DCAU #272: Meltdown

IN THIS ONE... Derek Powers resurrects Mr. Freeze.

Written by Hilary J. Bader and Alan Burnett; directed by Curt Geda.

REVIEW: Neo Gotham has a winter, cool (what is Dr. Lake talking about when she mentions a heat wave then?), as this provides some nice atmospherics, and heralds one chronologically last animated series appearance for Mr. Freeze. He's still just a Mignola-drawn head, but then Derek Powers lets Dr. Stephanie Lake clone Victor Fries to give him a new lease on life, because Powers himself is kind of reverse Freeze who might need the same.

It's rather unfortunate that Bruce Wayne mistrusts Fries the way he does, because we remember the early Freeze, before he completely lost his humanity. He's wasn't evil, just desperate and emotionally oblivious. Thawed, there's every reason to believe he can be redeemed. It's Lake who's the cold one, watching Fries heat stroke himself to death under glass, waiting for him to pass out so she can do a biopsy on his organs. Perhaps his reversion to a cold state would have precipitated another crime wave, but his treatment at the hands of Powers and Lake certainly does so. His new armor gives his face a skeletal look, the better to mirror Powers' "Blight" form (here named for the first time), and his powers are certainly increased. Note that he only kills or tries to kill the ones responsible for attacking him, only immobilizing others, but I guess Lake bites it. In the end, Freeze is buried again while saving Batman's life, and he never does come out of the rubble, at least not in the canon. So much for giving him a new lease on life.

A few other notes... Batman doesn't connect Powers and Blight, so he becomes a villain with a secret identity. Interesting (whether you believe Batman is a little dense for not noting the identical fashions or not). The one thing they got wrong about the future is phones. The cordless land line in an earlier episode and here the "flip phone" are quite dated. And Bruce Wayne keeps getting the best lines, in this case, when Terry says of Freeze "he's just a guy trying to put his house in order", he retorts "It's a cold draft that blows through that house."

SOUNDS LIKE: Linda Hamilton (Terminator's original Sarah Connor) plays Dr. Stephanie Lake.

- I'm happy to see an old villain return in this case, but it perhaps proves there wasn't much more to do with Mr. Freeze.


American Hawkman said...

In an interview, Timm mentioned his original plan was to have an earlier episode include Bruce opening his refrigerator, and Freeze's head be inside screaming about how he'd turn Wayne's bones to ice before Bruce calmly closed the door. Great joke, but this episode certainly was worth losing it.

Anonymous said...

I was much more taken with this episode; Victor Fries talking to his would-be assassin was worth the price of admission. And Bruce and Terry's discussion at the end -- how they were both right -- puts a proper cap on Mr. Freeze.

But I dare anyone to care about Blight, or the Jokers, or Inque as much as they do about Victor Fries. There's simply much more to him.

So in the nu52, it was retconned that there was no Nora Fries, just Victor's delusions about some woman. I have mixed feelings about that. I don't like it, at all; but on the other hand it was increasingly difficult to reconcile a wounded and grieving Victor Fries with a Mr. Freeze who so wantonly killed (in the comics anyway). So maybe I should be mad at writers who were too eager to make Mr. Freeze a badass killer. I like my villains with some sort of redeeming qualities, and "he's sad, therefore he kills" doesn't qualify. Even if he spared people for no other reason than "it's what Nora would want", that would work for me. (Relatedly, I do like the relatively new idea that Killer Croc takes care of the homeless beneath Gotham's streets; better than him just being a plot point Batman has to electrocute sometimes.)

American Hawkman said...

The Mr. Freeze as crazy person making up his wife is a terrible retcon, but reviving her as a fire monster in the Lazarus Pit before the New52 was also egregiously stupid. I do like the Croc bit myself... Croc now being Roy Harper's AA sponsor was kinda nice too.


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