Batman: The Animated Series (1997) – Cold Comfort, Never Fear and You Scratch My Back


Freeze (Michael Ansara) is back in the first episode of the Batman: Animated Series this week. This one aired originally on 12 October 1997.

When last we saw him, he was stuck in an iceberg with his still ill and frozen wife, but now he’s back, and Batman (Kevin Conroy) and Batgirl (Tara Strong) must track him down and stop him!

It seems since we last saw them, his wife has been revived and was waiting for him, but Freeze never returned for her, and she remarried, breaking his heart. This was shown in the made for home video Batman movie, Sub-Zero.

It’s Gotham’s Tri-Centennial  and Freeze and his new sidekicks (a bunch of parka-clad ladies) are intent on destroying all of Gotham’s hope, an act of revenge on the city that ruined his dreams. But he may have taken on too much when he decides to take Bruce Wayne’s surrogate family from him by targeting Tim (Matthew Valencia) and Alfred (Efrem Zimbalist jr.).

I’m not a fan of the way Freeze’s character has been changed, he always had a noble reason for doing what he did, even if it was wrong, but now, he’s just a paint-by-numbers villain.

The redesigns are still growing on me, Gordon (Bob Hastings) looks both older and thinner, Bruce looks like he’s gone through some changes, while others like Alfred look exactly the same.


Never Fear aired 1 October, 1997, and saw the return of the Scarecrow (voiced now by Jeffrey Combs). This time around the former doctor has developed a new toxin, this one removes all fear, which leads to some serious problems, especially when Batman is exposed to it.

With nothing to fear, people are doing dangerous things, risking their lives, completely unaware. Batman and Robin try and save as many as they can, but they realize they have to go after the source.

Along the way, Batman begins to take unnecessary risks, putting himself and Robin in danger, as well as the lives of the crooks and thugs, something he would never do. Robin has to take Batman out of the equation and take on Scarecrow himself.

But will Bruce’s young ward be able to save the day or will Batman have to help, even while he combats the toxin in his system?

I have to say, I hate the Scarecrow redesign, Just ugh, and also, not a fan of the new Bat-Wing.


You Scratch My Back aired 15 November, 1997, and sees Nightwing (Loren Lester) – what’s with that mullet? – , teaming up with the redesigned (nope) Catwoman (Adrienne Barbeau) to take on a local gangster against Bat’s wishes.

I do like the fact that there is some static between Bruce and Dick, not that his former ward is out on his own. Barbara tries to reach out to him, but Dick seems quite happy doing his own thing, until Catwoman asks him to pair up.

But can she be trusted? Does she have her own agenda? Or is she really trying to do what’s right?

Nightwing seems intent on giving her a chance, but neither Batman nor Batgirl are persuaded, and try and warn the hero off, going so far as to place a tracking device on Catwoman (quickly discovered) to keep an eye on the couple.

The young man does seem rather flustered by Catwoman’s advances, but they end up making a fairly strong team, until Nightwing realizes that she was just using him.

Will Batman be able to help his friend, and do they have a plan of their own? It’s not the best story, and as mentioned the redesigns really throw off the enjoyment of some of the show.

Oh well…

More next week, same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel!



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