Wintry Warriors and Chilly Villains

Posted by Jon Morris

It’s hot. Summer this year has been blazing, and it has undoubtedly left millions dreaming of cool water, air conditioning, and ice cream scoops the size of a human head.

Or the power to produce freezing temperatures with the wave of a hand, perhaps! Comics are rife with cool characters blessed with the power to beat the heat with a well-placed freeze ray or ice blast. Colorful characters like Mister Freeze, Killer Frost, Captain Cold and Iceman are common – and even familiar – sights in superhero media. But some other chilly villains and wintry warriors have a profile as low as the temperature outside is high.


Sub-Zero Man
Besides his remarkable powers of generating powerful rays of chilling energy, Sub-Zero Man’s greatest attribute might be his positive attitude. When life gives you lemons, as it were, make ice-cold lemonade. And when you’re the last survivor of a spaceship accident which killed the rest of your Venusian crew and gave you the power to project ice-rays, stay on Earth and launch a superhero career!



All the good intentions in the world wouldn’t have made Sub-Zero Man a suitable superhero if he hadn’t accidentally developed the ability to control his newfound freezing powers, however. And this was accomplished when the dazed, ice-covered Venusian explorer stumbled into a human scientist’s lab, waltzing right into a ray-beam of weird radiation which allowed him to safely defrost.  One strange radiation gave him ice powers and another strange radiation allowed him to control them. It’s sort-of the “you got chocolate in my peanut butter” of superhero origins.



The Blue Snowman
Wonder Woman has been a marquee superhero almost as long as Superman and Batman. Despite her longevity, though, she’s never boasted a rogue’s gallery a fraction as iconic and expansive as those of her male counterparts. With that in mind, it’s tough to say if the villainous Blue Snowman resides in Wonder Woman’s plus or minus column.



Byrna Brilyant, a.k.a. The Blue Snowman (or simply “Snowman”), dresses in a padded, gender-disguising blue costume and uses her late scientist father’s “telescopic snow ray” to freeze her enemies under mountains of (extra-chilly) blue snow. All the icy gadgets in the world don’t seem to improve Byrna’s luck, though – she’s sent to an Amazon prison after her first outing, and ended up eaten by a space monster in her latest …



Jack Q(uick) Frost
“The Coolest Hero in Comics,” according to his own press, didn’t speak too well towards Jack’s skills or luck. Super-spy James Flynn is frozen alive by enemy agents, and discovers upon thawing that he has frost-powers! This is good news, except that it comes with serious limitations. For instance, he must stay cold at all times, or suffer debilitating “defrosting pangs.” That being said, he can’t get too cold, as dry ice will draw out what little heat remains in Jack’s polar-powered body. Like Goldilocks’ constant search for comfort, everything had to be ju-u-u-ust right.



The neophyte hero also didn’t account for himself as a straight superhero, losing his inaugural battle against the corpulent and nearly immobile Lord Lazee. Their conflict brought down the Washington Monument and almost ended Jack’s life, as well as career. It’s probably for the best that his published career was short-lived.



Cold Turkey
In the world of funny animal superhero Captain Carrot (and his trusty teammates in the Zoo Crew), Cold Turkey is just one of a dozen nogoodniks appelated with a pun-happy portmanteau. What he has over other coyly-dubbed villains like Armordillo and Salamandroid, though, is the power of ice.



Backed up by his turtle-necked gang of Snowbirds and his chilling Glacier Gun, Cold Turkey stops summer in its tracks across the city of Los Angeles – well, on this world, it’s actually called Los Antelopes – by burying it under veritable mountains of freezing snow. Luckily the Zoo Crew was on hand to stop Cold Turkey … cold.



The Icicle
One of the shortest-lived superhero careers among the ice-and-freeze-ray set (and, for that matter, across all superherodom in general) belongs to Doyle Christie, granddaughter of the villainous Golden Age menace The Icicle. After their notorious grandfather’s passing, Doyle and her crooked brother vie with Wally West (a.k.a. The Flash) for possession of the old villain’s fortune.

The cash – and the original Icicle’s impressive arsenal of freeze weapons – ultimately end up in Doyle’s hands. She cuts a striking figure in a daring costume, aided by a hulking pair of former CIA agents (dubbed “Centigrade” and “Fahrenheit”), but her crime-fighting career began and ended with a single, albeit dramatic, full-page debut.



The Yeti
This version of the well-known Abominable Snowman (fun fact: comic books boast many Yetis) originally appeared on television’s Electric Company, a children’s program which featured short, live-action segments starring Spider-Man and an array of weird villains. It was later that the Yeti popped up in the comics. Technically, this Yeti doesn’t boast any particular powers of cold or freezing. In fact, he finds even temperate afternoons to be far too hot to tolerate. But we can probably all sympathize with his solution — running around a city park, stealing ice cream cones and smearing his fur with the chilly confection. It’s not terribly hygienic but, hey, if it beats the heat …