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Mr. Freeze

Batman: The Animated Series
by yo go re

Damn, that's a cold-ass honky!

We've talked before about the massive change in personality that Mr. Freeze was given for Batman: The Animated Series. He was originally introduced as "Mr. Zero," and was given his more familiar supranym by the producers of the Adam West Batman show. He was a lame joke villain, like the Penny Plunderer or Killer Moth, memorable mainly because he got a Kenner Super Powers figure. He was so pointless, he got killed off by the Joker in 1991! And then came "Heart of Ice."

The first episode directed by Bruce Timm and written by Paul Dini, "Heart of Ice" is one of the finest episodes in the series. It keeps the basic premise of the character - a rogue scientist, doused in cryonic chemicals, now requires sub-zero temperatures to live - but gives him a motivation and a personality quirk to make him into an interesting, sympathetic character. The Animated reinterpretation was so powerful that he was resurrected in the comics in 1993 and given this new origin, and it was also used for Batman & Robin. Okay, so nothing's perfect.

Freeze's original BtAS design was done by Mike Mignola, but this is the later redesign - which manages to be even more Mignola-ish than the original! His face is thin and bony, like a corpse preserved in a glass jar - and who does that sound like? The clear dome helmet is a removable piece, giving you access to the head if you need it.

The redesigned suit is drastically sleek. The original looked like a 1950s spaceman suit, with big puffy rings around the joints and a large circular port on his belt. The new one is so thin, it doesn't even look like there would be room for insulation inside it. The majority of the suit is smooth, black, and featureless, and it's accented with a lighter blue for the boots, gloves, stomach and upper arms. The waist and shoulders are probably meant to look flexible, while the boots and gloves are clearly just heavy and bulky. The paint on the thin black stripes can get a little messy, so you might want to check that before you buy.

Of course, even if you do pick out the one with the best paint, that's no guarantee you'll get to keep it. Remember, this line has notoriously bad quality control, and while Mr. Freeze is nowhere near as bad as Catwoman (where you had an approximately 298% chance of getting one with a broken right elbow), he's still behind a lot of reports of breakage. The first Freeze I got had to be replaced, but the second managed to come out of the packaging without snapping. He's got 26 points of articulation: swivel/hinge ankles, swivel boots, hinged knees, H-crotch, a swivel torso, hinged hands, swivel wrists, swivel/hinge elbows and shoulders, and a balljointed head. Honestly, that's more than Mr. Freeze needs, but it's not unwelcome.

To help keep Freeze standing (if you do decide to use all that articulation to put him into some kind of crazy-dynamic battle pose), he comes with a doll stand to help keep him upright. He needs it a little bit less than the other figures in Series 1, thanks to his giant boots, but just like the articulation, better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. The base is printed with the model sheet turnarounds of the character (thus allowing you to easily identify which base goes with which toy), and the clear plastic arm not only moves up and down on the post, the clamp is also designed to be positioned as far forward or back as you like. It's hard to find a spot around his torso where the clamp really holds firmly, though, since he's wider than he is thick. [Phrasing! --ed.]

Mr. Freeze really only has one accessory: his freeze gun. It's simple and blocky, and it's really a shame he doesn't come with a translucent blue ice blast to come off it. You do get your choice of six hands, though: fists, relaxed, or holding/triggering. They pull out at the wrist, naturally, and are easy to swap in.

The reason DCD went with this version of Mr. Freeze instead of the original design is that this one has more playability. In the Season 4 episode "Cold Comfort," it was revealed that Victor Fries' body was dying, so he was reduced to nothing more than a head in a jar - the rest was all robot. So to get around sans robo-suit, he had four robotic spider-legs that came out of his neck. You can remove the head from this figure, and plug in four legs via balljoint. Monkey Boy got some stress marks putting the legs into his Freeze, so be careful with that. Of course, he hasn't had any other breakages, so everybody shake your fist at him in anger.

Mr. Freeze owes the entirety of any popularity he may have to Batman: the Animated Series, so the fact that he got an action figure in Series one of DC Direct's toyline is appropriate. As always, watch out for weak joints, but this is a good release.

-- 03/11/15

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