- "I am beyond emotions. They've been frozen dead in me."
- ―Mr. Freeze[src]
- "It would move me to tears... If I still had tears to shed."
- ―Mr. Freeze[src]
Victor Fries was one of GothCorp's most brilliant scientists and cryogenic researchers. When Fries' wife, Nora Fries, became infected with a deadly disease, he developed a special freezing cell and planned to cryogenically hold her until a cure was found. However, Fries had misappropriated GothCorp money, which left the company in debt, and the experiment was unauthorized. When Fries was interrupted by GothCorp CEO Ferris Boyle, a fight ensued and Fries grabbed a handgun and pointed it at Boyle and his security guards. Fries was then calmly ordered to drop the gun; which reasoned that it was not in his nature to resort to violence and that a possibility may have existed for him to legitimately bankroll Nora's experiment. When Boyle's smooth talk got to Fries as he relaxed and let down his guard, Boyle kicked Fries into a lab table that was full of beakers which then exploded. The resulting explosion smashed Fries into his cryogenic freezing tanks, the accident soaked his entire body with the freezing solution and rendered him unable to survive outside of a sub-zero environment. After he vowed revenge on those who had wronged him, Dr. Victor Fries became "Mr. Freeze" after he created a vacuum tight suit which maintained his body temperature at 50 degrees below zero and tripled his strength as well and built a laser-powered cold gun.
Mr. Freeze was introduced in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Heart of Ice", which won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in an Animated Program. Freeze lead a band of henchmen and made several raids on GothCorp and stole parts for a freezing machine that he wished to build and use in his battle against the company. That lead to Freeze's first confrontation with Batman, whom he defeated easily and trapped in a block of ice. Later on, before another attack on Gothcorp after the machine was complete, Freeze caught Batman in the security room watching an archive video that revealed Freeze's tragic origin: While he worked at Gothcorp, Victor Fries had used illegal funding for an experiment to save his dying wife, Nora, by cryogenically freezing her to preserve her until a cure could be found. At the last moment, however, the ruthless Gothcorp CEO, Ferris Boyle, had broken into the lab with guards, kicked Fries into a batch of chemicals, and left him to die.
Fries survived, but was severely mutated by the substances and was transformed into Mr. Freeze. On a vendetta against Boyle, Freeze trapped Batman, left him at his hideout, confronted Boyle at the Gothcorp Humanitarian of the Year Party, and froze him up to his waist. Batman, however, escaped, confronted Freeze at the party, and fought him one-on-one until he broke Freeze's helmet with a flask of chicken soup. Freeze was defeated, and arrested along with Boyle, as Batman presented evidence of Boyle's crimes to Summer Gleeson. Freeze was remanded to Arkham Asylum, but wore a standard prison uniform as a special cell with ultralow temperatures was made for him.
It should be noted that Batman's sympathies were with Freeze in that episode, especially after he witnessed the accident that spawned Freeze. Batman even tried to reason with Freeze, but was unsuccessful because (as Freeze put it) his emotions had been "frozen dead" within him. However, that was disproven at the end of episode as an imprisoned Freeze was shown crying that he failed in his mission to avenge Nora.
- "I can only beg your forgiveness, and pray you hear me somehow, someplace... someplace where a warm hand waits for mine"
- ―Mr. Freeze[src]
Freeze later appeared in "Deep Freeze", where he was sprung out of prison (against his will) and was taken to an off-shore city that was named Oceana by an android that was owned by theme-park builder, Grant Walker, who was fascinated with Freeze and who needed his technology to condition his body in order to become like Freeze, and for his maniacal plan of a Global Deep Freeze to create a new world for his selected residents of Oceana. Freeze, at first, refused to help Walker, but when Walker showed Freeze that Nora was alive but was still cryogenically frozen, Freeze accepted. Batman and Robin arrived and told Freeze that if he helped Walker freeze Gotham City, then Nora would hate him.
Freeze finally saw the truth, and helped Batman and Robin stop Walker at the last minute. Freeze battled Walker, who was placed in a cryo-suit that was identical to Freeze's, and won by pinning Walker to a wall with his Freeze Gun. Freeze then proceeded to overload Oceana's power-core, which would blow the city to pieces and warned its citizens to flee for their lives. Freeze opted to stay behind and die with Nora, and frozed Robin to stop Batman from following him. Freeze, Nora, and Walker disappeared in the explosion, but the episode's end revealed that they all survived and were temporarily trapped in icebergs.
In Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero, Freeze settled in the Arctic, accompanied only by Nora, an Inuit boy, Kunac, and two polar bears that he adopted. An expedition submarine compromised the integrity of Freeze's cave, which caused ice to smash open Nora's capsule. Enraged by the unaware expedition's unintentional mistake, Freeze froze them all and moved back to Gotham.
There, he enlisted the help of former colleague and ethically-corrupt Dr. Gregory Belson. Belson informed Freeze that Nora's condition required a major organ transplant, and that her blood type was rare. Freeze kidnapped Barbara Gordon after Belson found her to be a matching donor for Nora. The operation was to take place on an abandoned oil rig.
Batman and Robin intervened and the ensuing struggle set the oil rig ablaze. Belson abandoned Freeze, and met his own demise. Freeze suffered a broken leg, and insisted that Batman rescue Nora and Kunac. Batman saved them and Barbara, then went back for Freeze. However, the oil rig's structure was compromised by the surrounding fire and explosions, and Freeze fell into the sea below. His polar bears rescued him, later returned to the Arctic, and walked with a crutch and a cast on his leg. Peering into a scientific post, he caught the news on television than Nora had made a full recovery with the help of research from Wayne Enterprises. With tears of hapiness in his eyes, Freeze limped away into the blizzard.
Freeze returned in The New Batman Adventures episode "Cold Comfort" and his new-found joy was quickly evaporated. Nora had recovered, but believed that Victor was dead, had remarried, and had left Gotham. At the same time, Freeze's own condition worsened, and, by the time the doctors that he had kidnapped were able to stabilize him, Freeze was reduced to a head in a jar that walked on mechanical spider-like legs and who interacted with the outside world in a robotic suit. Faced with no probability of assuming a normal life with Nora, Freeze decided to take out his pain and loss on Gotham by freezing everyone and everything in it. Batman thwarted Freeze, who went missing afterward. The next time that Fries resurfaced was decades later in the Batman Beyond episode, "Meltdown".
In "Meltdown," Freeze's head was in storage at a facility that belonged to Wayne-Powers and was kept alive by having machines that took care of his vital functions and Freeze did not age a minute. Derek Powers, Blight, searched for a cure to his mutation. Dr. Stephanie Lake, a young ambitious researcher, recommended growing a new body for Powers, and transferring his consciousness into the new body. Victor Fries was the test subject.
Fries was thrilled to be able to feel again after the procedure, and decided to turnover a new leaf. Bruce was suspicious of his old foe, and instructed Terry McGinnis (the new Batman), to monitor him. Terry was not so convinced on Bruce's suspicion.
Fries' new-found life was short, however, as he inexplicably relapsed. At Power's instruction, Dr. Lake locked Victor in a chamber and increased the heat to weaken him enough to run a biopsy in order to determine the problem.
Fries managed to escape, however, and returned with a vengeance in a new cryogenic suit, which he had left in cold storage. For both Power's and Lake's treachery, Freeze froze them, despite Lake pleading for mercy. Lake was presumably killed at that point and was encased completely in cold ice and had no visible breathing holes. Freeze then proceeded to destroy the facility. Batman tried to stop him, but Powers, in his Blight guise, broke out of his ice encasing, intervened, and fought them both.
Freeze finally managed to dispatch of Blight and blasted him out of the building, but his suit was damaged by Blight's radiation blast. Batman pleaded with Freeze to escape, but Freeze was determined to go down with the building and said to Batman in a sad and regretful tone: "Believe me... You're the only one who cares..." Freeze then sealed himself off. Batman escaped as the building collapsed and Freeze was presumably killed in the incident.
Terry later admitted to Bruce that he was wrong about Freeze and Bruce replied that they both were.
Batman: The Animated Series revised several smaller Batman villains, but none of them were as successful as Mr. Freeze. Freeze had been introduced in the comics with little depth or detail as one of the many gimmick oriented enemies of Batman. The character was completely altered for the series, which introduced a new sympathetic backstory, his wife, Nora, and a great moral complexity. The character's cold and stoic demeanor coupled with a barely restrained vindictive fury compared him to Batman himself. That version of Freeze was shown to be very popular with fans, and the comics soon resurrected him, as he was previously killed by The Joker and the comics variation of Freeze adopted that backstory for the character. Even the film, Batman & Robin, featured a far less serious interpretation of the character, which included elements of the backstory, such as Nora's demise and the accident which transformed Victor into Mr. Freeze.