The Tragic Life of Captain Cold

By Eric S. Brown | Jan 08, 2014

I've been a Flash fan since I first started reading comics though it wasn't until recent years that real obsession with all things Flash was born.  There's always been something appealing to me about being able to move so fast you're defying the laws of physics.  My love of the Flash has also led to a deep respect and love for one of his main villains, Captain Cold.

To most perhaps, Captain Cold is laughable.  Like the pre-New 52 Aquaman, he's certainly never been thought of as a hardcore or serious villain.  The mention of his name doesn't creep one out like the Joker's might or bring a sense of fear like Antone Arcane from the Swamp Thing series.  He's just a guy who can freeze things right?  No worries there.

The Flash will have him in jail before one can even blink.  And if you thought that way about him yourself, well, at first glance, you might be right.  There is so much more to Captain Cold however.  The character is much deeper than many readers might ever realize without making a point to take down the key moments of his life and history.

Captain Cold isn't a bad guy.  He's just a guy who had an abusive and alcoholic father, a person who grew up poor, and lost his way to a degree.  Captain Cold doesn't kill, he doesn't do drugs, he doesn't even go looking for fights like some villains. As the leader of the Rogues, he has a “leave no man behind” attitude and when he gives his word, you can trust him to die trying to live up to it.

He doesn't let the other villains he leads in the Rogues do those things either. He doesn't want to rule the world or bring civilization to its knees.  He just wants to live his own life, if a somewhat extravagant one paid for by the money of other people, and protect his sister because he couldn't do those things when he was younger.

Mark Waid once wrote an amazing issue of the Flash depicting the events of Cold's childhood.  You can't read that issue and not moved for him.  The man has been through a lot and to have come out of it all being only as misguided as he is says a lot about just how great of a person Cold might have become if things had been different for him.

All that I have said applies both to the old universe Captain Cold and the New 52 version.  Both have sided with the world's heroes, including the Flash, when things really hit the fan and what was right needed to be done to save the day.

He may not be as popular and well known or as powerful as Darksied but that's OK. Cold is human. Captain Cold cares about those he loves and bleeds when you hurt him. So next time you're thinking he's as lame as Aquaman used to be, take the time find out more about him first.  I think you'll find he's far more worthy of respect than you ever imagined a villain could be.