If you were a alive in the 90’s, few pop culture icons were as huge as Batman. Between the Live action movies, both good and not so good (I will fight you if you think The Govanator’s performance is anything less than sublime), Batman was everywhere. But, if you were a kid, the thing that really brought it close to home was the show Batman: The Animated Series.

When you’re watching him, he’s also watching you

The success of both of the Tim Burton Batman movies (Michael Keton is still the best batman), the animated series brought the caped crusader right into your very own home. Boasting the stellar voice cast of Kevin Conroy (THE voice of the Batman), Mark Hamill (THE voice of the Joker), and made with a respect cartoons weren’t, and still aren’t, usually made with, the show was a smash hit.

Spanning 85 episodes, 2 spin-off series, being the progenitor of pretty much all of DC’s animated series, 2 movies and winning 4 Emmys, there is no denying the series had a big impact on the Batman mythos. And while it’s quality can’t be understated (you try winning 4 Emmys), one of the greatest things about the show was that it had actual batman continuity. Harley Quinn’s first appearance was in episode “The Joker’s Favor”, Clayface’s story and designed changed in comic continuity to reflect what the show had done with him, which leads us to easily the shining moment of the series: “Heart of Ice.”

Before the episode aired, Mr Freeze was mostly a joke character, like moth man or condiment king (yes, those are really characters). He had a short stint in the 60’s Adam west show and occasional appearances in the comics, but other than that, he was mostly a throwaway villain of the week nobody really cared much about. All of that changed with “Heart of Ice”, the episode that won the series it’s first Emmy, and is widely considered to be not only one of, if not the best episode of Batman, but also one of the best episodes of animated TV ever.

The show completely re-wrote the character’s backstory, turning Mr. Freeze into Victor Fries, a scientist attempting to use cryogenics to save his wife from dying. While working on the cure, the man funding his research, Ferris Boyle, decided to cut that funding and says that all the equipment he’s using is legally his, and that he will be turning is all off immediately, and orders his guards to disconnect the equipment, despite Fries’s horrified objections that Nora will die if they do so. In a panic, Fries seizes one of the guard’s guns and orders them to stay back. Scared, Boyle attempts to reason with Fries. Fries lowers the gun… and then Boyle kicks him in the chest, sending him crashing back onto a table of chemicals, which fill the room with vapor. As Boyle and his guards flee the room, Fries drags a hand over his wife’s tank, calling her name.

A reminder: this was a kid’s show

Understandably pissed and looking for revenge, all the while desperately trying to save his wife, the character is no longer they typical villain of the week character, but one with actual depth and is now genuinely sympathetic. Instead of being evil, he was a man desperate to save the only thing he ever really cared about. That’s all he wants, and now, this is the character’s backstory in pretty much every medium. This episode is almost 30 years old, and only got a actual ending to this story arc with the video game “Arkham Knight” in probably what is one of the most fantastic missions in the Akrham game series.

Spoilers for the ending of the mission, but it’s too good not to post

Everything he does, be it not so bad to absolutely terrible was in pursuit of saving his wife. And yeah we can debate the moral issues of his decisions till the ice caps melt, but at his core, he’s just a desperate man who’s just be just beaten down by life and so many people in it. And he has a chance to save the one thing in his life that he loves more than anything. Can you really say you wouldn’t too?

again: A CHILDREN’S SHOW

Posted by Austin Hamblen, Owner and Main writer of Endlessmonkey.com

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