12138086458?profile=RESIZE_400xCaptain Cold wasn’t the first name villain to confront the Flash---that was the Turtle Man, from Showcase # 4 (Sep.-Oct., 1956)---but he was the first Flash-foe to have legs.  It took fifteen years for the Turtle Man to stick his head out of his shell, again.  Captain Cold, however, would go on to battle the Scarlet Speedster on eleven occasions during the Silver Age, more than any costumed rogue except for the Mirror Master.  It’s safe to say that the Frigid Felon is the villain most closely associated with the Flash.


Much of that is due to his ambition.  Captain Cold always had grandiose expectations for himself, even when he was just your run-of-the-mill Central City crook Leonard Snart.  Snart knew he’d be able to best that new super-hero in town, the Flash.  All he had to do was figure out how.  An article in a scientific journal gives him an idea for the “how”.  The article theorises that a cyclotron might interfere with the Flash’s super-speed, and Snart theorises that it should be duck soup to defeat the Crimson Comet.  All he has to do is devise a special gun then charge it with radiation from a cyclotron.


Cobbling a hand weapon from spare parts, Snart breaks into a research laboratory in the dead of night.  He attempts to “load” his gun with radiation from the lab’s cyclotron, using the Three-Stooges method of “push buttons!”  When, not surprisingly, the cyclotron runs wild, the crook grabs his pistol and flees---right into the path of the complex’s watchman.  In desperation, Snart fires his irradiated gun at the guard and is stunned when it turns the man as frozen as an ice sculpture.


Armed with his cold-gun, the ambitious Snart decides he’s moved up to the big time---super-villainy.  He fashions his fur-trimmed blue outfit, hood, and goggles, taking the nom du crime of Captain Cold.  Launching a crime spree on Central City, the Master of Cold considers himself unstoppable---until page twelve, when the Flash whisks him off to jail.


Despite the argument of his many prison sentences to the contrary, Captain Cold’s belief in his invincibility never dimmed.  Yet, that was true for most of the criminals in the Flash’s rogues gallery.  They were sure of their victories right up to the moment when they were super-sped behind bars.  Where the Frigid Felon stood out from his fellow rogues was his weakness for becoming lovestruck.


When he fell for a lady, he fell hard, and, true to his nature, he was supremely confident in his irresistibility.  She would, no doubt, be attracted by his frozen feats.  It was the same kind of thinking as by a young boy who does handstands to impress the girl he has a crush on.  


Captain Cold would do quite a few handstands.  His romantic inclinations would become a sub-theme in the pages of The Flash, much like the Jordan Brothers tales in Green Lantern or the Time Pool adventures in The Atom.  What’s that?  Some of you never heard about this?  Well, just sit back and let the ol’ Commander tell you about the romantic escapades of Captain Cold.




12557314086?profile=RESIZE_400x“The Big Freeze”

The Flash # 114 (Aug., 1960)



This story opens with the Flash taking someone to the state penitentiary.  Except he’s in his civilian identity of Barry Allen, and that the person he’s taking to the pen is his girl friend, Iris West, a reporter for Picture News.  But it’s not an assignment that brings Iris to the state lock-up; rather, it’s her sense of civic duty.  As a circulation-building stunt, a local tabloid has run a series of editorials claiming that Leonard Snart, the villainous Captain Cold, was unjustly imprisoned.  The articles argue that Snart’s cryogenic knowledge would benefit society, and they insist that the felon be granted parole.


Snart’s parole hearing just happens to be to-day.  Afraid that the parole board might be swayed by the tabloid editorials, Iris has taken it upon herself to appear before the board and argue that Snart is a dangerous criminal who should be locked away for life.  It’s just too bad that the Flash, who brought Snart to justice after the villain’s first foray, in Showcase # 8 (May-Jun., 1957), won’t be there.  Iris was unable to contact the Scarlet Speedster, to inform him of the hearing,


“Flash’s testimony would really have weight,” she says, “since he was the one who captured Snart!”


Er---Maybe he won’t miss it, Iris!” suggests Barry.



He’s the man who should know.  After dropping the pretty newshen off at the prison gate, Allen finds a shadowy spot to change into the Flash and appears before the parole board.  Iris’ comments don’t do Snart any favours, but the Flash’s remarks are particularly damning.


“It is my opinion that Len Snart has not reformed,” declares the Fastest Man Alive, “and would be more vicious than ever if he were released!”


That’s all the parole board needs to hear.  Parole denied!




Returned to his cell, Snart is disappointed, but not surprised.  He was prepared for bad news.  This state pen obviously has the same lack of oversight as those into which Lex Luthor is continually tossed, as Snart has cobbled a miniature super-refrigeration unit from spare parts he managed to conceal.  One night, a week later, he uses the unit to apply intense cold to the bars of his cell window, making them brittle enough to shatter.  Then, climbing out, the fleeing felon turns the patrolling guards into icy statues before making it over the wall.


The daring criminal goes to ground, eluding the efforts of law enforcement and the Flash.to recapture him.  A month later, the good guys turn hopeful when they receive a tip that Len Snart has been spotted in the southwest United States, almost half a country away from Central City.  News reports broadcast that the Flash is headed southwest for a super-speed search of the area.


Much to the relief of Iris West, aware that her testimony at Snart’s parole hearing didn’t put her on his hit parade.  Her relief, however, shifts to dismay---when Captain Cold, back in costume, appears in her apartment.  And that dismay turns to confusion when the Frigid Felon reveals his purpose in confronting her.  In an eager diatribe, he tells the pretty reporter:


“Don’t worry, Miss West!  I haven’t come here to harm you!  On the contrary, that would be the last thing I want . . . From the moment I saw you, I haven’t been able to get you out of my mind . . . Iris, I love you---and I want you to marry me!”


Now, Iris West isn’t one of those screwball gals who get hopelessly smitten by inmates.  She sensibly replies, “Listen, you creature, I wouldn’t marry you if you were the last man on Earth!”



Captain Cold was prepared for just such an “impulsive” reaction.  That’s why he planted the rumour that he was in the southwest.  It got the Flash out of Central City so he couldn’t interfere when the icy criminal took his next action.  He presses a button on his belt, then escorts Iris outside.



On the street, there’s nothing but eerie calm and silence.  Every person, every animal, everything normally on the move, is shock-still, frozen in motion.  And the effect is city-wide.


Captain Cold has encompassed Central City in a sheath of absolute zero!  The super-intense cold has plunged everyone, except himself and Iris, into a state of suspended animation.  Nothing can penetrate the ice-shield around the city, but if someone managed to do so, he would be frozen by the absolute cold.


Expecting Iris to be suitably impressed by his power, Captain Cold revisits the idea of her marrying him.  She ponders her equally unpleasant alternatives.




12557577472?profile=RESIZE_400xDrawn on the super-fast run by news bulletins, the Flash arrives outside the icy dome surrounding Central City.  At first stymied by the frozen barrier, the Scarlet Speedster hammers away, a thousand times a second, at a single spot on the ice until he shatters an opening for him to speed through.  Once inside the frigid zone, he maintains internal super-speed vibrations to stave of the suspended-animation effect.


It takes the Fastest Man Alive a matter of moments to locate his quarry.  His frozen foe isn’t caught entirely flat-footed, but maybe he’s surprised enough because he attacks with a couple of old tricks, ones for which the Flash is ready.


Old gambit number one:  laying a sheet of ice in the Flash’s path, to keep him running in place.  But the super-fast pounding of the Crimson Comet’s feet melts the ice just enough for him to continue his momentum.  Old gambit number two:  creating an absolute-zero mirage of a monster locust in front of the Flash.  But Our Hero remembers that stunt, too, from Showcase # 8 and ignores the giant bug.


Realising that the Flash was paying attention the first time they clashed, Captain Cold switches gears.  By freezing the moisture in the air with his cold-gun, the villain engulfs the Scarlet Speedster in a rolling glacier.  But the encased speedster simply melts enough of the glacier with his super-fast vibrations to burst free.


Three strikes, and Captain Cold is out!  The Flash kayos him with a long-distance punch of super-compressed air.  Then Iris shows him the belt-switch that Captain Cold activated to freeze Central City.  A push of the tiny lever in the other direction turns off the absolute-cold barrier and returns the city to normal.



Sometime later, Iris tells Barry Allen how Captain Cold wanted to marry her at all costs.  She doesn’t disclose how she would’ve answered if the city were still imperiled, but she does say that the Flash kept Barry from losing her as a girl friend.




12557646494?profile=RESIZE_400x“The Man Who Mastered Absolute Zero”

The Flash # 134 (Feb., 1963)



I’ll bet you didn’t know that Central City University had a physics laboratory.  And it’s a good one.  It’s home to a stadium-length electronic marvel, the most expensive “mechanical brain” ever designed, called the Lightning Calculator, or “LICAL”, for short.  To-day, you could reduce all that electronic hardware to the size of a smart watch and it would do a hundred times as much.  But this was advanced technology for 1963.  (I should know; I remember punch cards and magnetic tape.)


Unfortunately, there’s a problem with LICAL.  Since its installation, it has worked flawlessly---until two weeks ago.  Since then, LICAL has given consistently incorrect answers.  And not just a little off.  Rather, it’s the “2 + 2 = 7” kind of wrong.  The expert in charge of the sophisticated device, Doctor Hutson, is mystified.  Diagnostics on LICAL indicate that nothing is malfunctioning.  Physical examination of the circuitry uncovers no flawed or inoperative components.  LICAL is in perfect health, except for the crucial detail of not answering problems correctly.


Dr. Hutson has asked the Flash for help.  Our Hero responds, accompanied by his friend, Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man.  The scientist explains the problem and what he needs of the Fastest Man Alive.


The electronic impulse which carries the information takes less than one hundred-thousandth of a second to travel through LICAL.  Dr. Hutson hopes that the Flash, armed with a voltage-tester, can follow the impulse through the machine and determine if a circuit is misfunctioning.  Of course, the Flash will help.



A question is encoded, the switch is thrown, and the electronic signal transmits almost instantaneously.  The Scarlet Speedster follows . . . I was going to say, while Dr. Hutson and the Elongated Man look on, but there’s almost nothing to see.   The Flash is there at one end of the electronic brain, then he’s an almost imperceptible crimson blur, then he’s at the other end of the computer.  All in less than an eyeblink.


Unfortunately, it didn’t do much good.  The Flash detected nothing wrong with any of the circuits.  They try a dozen more times, with the same results:  the circuits appear to be working properly.




Leaving the campus, the Flash and the Elongated Man are still discussing the problem with LICAL when they reach downtown Central City.  Then, something more urgent grabs their attention.  News announcements report that a major earth tremour has just caused a wall of the state penitentiary to collapse.  About thirty prisoners have managed to escape in the confusion.  Now, the super-heroes have some real crook-catching work to do.


In their unique ways, the Flash and Ralph scour the vicinity of the prison and round up most of the escapees.  Between them and the police dragnet, they manage to recapture all of the fleeing prisoners---except one. 


12557703470?profile=RESIZE_400xThat lone convict still at large, according to the warden, is Leonard Snart---Captain Cold.  The Flash knows he’s in for a big headache once the Master of Cold is back in business.  He accepts the Elongated Man’s offer to remain in town until the icy villain is caught.


Meanwhile, in a cave outside Central City, Len Snart is congratulating himself on his successful jailbreak.  He had used yet another instant-cold device he was able to manufacture from workshop parts to induce the earth tremour which brought down the prison wall.


That night, on a dinner date, Barry Allen receives some news from Iris West.  For once showing some instincts as a reporter, she obtained permission from the warden to inspect Captain Cold’s prison cell, looking for evidence that Snart, himself, caused the escape effort.  Instead, she discovered the walls covered with publicity photographs and magazine art of a popular local television dancer called “Miss Twist”.  No doubt to Iris’ relief that she is no longer the object of the villain’s affections.


The couple is down to coffee and dessert when a radio blares out a report that Captain Cold has been sighted downtown.  Seeing her chance for a scoop, Iris quickly excuses herself.  As soon as she’s out the door, Allen finds a private place to become the Flash.


As it turns out, Captain Cold is downtown.  That’s where the Central City sub-division of the U.S. Mint is located, and the Frigid Felon figures that robbing gobs of money from a Federal stronghold will be just the thing to impress Miss Twist.


His cold-gun quickly incapacitates the Mint employees and guards, but he’s barely got his loot in hand when the Flash races in.  Captain Cold tries the absolute-zero mirage trick, again.  And it doesn’t work, again.  The crook is barely out the door when Our Hero catches up to him.


But, before the Flash can nab his frosty foe, the Elongated Man springs out of nowhere and coils his rubbery arms not about Captain Cold, but the Scarlet Speedster!  In the time it takes the Flash to untangle himself, the villain has gotten out of sight.  Ralph tries to explain, but he doesn’t, really:


“I saw him, Flash, and stretched myself out to grab him!  But instead . . . I grabbed you!  I don’t understand how I bungled it . . .”




Super-speeding back and forth in an expanding search pattern, the Flash relocates his foe.  Before closing in for the capture, the Monarch of Motion doubles back to bring the Elongated Man with him.  He figures the first time was just a one-time goof-up by his stretchable buddy.  It won’t happen, again.


It happens, again.


Like before, Ralph reaches out and snarls the Flash in his elastic arms, letting Captain Cold get away.  And when the speedster gets loose to pursue his quarry, the E Man snags the icy crook’s cold-gun and attempts to use it on the Flash.  The Crimson Comet is forced to punch out his rubbery pal to end the interference.  After that, it’s quick, and easy, work nabbing Captain Cold.


As for the Elongated Man’s bizarre behaviour, the Flash thinks he has an answer for that, too.  Or, rather, the scientific mind of Barry Allen does.12557815054?profile=RESIZE_400x


Shortly, at the physics lab at Central City University, the Scarlet Speedster explains his theory to Dr. Hutson.  The problems affecting LICAL and the Ductile Detective stem from the same source.  The Flash conjects that one of the components in LICAL has started emitting an ionising radiation.  This radiation is what’s causing the electronic brain’s calculations to go wrong.  And, on their previous visit, the radiation also affected the Elongated Man because his malleable molecules are more vulnerable to it.  (I know, I know . . . DC science.)


The Flash takes another one-hundred-thousandth-of-a-second run through LICAL and, sure enough, he spots a bank of tubes emitting a faint purplish glow.  Replacing the tubes puts both LICAL and Ralph Dibny aright.


Oh, and if you were expecting Miss Twist to enter the plot at some point---huh-uh.  Miss Twist never appears “on camera” anywhere in the story.  As we shall see, it wouldn’t be the last time that Captain Cold fell head-over-heels for a girl from just her photograph.




12557841059?profile=RESIZE_400x“The Heat is On for Captain Cold”

The Flash # 140 (Nov., 1963)



After a night on the town, Barry Allen and Iris West are enjoying a nightcap at her apartment.  Things get a little less cozy when Iris finds her fiancé (they’re engaged, now) gazing intently at the television set, where the local TV personality known as “Dream Girl” is doing her nightly sign-off.  Iris turns off the set, giving Barry a green-eyed glare that isn’t improved by Barry’s excuse, “I was just waiting for Dream Girl to turn around!”


Allen realises that, to get his foot out of his mouth, he needs to tell Iris about a meeting he had that morning as the Flash.  Couching it as “a story that the Flash told him when he stopped by police headquarters,” Barry relates his experience.


The Flash had responded to the law firm of Willens and Kohl, at the request of senior partner Henry Willens.  He needed the kind of help only the 12557847256?profile=RESIZE_400xFastest Man Alive could provide.


The situation was this.  One day short of a year ago, one of Willens’ clients, the wealthy and reclusive Wilson Varner, died.  Varner had spent the last twenty years of his life searching for his daughter, Priscilla.


When Priscilla was an infant, she was traveling with her parents on an ocean cruise when the liner collided with another vessel at sea.  Wilson Varner survived the disaster, Mrs. Varner didn’t, and, in the confusion, baby Priscilla went missing.  Her fate was never determined.  Still, her father never gave up hope that she was still alive.


Private investigators, hired by Varner, had one clue to go on.  A baby picture of Priscilla showed that she had a peculiar diamond-shaped birthmark on her neck, behind her left ear.  Based on information unearthed by the P.I.’s, Wilson Varner determined that a girl who was possibly his daughter was living somewhere in Central City.  Unfortunately, Varner died before he could act on his belief.


Wilson Varner’s will stipulated that his attorneys continue the search for his daughter.  If the now-adult Priscilla is found, then two million dollars of her father’s estate will be put in trust for her, while the remaining ten million dollars will be donated to the poor of Central City.  But there’s a catch---and this is where the Flash comes in.


The terms of the will limit the search for Priscilla to one year---which lapses to-morrow.  Mr. Willens hoped that the Flash could perform a super-speed search of Central City and find Priscilla Varner in time.  Otherwise, Wilson Varner’s fortune will go to some ne’er-do-well distant relatives.  The Scarlet Speedster agreed to do what he could.



“Naturally,” says Barry, concluding the account to Iris, “since talking to Flash, I’ve been peeking at the backs of all the girls I see!”


Mollified, Iris turns the television set back on in time for the start of the eleven o’clock news, which brings some alarming (if not unpredictable) tidings:


. . . and Len Snart, alias Captain Cold, engineered his escape by means of one of his fantastic cold guns which he manufactured out of spare freezer parts in the prison workshop!


Now, on top of the Priscilla Varner business, the Flash has to worry about what villainy the Frigid Felon is planning.




The Scarlet Speedster is right to worry, for in his cavern hideaway on the outskirts of Central City, Captain Cold gazes with ardour on a poster of the lovely TV model Dream Girl.  Dismissing his earlier feelings for Iris West and Miss Twist as mere infatuations, the icy bandit recalls how reading photo-journal articles on Dream Girl in the prison library inflamed his passion for her.  He had to escape, so he could prove his love for her.


Recalling the article in which Dream Girl made admiring comments about the Flash, the Master of Cold determines to embarrass the speedster by launching an unstoppable wave of spectacular crimes.


“I’ll show him up for the stumblebum he is---compared to Captain Cold!  And by doing that, I’ll prove to Dream Girl that I’m really the man she thought Flash was!  I’ll become her dream man---and nobody else!”


The next morning, the villain begins his campaign of crime by making off with the treasury of the exiled government of Guanador before it can be deposited in a U.S. bank.  Successfully stealing the money right out from under the noses of Federal agents and Guanadorian guards, Captain Cold runs smack into the Flash, who has been on all-night patrol.


The Crimson Comet puts on speed and immediately has his frozen foe helpless.  Ordinarily, the story would be over here, with enough page count left to run a couple of “Johnny Quick” reprints.  But, before Our Hero can whisk his prisoner off to jail, he is ambushed, brought down by a heat blast discharged by the weapon of a new super-villain in town.


Clad in a white thermal suit, goggles, and a shoulder holster for his heat gun, Heat Wave, as he calls himself, zaps the Flash again with an intense heat-burst.  It’s enough to put the super-hero down for the count.  A grateful Captain Cold flees, taking Heat Wave with him.


Safe in Captain Cold’s cave hide-out, Heat Wave relates his beginnings as a circus fire-eater.  However, for personal reasons, he recently decided to go into the super-villain business.  And it’s an interesting coïncidence that Captain Cold has a poster of Dream Girl, because she’s the reason that Heat Wave got into the crime business.  He intends to win her love by showing the Flash up as a bungler at crime-fighting foul-up.


Seeing each other as rivals, both criminals react with deadly violence.  But their temperature-weapons cancel each other out, so they agree to a contest, instead.  Whichever one of them commits the most spectacular crimes in Central City wins Dream Girl.




The Flash revives to reports that Captain Cold and Heat Wave are pillaging the city in a series of competing crimes.  When you’re the fastest man on Earth, it doesn’t take long to find a super-villain crime in progress.  Especially this one, in which Captain Cold and Heat Wave are doing battle over the loot from their current robbery.  So vicious is their duel that the Flash isn’t ready for what happens next.12558093669?profile=RESIZE_400x


The two temperature-based crooks, at the sight of the Flash, actually put their differences aside and turn their weapons on the arriving super-hero.  Twin blasts strike the Scarlet Speedster simultaneously.  Captain Cold’s cold-gun freezes the Flash’s right side with sub-zero iciness, while Heat Wave’s heat-gun broils the hero’s left side with incinerating flames.  The shock to his system paralyses the Flash.


But not for long.  Applying his secondary power to control the molecules of his body, the Flash causes the molecules on each side of his body to transfer their extreme temperatures.  Thus, the intense heat and cold balance out, and the shock-paralysis lifts.  One panel later, the Flash catches the criminals flat-footed, slamming them together into mutual unconsciousness.




At police headquarters, the Flash listens to the jailed crooks try to outclaim each other in their love for Dream Girl.  It reminds the super-hero of something that’s been niggling at the back of his mind.


With barely half an hour remaining before the deadline, the Scarlet Speedster visits Dream Girl in her mid-town apartment.  A quick check behind her left ear reveals no birthmark of any kind.  But Our Hero remembers a time last year when Dream Girl missed her show for a few weeks, and when she returned, she wore a new hairstyle, the one she wears now, with her tresses up.


The lovely model admits that she took the time off to have a birthmark on her neck removed.  After that, she could wear her hair up.  The Flash shows her the photo of the baby Priscilla and asks her if it was a diamond-shaped birthmark like that.  It was, says Dream Girl.


Another question or two seals the deal.  Dream Girl tells the Flash that she was placed in an orphanage as a baby, and that she knows nothing of her life before that.  The Monarch of Motion scoops her up and delivers her to the law offices of Willems and Kohl just as the deadline arrives. 


Henry Willens is satisfied.  Dream Girl receives her two-million-dollar trust fund and her name---Priscilla Varner.




12558218298?profile=RESIZE_400x“Captain Cold’s Polar Perils”

The Flash # 150 (Dec., 1965)



We’ve all had this happen to us . . . you get to work and are just settling in when the boss comes in and dumps a big project on you.  It becomes your problem for the rest of the day.  Well, it’s Barry Allen’s turn one morning at police headquarters.  He hasn’t even had time to put on his lab coat when the mayor of Central City assigns him a major duty:  he’s to escort Ayesha, the Maharanee of Jodapur, to the Grand Ball in her honour to-night.


It wasn’t the mayor’s idea---he’d much rather have a regular police officer escort the lady, who’s in America for a state visit.  It was the Maharanee herself who selected Barry to be her escort while she was touring police headquarters this morning, and she won’t be swayed.  Allen kind of wishes she could be swayed, however, because he had a date to take his fiancée, Iris West, to the same affair.


But, Her Highness insists, and so does the mayor:  Barry Allen will have the arm of the Maharanee all day and, then, all evening at the Grand Ball.  When Iris finds out that both her luncheon date and her date to the Grand Ball have been cancelled, she does a slow burn.  Iris’ resentment rises when, in typical sitcom fashion, she visits Barry at police headquarters, and he’s so wrapped up with the Maharanee that he doesn’t notice.



It's late afternoon when Allen gets a chance to be away from the Maharanee for a little while.  The Grand Ball is a white-tie event, and he needs to go home and change into his top hat and tails.  Of course, allows the porcelain beauty, but she has a favour to ask:


“You weel do me a small service, please, first?  The royal jewels are at Horvath’s, being reset.  I weesh to wear them this night so---you weel pick them up for me, yes?”


It comes out more like a royal command.


Unknown to anybody, someone else has a more personal interest in the Maharanee of Jodapur.  It’s Captain Cold (his prison break is such a given that the script doesn’t even bother to describe how he escaped), and he’s so in love with her that he already has a small shrine to her in his secret hideaway.



And a plan to woo her affections.




That evening, a white-tied Barry Allen approaches Horvath’s Jewel Salon when, from out of the skies, drop huge, needle-pointed icicles.  The ice javelins plant themselves in the pavement, creating a frozen barrier around the jewelry shop.


It doesn’t take the Batman to know that Captain Cold is back of this frozen stunt.  At invisible super-speed, Allen swaps his formal wear for his Flash costume, then he vibrates his way through the picket of oversized icicles.  Sure enough, Captain Cold is within, snatching the royal jewels of Jodapur from the stiffened hand of the frozen clerk.


With his cold-gun, the Frigid Felon freezes the very air around the Flash.  But, by super-spinning in place, the Scarlet Speedster creates enough friction heat to turn the frozen air into steam.  He’s about to grab his frosty foe when bad luck intervenes.  The “ceiling” of the icicle cage around the building melts from the steam created by the Flash.  Icy chunks from above collapse on Our Hero, knocking him unconscious.


Captain Cold gets away with the royal jewels.  It’s a long ride to the Maharanee’s hotel suite for Barry Allen.


The young police scientist’s jaw drops when Her Highness presents herself.  She’s bedecked in the royal jewels that Captain Cold stole not a half-hour ago.


Ayesha explains that the jewels were sent to her by a “gallant gentleman” named Captain Cold, who will visit the Maharanee at her convenience.  Barry determines that he will be there when the lovestruck villain makes the personal acquaintance of the latest object of his affection.  But, for now, there’s the Grand Ball to attend.


But, just as they enter the grand ballroom, the Maharanee dissipates into thin air, like a fading illusion!




Across town, at the Central City Sports Arena, another Ayesha is being escorted by another Barry Allen.  Every surface of the indoor stadium is coated with iridescent ice.  The Maharanee---the real one---gasps at the frozen beauty of the scene, while Barry Allen---not the real one---promises to put on a spectacular show for her.


The image of Barry Allen evapourates, revealing his true appearance of Captain Cold.  Escorting the porcelain beauty to an ice-carved throne, the Frigid Felon explains things to her, and to the readers.  Using his cold-gun to disguise himself with the illusion of Barry Allen, he met Ayesha at her suite and brought her here.  Meanwhile, he left a mirage of the Maharanee behind for the real Allen to escort to the Grand Ball.


“All I ask,” says the icy bandit, “is that you sit here and marvel at the entertainment I have prepared for you!  At the end of it, you will find yourself helplessly in love with me---as I now am with you!”



The Maharanee is surprisingly compliant with this.  She’s genuinely entertained, oohing and ahhing as Captain Cold creates a winter-wonderland show of dancing animals and tumbling ice figures with his cold-gun.  She’s enjoying his sub-zero wizardry.


You have to feel kind of sorry for Captain Cold.  For once, it appears his style of courtship is working---when suddenly, the Flash speeds into the arena.  The super-hero figured out how he’d been duped, and he was already pretty sure of why.


The Master of Cold attacks with a frost-giant created by his cold-gun.  Expecting an illusion, the surprised Flash is bowled over by a burst of frozen breath from the giant, who then grips the speedster in his icy clutch.  Captain Cold envelops the Crimson Comet in an artificial Aurora Borealis, hoping its electrical discharges electrocute the super-hero.


Believing it to be part of the show, the smiling Maharanee applauds from her seat.



But the Vizier of Velocity is much too fast to be struck by mere lightning.  As he zooms toward Captain Cold, the rogue hits him with a blast of absolute-zero temperature.  However, momentum carries the Flash free of the paralysing cold, and a super-fast right cross takes down his Arctic adversary.


The Flash clears away the brush for Ayesha.  He explains how Captain Cold is a criminal who stole her royal jewels just so he could get in good with her by returning them.  For her part, whatever fondness her Highness had felt for Captain Cold is past.  The same for Barry Allen.  She has a new hero, now.


“You are marvelous, Flash!  You shall escort me to the Grand Ball instead of Barry Allen!”




12558368494?profile=RESIZE_400x“Captain Cold Blows His Cool”

The Flash # 193 (Dec. 1969)



Given the dismal level of security we’ve witnessed at Central State Penitentiary so far, it’s probably not a surprise that this issue kicks off with the alarm of a prison break.  The guards seem to have gotten a break, though.  The escapees are five Prohibition-era gangsters assigned to a work detail on the prison outskirts.  As one of the responding guards puts it:  “Not one of those broken-down coots could run ten yards without collapsing!”


The search patrol grows less confident when it cannot find a trace of the escaped cons.  The only persons it comes across is a surveying team, and those gents are young and strapping, none of them even yet thirty.  The prison guards drive on, unaware that they’ve just witnessed the results of a miracle.


These young and fit surveyors are actually the five geriatric escapees, made forty years younger by the cryogenic genius of Captain Cold!  He arranged for the elderly prisoners’ escape and rejuvenation.  The cons are grateful to the Frigid Felon for their restored youth, but they ask, what’s the catch?  However, explanations are better left until they are transported to Captain Cold’s secret apartment in Central City.



To the escapees’ surprise, the walls of their rescuer’s digs are covered over with photographs and paintings and posters of one subject, someone whom only those of the gangsters’ vintage would recognise right off:  Laura :Lamont, silent-film starlet and glamour queen of the 1920’s.


12558900284?profile=RESIZE_400xOh, and she’s also Captain Cold’s future bride.  That’s what he says, anyway.


The escaped cons point out some logical flaws in the icy bandit’s new intended courtship.  First, Laura Lamont must be at least seventy years old by now.  And second, she went into seclusion in the early ‘30’s; nobody’s seen or heard from her in over three decades.


Captain Cold shoots down their first argument by reminding them of his cryo-rejuvenation process, which will work on Laura Lamont just as it did on them.  As for the other, he’s got a line on finding Miss Lamont’s whereabouts.  So, the next stage in the Frigid Felon’s plan is for his new gang of crooks to put their old law-breaking skills to use.  They didn’t lose their knowledge and experience when their youth was returned.


Captain Cold sketches out his plans for several thefts for his newly recruited hirelings to commit this very evening, assuring them, “You will be robbing the most priceless presents any groom ever gave his bride!”




While his gang tends to its assigned crimes, a disguised Captain Cold approaches the suburban home of Barry and Iris Allen (they’re married, now).  A week ago, Iris’ newspaper, Picture News, ran an interview she conducted with Laura Lamont.  The article is what sent Len Snart’s heart aflutter for the former screen star.  Unfortunately for his matrimonial plans, however, as a condition to the interview, Iris promised never to reveal Miss Lamont’s 12558982865?profile=RESIZE_400xcurrent whereabouts.  That doesn’t faze the Master of Cold, though; he’s certain he can trick the location out of Iris by posing as a lawyer.


When Iris Allen answers the doorbell, “attorney J. J. Pendergast” explains the purpose of his visit:  one of his wealthy clients, a film buff, recently passed away, leaving his fortune to Laura Lamont.  After reading the interview with Miss Lamont in Picture News, Pendergast came here.  If Mrs. Allen would be good enough to tell Pendergast where Laura Lamont lives, he can deliver the good news to her . . .


Iris’ reporter instincts might be on the fritz---she doesn’t smell a rat in “J.J. Pendergast’s” story---but her reporter ethics are solid.  She refuses to reveal Laura Lamont’s location.  She does offer to contact the silent-film queen herself and pass on the attorney’s news.  That’s acceptable to him, who gives Iris his card.


When Iris tells her husband, Barry, about the conversation, he glances out the living-room window at the departing Pendergast.  The short hairs at the back of his crewcut stiffen.  Pendergast is familiar to him, somehow.


Allen is still looking out the window as his wife drives off to visit Laura Lamont with the news of her inheritance, and he sees Pendergast follow her in his own car.  For some reason, Barry mulls over this for several seconds before changing to the Flash.  He speeds off to warn Iris about her tail.  However, in the time he spent thinking about it, Both Iris’ and “Pendergast’s” vehicles have gotten out of sight.  So, the Fastest Man Alive crisscrosses the streets of Central City, hoping to catch up with them.


He, no doubt, would’ve succeeded, except, as he enters the downtown district, he’s bowled over by a super-sonic blast emanating from a near-by building.  Zooming inside, the Flash finds two of Captain Cold’s rejuvenated cons have broken into a storage vault and are stealing the priceless artwork housed within it.  The only reason it takes the Crimson Comet longer than two seconds to take the crooks down is because one of them grabs the super-sonic device used to crack the vault and blasts Our Hero with it.



The super-sonic pulses have the bizarre effect of intensifying the Flash’s own super-speed vibrations, sending him into another dimension.  However, the Scarlet Speedster has experienced this sort of thing before (Nb., The Flash # 174 [Nov., 1967]).  He concentrates on controlling his speed vibrations and, moments later, has kayoed the pair of thieves.


After dropping them off at the nearest police precinct, the Flash returns home, where Iris tells him that she didn’t see Pendergast, but she did see Laura Lamont.  To Iris’ astonishment, the former screen star has no interest in any inherited fortune.  Her privacy is more important to her.




The next morning, when Barry Allen reports to police headquarters for work, he receives two bits of startling news.  One, the fingerprints of the two young crooks that the Flash brought in last night match those belonging to two of the elderly convicts who escaped.  Two, the Flash broke up only one of a rash of robberies that occurred overnight.  In the others, the thieves successfully made off with high-value objects, such as a gold ring and a diamond tiara and a mink coat.


Uttering a quick excuse, Allen becomes the Flash and zips to the scene of the prison break.  Things start to make a little sense when he detects the familiar vibrations of Captain Cold’s cold-gun.  He follows the lingering traces of the cold-gun radiation and, even though he loses the trail once or twice, it eventually leads him to the apartment secretly maintained by the icy criminal.  There, he finds the stolen items from last night’s robberies.


The Flash also finds that Captain Cold isn’t surprised that the super-hero found him out.  The villain was expecting that.   He gets the drop on the Flash with an attachment to his cold-gun, enabling it to fire frigid blasts below the temperature of absolute zero.  Even the Master of Cold isn’t prepared for the effect it has on his fleet-footed enemy.



The Flash is bloodlessly dismembered, and his various body parts, frozen in stasis, are embedded in a wall of the apartment!


A very self-satisfied Captain Cold hangs a frame around the wall suspending the Flash’s pieces-parts, as if it were an artwork.  Then, after one last check in the mirror, he visits a small cottage on the edge of town.  It’s the secluded residence of Laura Lamont, which he located when he followed Iris Allen the night before.


12559016675?profile=RESIZE_180x18012559016675?profile=RESIZE_400xPresenting himself to the startled woman, Captain Cold expresses his love for her and proposes.  To encourage her acceptance, he bestows her with one of wedding presents ahead of the event.  The lovestruck villain bathes Miss Lamont with the cryo-rejuvenating effect of his cold-gun.  Moments later, the former silent-screen star stands before him completely unharmed---and forty years younger! She’s as lovely as she was in her heyday of the Roaring Twenties.


She’s so overcome by the effect that she doesn’t resist when Captain Cold escorts her back to his secret apartment.  There, he continues his courtship by plying her with the fabulous items stolen the night before.  Bewildered by the onslaught of stunning events, Laura Lamont takes it all in silence.  Leaving her behind a closed door in the room of gifts, Captain Cold dials the first justice of the peace he can find in the telephone book to marry him to Laura Lamont.


Except that he calls his fellow Flash-foe, Heat Wave, by mistake.  The Frigid Felon cannot help boasting over his defeat of the Flash, and he invites the flame-based rogue over to see the results.  He can also be best man at the wedding.


When Heat Wave arrives, Captain Cold gloatingly displays his “portrait” of the disassembled Flash.  But instead of admiration, Heat Wave responds with bitterness that he wasn’t the one to destroy their common enemy.  The thermal-suited villain draws his heat-pistol, jealously determined to be the one who delivers the killing blow to the Scarlet Speedster.  Captain Cold lunges for the rogue’s arm.


“You hot-tempered fool!” shouts the Master of Cold.  “Your heat-blaster is the reverse of my cold-gun!  It could have a disastrous effect----”



Too late!  A scorching blast from Heat Wave’s weapon enflames the wall bearing the Flash-pieces---and the “disastrous effect” feared by Captain Cold results.  While the Temperature Twins come to blows, the Flash reïntegrates, hale-and-hearty, into his super-fast self.  In less time than it takes to type this sentence, the Fastest Man Alive subdues the squabbling super-villains.




The Flash obtains the details he needs to hunt down the three “youthenised” gangsters still at large and nabs them.  Then, he deposits his bundle of bad guys in the local jailhouse.  But there is still one loose end.  When he gets home, the Flash tells the Good Mrs. Allen about it.


“Captain Cold confessed everything!  But when I looked for his bride-to-be, Laura Lamont---she’d disappeared, Iris---leaving all the rich treasures behind her!”


His wife has the answer to that mystery.  While her husband was doing his crook-catching, she had visited Miss Lamont at her home, only to find the now-youthful actress making herself up to look old, again.  Ageing was too painful a process to go through a second time, she explained to Iris.  So, she intends to remain “old”, no matter how many extra years Captain Cold’s rejuvenation process has given her.


“What an amazing woman!” remarks Barry Allen.  What he’s probably thinking is “What a nut!”




* * * * *


You regular readers of my Deck Log probably noticed that this last tale, from The Flash # 193, with its cover-date of December, 1969, fell beyond the year that I demark as the end of the Silver Age---1968.  But, as “Captain Cold Blows His Cool” is the last story in the sub-theme of Len Snart’s heart throbs, I felt I had to include it.  I’m not as versed in The Flash as I am other DC titles, but a check of the Frigid Felon’s subsequent appearances indicate that he never fell for another beauty.  So, I wanted to wrap up the whole trope in one package.


Unlike other Silver-Age running themes, such as the Jordan Brothers or the Time Pool tales or Zatanna’s search for her father, Captain Cold’s fickle infatuations did not age well, when viewed under modern considerations.  To contemporary eyes, Captain Cold’s efforts at romance translate as predatory stalking.  And in the light of incidents such as the Rebecca Schaeffer tragedy, I can’t argue with the virtue-signalers on this one.  Clearly, Captain Cold’s “romances” were more potentially dangerous than the writers of the day considered.  They were simply trying to give Len Snart a distinctive character trait.  But it bears noting that the current Wikipedia entry barely mentions this Silver-Age aspect to his personality.


Usually, I resist the common practise of applying modern sensibilities to vintage comic-book stories.  But, in this matter, it’s a good thing that we know a little better, now.


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  • It’s a little odd that the Comics Code, in addition to his being sent to jail, wouldn’t have pushed for at least one of his crushes to say that they didn’t want anything to do with a career criminal.

    • Women really weren't generally perceived as capable of having clear preferences and agency of their own, apparently.

      The very idea that commiting impressive crimes could endear him to them is to an extent a consequence of that mindset.

  • Snart did get one more romantic shot, Flash #297. This time it turns out his True Love is a bad girl using him for her own ends.

    Prison workshops are indeed amazing places in the DCU. Though the worst error in keeping a Rogue locked up was in "Stupendous Triumph of the Six Super-Villains" where the warden doesn't bat an eye at how thoroughly Sam Scudder is cleaning his shaving mirror (https://atomicjunkshop.com/and-the-inaugural-sam-scudder-award-for-...)

    And the inaugural Sam Scudder Award for Penology goes to ... ⋆ Atomic Junk Shop
    The warden on this page from Flash #174. And the guard too.Seriously, what kind of idiot looks at the Mirror Master polishing a mirror and doesn’t th…
    • So true!  They could make whole panels with the revolutionary tech criminal inmates created in order to escape their prisons. 

      And it happened every other month.


    Snart did get one more romantic shot, Flash #297. This time it turns out his True Love is a bad girl using him for her own ends.


    Thanks for the clarification, Mr. Sherman.  Frankly, my check for any further Captain Cold romances didn't go past the issue # 250 mark.  I figured if he hadn't had another infatuation by that point, then it was no longer considered a trope for him.

    Incidentally, as long as you brought it up, I'm a fan of your articles in the Atomic Junk Shop.  Curiously, I was able to read it more often when I was still working.  I had the column on line at my desk, and read it during my dead time.  I had gone back about four years; now, I have to read your current stuff and catch up to when I started.  Your observations are pretty spot-on and entertaining to read.  (And I appreciate your occasional shout-outs to my stuff.)  On rare occasion, I disagree with your take on something.  But, then, agreement is not a prerequisite for finding merit in your stuff.  There aren't many comics-related blogs I follow, but I do Atomic Junk Shop.



    • Thank you very much. From someone with your expertise that's high praise. And yes, there are few comics bloggers I'm in complete agreement with but that's not a dealbreaker for me either.

      You're correct that #297 is the only post-Silver Age story that plays up that side of Captain Cold, at least in the last century (I don't follow Flash regularly enough since the New 52 to swear to anything current).


  • In the initially unpublished Secret Society of Super-Villains #1, Captain Cold got very "handsy" with the new Star Sapphire! His romantic urges were mentioned.

    When they created the Golden Glider as the Flash's first super-villainess, I believe that they made her Captain Cold's sister to avoid his wanting to date her! 

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