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Victor Fries was one of GothCorp's most brilliant scientists and cryogenic researchers. When his 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 been misappropriating GothCorp money, leaving the company in debt, and the experiment unauthorized. When he was interrupted by GothCorp CEO Ferris Boyle, a fight ensued and Fries grabbed a handgun, pointing it at Boyle and his security guards. Fries was then calmly ordered to drop the gun; reasoning that it is not his nature to resort to violence and that a possibility may exist for him to legitimately bankroll Nora's experiment. When Boyle's smooth talk got to Fries as he relaxed and let down his guard, the deceitful CEO kicked the scientist into a lab table full of beakers which exploded. The resulting explosion smashed Fries into his cryogenic freezing tanks and the accident soaked his entire body with the freezing solution and rendered him unable to survive outside of a sub-zero environment. Vowed revenge on those who had wronged him, he became known as "Mr. Freeze" after creating a vacuum tight suit which maintained his body temperature at 50 degrees below zero and tripled his strength as well as building a laser-powered cold gun.

Driven by hatred over the destruction of his life and maddened by his condition, Mr. Freeze sought revenge on Ferris Boyle. He first attacked Boyle and GothCorp, and though his plan was stopped by Batman, who managed to capture one of Mr. Freeze's underlings. Freeze intended to kill Boyle in revenge at a party where the GothCorp CEO was due to earn the "Gotham Humanitarian of the Year" award, but Batman foiled it on account of Freeze putting innocent civilians in danger in his quest for vengeance. Freeze managed to trap Boyle in an ice cake up to his waist when Batman tackled him and the fight ensued. However, Batman had defeated Freeze using a vial of chicken soup at the spur of the moment to crack Freeze's helmet, thus raising his body temperature and rendering him unconscious. Batman handed over the video security footage to the Gotham Police; presenting evidence that led to Boyle's arrest for his misdeeds. Fries was also arrested and placed into a sub-zero holding cell in Arkham Asylum. Unsuited, Freeze wore a prison uniform and holding a snowglobe of a ballerina which resembled Nora and crying to himself that he failed to save her but hopes she is living peacefully in Heaven.

Sometime later, entrepreneur and businessman Grant Walker discovered Nora Fries's frozen (but living) body and used her as a bargaining chip to gain what Mr. Freeze had always seen as a curse: immortality. Freeze transformed Walker's cell structure to a frozen prison similar to his own. Upon completion, Freeze betrayed Walker and destroyed the "Utopian" society he'd been building. Freeze then secluded himself in a self-made ice block, floating to colder waters until he finally settled in the Arctic. He stayed there with Nora, continuing to look for a cure.

Unfortunately, an exploration crew inadvertently crashed into Mr. Freeze's home. Nora's containment cell was destroyed and her deadly disease progressed into its fatal stages. After freezing the entire crew of the sub, Freeze headed to Gotham City with Nora, his surrogate son Koonak and his two polar bears Notchka and Shaka, to enlist the aid of head cryogenic researcher Gregory Belson, who had worked with Freeze prior to his accident. Though he was hesitant, Belson was eventually "persuaded" to aid Freeze. Together they found a way to cure Nora's disease, but it required an organ transplant. With no deceased donors available, they were forced to pursue a live one. The "donor" they chose was Barbara Gordon and they proceeded to kidnap her. However, Batman and Robin managed to interrupt the operation before it took take place; the battle that ensued caused Freeze's lair to explode. Batman, Robin and Barbara were able to evacuate Nora and Koonak in time, but Freeze had fallen into the fiery blast and was assumed dead. Some time later, Freeze watches a news report through a window and hears that his wife is alive and well thanks to his efforts. He shed a tear in happiness and wandered off into the Arctic with his two bears.

In Gotham, Nora Fries waited patiently for Victor Fries to return, but received no form of contact from her husband. Unbeknownst to anyone, the effects of the accident that had made him "immortal" was causing his body to deteriorate. By the time he was able to kidnap doctors to halt the deterioration's progress, only his head remained intact. He used robotic spider-like legs attached to his head's capsule to maneuver around and a larger body shell when needed. Resigned that he would never again be united with his beloved wife, a new layer of ice froze over Mr. Freeze's heart. Having lost that which was most precious to him, he resolved to stamp out warmth wherever it glowed. With a newer, more powerful robot body and a chillingly sardonic personality, Freeze lost his obsession over his wife and instead concentrated on bringing misery to the people of Gotham and its protector Batman. With a group of "Ice Maidens" armed with ice guns based on his own designs, he launched a series of attacks on Gotham City, seeking out that which renowned individuals valued most and destroying them. Despite a few encounters with Batman, Freeze succeeded in ruining many dreams and bringing terror to Gotham City, even attacking Wayne Manor and freezing Alfred Pennyworth. This, however, was only a prelude to Mr. Freeze's ultimate blow against the Caped Crusader: using a "reverse fusion bomb", he hoped to leave all of Gotham City frozen solid, thereby destroying Batman's hope. Fortunately for Gotham, Batman and Batgirl stopped the plan, with the former flying Freeze's bomber plane over the ocean before dropping the bomb with its maker attached to it. The blast created an enormous pillar of ice in the water, with Freeze's suit trapped within - however, the icy villain had managed to escape.

For forty years, Victor Fries's disembodied head somehow ended up in storage at Wayne-Powers until Derek Powers and Stephanie Lake transferred his consciousness to a new clone body built from his baseline DNA (as a test of an adequate subject who had systemically damaged DNA for Powers as Fries also had systemically damaged DNA like Powers). At first, the process seemed to work for Fries. While Fries and Lake visited the burial for his original body's disease-ridden head, an assassin attempted to kill him out of vengeance for his own murdered family that Mr. Freeze killed years ago but was thwarted by Batman II. Much to the new Dark Knight's surprise, Fries let the assassin go and promised to show he was a changed man. To that end, Fries used an interview to announce that he established a foundation to make amends to Gotham. After his interview, Fries's clone body started showing signs of reverting to his original body's previous low-temperature state. As a result, Powers and Lake opted to terminate the experiment by turning up the temperature drastically in Fries's sealed cubicle. When Fries realized what had happened, he escaped. Using a suit he had in "cold storage", Fries returned to exact revenge on Powers and Lake. After a confrontation with Batman II and Blight, Fries's last act was to delay the compound's collapse long enough for the new Batman to escape the destruction while he remained at its heart and was assumed dead when the building exploded.


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