Justice League Action is on a roll! “Freezer Burn” combines great character moments with seriously cool superhero action. It even has some juicy themes to dig into.
Impressive for an 11-minute show.
The crux of “Freezer Burn” is the contrast between Batman and Firestorm. Batman is a founding member of the League. He’s been doing this for years, and he’s seen some messed up stuff.
He is serious.
Firestorm, on the other hand, is basically a kid playing superhero. Although his origin story certainly includes some trauma, it’s nothing compared to the psychological ruination suffered by Bruce Wayne as he watched his parents gunned down.
The episode hits this point again and again. We see it right at the beginning, as Firestorm has a fun, flirtatious skirmish with Killer Frost. They’re trading puns, they clearly like each other, but they’re on opposite sides of the battle.
As Professor Stein (a helpless passenger this time around) points out, Batman wouldn’t care that “she’s cute”. Batman also wouldn’t let his guard down and get knocked unconscious. As Stein says when Firestorm won’t give it up: “Again, she’s evil!”
It’s a trope that Justice League Action has hit before, most especially in “Play Date”. There, the show explicitly showed that Cyborg, Firestorm, and some of the other heroes are the “next generation” and much less mature than the founders.
Firestorm never drops this attitude through the whole show. Killer Frost might return the feelings, but she’s smarter than him. And so, she takes advantage of his crush several times. Particularly that wink and punch at the end.
Meanwhile, Batman is all business, and he’s rewarded with the most impressive “hero moments”. Crashing through the windshield of Mr. Freeze’s plane is a sequence worthy of the movies, and he pulls off some genuinely impressive tricks with his grapnel gun.
This theme is mirrored on the villains’ side. Mr. Freeze is taking advantage of Killer Frost in the same way that she takes advantage of Firestorm, though to much more sinister effect. What comes off as playful between Killer Frost and Firestorm is downright creepy when it’s Frost on the receiving end.
Mr. Freeze’s plan, which echoes Magneto’s use of Rogue in the first X-Men film, is a real threat to Gotham. If Batman is the serious hero to Firestorm’s jokey one, then Freeze is the serious villain to Frost’s more fun-loving mischief.
It’s hard not to wish Firestorm would grow up and contribute to saving the city.
This is the second episode in which a man has betrayed a woman’s affection. This time, it feels much more real than when Lex Luthor tricked Circe into helping him. Circe is a powerful sorceress and thousands of years old. She wouldn’t fall for that. Meanwhile, Killer Frost is portrayed as a teenager like Firestorm. It rings truer here.
Speaking of Mr. Freeze and Killer Frost, it’s unbelievable that this is the first time they’ve paired up in the DCAU. It’s happened once or twice in the comics, most notably in One Year Later, but never in the cartoons.
She’s very cool here, and her redesign is much better than the “Goth girl made of ice” we got in Justice League Unlimited. Let’s hope she comes back. It sure seems like Firestorm might have a shot with her by the end.
All in all, this is a very solid episode that effectively combines humor, action, and character moments. This first season of Justice League Action has been a little hit or miss, but the back end seems to lean solidly towards “hit”.
Fun Stuff and Great Quotes in “Freezer Burn”
- Firestorm’s daydreams of a life with Killer Frost all resemble a stereotypical 50s nuclear family. Except he’s doing the traditionally female things, and she’s wearing the pants.
- Notice Professor Stein’s old-school reference to “The Batman” at the beginning of the episode.
- Although he’s always had the ability to transform objects, this episode pushes it a little too far. Creating a giant catcher’s mitt to break a fall is a Green Lantern move. Firestorm shouldn’t do that.
- Killer Frost has only had cameo appearances in DC cartoons until now. Her expanded role is likely due to the CW’s Arrow.
- Firestorm shouting “Gooooooaaaaaaalllll!” for nearly 30 seconds was amazing.
- So was the Looney Tunes ending. The only thing missing was little stars and birdies circling around Firestorm’s head.
Voice actress Mena Suvari, best known as Angela in American Beauty and Heather in American Pie. She also voices Aerith in several Final Fantasy video games.
Info & Trivia
- Several villains use the name Killer Frost. This one is probably Caitlin Snow, since she’s currently featured on Arrow.
- The other clue is that Caitlin is a genius scientist. Killer Frost as depicted here proved herself more than able to think on her feet, and is clearly a lot smarter than Firestorm.
- Unlike Mr. Freeze, Frost’s powers aren’t based on technology. She came from a good old-fashioned scientific accident.
- She works by absorbing heat and transmuting into cold. That’s why she’s uniquely suited to be the cooling element on Mr. Freeze’s ship-mounted weapon.
- “That you, Stormy? Your hair still on fire? Allow me to cool it off!”
- “Pfft, like I’d miss an opportunity to hang with THE Mr. Freeze. The Sultan of Sub-Zero! I am such a fan!”
- Firestorm: “Hey, Frosty.” Killer Frost: “Hey, Stormy.”
Voice actress Peter Stormare, an amazing Swedish actor who’s played in all sorts of things. In the voice acting world, he was Dr. Hill in Until Dawn and Lord Dregg in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Info & Trivia
- Freeze is a classic Batman villain and has appeared in the DCAU all the way back to the original Batman: The Animated Series.
- Although the B:TAS version of the character ended up something of a sympathetic figure after the film Subzero, this one hews much closer to Arnold Schwarzenegger in Batman Returns.
- By which I mean, lots and lots of terrible puns about how cold it is.
- Unlike most other Justice League Action characters, Mr. Freeze’s look hasn’t changed much. His big pasta pot helmet is pretty much the same as it ever was.
- “Brand new hideout, same old bat problem.”
- “We have a guest. Serve something… COLD.”
Goodbye for now! Stay tuned for more Justice League Action articles as the episodes come out!