ON CAPTAIN COLD

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His name is Leonard Snart. (Yes, really.) He was a petty crook who stole an experimental gun that could shoot ice. (Just go with it.) He then used this cold gun to rob banks (because that seems like a logical thing to do). That’s pretty much it. He’s exactly what it says on the side of the tin. He’s Captain Cold.

I have a pretty iron-clad rule -“Never ever give DC Comics another nickel”. They already own enough real estate in my head as it is. I’m pretty sure that I’ve purchased at least one yacht for those fuckers, 35 cents at a time. But man, I’m a sucker for a good Captain Cold story.

He’s the Flash’s greatest* enemy (Pipe down, all you fans of Professor Zoom). And there isn’t much to him at all, as a character. He’s not Lex Luthor (who is motivated by pure, blind, unreasoning hatred of Superman), he’s not Sinestro (who is an honourable man, at heart, albeit one with decidedly Nazi-ish tendencies), he’s not the Joker (who is a cypher, changing whenever the winds picks up or a new writer gets assigned to Detective Comics). He’s just a guy with a gun who robs banks until the Flash shows up and stops him. Simple, right?

That simple formulation has been done hundreds, if not thousands of times over the years. But Our Len isn’t really the one-trick pony he appears to be. He has a sister. (Her name is Lisa.) There’s a reason he’s a petty crook. (Abusive home life growing up.) He robs banks because that’s where they keep the money. (Again, pretty straight-forward.) But there’s something else.

The Flash’s Rogues Gallery is unlike any other in comic books. Spider-Man’s villains are usually mutated freaks. Captain America fights Nazis, most of the time. Batman’s foes are psychological concepts. The Flash’s Rogues Gallery are just crooks but they’re crooks with honour. They have a gentleman’s agreement with the Flash – they rob the banks, he tries to stop them. They don’t poison the water supply or try to take over the Universe. They don’t really even mind going to jail that much. It’s the cost of doing business.

Moreover, they don’t usually hurt people. They WILL, if they have to but they take no joy in it. That’s not part of the game. Where’s the fun in that?

The Joker has killed more people than ebola times cancer. Snart and his ilk don’t have a body count attached to them. They just rob banks, it’s pretty simple, pretty straight-forward. Until you think about it.

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