Nora Fries was the beloved wife of scientist Victor Fries, who through a tragic set of circumstances inspired his transformation into the villain Mr. Freeze.
Nora married Victor Fries, and by Victor's fond recollection of her it appears the relationship was a happy one. At some point after their marriage, Nora was diagnosed with a terminal and incurable disease. Unwilling to let her die, Victor placed her in cryonic stasis until a cure could be found, illicitly using equipment and funds from his employer, GothCorp.
The tragedy struck when Victor's uncaring boss, Ferris Boyle, stormed into the lab and demanded that the unauthorized "experiment" be halted when it was putting him debt. He appeared not to understand, or care, that disconnecting Nora's tube would kill her. In desperation, Victor seized a gun from one of Boyle's security guards, leading to a brawl that sent Victor crashing into a tube of cryonic chemicals, which enveloped the entire lab. Victor's body chemistry was altered, making him incapable of surviving except in a sub-zero environment. Believing Nora dead, and vengeful over his own condition, Victor adopted the alias "Mr. Freeze" and went on a rampage against Gothcorp, intent on killing Boyle. He was narrowly stopped by the Batman.
Unknown to him, Nora's tube had been salvaged and preserved by agents of Grant Walker, a major investor in Gothcorp. Walker became interested in Freeze's work and kept Nora safe, knowing that with her he could make Freeze do whatever he wanted. Some time later, Walker broke Freeze out of prison and asked him to re-create the accident, so he could likewise become "frozen", and therefore slow his aging enough to be practically immortal. Freeze refused at first, but when he saw that Nora was alive, and still in stasis, he agreed. Walker claimed to have the means to "restore" her, though whether this meant simply bringing her out of stasis, or curing her disease (or whether he was being truthful or not) is unknown.
After Walker had been "frozen", he planned to annihilate the rest of Gotham City, and ultimately the world, with a cannon-sized version of Freeze's cold gun. Freeze pretended not to care, since nothing mattered to him except having Nora back. But ultimately, it was his love for her that led him to aid Batman and stop Walker—realizing that she could never love a man who would let innocent people die.
In the ensuing fight, Walker's base exploded and began to sink into the ocean. Batman and Robin evacuated, but Freeze refused to abandon Nora. He stayed at the side of her capsule while the entire complex submerged. By a lucky chance, both of them were preserved inside a small air pocket inside a floating chunk of ice.
The current carried the ice to the polar regions, where Freeze built a laboratory and continued his research into a cure for Nora's condition. He concluded that only an organ transplant would suffice, and since there were no (deceased) donors available, he decided to use a live one. Due to Nora's rare blood type, the list of suitable donors was short and it was best to use someone with roughly the same weight and height so he kidnapped Barbara Gordon and held her on an oil platform until Nora was stabilized for the operation. Batman stopped Freeze's plan, and managed to save Barbara and Nora (and Koonak, a young boy Victor had helping him) before the oil platform blew up. Wayne Enterprises managed to finally cure Nora and release her from stasis.
Unfortunately, Freeze's frozen state had started to take its toll. His body deteriorated until only his head remained (thanks to a few doctors he had kidnapped). No longer a human, Freeze could not reunite with his wife. Eventually Nora gave up on waiting for him, married her doctor, and left Gotham for good. After going through so much to restore her, losing her forever drove Victor completely mad. He embarked on a nihilistic campaign against Gotham City, seeking to make the world feel his pain by targeting and destroying those things its people loved most. He disappeared after his latest fight with Batman.
Nora had one sister, Dora Smithy, who blamed Victor for keeping Nora in a half-alive state of stasis, which Dora believed unnatural. Dora adopted weaponry similar to Mr. Freeze's and went on her own rampage.
Several years into the future, Nora had passed on, but Freeze's head was preserved in the vault of Wayne-Powers. Freeze became the test subject for an experimental process to transfer a person's mind into a healthy cloned body. Seemingly restored to normal at last, Victor Fries tried to atone for his past crimes by establishing a charitable foundation in Nora's name for the families of his victims. But he never got to build it as his DNA reverted, making him Mr. Freeze again.
Though she had no speaking appearances in the DCAU, Nora was the linchpin of the character revamp that transformed Mr. Freeze from a clownish mad scientist into a deeply tragic character.
Nora's only "live" appearance in the DCAU continuity is in issues of the comic book Batman: Gotham Knights taking place after the events of "Cold Comfort". After her remarriage, her new husband, Francis D'Anjou, becomes frustrated at her continuing affection for the "monster" Victor has become, and so sets up an elaborate scheme to frame Victor for a series of crimes and "prove" to Nora that he is irredeemable. He creates a robotic imposter of Fries, who stalks and kills both Ferris Boyle and Grant Walker, before being exposed as a fraud. At the end of the debacle, Freeze is presumed killed after disappearing under an ice sheet after a brief reunion with his wife, in which they both proclaim they still love each other. Freeze's head is found locked away in a vault at Powers Technology, and Nora never sees him again, but their last thoughts in the story are of each other.
In 2017, Bruce Timm brought up in an interview that he wasn't available to work on Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero, and indicated a disagreement with the idea that Nora Fries was brought back to life. However, he didn't address Nora's state in "Heart of Ice" and "Deep Freeze", which predates SubZero. Of the Nora Fries death retcon, Timm states:
|“||The one story point that always kind of sticks in my craw is that they brought Mr. Freeze's wife back to life. That's something that I never would have done, because in my head, she was dead. She wasn't just like, preserved and on ice... she was dead! So to me bringing her back to life, even though they did it for poignant reasons...it kind of made sense in the story they were telling, but it was -- well, that's kind of like Mr. Freeze's whole thing, is that his wife is dead. He froze emotionally because of it and everything. Well, now, if she's back to life, it's like "Well, now what is he?" So that was weird.||”|
Timm also confirmed Nora's death retcon made "White Christmas", a story featuring Mr. Freeze in The Batman Adventures Holiday Special, non-canon and therefore couldn't be adapted in the "Holiday Knights" episode on The New Batman Adventures.
- "Cold Comfort" (Cameo on a computer)
- "Meltdown" (Mentioned Only)
- "Cold Hands, Cold Heart" (Cameo in picture)
- Conjecture based on the name of her sister, Dora Smithy, although it is somewhat unclear whether or not that is Dora's maiden name.
- Dini, Paul (writer) & Timm, Bruce W. (director) (September 7, 1992). "Heart of Ice". Batman: The Animated Series. Season 1. Episode 3 (airdate). Episode 14 (production). FOX Kids.
- Dini, Paul, Timm, Bruce W. (story) & Dini, Paul (teleplay) & Altieri, Kevin (director) (November 26, 1994). "Deep Freeze". The Adventures of Batman & Robin. Season 3. Episode 10 (airdate). Episode 84 (production). FOX Kids.
- Kirkland, B., Rogel, R. (Producers), & Kirkland, B. (Director). (1998). Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero. United States: Warner Bros. Animation.
- Bader, Hilary J. (writer) & Riba, Dan (director) (October 12, 1997). "Cold Comfort". The New Batman Adventures. Episode 3 (airdate). Episode 3 (production). Season 1. Kids WB!.
- Uncredited writer & Uncredited director (November 19, 2002). "Cold Hands, Cold Heart". Gotham Girls. Season 3. Episode 31 (airdate). Episode 31 (production). WB Network.
- Bader, Hilary J., Burnett, Alan (writers) & Geda, Curt (director) (February 14, 1999). "Meltdown". Batman Beyond. Season 1. Episode 5 (airdate). Episode 7 (production). Kids WB!.