The Top 6 Snow and Ice-Themed Comic Book Characters
Winter is upon us here in Central New York. I should know, I spend almost every morning having to scrape the frost off my car. Sometimes it’s even on the inside of my windows. But that’s probably something wrong with my car. Regardless, we’re talking winter, people. Snow, ice, freezing cold, big coats, fuzzy hats, icicles, popsicles and the deep chill of the frozen white.
So why not warm up by talking about some wintery superheroes?
If you’re at all familiar with this blog, you know I love talking about superheroes. That’s the fun of being a comic book geek. Cold-based powers are a popular choice when it comes to designing a superhero or a super-villain. Creating ice, throwing snowballs, bringing about a new ice age! These are the powers of winter! And there are a lot out there, these are just the Top 6!
Honorable Mention: Blue Snowman
If there were a list of the Top 6 cross-dressing characters, Blue Snowman would definitely be towards the top. Byrna Brilyant is a woman who originally dressed as a blue-colored snowman, emphasis on the ‘man’.
She debuted as a Wonder Woman villain in 1946. Byrna was a school teacher whose father invented ‘blue snow’, a fast-freezing product that he was somehow going to use to help mankind. Byrna wasn’t going to put up with that crap. She had a much better idea: designing a robotic suit to weaponize the snow. She held a bunch of fields for ransom, expecting farmers to pay. Because I guess farmers were much richer in the 40s or something? Wonder Woman put a stop to that.
Most recently, Blue Snowman showed up to get her butt whooped by Power Girl.
There have been two Blizzards in the Marvel Universe, both of whom were Iron Man villains who wore a ice-generating suits. The first in 1963, Gregor Shapanka, was fired from Stark Industries when he tried to steal from Tony Stark. That never goes well. So he made the suit and was originally named Jack Frost. It’s hard to live that one down.
And he doesn’t. A few years later, he was disintegrated by an evil Iron Man from the future! Comics, everybody!
Donnie Gill became the second Blizzard in 1987, getting a new suit from Justin Hammer. Remember him from the movie Iron Man 2? Well Donnie fell in with the usual Iron Man villains, using his cold powers to freeze some stuff. I remember him from the Iron Man cartoon in the 90s. That was a fun show. Gill had his shining moment when Marvel let him be a hero as a member of the Thunderbolts…but that didn’t last too long. Now he’s back to mediocre villainy.
B-list Justice Leaguer, Ice wasn’t very creative with her name. But then she was a mix-up with a different character, Icemaiden, back when she debuted in 1988. Ice joined the Justice League International and was teamed up with Fire. But at least Fire has cool green-flame powers. Ice just has ice. Normal, white ice.
Ice also had a girl-next-door personality, wholesome and friendly to a fault. Not to mention a hot Norwegian accent. Ice attracted the advances of Green Lantern Guy Gardner, the jackass Green Lantern. But sadly, Ice got killed in a fight with a super-villain…only to be brought back to life a few years ago for no particular reason. I guess they just wanted her to come back to life.
Since the reboot, Ice is once again in the Justice League International with Fire. Proving once and for all that comic books are cyclical.
4. Polar Boy
Polar Boy is my favorite member of the Legion of Superheroes solely because of his ice-powers. I had a guide book to the different Legion members when I was a wee lad, and I picked him as my favorite because I’m a big fan of ice powers. But after learning more about him, Power Boy is definitely awesome!
The Legion of Superheroes is a team of teenage heroes from the 30th century, basically a big superhero clubhouse in the future where everybody has a different power. Brek Bannin premiered in 1963 and was turned down for membership because he didn’t have full control of his powers. Rather than give up, Polar Boy gathered together all of the other rejects to form the Legion of Substitute Heroes. They would help the Legion fight evil, even if the Legion didn’t know it.
That’s badass! I’ve always loved the Subs. The idea is just fun. The Legion has gone through several reboots and revamps over the decades, and I don’t read the comic so I don’t follow along. Polar Boy is sort of always around in some form or another, I don’t really know. I don’t think she’s shown up yet in the New 52 reboot either.
3. Captain Cold
Apparently somebody back in 1957 considered ‘Leonard Snart’ a good name, because that’s Captain Cold! The parka-wearing, ice-gunned villain has been a getting all up in the Flash’s business for decades. He’s leader of The Rogues, a team-up of Flash’s villains. He got his powers when he did a little research into cyclotrons, and how they might interfere with the Flash’s super-speed. Snart designed a way to weaponize the cyclotron, but when he pulled the trigger, he found out that he’d discovered a freeze ray instead. Boom, instant super-villain!
Most recently, Captain Cold has attained a special level of notoriety as leader of the Rogues. Writers gave him something of a noble streak and a code of honor, a man who would sometimes team up with the Flash if the situation called for it and then not stab Flash in the back when they were done. Cold was the sort of he-means-business bastard with the heart of gold that’s easy to love.
Not to mention everybody loves parkas.
2. Mr. Freeze
Believe it or not, Mr. Freeze was originally a total joke. Debuting in 1958 as Mr. Zero, he didn’t earn any respect until he was reworked into Mr. Freeze for the 1960s Batman TV show. Kids loved him and he was revamped a little in the comics to match. But still, total joke. Mr. Freeze was a nobody.
Enter writer Paul Dini and Batman: The Animated Series in the 90s. In a first season episode, Dini introduced the idea that molecular biologist Victor Fries lost his wife, Nora, in a laboratory accident. She was cryogenically frozen, and Fries was forced to live in sub-zero temperatures for the rest of his life. Cut off from emotions and any warmth whatsoever, Fries became a bitter, vengeful man who would stop at nothing to save his beloved Nora.
The comics have since copied the cartoon Mr. Freeze almost exactly. But the less said about the movie version the better. Though now that I bring it up, I definitely haven’t used enough ice puns in this article.
Iceman is a personal favorite of mine. He’s one of my all-time favorite X-Men, and has been with the team since they debuted in 1963. He’s the jokester, the funnyman and kid-brother of the team. He’s also the purest example of ice-powers. Iceman can not only control and create ice, but he can turn his entire body into an ice form. This guy can create ice on a global scale – though he rarely does. One problem with Iceman is that he never lives up to his potential, so much so that it’s been woven into his character. He’s an underachiever.
As such, Bobby Drake has never really had much of an impact in the X-Men. He’s usually only ever been a background member of the team, placed here or there in a lineup. He makes great comedic relief. Iceman had a big role in the 90s story Operation: Zero Tolerance, and his Ultimate version was a friend to Spider-Man. Iceman doesn’t make many waves in the comics, but he’s always been there just waiting for his big break. His lead role in the new Wolverine and the X-Men series will hopefully lead to some good times. Already he’s mackin’ on Kitty Pryde.
Iceman has had some fantastic luck in other media. He started off as a small but awesome cameo in the first X-Men movie, then his role got progressively bigger throughout the trilogy. He only appeared in one episode of the 90s X-Men cartoon, but it was one of the best episodes of the entire show. Then he had a starring role in the cartoon Wolverine and the X-Men, and a small but cool role in X-Men: Evolution. Plus who can forget his ground-breaking role in Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends?
Until next time friends, stay cool!