It’s that time of year again; the weather has turned cold and snowy, and all we want to do is curl up inside with a good comic… maybe one featuring a seasonally appropriate cold-powered character! Although these fifteen heroes and villains don’t have absolutely identical powers, almost all of them have some form of cryokinesis, also known as the ability to manipulate ice and cold. Some have a natural ability to freeze out their enemies, while others have gained their powers through experimentation or have built freeze-guns.
From those based in mythology and fantasy, to magical characters, aliens, and mutants, all of these characters have similar snowy gifts. They also have cryokinesis as their primary (or only) power; you won’t find someone like Marvel’s Storm on this list, as she controls the weather as a whole, including ice. And while many of these guys have secondary powers too, they are all known for one thing – and that’s the cold!
15 Frost Giants (Marvel)
Despite their name and appearance, Marvel’s Frost Giants don’t actually have the same kind of powerful abilities to manipulate cold that so many others on this list do. Living in the dimensional realm of Jotunheim, the Frost Giants are the primary enemies of the Asgardians, and have battled Thor and his friends on many occasions.
Jotunheim is an arctic environment, and the Frost Giants thrive in extreme cold. Their appearance suits this, and they look as though they are made of ice itself, even ‘melting’ when exposed to extreme heat. They otherwise have a similar appearance to other giants, with the same extreme size, strength, and durability. Although some Frost Giants have powers of illusion, the majority do not have any specific abilities to control ice and snow. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, however, the Frost Giants are able to create weaponry out of ice in an instant -- to devastating effect.
14 Jack Frost (Marvel)
There are a multitude of characters bearing the Jack Frost name throughout comics, films, and fairy tales, dating back to ancient Norse legends. The Jack Frost that we are adding to this list, however, is one that lives in the pages of Marvel Comics. Unlike most Marvel superheroes, this Jack Frost has no other name, and no alter-ego or secret life. He awoke in the arctic in 1941, unaware of who he was, but with the ability to create sub-zero temperatures. Like many of the other heroes on this list, that power can also be used with water vapor in the air to create and direct snow and ice.
A member of the Legion of Liberty during World War II, Jack Frost returned to the Arctic by the end of the ‘40s. He did make a brief reappearance in the modern age, where he met Thor, and discovered that he may actually be a Frost Giant. Thor told Jack Frost an Asgardian legend about a Frost Giant who was so small and puny that he was cast out by the other giants, and came to live on Earth. Interestingly, Jack Frost is also one of the first characters created by the now-legendary Stan Lee.
13 Polar Boy (DC)
This well-meaning alien with cold powers has the potential to be extremely powerful – if only he could learn to properly control his gifts. Brek Bannin first appeared in the Silver Age, as an aspiring member of the Legion of Superheroes. Despite his talents, Brek was rejected as uncontrollable, and due to a fear that his cold-based powers could become a problem on missions. Unhappy with the Legion’s refusal, Brek went on to create the Legion of Substitute Heroes, and eventually gained full Legion membership.
Polar Boy’s powers come from his home planet of Tharr, one of the hottest inhabited planets in the galaxy. As a response to living in such extremely hot temperatures, all Tharrians have the ability to negate heat. As a result, Polar Boy (and his race) is able to create cold fields and ice, as well as to negate any heat-based powers, which has proven to be very useful in a fight against a flaming opponent!
12 Blizzard (Marvel)
Two men have been Blizzard in the Marvel Universe: Professor Gregor Shapanka and Donnie Gill. The original Blizzard (also known as Jack Frost), Shapanka was an employee of Stark Industries who was fired for stealing tech. Furious, he developed a suit that could generate cold and went after Iron Man, before eventually being killed by Arno Stark (an Iron Man from the future).
After Shapanka’s death, Donnie Gill took up the mantle of Blizzard with a new and improved suit designed by Justin Hammer. Something of a criminal-turned-hero, Donnie eventually left his life as a henchman to Hammer and became a friend to Iron Man, although he has had his relapses in the past. More recently, Blizzard was exposed to Terrigen Mists, becoming an Inhuman with the same cold-powers that he once had courtesy of his super-suit. As an Inhuman, Donnie can generate ice with his body, although it is not yet known how powerful he could be. This character has also now made an appearance on the small screen, when Dylan Minnette brought him to life in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
11 Ice Maiden (DC)
Originally a member of the Global Guardians, this Norwegian superhero gained her powers through scientific experimentation. As a young woman, Sigrid Nansen decided to submit to government experiments in an attempt to please her scientist mother. The government was attempting to replicate the powers of the legendary ice-people, and with Sigrid, they succeeded. Her skin was turned blue and her hair white, but she gained the ability to project snow and ice from her body, and to create cold.
Unlike most other superheroes with cryokinesis, Ice Maiden can also create ice shields over parts of her body to protect herself in battle. After gaining her powers, she went to work for the government that created her as the Norwegian Global Guardian, eventually becoming a member of the Justice League as well. This original Ice Maiden has occasionally left her superhero life behind to return to Norway and attempt to live normally, although she has returned when needed. More recently, Ice Maiden has met a sorry fate, as Dolores Winters kidnapped her and stole her beautiful blue skin, leaving Sigrid in a coma in STAR Labs.
10 Frozone (Pixar)
The first of our cold-powered heroes who doesn’t come from the pages of a comic book, Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) made his debut on the big screen in Pixar’s 2004 hit The Incredibles. The best friend and heroic partner of Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) himself, Frozone (aka Lucius Best) has the ability to create and project ice and freeze surfaces. Like many other cold-based heroes, Frozone uses ambient moisture in order to create the ice that he uses, and if he is in too dry of an environment, he is unable to use his powers.
His abilities are augmented by his blue and white costume, which includes transforming boots. This nifty pair of kicks can become ice skates, skis, or a snowboard-style disc that he can use to speed down ice chutes and along frozen paths that he creates. Lucius also wears goggles to protect himself from snow blindness (and to conceal his identity). At one time, he wanted to compete in the Winter Olympics – a perfect venue for his particular skills, but was disqualified due to his superpowers.
9 Elsa (Disney)
Our second animated entry, Elsa (Idina Menzel) is arguably not really a superhero – in fact, she’s closer to a supervillain for much of Disney’s smash hit Frozen. The Queen of Arendell first developed her powers in early childhood, and for a time it looked like she would learn to love using them. Her primary abilities are to command ice and snow, and as a child, she would turn the inside of the palace into a winter wonderland for her and her sister Anna (Kristen Bell) to play in. However, when she learned that she could also hurt people with her powers, Elsa shut down and refused to use them – with disastrous consequences!
As well as being able to shoot ice from her fingertips and freeze things that she touches, Elsa can create huge constructs out of ice (including an entire castle), can somehow magically change her clothes, and can even build and command sentient creatures out of ice and snow.
8 Snow Queen Lumi (Vertigo)
Like Jack Frost, the Snow Queen is a name that has been given to multiple characters in comics, film, and literature, starting with Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales. In the comic series Fables (published by Vertigo), the Snow Queen is the title given to the powerful sorceress Lumi, one of four sisters who ruled the kingdoms and brought the seasons in their turn. Her powers extend over the season of winter, as well as control over cold, air, and water. In addition, she is a sorceress in her own right, and the commander of the Emperor’s personal guard. Lumi also has the ability to transfer her powers to another – which she once did when she was ill, granting her gifts to the man that she loved. However, her love was
Lumi also has the ability to transfer her powers to another – which she once did when she was ill, granting her gifts to the man that she loved. However, her love was untrue, and abused the gifts that she gave him to become Jack Frost. Although Jack was convinced to return these powers to their rightful owner, the experience has left Lumi cold, cunning, and bitter. After that, she became the Snow Queen, frightening in her anger and her icy power.
7 Ice (DC)
The Global Guardians' successor to Ice Maiden, Tora Olafsdotter is one of the magical ice-people of Norwegian legend that the experiments done on Ice Maiden were attempting to replicate. As such, her arrival in the human world left the original Ice Maiden feeling somewhat superfluous, and her feelings of inadequacy led to her return to Norway. Tora, meanwhile, took up the name Ice (after a brief stint as Ice Maiden herself) and joined the Justice League International. There, she met Green Lantern Guy Gardner, and started a complicated on-off relationship with the hero, as well as developing a deep friendship with another heroine named Fire.
Originally, Ice’s powers were limited to the creation and projection of snow and ice, but over time, she has become increasingly more powerful (and occasionally destructive). At times, she has also had super strength, the ability to fly, to create figures out of ice, and to create blizzards/control the weather.
6 Icicle (DC)
There have actually been two Icicles in the DC continuity, making this a cold-based legacy title. The first Icicle, Dr. Joar Mahkent, was a European scientist who developed a cold gun capable of freezing an entire cruise liner in Gotham Harbor. His brief stint in comics saw him get up to the usual super-villainous mischief, including becoming a member of both the Injustice Society of the World and the Crime Champions.
After Joar’s death during the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, his son, Cameron, took up the title. Unlike Icicle Sr., Icicle Jr. doesn’t need a cold gun in order to manipulate ice – his powers are natural, somehow transferred genetically due to his father’s constant exposure to the cold gun. As a result, his skin is blue, and he is able to project missiles made of ice, build walls of ice, create snow, cold blasts, and drop the temperature of the area around him. A much more ruthless villain in comparison to his father, he has also worked with both Captain Cold and Killer Frost in the past.
5 Captain Cold (DC)
Fans of the DC TV universe will be well acquainted with Leonard Snart, aka Captain Cold. Originally something of a gag villain in the comics, over time (and with the help of Wentworth Miller’s portrayal in The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow), Cold has become a much more impressive villain in the DC universe.
Raised in an abusive environment, the young Leonard Snart soon turned to a life of crime, developing a cold gun to aid him. The gun is extraordinarily powerful, and can create temperatures down to absolute zero. With it, he is able to freeze objects (and people), create ice patches and icicles, and create a ‘cold zone’ which can slow anyone down – even the Flash himself. One of the founding members of the Rogues, he has also joined the Ice Pack (a group of cold-powered super villains) and the Secret Society of Super Villains. Leonard briefly gained actual superpowers by fusing his DNA with his cold gun, but these were lost, returning him to his original, human state.
4 Mr. Freeze (DC)
One of Batman’s arch-nemeses, Mr. Freeze has a sad story behind his frozen smile. When his beloved wife Nora fell terminally ill, the gifted Dr. Victor Fries dedicated himself to cryogenic research in an attempt to save her. In his desperation, Victor stole from the wrong people, and the hired thugs who attempted to murder him ended up accidentally transforming him. Now, Mr. Freeze is only able to survive in sub-zero temperatures. To cope, Victor built himself a cryo-suit, and also developed on an ice gun (powered by diamonds) to help him continue his life of crime.
A surprisingly moral criminal, Mr. Freeze rarely teams up with other villains, and remains driven by revenge and the hope that he might be able to save his wife. However, his attempts have put him on the wrong side of the law (and the Dark Knight) time and time again. Mr. Freeze’s gun can freeze objects and people, while his suit gives him increased strength and durability (and the helmet is bulletproof). Combined with his intellect, this makes him quite a powerful adversary.
3 The Night's King (HBO)
From the pages of George R R Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire, and the HBO series Game of Thrones, the Night’s King is the leader of the White Walkers. In the books, he was a legendary Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch who fell in love with an Ice Queen. In the series, however, the Night’s King has been shown to be a man turned into the first of the Others/White Walkers by the Children of the Forest. We see more of the Night’s King in the TV series, and like the rest of the Walkers, he is a powerful and dangerous foe with the ability to use ice in a way that the men of Westeros do not yet fully understand.
The White Walkers are able to create crystal weapons of ice that cannot be broken by a normal sword (although Valyrian steel can combat them). They can also turn any person -- living or dead -- they choose into a wight, an undead, frozen soldier of the Walkers. The Night’s King also has some telepathic abilities that we see when he breaks through Bran’s visions to find them in the cave of the Three-Eyed Crow. They are nearly impossible to kill, and are usually preceded by freezing temperatures. The Walkers may even be part of what brings the long Winter to Westeros, although that may simply be part of their legend.
2 Killer Frost (DC)
Another DC character who has made an appearance in DC’s small screen universe, Killer Frost is the Earth-2 doppelganger of Dr. Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker). In the comics, however, there have been two women to become Killer Frost over the years. The first, Crystal Frost, was a scientist working in the arctic when an accident gave her the ability to generate extreme cold. She quickly became a supervillain, but her newfound powers were slowly killing her. In an attempt to save herself, she was consumed by the heat of Firestorm and died.
After Crystal’s death, her friend Dr. Louise Lincoln took up the Killer Frost name, recreating the accident that gave Crystal her original powers and seeing revenge on Firestorm for her friend’s demise. Able to transmute heat to cold and to create freezing gusts of wind and structures made of ice, Killer Frost has teamed up with several other cold-based bad guys, including Captain Cold and Mr. Freeze.
1 Iceman (Marvel)
Iceman Bobby Drake was the youngest member of the original X-Men team, and although he is often overlooked by casual fans, this cold-based mutant is immensely powerful. He is actually an Omega level mutant, and we have yet to see everything that this cold-based hero can do. His original abilities included covering his body in armor made of ice, but now this has developed into the ability to become ice in an organic form. By doing this, he can even change his shape and size, becoming an enormous ice man, or adding spikes of ice on his knuckles or other body parts to become a living weapon.
He can also re-form body parts in his ice form, and even remain living and sentient in different phases of water, not just ice. He can create objects out of ice (slides, ladders, missiles), and he's also capable of creating and animating ice clones. He has discovered a way to use his powers to act as a filter, rendering himself largely immune to poisoning, and can control chemical reactions that are based on heat exchange. He has even started to learn to use his abilities to effectively teleport, and is sure to discover more elements of his immense power in the future.
Which other cold-based villains deserve a spot on our list? Sound off in the comments!