by Jim Harvey
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Down "Deep" with "Freeze"
Timm, however, can comment on the 'Heart of Ice' follow up episode, 'Deep Freeze,' which aired under the The Adventures of Batman & Robin banner. The episode focuses on a madman's plot to build a utopian society, with Freeze playing a major role. In fact, Timm prefers 'Deep Freeze' to 'Heart of Ice.'
"I like the over-the-top Moonraker-ish feel of it," says Timm. "I love all the cockeyed Disney in-jokes, and it looks great. I think I'm too close to 'Heart of Ice' to appreciate it fully and can only see things I should have done better."
'Deep Freeze,' which aired November 26th, 1994, also gave fans a glimpse of Nora Fries, still in cryogenic storage, awaiting her cure. Her capsule had survived the explosion and was put into cold storage by Grant Walker, the villain of 'Deep Freeze.' Little did Dini and Timm realize that this appearance would eventually pave the way for a successful direct-to-video movie a few years later.
The movie, which was produced by Boyd Kirkland and Randy Rogel, was originally supposed to conclude with the cure and redemption of Mr. Freeze. The original ending was bittersweet, with Mr. Freeze being cured by the Wayne Foundation, and able to hold his beloved Nora again, but then being led away to spend the rest of his life in prison.
The original ending packed a tremendous emotional punch, and conveyed a very positive message, but Warner Bros. asked Kirkland and Rogel to revise the ending. The ending was altered so only Nora Fries was cured, and with Victor to live in seclusion.
After Nora was cured in Sub-Zero, there were no definite plans to ever return to her character. Timm thinks that her story-arc was nicely wrapped up in the movie.
"I doubt we would have brought her back," agrees Dini. "I felt Nora worked better as 'the woman in ice,' eternally beautiful, much desired but never attainable. Even when she was brought back to life, Freeze could never have her, and so Nora remained more of an ideal than a person. A symbol of a lost and still-mourned love. That's how she should be, I think."
With Nora cured, Victor Fries fell away from his obsession with his wife. Most people assumed his story arc would end on that note. But he was brought back, more chilling than ever, in 'Cold Comfort.' Obsessed with making people more miserable and deprived of hope than he, Freeze began a reign of terror against Gotham City.
"I remember not being terribly enthusiastic about 'Cold Comfort' at first, though I don't recall the specifics," says Timm. "I guess I felt the story just wasn't quite as good as 'Heart of Ice' and 'Deep Freeze.' But it came out fine in the end. I think Glen Murakami and I came up with the 'walking head' bit, but I'm not sure."
"They certainly took him in a different direction, though not necessarily a bad one," says Dini. "'Heart of Ice' made Freeze into a major player, and while the temptation was to just do that one episode with him, we realized we had to do a few more with him.
"I liked 'Cold Comfort,'" says Dini. "I think I was the one who came up with the idea that Freeze was out to deprive innocent people of whatever they loved. That made him into much more of a villain. It stripped him of whatever sympathy or nobility he had, but it also made him more dangerous and frightening. Not a bad trade-off. I didn't mind using him again as long as we found something other than Nora for him to obsess about. As long as he couldn't have anyone to love, he wanted to deprive others of that, too."