B:TAS "Cold Comfort" Talkback (Spoilers)

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Boyd Kirkland

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bat313 said:
Wow!!!!!!!! Theeeeeee Boyd Kirkland !!!!! Are you the real Boyd Kirkland, writter and director of many a batman episode???? Cuase if you are i'm a huge fan and it's an honor that you picked my post to help emphasize how you felt about this episode.
I mean it completey ruined what you guys had done in "SubZero" which was one of the greatest Freeze apearances ever!!!!!!! The character is excellent, and i know to have a super hero you need a super villian, but this guy deserved a break. How can batman live in a world where no villian is ever reformed???? It's dishartening and outrageous. One thing i never liked was that Batman villians are alwasy escaping, killing people, and so on. Freeze was the one great character that could have turned around, and even helped fight crime, that might be pushing it, but it woud have given batman some home that waht he does is not all for nothing. This episode is merely a sad a atempt to bring back a great villian. I mean i love seeing Mr Freeze as much as the next guy, but there is a million batman villians out there, and he if any of them, should have been the one to turn around.
And by the way, Mr Kirkland, of love watching X-men evolution, and think your are one of the best at character development!!!
Thanks, Bat313 :)
Yes, I must confess, it's me. It's always nice to hear that one's work is appreciated! I'll let you in on a little secret: The first draft of the "SubZero" script Randy and I wrote concluded with the cure and redemption of Mr. Freeze, just as you have suggested. I thought it packed a tremendous emotional punch, and conveyed a very positive message. Others at Warner Bros., however, felt otherwise, and we were told to revise it. Hence, it was even more disheartening to me to see the route they chose to take for Mr. Freeze in "Cold Comfort."
 

BeastBoyWonder

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Boyd Kirkland said:
Yes, I must confess, it's me. It's always nice to hear that one's work is appreciated! I'll let you in on a little secret: The first draft of the "SubZero" script Randy and I wrote concluded with the cure and redemption of Mr. Freeze, just as you have suggested. I thought it packed a tremendous emotional punch, and conveyed a very positive message. Others at Warner Bros., however, felt otherwise, and we were told to revise it. Hence, it was even more disheartening to me to see the route they chose to take for Mr. Freeze in "Cold Comfort."
Hey! Before I get to the content of my post, I would just briefly like to say that it is really cool that you post here, and that I also admire much of your work, which includes but is not limited to my favorite television series ever (Batman: The Animated Series) and X-Men Evolution. I think that the way that the X-Men Evolution team handles so many characters on a TV show and still manages to give them unique personality traits in extraordinarily difficult to accomplish, and the show seems to do it nearly flawlessly. It is truly an honor to be able to write a post that you may possibly read.

Anyway, I can completely understand how you would feel cheated by the metaphorical castration that occurs to Mr. Freeze, especially given your personal involvement in the development of the character. One of the biggest reasons that Mr. Freeze is so appealing as a character is that we feel a great deal of sympathy for him, and we are emotionally disturbed every time he gets cheated or screwed because we wish so badly that he is able to redeem himself and return to a normal life with his beloved Nora. Nothing ever seems to go his way, and he is constantly losing to his enemies and being betrayed by his "friends". Its no wonder that he's almost devoid of all emotion, and is a coldhearted, ruthless man who is willing to do anything to attain what he desires. "Heart of Ice" nearly brought me to tears, "Deep Freeze" and "Sub-Zero" also tugged at my heartstrings as well... but just because I'm sympathetic for Mr. Freeze, that doesn't mean that he is without flaws or merely a victim of circumstances.

Mr. Freeze is clearly motivated by overwhelming selfishness and an intense desire for revenge. Time and time again, Mr. Freeze is willing to do anything to revive Nora or extract revenge on his enemies. I have a feeling that what he feels is not truly love, but merely an intense infatuation. These two elements combine in "Cold Comfort" and take Mr. Freeze to the logical next level: What happens when Victor Fries loses Nora? Since she is apparently happily married, you might argue that if he loves her he should be sad, but happy for her at the same time. However, this is not his logic: He essentially feels that because he can't have her, everyone's going to feel his pain. "If I can't have her, nobody can!" is the logic that many people with severe infatuations often employ... its this motivation that drives Mr. Freeze, and the reason for his actions in the episode. Rather than sticking to the same cycle of events, the writers simply took Fries to the next level.

You might argue that Fries doesn't deserve all of the hardship that he has endured, and that his portrayal in TNBA is inconsistant with that of BTAS. However, I feel that Fries has always been driven by his selfish wish to restore his wife at all costs and he exacts revenge on anyone who betrays him or stands in his way, even in BTAS. It was established in "Heart of Ice" that he was determined to take the life of Ferris Boyle, even though he thought that there was no way that he could bring Nora back. It was this desire for revenge that brought him in conflict with Batman and landed him back in jail... sure I felt sorry for him, but what was done had to be done. In "Deep Freeze", he was willing to wipe out large amounts of people despite the fact that he'd be doing the same thing to many people that happened to him. It was only the threat of Nora's reaction to his actions once she was revived that kept Mr. Freeze from going through with it, not any kind of innate goodness or benevolance. In "Sub-Zero", he was willing to kidnap Barbara Gordon and let her die for the sake of reviving his wife, and he only teamed with Batman near the end to keep Nora alive. Mr. Freeze is clearly driven by coldhearted revenge, selfishness, and a lack of empathy for other people. If "Sub-Zero" ended with a completely "happy" ending with Fries being revived and Nora and Fries reunited, many children watching the show might take a "the ends justify the means" message from it. Its Fries's own self-defeating approach to life that causes much of his pain and anguish, and I feel that it would be sending the wrong messages to show that Mr. Freeze's actions are justifiable under any circumstances.
 

bat313

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Boyd Kirkland said:
Yes, I must confess, it's me. It's always nice to hear that one's work is appreciated! I'll let you in on a little secret: The first draft of the "SubZero" script Randy and I wrote concluded with the cure and redemption of Mr. Freeze, just as you have suggested. I thought it packed a tremendous emotional punch, and conveyed a very positive message. Others at Warner Bros., however, felt otherwise, and we were told to revise it. Hence, it was even more disheartening to me to see the route they chose to take for Mr. Freeze in "Cold Comfort."
Wow!! The cure and redemption of Mr. Freeze!!!!!!!! Man i would have loved to see that ending, especially at that time, when i thought this was the last batman animated movie they were gonna make. I have to disagree with Steel in saying that what they did in cold comfort was the next logical step to take with Mr. Freeze. Kirkland’s original ending to "Subzero" isn’t saying that the "ends justify the means" but that there is good in everyone, and everyone can be saved no matter what horrible things they have done in there past. The problem with the TNBA characters is that we do not feel sympathy for them anymore. They are no longer victims of circumstance but monsters out to kill. In BTAS Bruce wanted to help Twoface return to normal, and it seems like in TNBA Bruce has completely given up on his old friend. We no longer see instances where the character shows signs of emotion or regret. Instead we see them whip out a gun, and start blasting at the heroes. In every Freeze episode from BTAS he always showed some form of regret it what he was doing. He did what he did because he thought he had no other choice. Seeing how batman saved his wife from the fire, and how Wayne Enterprises saved Nora, Freeze would realize that not everyone in the world has turned their back on him, and just maybe that batman has been trying to help in all along. But as i said before, it's just a shame the every villain in the Batman series has to become a monster, with no sign of hope or redemption. That is not the message we need to send to children. The idea that their bullies in school will always be bullies no matter what?? Freezes redemption would have shown hope and resolution. In "I am the night" Batman asks himself why does he go out every night and fight crime when the villains keep escaping. He wants to make changes in their lives, and help them. Freeze's redemption would have been great for poor Batman, who only wants his city free of crime.
 

Boyd Kirkland

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Bat313 has it right. Our original ending wasn't completely happy, with Mr. Freeze getting away with his crimes - rather, it was bittersweet, with him being cured by the Wayne Foundation, and able to hold his beloved Nora again, but then being led away to spend the rest of his life in prison (or at least until, in true comic book form, he would someday have a relapse into his frozen self, and escape to once again seek revenge against Batman for putting him there). As Bat 313 pointed out, it was far more poignant for Batman/Bruce Wayne to be constantly seeking for a way to help cure Two-Face/Harvey Dent than to just be intent on beating him up and imprisoning him. That's why I also did not like "Mudslide," because Batman just came off as a mean-spirited jerk intent on killing Clayface rather than curing him. I guess it all boils down to whether you like your drama portrayed in black & white, or shades of grey.
 
M

Mr. Freeze

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That would've been an interesting ending to Sub-Zero. No doubt WB wanted him to stay as his chilly alter-ego in order to cash in on the character whenever they need to. I was't a big fan of "Cold Comfort," myself - finding the head deal to be a bit ridiculous. I did enjoy "Meltdown" mainly becuase it subtley jabbed "Cold Comfort" and brought back Freeze's body, even for a short time.

Thanks for joining us here at these forums, Mr. Kirkland. It's an honor to be conversing with you!
 

Maxie Zeus

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Boyd Kirkland said:
As Bat 313 pointed out, it was far more poignant for Batman/Bruce Wayne to be constantly seeking for a way to help cure Two-Face/Harvey Dent than to just be intent on beating him up and imprisoning him.
Interesting point to make. If this thread doesn't die first -- and I hope it doesn't -- we might split it off into its own topic: Do the stories in TNBA lack the ambiguity and pathos of those in BTAS?

That's why I also did not like "Mudslide," because Batman just came off as a mean-spirited jerk intent on killing Clayface rather than curing him. I guess it all boils down to whether you like your drama portrayed in black & white, or shades of grey.
Oooh! And yet another topic fraught with controversy! I certainly agree with you to a large extent -- I didn't like what Bats did -- and I think "jerk" is a perfect word to describe him at that point. :D But I think there are plenty of "shades of grey" in that ep. In fact, that's the reason I didn't like what Bats did: He was too brusque in dealing with Hagen, given what came before.
 

The Old Maid

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What we need is a Compare and Contrast thread

Steel has a point : Victor Fries once loved his wife, but does he still love her? Did he shift from love to a stalker mentality, and which episode best illustrates his mindset -- "Cold Comfort" or "Meltdown"?

When "Meltdown" aired, a vocal minority of posters growled that that episode was "a cheap ploy" to bring Freeze back. They felt "Cold Comfort" was truer to Freeze in spite of its flaws. It wasn't that they didn't want to see the character again, but that they couldn't imagine him visiting his own grave since this would imply regret and/or gratitude for a second chance. Also, if Nora was alive during "Meltdown" Victor never went looking for her. If she was dead (presumably of old age) he never visited Nora's grave. Actually you could use this omission to reinforce the "stalker" argument -- no one can take her away from him now. He seemed almost content. If anything, he has renewed his claim on Nora by appropriating her name for his Victims' Fund. Very interesting. Especially when you ask, how much evil has he done in her name?

Anyhow, I'm not sure we can explore the ramifications of one episode without exploring the ramifications of the other.
 

James Harvey

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Cartoon Network will air this episode tonight at 1:00am (ET).


Episode #088 - Cold Comfort
Original Airdate - October 11th, 1997.

Mr.Freeze is back and bitter as ever as he plans to release his vengeance on Gotham City. Freeze also has a big surprise for Batman.

Comments?
 
M

Mr. Freeze

Guest
Without a doubt, the Freezettes are the worst thing about this episode. Totally unneeded and a complete waste in every fashion, these three characters (if you can call them that) just take up space. Freeze doesn't need henchmen. Even in this episode, all the girls did was minimal grunt work that Freeze coud've done himself.
 

BeastBoyWonder

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Mr. Freeze said:
Without a doubt, the Freezettes are the worst thing about this episode. Totally unneeded and a complete waste in every fashion, these three characters (if you can call them that) just take up space. Freeze doesn't need henchmen. Even in this episode, all the girls did was minimal grunt work that Freeze coud've done himself.
Actually, I think that the 'Freezettes' are a pretty sick way of emphasizing Fries' current condition... I think a post in this thread also touches on it in a bit more detail.
 
M

Mr. Freeze

Guest
Steel said:
Actually, I think that the 'Freezettes' are a pretty sick way of emphasizing Fries' current condition... I think a post in this thread also touches on it in a bit more detail.
Can you explain that, becuase I don't exactly understand what you're getting at. Freeze is obviously capable of getting around on his own, due to his cybernetic body. He doesn't need help becuase his armor has advanced strenght and he can take quite a fair beating. And I don't think hiring three girl henchmen have anything to do with his situation with Nora. That wouldn't make anysense. He wouldn't just replace her with three women in short winter jackets and boots.
 

BeastBoyWonder

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Mr. Freeze said:
Can you explain that, becuase I don't exactly understand what you're getting at. Freeze is obviously capable of getting around on his own, due to his cybernetic body. He doesn't need help becuase his armor has advanced strenght and he can take quite a fair beating. And I don't think hiring three girl henchmen have anything to do with his situation with Nora. That wouldn't make anysense. He wouldn't just replace her with three women in short winter jackets and boots.
A previous poster captured the meaning much more tactfully and adequately than I ever could, so I'm gonna go ahead and just quote him:

Maxie Zeus said:
Now, what do the nymphets have to do with this? Well, think about it: he's lost his wife and his, um, "equipment." One of the most basic "animal" behaviors -- the sort of thing that links all living things together -- is now completely denied him. So why did the TNBA crew surround him with knockout babes? As a sick joke -- he can't do with them what they're plainly designed for. And, since it's plain he voluntarily recruited them, he is torturing himself. He's lost what is dearest to himself, and he's not going to let himself forget it.
 

The Detective

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This was the first time I saw this episode and I was disapointed. I knew about the just having a head thing so that wasn't a surpise.

Anyway I feel this episode really ruined what BTAS had done so hard to accomplish with Freeze. They had created such a three dimensional character. HEART OF ICE is a BTAS I have yet to see but I have read about it so I'm aware of what they did with Mr. Freeze. They really created a character that you could feel sorry for. That was always the appeal of Mr. Freeze. I thought Subzero was done beatifully and I liked how it ended with Victor looking through that cabin and seeing on TV how Nora was healed. This, I think disputes the stalker idea somewhat. Here he was hurt and a thousands of miles from Nora but he saw on TV that WayneTech had healed her. Then he smiles and walks off into the snowstorm. Such a touching ending really. Then in COLD COMFORT they go and turn him into a one dimensional beserker. True, him wanting others to feel his sorrow seemed somewhat in character for Freeze the whole episode just kind of ruined him.

Oh I concur with everyone else that the Snow Girls he had were completely useless. I understand what Maxie Zues is saying but if Freeze is so devoid of emotion now why would he even care about er you know. The Snow Girls seemed like something straight out of the 60's TV show not something the BTAS Mr. Freese would do.


bat13, I completely agree with you. TNBA lacked so much of the emotion and depth that BTAS had. Two Face is doing a crime? Well I'll just beat him up who cares he used to be a good friend. While in BTAS Batman always had so much emotion for him. Did he even call Two Face Harvey in TNBA? It seems to have slipped my memory. This episode really showed that. They stripped all the characters of emotion (literally in this case) and just made them bad guys for Batman to stop. If I'm watching an episode with Two Face of Mr. Freeze I don't want to see some physo shooting at Batman I want to see a tortured character!

Boyd Kirkland I just have to tell you what I MAJOR fan I am of X-Men Eovlution! If you ever see this I just want you to know what a fan I am. Keep up the good work!
 

Boyd Kirkland

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The DarkKnight said:
Boyd Kirkland I just have to tell you what I MAJOR fan I am of X-Men Eovlution! If you ever see this I just want you to know what a fan I am. Keep up the good work!
Thanks! I'm having a lot of fun with the series. These are great characters, with interesting, varied personalities, issues, and powers. We have some really cool stuff coming for season 4!

The DarkKnight said:
TNBA lacked so much of the emotion and depth that BTAS had.... They stripped all the characters of emotion (literally in this case) and just made them bad guys for Batman to stop. If I'm watching an episode with Two Face of Mr. Freeze I don't want to see some physo shooting at Batman I want to see a tortured character!
Good story telling always has to begin with characters you care about and can relate to on some level. If you don't have that, who cares what their powers are, or what happens to them? BTAS often had very compelling scripts that recognized that, which made it a great show to be working on.
 

DisneyBoy

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Firstly, allow me to extend a handshake and warm welcome to you, Mr. Kirkland! Thank you so much for telling us about the original ending. Perhaps the worst part about being a fan is missing out on all the behind-the-scenes moments. If you wouldn't mind reading my comments on the official "Sub-Zero talkback" thread, I'd love to hear what you think about my criticisms as far as the ending goes.

In terms of "Cold Comfort", I won't bother repeating what's already been said. On the one hand, it was a natural progression for Freeze. On the other, it was the worst thing the writers could do to him or us. I'm a romantic at heart (check out the avatar), so I'm still holding on to the hope that Victor and Nora can get some quality, crying "I love you" time in before either of them bites the dust. Do you ever read the Adventures comics, Mr. Kirkland? If not, please check out Batman: Gotham Adventures #5 and Batman: Gotham Adventures #51 as they are the only two stories since "Cold Comfort" to bring the character back to a point where he may one day be redeemed or likeable.

Hopefully, this isn't too off-topic...but who were you thinking of as a voice actress for Nora Fries? Whenever she finally appears on screen, she's going to have to be everything Victor has built her up to be. I'd hate it if a writer portrayed her as anything less. It would be nice to have some geuninely nice people in Gotham.

As for the episode, I was especially disturbed by Batman's willingness to kill Victor. Judging by the expression on his face as he fell, Freeze never saw it coming. I wonder if Batman regrets that?

Still, this episode had some really nice Wayne Manor action with Alfred, Tim, Bruce and Batgirl. Great tension there, even if the animation was lackluster.
 

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DisneyBoy said:
As for the episode, I was especially disturbed by Batman's willingness to kill Victor. Judging by the expression on his face as he fell, Freeze never saw it coming. I wonder if Batman regrets that?

The freeze bomb would not have killed Victor. That's why he went out onto the ship alone. Remember that he's fully encased in that suit and can survive being in sub-zero temperatures. Victor has no chance of being killed here. The only thing that might've happened is that he would've been frozen in ice again, like in "Deep Freeze." Even the image at the end of "Cold Comfort" proves that, with his suit frozen in the ice. If his head was there, he'd be pretty much in the same situation he was in at the end of "Deep Freeze."

Why was Batman so willing to hook Freeze to the bomb? Becuase it wouldn't kill him, just trap him.
 

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"Cold Comfort" airing now

Tonight at 12 midnight ET, Boomerang airs The New Batman Adventures episode, Cold Comfort. This episode will be available on DVD this winter. The current release date for Batman: The Animated Series, Vol. 4 - From The New Batman Adventures is December 6.


Episode #088 - Cold Comfort
Original Airdate - October 11th, 1997.

Mr.Freeze is back and bitter as ever as he plans to release his vengeance on Gotham City. Freeze also has a big surprise for Batman.

Comments?

There will be no Batman and Superman tomorrow due to a Looney Tunes marathon. Both will be back Friday night.
 

JSmith

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This has to be the single worst episode of Batman ever. There was nothing good about it. The animation was lackluster. The tone was even campier than the Adam West show. Why in the world would Freeze hire a bunch of wisecracking chippies to work for him, then dress them in scantily clad outfits? Isn't he dead to all emotions?? And the whole "I'm a severed human head" thing was just ludicrous. Oh how far Mr. Freeze had fallen with this story. Pure and utter garbage. The only saving grace was that this set up for the wonderful Meltdown episode of Beyond. Meltdown and Heart of Ice were poor Victor's only good appearances. Such a pity.
 

Link

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I completely agree. This was just horrible. A head? That's about the dumbest thing I've ever seen. And I can't believe Freeze would just abandon his wife like that. I felt great compassion for him in Heart of Ice and Deep Freeze. Lastly, what the heck is up with the ending? Just his suit in the Iceberg seems pretty dumb. Batman even just let him rot there. That's not his style. Usually he takes criminals to the police at least. Not to mention that the fights were just outright bad.

I don't have Boomerang, but that doesn't mean I can't remember how awful this episode was.
 

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