Heart of Ice (Batman: The Animated Series)
|"'Heart of Ice'"|
|Batman: The Animated Series episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Bruce Timm|
|Written by||Paul Dini|
|Original air date||September 7, 1992|
Heart of Ice is the fourteenth episode of the American animated television series Batman: The Animated Series, first aired on September 7, 1992, written by Paul Dini, and directed by Bruce Timm. This episode features the first appearance in the series of Mr. Freeze. In the comics, Freeze first appeared in Batman #121 in February 1959.
Batman follows a strange trail of heists pulled at various GothCorp offices, all by the same man: Mr. Freeze, a strange figure clad in a powerful suit and armed with what seems to be a "freezing gun", a weapon that fires a beam capable of freezing anything into a thick sheet of solid ice. Batman pieces together the stolen items and discovers what the mysterious man is building: a massive cannon capable of casting a magnified ice beam, and that it is complete save for a single vital piece of equipment from GothCorp. Acting rapidly, he arrives at the GothCorp offices to witness the theft led by Mr. Freeze, only to be partially frozen under a sheet of ice after fighting with the thieves; as the perpetrators of the theft escape, they leave behind one of their own, his legs accidentally frozen by the mastermind behind the thefts. Batman chooses to help the man rather than chase Freeze.
After using a special bath to revive the man and melt the ice 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. CEO Ferris Boyle says the only person he can think of is dead: a former research scientist employed by the company whose funding was cut, and who apparently died in a laboratory accident. Later that night, Batman sneaks into the GothCorp security offices and finds a security tape of the accident. On the tape, a cryogenics scientist for GothCorp, Victor Fries, has placed his terminally ill wife Nora in cryogenic stasis until he can find a cure for her condition. Boyle then arrives and callously shuts down the project as it was draining his company's funds, essentially sentencing Nora to death. Fries begs Boyle to stop, but Boyle kicks him into a table of cryonic chemicals. As a horrified Batman watches the tape, Mr. Freeze (revealed to be none other than Fries, unable to live outside of a sub-zero condition) sneaks up behind him and captures him with his cold gun. Batman tries to reason with Freeze, but Freeze pledges to destroy the man who ruined his life.
During a dinner where Boyle is to be presented with a humanitarian prize, Freeze arrives, his cannon completed. He fires the immense weapon at the building, slowly freezing it from bottom to top. After Batman escapes from captivity and attacks the cannon, Mr. Freeze kicks open a fire hydrant and freezes the water with his freezing gun to get to the floor where Boyle is. Once there, he freezes Boyle to the waist before Batman foils his plan, shattering his specialized helmet by dousing it with hot chicken soup (which Alfred had provided for his cold) to induce thermal shock. With Freeze subdued, Batman hands the evidence of Boyle's crimes to Summer Gleeson, so the GothCorp CEO can be exposed a fraud and a murderer. Batman leaves Boyle with a disgusted sneer — "Goodnight... humanitarian."
Freeze is taken to Arkham Asylum and put in a frozen cell designed to hold him. The episode ends with Freeze gazing at a snow globe and begging his beloved Nora's forgiveness, while Batman watches from outside.
This is the first episode of the series directed by Bruce Timm and written by Paul Dini. Timm first thought of Anthony Hopkins and Anthony Zerbe to play Mr. Freeze, but later came up with Michael Ansara to voice the character. Ansara initially clashed with Timm, who wanted Freeze to sound like a robot, without showing any emotion; Ansara said that this would make the character sound too flat. He eventually found the right voice, however.
Batman says "My God!" while watching the tape, which was unusual in a cartoon, as the censors considered any mention of religion or any expletive inappropriate. Timm mentioned on the DVD commentary for the episode that he considers it strange they never caught it. When Toon Disney aired this episode, the network removed the phrase. They also removed Freeze's line, "I'd kill for that."
The planned ending was to have a weeping Freeze in his cell, with his tears freezing and turning into snowflakes. Timm and Dini mentioned that if they could go back and do any episode again, they would do Heart of Ice and would include this.
The police officer in the scene which introduces Mr. Freeze was voiced by Bob Hastings, who voiced Commissioner Gordon. Mark Hamill, who voiced Ferris Boyle here, later made the first of many appearances as the Joker in the DC Animated Universe. He originally got the role of Boyle and offered to play one of the villains. When Tim Curry dropped out of the role of The Joker, Hamill got the part.
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 subsite, complete with exclusive comments on the episode provided by Bruce Timm, Paul Dini and other officials behind the show. In 2005, Wizard Magazine selected this episode as the best of the series.
This episode is widely considered the best individual episode of Batman: The Animated Series. Some fans considered the execution for Heart of Ice to be "nearly flawless," with both comic and animation fans appreciating the revamp of the Mr. Freeze character. This episode provided such a burst in the popularity of the character that his comics' counterpart had his origins retconned to more closely resemble this episode. This brought about his resurrection in the comics and introduced Nora Fries to the comics as well. His origin was also used in the 1997 film Batman & Robin, which featured Mr. Freeze as its primary villain.
The plot and premise of the episode are integrated into Mr. Freeze's origin in the 2011 video game Batman: Arkham City (also written by Paul Dini) - in one of his interview tapes with Hugo Strange, Freeze recounts the events that led him to become a supervillain and the story closely resembles the episode. The 2014 Batman: Arkham Origins DLC campaign "Cold, Cold Heart" incorporated references to Heart of Ice.
- "Heart of Ice interview “The Role of Mr. Freeze In The Animated Universe” page 1 - Re-Shaping The Image of Mr. Freeze". worldsfinestonline.com. Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- "Batman / Superman Awards on Toon Zone". toonzone.net. Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- Batman: The Animated Series: Heart of Ice - TV.com
- "Heart of Ice interview “The Role of Mr. Freeze In The Animated Universe” page 2 - Finding a Voice". worldsfinestonline.com. Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- "Heart of Ice on Toon Zone (see production notes section)". Toon Zone. Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- "Heart of Ice on Batman: Yesterday, Today and Beyond". batmanytb.com. Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- "Bob Hastings Credits". tvguide.com. Retrieved 2008-04-18.
- "Mark Hamill Credits at TV Guide". tvguide.com. Retrieved 2008-04-18.
- "Heart of Ice – A Look Back". worldsfinestonline.com. Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- Batman: The Animated Series at the Internet Movie Database
- The New Batman Adventures at the Internet Movie Database
- The New Batman/Superman Adventures at the Internet Movie Database
- Batman: The Animated Series/The New Batman Adventures at The World's Finest
- Batman: The Animated Series & The New Batman Adventures at Legions Of Gotham
- The Animated Batman
- Batman: The Animated Series Official Website
- The New Batman Adventures Official Website
- The New Batman Superman Adventures Official Website
- Batman: The Animated Series at TV.com
- Batman: Gotham Knights at TV.com
- Batman Animated at BYTB: Batman Yesterday, Today and Beyond