Costume Changes (1959-1995)
Mr. Freeze first appeared as Mr. Zero in BATMAN #121. Clad in a whimsical skin-tight yellow costume with a fishbowl helmet, magenta boots, gloves and a jester collar, he wasn’t as immediately popular as Batman villains like The Joker and the Penguin.
Since he was cured of his affliction at the end of his first appearance, he retired from committing ice crimes, and wouldn’t face Batman again until DETECTIVE COMICS #373 (1968). He wore a green suit with white boots and gloves for that caper, then disappeared again until BATMAN #291 (1977), later appearing in a more thematically appropriate blue-and-white ensemble in BATMAN #308 (1979). In this costume, he returned to Gotham City numerous times to menace the Dark Knight and his allies. He upgraded his apparel into a full suit of armor in the 1980s, and a fearsome super-powered exoskeleton in the 1990s. By this time, his skin had acquired an icy blue hue.
Nora’s Return (BATGIRL vol. 1 issues #69-70, 2005-2006)
Mr. Freeze’s longstanding hope that he might one day reclaim his life with his beloved wife was briefly renewed by Nyssa Raatko, the daughter of Batman’s archenemy Ra’s al Ghul and the sister of Talia al Ghul. Nyssa, then the leader of Ra’s’ League of Assassins, offered to save Nora with the use of a Lazarus Pit, in exchange for Freeze’s help in fashioning a weapon for “The Society” (a.k.a. the Secret Society of Super-Villains) to use against her enemy Batgirl. Freeze agreed to the deal, and Nora was placed in the Pit. She was returned to life, but—as it so often does—the Pit took the sanity of the person using it.
The once-gentle Nora was reborn as a fire-conjuring demon with the same powers over life and death as the Pit itself. Calling herself “Lazara,” she told her husband he was responsible for her tragic fate and tried to kill Freeze. He struck back with his freeze gun, but Nora escaped.
New 52 (2012-2016)
Mr. Freeze’s backstory was again altered in the New 52 universe. This Victor Fries was abandoned as a child by his father, and left to care for his sick mother. To cure her of her suffering, Victor pushed her wheelchair into a hole in the ice atop a frozen lake.
Instead of GothCorp, Victor went to work for Wayne Tower Laboratories and began a project reanimating the frozen dead. When Bruce Wayne returned to Gotham, following the years he spent traveling in preparation for his war on crime, the young billionaire ended the project. Victor, meanwhile, had developed an unhealthy fixation on one of the deceased—Nora Fields. The subject of Fries’ doctoral thesis, this Nora had died in her twenties (in the 1960s) and was the first woman ever to be put into cryogenic suspension. Calling her his “wife,” Fries tried to retain control of her body after Wayne terminated his work. In a scuffle with Wayne, Fries caused a laboratory accident that again ended with him in a subzero suit.
The New 52 Mr. Freeze is also responsible for creating the technology that the villainous Court of Owls used to activate their dormant assassins, the Talons.
Mr. Freeze’s pre-New 52 history was restored when he first battled the Dark Knight in the Rebirth universe, in ALL-STAR BATMAN #6 (2017). An alternate version of Freeze has appeared in DARK NIGHTS: METAL (2017). This Freeze doesn’t require an exo-suit—preferring instead to go bare-chested—and has the power to create giant ice creatures to do his bidding.