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Killer Frost (Firestorm enemy) (DC Comics) (Crystal Frost)

Killer Frost

(Dr. Crystal Frost)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Killer Frost (Dr. Crystal Frost) was a recurrent enemy of DC Comics’ early Firestorm. Her career was fairly brief – 1978-1984.

However, there’s something about her — the visuals, the name, the ice powers, the mania — that made her a cool (no pun intended) super-villainess.

A new Crystal Frost would emerged soon after the death of the original: Louise Lincoln.


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Background

  • Real Name: Dr. Crystal Whitney Frost.
  • Note: Dr. Frost is once referred to as Whitney Frost, so I’ve done the usual robertbrucebannerisation .
  • Other Aliases: The Ice Maiden, the Maiden of Ice.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: Former member of the Ultra-Humanite’s version of the Secret Society of Super-Villains.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 5’4” Weight: 123 lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue or solid white and slightly reflective Hair: Blonde (later Blue).
  • Skin: Chalk-white or pale blue depending on light.


Powers and Abilities

Killer Frost is a living heat pump, leeching off ambient warmth to sustain herself. Even very high degrees of heat, such as heat blasts from Firestorm, will only feed her rather than harm her (in DC Heroes terms, Energy absorption). She particularly likes to absorb the heat of human beings (Vampirism).

However, in the absence of heat she freezes solid. As the temperature tends toward absolute zero she becomes paralysed, albeit her mind continues to function.

Though she will not be actually damaged by cold (Cold Immunity) and never harms herself with the ice she generates, exposing Killer Frost to extremely cold temperatures, and thus turning her into a frozen statue, is the most common way to stop her.


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Under the ice, part 1

Frost also has a range of ice-based powers. As usual in comic books cold behaves more like a radiant energy than an absence of heat. Her core DC Heroes Powers are Ice Generation, Ice Control and Temperature Control. Two of her common actions are to freeze up everything around her (Temperature control) and hurl barrages of ice spikes (Ice control attack).

Her favourite trick is to create masses of ice on objects until they collapse under the weight – for instance, the ceiling above her foes. Backed by her considerable Hero Points  and with the element of surprise, her cold was powerful enough to bring down even Superman.

Still, her temper means she nearly always opens up in anger with a volley of ice stakes, even against opponents she knows can counter this.

Killer Frost seems to have a form of telekinetic control over the ice she creates. The ice spike projectiles she routinely attacks with are propelled with unnatural force and great precision.

Likewise she once took control of a volume of frozen water over the entire Manhattan area, icing up millions of tons of water in the pipes. The ice then burst out all across the city and covered everything, paralysing eight million persons across an immense urban area (!).

(In game terms the later was achieved by switching her Ice Control APs into her Area of Effect bonus, achieving a huge Area of Effect throughout which she had a few APs of Ice Control.)

Killer Frost (Crystal Frost) shooting ice beams from her hands

Killer Frost usually uses her powers by gesturing and shooting cold beams from her hands. She was also seen emitting cold beams from her eyes or just by concentrating.

As usual in comics her ice has paranormal properties that induce suspended animation in any organism when wished. If she wants, people she encases in ice can be revived without any damage when gently thawed.

Under the ice, part 1

She also demonstrated the strange ability to turn people into her thralls by permeating them with her ice (Hypnotism), further hinting that her ice is not really frozen water.

Even Superman became a semi-mindless pawn once Frost’s ice propagated within his body and brain. The control was broken when the Man of Tomorrow was exposed to molten lava that melted the ice within and without him. Frost explained this as having “frozen Superman’s ability to reason”, leaving him an obedient slave.

Other tricks include :

  • Covering everything in slippery ice (Friction control, which can also serve as an attack as per the rulesbook).
  • Flying at moderate speed by having cold air somehow provide lift (Flight, which again hints at telekinetic abilities).
  • Generating and sculpting masses of ice (for instance to make a throne for herself).
  • Killing men by kissing them, draining them of heat to feed herself (Vampirism + Ice production to encase the victim in ice).

When she was transformed she somehow created icy jewellery for herself and transformed her clothing. This profile assumes that she could create other small icy items for herself as she wished (Fabricate), since she had all sorts of weird cold-related powers.

Other assets

During her first appearance Killer Frost also clearly demonstrated superhuman strength and superhumanly acute hearing.

Dr. Frost is a competent engineer and physicist, and demonstrated surprising knowledge of dimensional physics. In comic book fashion she’s probably an expert in all the fields that can be loosely covered by the “physics” label.

Scream from my soul / fate mystified

For notes about the likely source of Killer Frost’s powers, see the Killer Frost (Louise Lincoln) (profile #1) profile.


History

Circa 1970, Crystal Frost was a graduate physics student with a severe social awkwardness problem. Her issues centred on her gender – beyond even the actual misogyny experienced by female scientists.

She was convinced that she was ignored and underestimated by other scientists solely because she was a woman. It was her obsession – though part of the problem was her mediocre people skills. Since childhood, she had felt that she was considered primarily as a woman and never for her intellectual achievements.

As her awkwardness in a male-dominated milieu was perceived as snubbing, Frost was nicknamed “the ice maiden” during her entire college studies. She never had any romantic or sexual encounter and came to resent men in general.

Killer Frost (Crystal Frost) breaking through a wall

Frost also had related issues about her appearance. She both described herself as plain and mousy — and thus overlooked by most men — and as very attractive – and thus unlikely to be approached for her intellect and scientific skills.

Since the art depicts her as comic-book-attractive, one may imagine that she was a beautiful woman who experienced frequent depressive episodes during which she was convinced that she was unprepossessing and frumpy.

Since as Killer Frost she later clad herself in a dress flaunting her legs, back and upper torso and heavily pointing at her crotch, her body image may have had but two setttings – depressed low and manic high.

Professor Stein

During her graduate studies, Frost developed a huge crush on Professor Martin Stein, one of the physics teachers at Hudson University. This was the result of a misunderstanding. Dr. Stein was just reaching out toward a withdrawn student as a good pedagogue.

The awkward and lonely student thought that Dr. Stein was the only man who appreciated her intelligence and saw beyond her appearance. She eventually convinced herself that he was secretly in love with her.

During her doctoral studies, Frost preferred to associate with fellow female student Louise Lincoln, though she smugly considered herself to be much more intelligent than Lincoln and may have verbally bullied her.

By 1978, Frost had completed her PhD and was with a military project working out of the Mohole-One research station in the Arctic. Mohole-One researched deep geothermal energy as an alternative to fossil fuels, and Dr. Frost had designed the huge cooling systems that facilitated pumping heat from the project’s deep well.

When the project hit a snag, Frost saw an opportunity to be reunited with Dr. Stein. Stein’s work on thermal resistance in nuclear engineering was a potential solution to the issue. At her recommendation, the Army flew Stein to Mohole-One.

Heed the warning of the frozen dead…

When they found themselves alone to work on Stein’s thermal condenser prototype, Dr. Frost made romantic advances toward her former teacher. He was confused by the notion that he secretly loved her. Flustered and emotionally ill-equipped to deal with the awkward situation, Frost stormed off to be alone.

Due to her emotional upheaval, she clumsily mishandled the door to her prototype refrigeration unit. She accidentally locked herself into an armoured facility where the temperature immediately dropped to minus 100 centigrade.

Killer Frost (Crystal Frost) flying with an enslaved Superman

Impossibly, Dr. Frost wasn’t killed by being flash-frozen. Rather, she was mutated into a blue-skinned person with strong cold-based powers and needing heat to survive. It would also later become apparent that her condition was terminal – though leeching heat could keep her alive, she was otherwise headed for mass cell death.

Dr. Frost spontaneously renamed herself Killer Frost.

Unhinged and with her mindset frozen on the thought that she hated men for rejecting her, Frost went on a rampage through the base. She killed a score of scientists and soldiers. She cornered Stein so she could have her revenge by kissing him to fatally drain him of body heat. Dr. Stein narrowly saved himself by turning into Firestorm.

Firestorm fought Killer Frost inconclusively until Stein realised that the solution was to freeze Frost into immobility. Firestorm turned the room they were fighting in into a duplicate of Dr. Frost’s refrigeration technology, and Killer Frost was frozen solid.

…kiss not the lips of Killer Frost !

After dealing with the carnage at Mohole-One, the Army handed over the apparent corpse of Dr. Frost – essentially an ice statue – to S.T.A.R. Labs for an autopsy. The researchers at the New York City lab couldn’t defrost the body, and asked for Superman’s help, hoping his heat vision would be powerful enough.

The Man of Steel obliged. But Frost, despite being frozen solid, had actually been conscious all along. She immediately recovered her mobility when Superman thawed her. Even more insane than before after weeks of complete paralysis, she kissed Superman. This injected ice throughout his brain and body and turned him into her unreasoning slave.

Now wanting to turn all men into her slaves, Killer Frost flew to the top of the World Trade Center with Superman. She directed the mindless Man of Tomorrow into constructing a huge amplifier that would allow Frost to project her reason-deadening cold over a wide area.

Firestorm intervened and wrecked the equipment. Frost sicced Superman at him, then flew back to the S.T.A.R. lab to replace the destroyed tools.

Though Firestorm was massively outmatched by Superman, Professor Stein had him bore his way down to magma. In time the lava melted the ice within the invulnerable Superman, freeing his mind from Frost’s rime.

Meanwhile Frost enslaved S.T.A.R. researchers with her powers and had them resume building her cold intensifier as she lounged on an ice throne.

Firestorm and Superman distracted her with a Superman simulacrum and froze her again with a combination of super-breath and molecular manipulation of the room she was in.

Keep it a secret

Killer Frost was freed by Brainwave, who was Ultra-Humanite’s frontman in organising a new version of the Secret Society of Super-Villains. The genius wanted to have a group of operatives on Earth-1 and one on Earth-2, and took on Dr. Frost to head the Earth-1 team.

She in turn recruited the Signalman, the Cheetah (Debbi Domaine) and Jason Woodrue (aka the Floronic Man, aka the Plant-Master). The various members of this Secret Society were sent to ambush their nemeses, and were uniformly successful. During this phase, Killer Frost took over Tiffany’s in Manhattan and took down Firestorm when he responded.

Killer Frost (Crystal Frost) on an ice throne in a lab

However, Woodrue and Frost then realised that they had been tricked. The Ultra-Humanite only wanted to take over Earth-2 and had used the Earth-1 villains as disposable tools. He summarily dismissed Frost and her team back to Earth-1.

Obsessed with revenge, Frost took charge of the Earth-1 villains. They stormed the JLA’s satellite, looking for a way to strike back against their erstwhile employer.

After they overwhelmed the few Leaguers present, Frost reprogrammed the JLA’s interdimensional transmatter machine. It now could transport the villains to Limbo, where the Ultra-Humanite had exiled the heroes felled by the Secret Society.

Frost’s spiteful plan was to return the heroes to their respective Earth to foil the Ultra-Humanite’s plan. However, the heroes recovered much faster than she had anticipated. Her team was knocked out and left to float in Limbo until arrangements could be made to imprison everyone.

Under the ice

Killer Frost was eventually transferred to a custom-built refrigerated containment unit. At that point it was known that she was still conscious while frozen, and her attorney objected that it was cruel and unusual punishment.

Oddly enough, the decision was taken to shut down the containment unit right as it was presented to the court. Killer Frost killed everyone present and escaped.

(This incident occurred in 1982, an era when American media often presented a rather strange view of the US criminal justice system).

Killer Frost (Crystal Frost) ranting

Frost flew to the water reservoir feeding Manhattan. After murdering the watchman she froze it solid. As the water froze through thousand miles of pipes throughout the borough, Killer Frost took control of it. It burst out of the plumbing and froze anything it touched, including people and vehicles.

Soon, every surface, person and animal in Manhattan and various city blocks in other boroughs was trapped in a layer of ice.

Frost spared the Mayor. She came to confront him, demanding to be made Queen of New York City. When Firestorm came to confront her, he realised that she could kill all Manhattanites with but a thought, and had to play along with Frost.

After haphazardly ranting about her childhood fantasies of being royalty and having handsome lovers, Killer Frost sent Firestorm away on a whim, to bring her back virile Hollywood actor Curt Holland (apparently the DCU’s Burt Reynolds).

Firestorm worked with the JLA and Professor Stein. The flame-headed hero and Leaguer Red Tornado tricked Killer Frost, using Stein’s technology to freeze Killer Frost then thaw the frozen areas.

Through the bitter frost and snow

Killer Frost was imprisoned at the Concord Federal Penitentiary, though it was necessary to convert an entire cell block to hold her frozen still at absolute zero. She was judged in absentia, and exhausted all her appeals.

Though psychiatric experts declared her insane, the jury considered her to be responsible and she was to be imprisoned for a very, very long time.

However, in 1983, a freak electrical accident freed her. After killing the warden and a number of guards, the former Dr. Frost started tracking down Dr. Stein.

Having decided that Stein was the one man she really wanted to kill, Killer Frost ambushed him as he left his job. Stein fled and pretended to commit suicide by jumping in front of a subway train, turning into Firestorm at the last instant.

Dejected that she couldn’t murder Stein herself, Killer Frost left and walked through Manhattan at night, ranting about men.

A neighbourhood trapped in ice by Killer Frost

Feeling physically weak, Killer Frost decided to have a medical examination. She tracked down another person from her college days – Louise Lincoln. She intimidated Lincoln in performing various tests on her.

The two scientists confirmed that Killer Frost was terminally sick and her cells were breaking down. This was apparently the result of having spent months imprisoned at absolute zero, without any heat to feed her unique metabolism.

In a daze at the news, the rapidly-ageing Killer Frost caused dozens of car accidents as she walked along the Jersey Turnpike, icing up a broad swathe of the motorway.

Frost reached the George Washington bridge. She killed random men along the way in the futile hope that their heat would allow her to delay her body breaking down. Firestorm intervened, but Killer Frost nailed him with an ice spike through the shoulder, leaving the young hero shocked by the pain.

Hoping that absorbing the enormous heat of Firestorm might rejuvenate her body, Killer Frost kissed him to drain his warmth. Professor Stein had Firestorm unleash his fusion energy, creating a miniature sun for a few seconds. Killer Frost was overwhelmed by the nuclear energy and was apparently vaporised.

The cold touch of death

Dr. Lincoln would eventually manage to recreate the unique accident that had turned Dr. Frost into Killer Frost, more or less replicating her power and becoming the new Killer Frost.

Crystal Frost was never seen again, though. She is believed to have indeed been killed on the George Washington Bridge. The JLA’s morgue had a tray for her, though it presumably was empty.

When the Black Lantern Firestorm invaded the JLA’s morgue, he issued black rings to the corpses there. One of the rings called Crystal Frost of Earth to become its host. As far as I can tell, no zombie of Crystal Frost was actually seen during this crisis, so what the black ring had scanned when it called her name is unclear.

Maybe it just read the morgue plaque. Stupid ring.


Description

Her word balloons usually have some effect to them (often an ice and stalactites effect), indicating an altered voice. Killer Frost is often surrounded by a wreath of visibly frozen air, and in some hot environments such as hothouses leaves a puddle below her.


Personality

Killer Frost is clearly psychotic and damaged. Her goals are not rational ones. She wants revenge against all men – sometimes she wants to kill them all, sometimes she wants all men to become her frozen slaves, sometimes she wants to kill Professor Stein.

Generally she seems to hate all men who are not her slaves, and to feel superior to all women. She’ll maniacally seek revenge against anybody who crosses her. She has a very strong spiteful streak and is a casual killer.

Frost’s mood is chaotic. Sometimes she just wants to lash out and fatally freezes everybody who crosses her path (the Psycho half of her Motivation). Sometimes she plots using technology, alliances or her powers to achieve domination over all that she can see (the Power half of her Motivation).

Furthermore, she has a temper. Even when she’s trying to play nice with others there will come a moment where she lashes out.

Firestorm realises that Killer Frost iced up most of the city

When she’s neither going postal or after revenge, Killer Frost harbours naïve power fantasies. The power she wants is not something concrete like money or influence, but more like fulfilling girlhood fantasies of being a princess.

Her plans and behaviour in the pursuit of power can be competent and rational. But as she achieves her goal she starts to lose it and act without much maturity. She becomes more concerned with her childhood disappointments about real life than what is actually happening around her.

Unwell

The dress and jewellery she created when she became Killer Frost likely reflect her regression to her girlhood dream of being a fantasy princess.

Though it’s not stated outright Frost seems to be claustrophobic. She prefers not to be indoors (especially if Firestorm is around, since he could turn the room into a cold trap). When she’s confined she’ll freeze up and panic rather than act with her usual aggressiveness.

Though she used to be withdrawn and awkward, the unhinged Killer Frost has occasionally demonstrated significant strength of personality as she now feels she has great power. She even demonstrated good manipulative skills, especially toward other insane women like the Cheetah.


Quotes

“Wrong, Martin ! Crystal Frost is dead, killed by your rejection ! And the instant she died… Killer Frost was born !”

“You underestimated me, boy ! Because of my femininity, you thought me weak ! But I am strong ! Strong !”

“They thought I was dead… but how can you freeze the burning flame of hate ?”

“The name I was born with no longer matters. You may call me – Killer Frost !”

“Open your eyes, Firestorm. Look around you. Eight million people encased in ice — and only I can release them. I have the power of life and death. Face the facts, little man. Bow to me and call me Queen — and perhaps I’ll let you live !”

“But you are a man, after all… and since the man I really hate isn’t there, you’ll just have to take his place, lover.” (kills some random guy)


DC Universe History

She’d inevitably be Emma Frost’s aunt and the source for Frost’s crystalline secondary mutation.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Killer Frost

Dex: 04 Str: 07 Bod: 06 Motivation: Psycho/Power
Int: 06 Wil: 06 Min: 03 Occupation: Psycho
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 001
Init: 020 HP: 060

Powers:
Cold immunity: 10, Energy absorption (Heat and flame only): 12, Enhanced Initiative: 05, Extended hearing: 04, Fabricate: 01, Flight: 05, Friction control (Decrease only): 08, Hypnotism: 18, Ice control: 13, Ice production: 14, Temperature control (Cold only): 04, Vampirism: 04

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • All of Killer Frost’s Powers are Contingent upon her Temperature control, and none but Hypnotism, Temperature Control and Friction Control are their own AV.
  • Fabricate is limited to icy doodads, but those are permanent as long as they remain close to her (BC 10, FC 1).
  • Hypnotism has No Range, can be resisted using Cold Immunity (which can reinforce both the OV and RV), and is dispelled if the paranormal ice within the victim’s body can somehow be melted.
  • Hypnotism is restricted to one subject at a time unless she splits her APs between multiple subjects, and seems to be limited to one specific suggestion (“serve and protect me slavishly”).
  • Ice control cannot perform the ice formations application, but attacks performed with it can have one AP of Area of Effect.
  • Ice control can trade APs of power for APs of Area of Effect.
  • Ice production cannot perform the Physical Attack applications, but trapping people in ice blocks has Multi-attack 1.
  • Ice production cannot perform the ice slide application (except in low-gravity conditions).
  • Temperature Control has a +16 Special Volume Bonus.
  • Vampirism has No Range and is performed by absorbing heat (Cold Immunity thus helps with the RV). It is usually Combined with Ice Production to encase the victim in ice.

Skills:
Accuracy (Ice control): 08, Gadgetry: 04, Scientist: 04

Advantages:
Expertise (Physics).

Connections:
None.

Drawbacks:
Altered Anatomy, Creepy Appearance, MIF (Mildly claustrophobic), MPR (Nearsighted), Serious Rage, Power Loss (Each negative AP of temperature that is not generated by Killer Frost reduces her AVs and STR by one. At minus seven APs (absolute zero), her STR reaches zero and she becomes paralysed).


Design Notes

The Powers ended up more fiddly than I would have preferred, sorry. But she did demonstrate a wide range of complex abilities.


By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Mostly Firestorm comics in the early 1980s (DC Universe). All of Frost’s appearances were pre-Crisis (barring flashbacks), but things probably occurred in a very similar fashion post-Crisis.

Helper(s): Darci.

Writeup completed on the 17th of May, 2011.

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