" out of disgust and leaves without freeing him from the ice. In Arkham, Freeze laments above the same ballerina effigy and asks Nora to forgive him for failing to avenge her, while Batman sympathetically watches from an adjacent rooftop.


Background information[]

Home video releases[]

Production notes[]

  • According to Alan Burnett, this story came together as part of a plea for Paul Dini to stay on the show, as the latter had wanted to leave Warner Bros. and make a career move. Burnett had implored Dini to stay and asked him to write an outline for a story that Dini wanted to tell, which ended up being this episode.[1]
  • The re-vamped take on Mister Freeze was the result of early development talks between Eric Radomski, Bruce Timm, and Paul Dini. Timm came up with the idea that Fries barely escaped dying during a cryo-experiment yet considers himself dead anyway, with no fear of death and no emotions.[2]
  • According to Eric Radomski, Bruce Timm directed this episode as a result of the network not wanting to pay for an extra director, leading to the two splitting seven episodes that weren't previously assigned to anyone, and adding them to their normal workloads.[3] When discussing the directorial process, Timm would note "I took anyone who had two days available, using people from other crews that had down time. They did a very good job and I didn't have to change a whole lot."[2]
  • According to Bruce Timm, there was difficulty getting Michael Ansara to play Mr. Freeze "flat" at first. "It was really frustrating for him. He kept giving these line reads with all this inflection in them. I kept telling him it had to be less, a lot less, like a robot. He kept saying it sounded so flat. Everybody else was looking at me too, and was asking me if I was sure. To them it sounded flat. I think it really sells it. I wanted his voice to sound like the Ebonites in that old Outer Limits episode "Nightmare". They sound real metallic and hollow."[2]
  • The original idea for the flashback video was to have Freeze cling to Nora's cryogenic tank and realize in horror that his hair, now frozen, is breaking off in chunks. Paul Dini stated that he wanted to do this in pre-production, but they were over airtime and cut it out.
  • The planned ending was to have a weeping Freeze in his cell, with his tears freezing and turning into snowflakes.[4]This would later be done in the 1997 film Batman & Robin.

Production inconsistencies[]

  • The henchman that Mr. Freeze froze was wearing shoes. However, when Batman thaws his legs, his shoes are gone.
  • When Batman is posing as a security guard, he reaches into his utility belt to pull out a key card. As he does so, the card is not visible, but in the next frame, it suddenly appears.
  • Twice in this episode Batman's chest logo colors are reversed. In the commentary, Paul Dini and Bruce Timm joked that this was deliberate, a subtle nod to past cartoons with their usual animation errors.
  • The security footage of Fries' confrontation with Boyle and subsequent accident is taken from several different angles, including a close-up of Boyle's angry face, yet there are no security cameras anywhere near the required positions. This is also noted by the creators in the DVD commentary.


  • This is the first episode of the series directed by Bruce Timm, as well as the first one written by Paul Dini.
  • The plot of this episode was largely used for Freeze's revised origin in the 1997 graphic novel Batman: Mr. Freeze, also written by Dini.
  • In February 2002, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Batman: The Animated Series, polls were held at the website The World's Finest to determine the best episode of the show. "Heart of Ice" was the winner and so received its own sub-site, complete with exclusive comments on the episode provided by Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, and other officials behind the show. [1]
  • In 2005, Wizard Magazine selected this episode as the best of the series.
  • This episode provided such a burst in the popularity of Mr. Freeze that his comics' counterpart has his origins retconned to more closely resemble this episode.
  • Ferris Boyle was Mark Hamill's first-ever voice role for Batman: The Animated Series (and thus, for the DCAU). He based his portrayal as an homage to the late Phil Hartman. He had originally been eager to play a lesser profile villain from Batman's rogue's gallery, and Hamill's performance as the slimy Boyle impressed the producers of the series. When the decision was made to recast Tim Curry as the Joker, Hamill was asked if he would like to audition for the role, and got the part.
  • Spectrum Animation Studios, who created this episode, added the hint of frost around Freeze's helmet, giving it a sense of realism. Bruce Timm wanted a thin white line around his head, implying it was a helmet, but he admitted he was impressed with the final product.
  • This episode contains two possible references to the film Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back:
    • Batman trapped upside down in a cold cave is similar to what happened to Luke Skywalker early in the movie.
    • Batman returns a criminal partially frozen by Mr. Freeze to health using a similar device to the "bacta tank" that revives Luke.
  • Ferris Boyle does not appear again in the animated series. He does appear in deleted material meant for issues of the comic book, Batman: Gotham Adventures, in which he is killed by a robotic doppelganger of Mr. Freeze made by Nora Fries's new husband to frame Victor Fries.
  • Alfred's line "With all the compartments on your belt, you'd think there'd be one for tissues" is a reference to the 1960s Batman series with his Bat-Belt containing every possible tool to help him in various situations.
  • Batman's uttering of "My God!" after watching the tape was unusual at the time, as BS&P generally considered any mention of religion or any expletive unpassable. Bruce Timm mentioned on the commentary for the episode that he considers it strange they never caught it, and this was cut from showings in Toon Disney (now Disney XD). Later on, this phrase and other similar ones would be used several times in the series, and it eventually became fairly common in the DCAU (List of "God" utterances in the DCAU).
  • This episode inspired a story-based campaign for Batman: Arkham Origins, titled "Cold, Cold Heart". Set a week after the events of the main game, on New Year's Eve, the narrative focuses on the origin of Mr. Freeze, who attacks when Ferris Boyle is presented with a "Humanitarian of the Year" award.


Actor Role
Kevin Conroy Bruce Wayne/Batman
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. Alfred
Michael Ansara Victor Fries/Mr. Freeze
Mari Devon Summer Gleeson
Mark Hamill Ferris Boyle
Michael Bell Additional voices
Robert David Hall Additional voices
John Mariano Additional voices

Uncredited appearances[]


Freeze: This is how I'll always remember you. Surrounded by winter. Forever young. Forever beautiful. Rest well, my love. The monster who took you from me will soon learn that revenge is a dish best served cold.

Batman: Freeze!
Freeze: That's Mr. Freeze to you.

Alfred: With all the compartments on your belt, you'd think there'd be one for tissues.

Freeze: "Humanity". "Compassion". "Charity". Where were those pretty words when she needed to hear them?

Alfred: If you're going to go sneaking around a crowded office building you'll need this.
Batman: Knockout gas?
Alfred: Chicken soup, the only way to fight a cold.

Batman: My God!
Freeze: Yes. It would move me to tears, if I still had tears to shed.

Freeze: The snow is beautiful, don't you think? Clean, uncompromising...
Batman: And cold.
Freeze: Like the swift hand of vengeance.

Batman: I saw what happened to your wife. I'm sorry.
Freeze: I am beyond emotions. They've been frozen dead in me.

Batman: That suit you wear... a result of the coolant?
Freeze: Very good. A detective to the last. I can no longer survive out of a sub-zero environment. Tonight I mean to pay back the man who ruined my life. Our lives.
Batman: Even if you have to kill everyone in the building to it?
Freeze: Think of it, Batman. To never again walk on a summer's day with the hot wind in your face, and a warm hand to hold. Oh, yes. I'd kill for that.

Boyle: Stop... please... I... beg you!
Freeze: You... beg? In my nightmares, I see my Nora from behind the glass, begging to me with frozen eyes. How I've longed to see that look frozen on you!

Freeze: It can't end this way. Vengeance...
Batman: No. Justice. A year ago, Ferris Boyle interrupted an experiment, and in the process destroyed two lives. Here's the evidence. (To the half-frozen Boyle) Good night... "humanitarian."

Freeze: I failed you. I wish there were another way for me to say it, but I cannot. I can only beg your forgiveness, and pray you hear me somehow, someplace... someplace where a warm hand waits for mine.


  1. Batman The Animated Series: The Heart of Batman Documentary (2018)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Episode Guide" - Cinefantastique Vol. 24 #6/Vol. 25 #1 (February 1994)
  3. "Knight Vision: That Master of Dark Deco, Eric Radomski, Looks Behind the Mask of the Animated Batman" by Bob Miller - Comics Scene #43 (June 1993)
  4. "The Joker's Keeper" by Bob Miller - Comics Scene Magazine #31 (February 1993)