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Batman 176
"The Ice Crimes of Mr. Zero!"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND (80 Page Giant G #17) "The Ice Crimes of Mr. Zero!" December, 1965

Story: Dave Wood Art: Sheldon Moldoff

(Originally Reviewed On 12/07/01)

Using cold to commit crime, a scientist has managed to avoid being captured by the police, and with The Dynamic Duo hot on his trail, Batman and Robin find themselves frozen in their tracks when they try to crack "The Ice Crimes of Mr. Zero!" On the splash page, Batman and Robin are frozen solid in blocks of ice, with breathing tubes, while elsewhere in the refrigerated room, there is ice furniture for Mr. Zero, and his hired thugs sit on a heated sofa to keep warm!

12 am in Gotham City, where an ice cream truck pulls up in front of the diamond exchange, and far from good humor, Mr. Zero emerges from the back of the truck, and intends to get away with some stolen "ice" by using his heat capsule on the vault! Quick-freezing it with his ice gas, the vault door shatters, while the scientist tells his men that intense heat followed by intense cold causes it to occur! In the night's sky, the fleeing felons see the Bat-Signal, and as The Dynamic Duo arrive on motorized jet-skates, the ice cream truck begins to speed away, while The Caped Crusader sees the refrigerated racketeer in the rear of the truck!

Batman throws the bat-rope to attempt and catch one of Mr. Zero's men on the truck's running board, but Mr. Zero's ice-gun thwarts his plan, as a sheet of ice forms on the street, and both of the Dynamic Duo come to a screeching halt! Fortunately, the bat-rope has caught Mr. Zero's henchman, who is fearful that his boss would put him on "ice", is determined to keep the hideout a secret. Within Mr. Zero's remote mountain hideout, a new man is hired to replace the captured hood who was caught by Batman, and seeing the unusual layout of the residence, complete with frozen couch and heated sofa of pipes for the men, an explanation is forthcoming...

The man now known as Mr. Zero was experimenting with his invention of an ice gun, when the freezing solution he made slipped out of his grasp and he was doused with the solution, himself! In regular temperature, the scientist was unable to breathe, and his two henchmen came in answer to his cries. The next moment found the scientist entering the lab's cold storage unit, where he could breathe freely, while he men have discovered that their boss must now live in a zero temperature environment permanently! In time, he created the air-conditioned costume which would enable him to commit crimes, which also funded his remote, refrigerated mountain hideout!

Mr. Zero announces his plans to freeze the wealth of Gotham City, and the following day, outside of The Gotham City Hotel, deliverymen arrive with a special frozen meat shipment for visiting royalty, and are directed to the storage lockers nearby. The deliverymen are in reality, Mr. Zero's hoods, and while the guards are on duty, Mr. Zero uses his freezing jet to break through and confront the prince and princess, demanding the princess' tiara and diamond pendant! In the Batmobile, The Dynamic Duo overhear a bulletin about the bold, cold crime taking place, and race to the hotel, where they see Mr. Zero about to escape on the terrace!

They arrive in time to see Mr. Zero firing ice-balls at the approaching guards, who take a severe tumble, as The Caped Crusader theorizes that they must have a getaway vehicle nearby. Turning towards them, Mr. Zero fires off a shot, and the bat-ropes are frozen solid, with Batman and Robin attempting to roll with the fall! Sliding down an awning, they watch as Mr. Zero uses his ice gun to create an ice chute for he and his men to slide towards their waiting getaway car! Just as The Dynamic Duo attempt to use the chute, Mr. Zero dissolves it with a heat ray! With their Bat-Copters parked atop a nearby tower, Batman and Robin prepare to follow Mr. Zero's fleeing car...

From the air, they watch as a patrol car closes in behind the fleeing car, but Mr. Zero uses his ice gun to freeze the policecar's motor, causing it to conk out! As the Boy Wonder asks the Caped Crusader if he saw what happened, Batman revs up the throttle, and they fly their copters ahead, where they soon come to a mountain cave, which Robin figures they must be in since they're not on the road, but Batman sees something, and tells The Boy Wonder to veer off, but it's too late, as their propellers are frozen, and they begin to fall into Mr. Zero's lair! The villain exults, for soon, he will have the most valuable trophies in the world, when he's done with The Dynamic Duo!

Seated at their heated couch, the hoods grin from ear to ear, as Mr. Zero, cooled by the refrigeration system, showcases The Dynamic Duo in twin cakes of ice, and now, he is ready for his next cold crime of freezing Gotham City Arena during the international gem show! (Holy Diamond In The Rough! There'll be an ice show, alright!) With the crooks making plans to pull their heist, Batman begins to rock his block of ice, with Robin wonder why he's doing it, especially if Mr. Zero will freeze him again, but The Caped Crusader is convinced that it's their only chance! Steam begins to enter the room, and Robin sees that the pipe connected to the heating gallery, cold and hot air meet, creating steam, which terrifies the frozen felon, who can't find his special suit in the steam! With Batman and Robin now free, The Caped Crusader intends to catch Mr. Zero before he can find his freezegun!

Mr. Zero has reached his icegun, but weakened by the steam, he is left open for a punch to the jaw from Batman! With his gang captured, Mr. Zero is being led out of the ice chamber, frantically explaining to The Dynamic Duo that he can't survive in normal temperature without his air-conditioned suit, and Batman agrees to find it if he needs it, but once they are outside, Mr. Zero finds to his delight that he can breathe normally once again! Batman knows that it must have been the steam treatment which must have changed him back to normal, and now it's time to see if the law can straighten out his criminal mind, so that he can lead a normal life!

This story was adapted on the 1960's Batman series, with George Sanders as Dr. Shivel, aka Mr. Freeze, who was exposed to the freezing solution during a fight with Batman! Sanders made for a fine Mr. Freeze, right down to his smoking jacket, and decent effects with the ice chamber.

As in the story, Batman and Robin are frozen solid after attempting to foil Mr. Freeze's theft of the princess' jewelry, as well as being frozen solid in the cliffhanger episode of part one.

At the end of this story, Mr. Zero planned to execute his master ice crime of "freezing" Gotham Arena during the international gem show! This does occur in the opening of the episode featuring Mr. Freeze, with a cameo by a young Teri Garr, as a startled witness to the crime at the ice rink. The actress now voices the mother of Terry McGinnis, aka Batman Beyond.

In the story, the special air-conditioned suit has a red collar, a yellow-color to it, and a glass-bubble, resembling a cartoon astronaut.

Mr. Zero is unique, as he is cured of his cold condition by the end of the story. It is willing to hypothesize that the events in this story occurred on Earth-2, while on Earth-1, there is a Mr. Freeze rather than a Mr. Zero.

In Alan Brennart's Brave and Bold story, "Interlude On Earth-2", Mr. Zero's ice gun plays a crucial part in the story, as there are references to him, as well as to The Spinner and his giant top, as well as Catwoman's Catplane!

Mr. Zero/Mr. Freeze is one of my favorites, and it's fun to see how The Dynamic Duo manage to outwit the various members of their Rogues Gallery.

Other actors who have played the role of Mr. Freeze include: Otto Preminger, Eli Wallach, Lenny Weinrub (on the Filmation Batman cartoon of the '70s), Ted Knight (on the Filmation Cartoon of the '60s), Michael Ansara (on Batman: The Animated Series, who would have to be my favorite of the various Mr. Freezes), and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Batman And Robin (Holy Terminator, Batman! No wonder the franchise has been frozen solid, as of late!)

This Review is Dedicated To J.K. Carrier

Steve Chung
"The Ice Review of Mr. Zero!"