Top 20 villians in Batman's rogues gallery: #20-11
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12. Mr. Freeze
First appearance as Mr. Zero: "Batman" #121 (1959); as Mr. Freeze: "Detective Comics" #373 (1968)
Created by Bob Kane, David Wood and Sheldon Moldoff
Originally known as Mr. Zero, Victor Fries was one of Batman's first super-powered villains. When he first appeared, Mr. Zero was a gimmicky villain who was forced to wear a containment suit to keep his body beneath a certain temperature. This stone cold criminal used a cold gun to make life miserable for Gotham City. He appeared throughout the Silver Age, and while never gaining the cache of the Joker, he carved himself a niche as a persistent foe. Zero went from footnote to legend when the '60s "Batman" TV show changed the villain's name to Mr. Freeze and cast him as a major foe to Adam West and Burt Ward's paunchy crusaders. Freeze was ably played by three separate actors, each bringing their own nuances to the character. George Sanders, Otto Preminger and Eli Wallach each played Freeze in separate two-parters spread throughout the show's three-season run. While his TV and comic book appearances created a lengthy history for Mr. Freeze, it was Bruce Timm and Paul Dini that made him a legend in their 1992 Emmy Award-winning episode of "Batman: The Animated Series" entitled "Heart of Ice." In this episode, Freeze went from a gimmick laden villain to one fraught with nuanced tragedy. Dini and Timm added the element of Freeze's wife Nora, a beautiful woman stuck in a cryogenic sleep that Freeze would destroy all of Gotham to cure. Freeze has changed and endured throughout many different comic eras and remains one of Batman's most persistent and nuanced foes. The villain's legacy even survived Arnold Schwarzenegger's legendarily awful performance in 1997's much maligned "Batman and Robin."