Curated: 90s Superboy

Growing up as a young comic book collector in the mid 1990s, there were few people to talk to about comics. This was just as the internet was becoming public, but still quite a ways off before I would gain access to it in 1998. Out of a group of peers, there were three or four other known people who read comic books, but the majority opted for the likes of Spider-Man, the X-Men and Spawn; arguably far more popular to a then pre-teen than this editorialists favourite, Superman. Superman, despite the sales spike caused by the “Death of Superman” storyline, was decidedly uncool, which in a way made the character all the more special. A close friend took to liking Superboy as an alternative to Superman, and started collecting that title. This was in late 1994 or early 1995, so the Post-Crisis Superboy was still only a couple years old at this point, one driven home by the fact he still had no other name than Superboy!

Co-creators Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett were the stewards of this new Superboy for the first three or so years, giving us a number of characters, concepts and storylines that continue to be favourites to this day. This curated list, honours that, and mostly focuses on the first Kesel/Grummett run from 1993-1996. Some decent concepts came after that, and some questionable characterizations, but for anyone wanting to see this character in his original interpretation, these stories do it:

Adventures of Superman (Volume 1) 501

The first appearance of the Post-Crisis Superboy. Clone of the recently deceased Superman, he is one of four mysterious pretenders that have appeared in Metropolis. This single issue within the “Reign of the Supermen” storyline from 1993 nearly acts as a backdoor pilot to what the Kid’s first series would be. The majority of the elements, from Tana Moon, Roxy and Rex Leech and even the introduction of a new Krypto, would be established in this funny, fast paced, yet still thoughtful single issue.

Superboy: Trouble in Paradise TPB

This collection from a couple years ago collects roughly the first year of Superboy’s solo series under Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett. The majority of characters Superboy would interact with throughout their run are introduced, including King Shark, for fans of that particular character. The majority of the collection is done by Tom Grummett, but the odd fill-in still manages to fit-in with the overall youthful tone of the book. This is Superboy just his first steps out as an independent being, and that’s eventually going to have ramifications on him and those around him.

Superboy/Robin: World’s Finest Three

This two issue prestigious format mini-series is one that slips under the radar of most comic book fans, yet should not be overlooked. Co-written between Karl Kesel and Chuck Dixon, this story features the first meeting and team-up between Superboy and the third Robin, Tim Drake. Comic book fans have for years, taken for granted the friendship that developed between the Boy of Steel and the Boy Wonder, but it was one that did not occur in either of their solo series.

Facing off against Metallo and Poison Ivy, it is your typical superhero crossover fair, but still enjoyable, and even if the story does not grab you, the Tom Grummett artwork will surely make up for it!

Superboy (Volume 4) Annual 2 (November 1995)

Superboy (Volume 4) 0 gave early glimpses into Superboy’s origin back in 1994 (and is collected in Superboy: Trouble in Paradise TPB), but it is this 1995 “Year One” branded annual that gives readers more detail into the first days of Superboy’s existence. Readers finally learn of the human donor to Superboy’s creation (only to later be retconned in an unforgivable way by another writer), Cadmus is revealed to be operating after being presumed destroyed, and this half origin/half birthday tale gives the reader some rather poignant moments of a teenager already unsure of his place in the world, facing new revelations about his identity.

While Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett would return to the title a second time a few years later, their wackier take during their follow-up was not embraced by the entire fandom, and they left shortly after; closing out a lot characters and arcs that they had first developed in the process. Subsequent writers would not do the character particular justice, and by the end of the 2000s the Superboy most of us had been introduced was mostly gone; a complicated set of retcons and mischaracterization ultimately resulted in the character really losing its shine. There is hope that this list might remind the reader of a time when the Metropolis Kid took on the legacy of Superboy, and made it something truly unique.

Curated: (Some of the) Best Of 90s DC

As children of the 1980s, many of us likely became fans either through the Christopher Reeve Superman movies, or perhaps Michael Keaton’s Batman. Those were the days when there was not a dozen comic book related movies hitting theatres each year. For many of us, comic book reading started in the early 1990s. Superman was killed, Batman had his back broken and Marvel was doing some equally big things over in their sandbox with Spider-Man and the X-Men.

Personal nostalgia is rooted in the 1990s, specifically in DC Comics during the 1990s. Yes, it was definitely not the write time for any of us to be entering the comic book fandom. This was the decade that saw some epic highs and lows. This decade is perhaps the most derided, criticized and lambasted decades of comic book history. It also was the best of times, too.

This was the decade that gave us a mega crossover once a year, yearly themed annuals and its fair share of great storylines. There were great concepts and some ideas that really were just too bonkers to only work in comics. Everyone who reads comics are familiar with Batman: The Long Halloween, The Sandman and Animal Man. Those are entrenched in our psyche because they really are that good. They belong on other lists. Instead, let’s look at five overlooked/underrated storylines of the 1990s definitely worth your time.

Superman: The Trial of Superman

This is about to receive a reissue with a new collection out by the end of this year. In terms of Superman storylines, this is one of the more inventive and cohesive storylines of the decade. While the premise does stretch credibility a little, but this is comics and that requires a certain suspension of disbelief in order to work in the first place. Once you get past it, you’ll see this storyline has a considerably meatier plot than “The Death of Superman”, is just as action packed and features many of the same characters as the more famous storyline.

Flash by Mark Waid Book Four

Mark Waid’s run on Flash during the 1990s is a cornerstone of the successes that the comic book company had during that decade. Waid wrote some incredible things in the 1990s, but nothing quite like his run on The Flash. DC has been collecting this run, and book four, which contains the “Terminal Velocity” story is perhaps one of the best Flash stories of the modern era, and a pinnacle of Waid’s run. Most writers after writing the same character for forty issues would be ready to throw in the towel and move onto other projects… with Flash, Mark Waid was just getting started.

Batman: Contagion

“Contagion”, and its follow-up “Legacy”, are often overlooked because they happen… right between two year long mega storylines we know as the “Knightfall Trilogy” and “No Man’s Land”. As a result, these two, particularly “Contagion”, do not nearly get the praise that they deserve. For two relatively self contained storylines (two to three months vice year long), each have their merits, but “Contagion” is the one you definitely want to track down. Warning: if you are looking for a storyline that showcases a plethora of Batman’s rogues gallery, this is not the collection or recommendation for you.

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights

Being a Green Lantern fan in the 1990s meant reading issues starring Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern. Many ignore this decade of stories for a lot of reasons. The stories are not always great, or even average, and the fandom was toxic towards the creators to the point that it has left a dark stain on the books ever since.

There are bright moments in this run. Ron Marz and Darryl Banks really did do their best to work with editorial edicts and a fanbase that were unwilling to give anything a chance after Marz was forced to make Hal Jordan go insane (see: editorial edicts). The first couple years of Kyle Rayner are really up and down in quality (Green Lantern (Vol. 3) 50-69), but the series gets its legs by the time time issue 75 hits the stands and continues on that way for a few years. Of these stories, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights is the highlight. Kyle Rayner teams up with Hal Jordan, and it’s a seven issue arc that brilliant feels like a passing of the torch between the two characters. The fandom would not accept the torch passing, but this book is still very much worth a read, and perhaps the most under the radar Green Lantern stories out there.

JLA: Rock of Ages

Rounding out this list a Grant Morrison storyline from this critically acclaimed run on JLA. While many would now criticize this storyline as reading like a proto-Final Crisis, this tells the story in a more contained and enjoyable way. It’s six issues that pack a lot of action and wonderment into its materials. Others would argue that “New World Order” order is better, but that feels more like a movie experience, whereas “Rock of Ages” feels more epic, if you can excuse the hyperbole. Extra kudos also should go to Morrison who had to write this particular storyline at a time when Superman was electric and Wonder Woman was dead. Oh, the 90s….

The Flash 90s – Ep19 – Done With Mirrors Review

You may have guessed who the villain is by the title of the episode but you might not know who played him. Sam Scudder/Mirror Master was portrayed by singer, song writer and actor David Cassidy who is also the father of arrowverse royalty Katie Cassidy. It is always really cool to see connections between the 90s show and the content we have today.

Sam Scudder and his partner Stasia Masters have broken into the west cost branch of S.T.A.R Labs. They steal a battery that could easily power a house for 10 years. He places a disk in the battery’s place and it projects a perfect hologram of the battery. He plans on selling it for a fortune. As they are about to leave Stasia tries to hit Scudder from behind but her hand goes right through him. It was another hologram. Stasia turns around to find the real Scudder behind her. He knew she would try to betray him but before he can grab her she sprays knockout gas in his face. Stasia grabs the battery, sets off the alarm and leaves the unconscious Scudder to take the fall.

A very nervous Tina has brought Barry to pick up her mother from the train station. Tina has a strained relationship with her mother (Jocelyn) as she stayed with her father when Jocelyn left him. The only reason Jocelyn is in Central City is due to an art show she is hosting in the area. As Tina is introducing Barry to Jocelyn Stasia (who is trying to avoid on of Scudders lackeys) appears and gives Barry a kiss on the lips. Roll Titles.

Kissing Barry has worked as the lackey has gone. Barry remembers Stasia from high school, Tina who is slightly annoyed tries to get Barry’s attention but she only gets it after Stasia has left. As Barry helps Jocelyn with her luggage he notices that his wallet is gone. Meanwhile Stasia looks at Barry’s wallet and discovers that he is a cop.

Tina shows Jocelyn a very rare crystal that can focus a laser beam more accurately than any other crystal in the world. It is on loan from the government, if anything happens to it Tina would probably get fired (I wonder what will happen to it in this episode?).
As amazing as the crystal is Jocelyn seems bored of it instantly. She is more interested in the lack of colour in Tina’s lab. She doesn’t know how Tina can work in such dull conditions.

The next day at a cafe Stasia is on the phone to a business associate (Fletcher). She is unhappy as Fletcher is two days away from Central City, she knows the longer she is there the more chance one of Scudders lackeys will catch her. As she finishes her call two lackeys happen to appear and sit next to her. One of them tries to grab her bag but Stasia trips up a waiter and in the confusion she makes a break for it. As Barry, Bellows and Murphy are enjoying corndogs Stasia and the lackeys run past them. They notices that the lackeys are packing heat and they start chasing them. Stasia uses one of Scudder’s disks to project a cowboy in the middle of the street and as one lackey is distracted by this and the other has been arrested by Murphy Stasia gets away in a cab.

Stasia decides that the only way she can stay out of trouble for two days is to find a boy scout who can give her a place to stay. As Barry and Julio arrive at work Stasia is already there waiting for Barry. She gives him back his wallet claiming it must of fell into her bag at the train station. Julio leaves Stasia and Barry to catch up. She tells Barry she is stuck in the city for a few days but has no place to stay. Barry offers her the opportunity to stay to his apartment and obviously Stasia jumps at the chance.

Scudder meets Tallent, his head lackey. He shows off a special device on his wrist, it projects a moving image of him anywhere he wants. Tallent informs him that Stasia got away and The Flash could be a thorn in their side. Scudder tells Tallent to find Stasia and the battery, while he goes on a little errand himself. Scudder is going to S.T.A.R Labs. At the lab Tina is disappointed that her mother is going out as Tina had planned to make her dinner. As Tina leaves the lab in a huff Scudder sneaks in. Tina has forgotten her keys so she returns to the lab to get them. The only problem is the lab is engulfed in flames. Tina uses a fire extinguisher to put it out but it has no effect. Scudder who is hiding in the lab projects a mime by mistake and then a team of fire men. Now even though Tina must have seen the fire men appear out of thin air she still starts to talk to one. Scudder takes his leave with the super rare crystal that Tina was bragging to her mother about earlier. Back in the lab the fire men, the mime and fire all disappear. Tina thinks she is losing her mind.

Barry and Stasia return to his apartment after dinner, Stasia thanks Barry again for letting her stay. Barry thinks they are about to kiss but Stasia asks if The Flash was built by some mad scientist, Barry says like “Professor Zoom”. (Wow Professor Zoom what a crazy name.) Stasia goes to kiss Barry but this time the phone rings and Stasia picks it up. It’s Tina and she needs Barry to come over to her lab right away. Barry leaves Stasia in his apartment; she hides the battery under a lamp.

Tina explains to Barry about the fire that wasn’t a fire. She thinks her mother is pushing her over the edge. Barry finds a disk on the floor and as he picks it up the mime appears again. Tina is surprised at the sophistication of the projection disk. Barry thinks the fire and everything else was a distraction for a theft. Tina hasn’t noticed anything missing, Barry looks at the crystal and tries to touch it; his hand passes though the projection of the crystal. He finds a disk nearby. Tina mentions that S.T.A.R Lab has had a bad time lately with this theft and the one at the west coast site. She realises that if they don’t find the crystal she will lose her job. They deduce that to sell the crystal the thief will have to cut it. Tina believes it would take a lot of power to cut that particular crystal. They search for any power surges in the city and they find one at the hotel Infantino (Hey I know a guy with that name).

Scudder and Tallent are having no luck cutting the crystal. Scudder tries to think of another way to cut it but Tallent pulls a gun on him and wants to sell that whole crystal for one big score. Scudder opens a door and discretely drops a disk; all of a sudden three large police officers walk into the room and go for Tallent. He backs up too far and falls through a window. The officers disappear and Scudder looks out of the window at his deceased former associate. The Flash runs into the room and asks for the crystal. Scudder tries to bribe The Flash but that isn’t going to work. The Flash goes to grab Scudder but that isn’t going to work either as he has been talking to a projection. The real Scudder turns the light off and vanishes. The Flash looks for him but Scudder is no longer in the room he is actually getting the crystal from Tallent’s body.

Stasia gets a call at a pay phone from Fletcher, she says the longer she has to wait in the city the higher the price of the battery. As she hangs up Scudder whistles at her and grabs her. He wants the battery but Stasia claims that she has sold it, he doesn’t believe her but then Stasia says she can get him The Flash, now Scudder starts to listen. Stasia tells Scudder that she sold the battery to a scientist called Professor Zoom, he created The Flash and he can make more. So he gives her 24 hours to set up a meeting with Zoom.

Barry turns up to work tired and mad. He tells Julio that he got no sleep and Stasia disappeared. He thinks she is playing games with him and she is up to something. Julio suggests they look her up on the crime lab computer. They discover she hooked up with a guy named Scudder who used high tech holograms to steal a lot of things. I think Barry is starting to figure things out.

At Garrick Gallery (they so many good references in this episode) Barry fills Tina in on the Scudder Stasia connection. He promises he will get the crystal back. Jocelyn who is helping sell some of the art at the exhibition has an argument with Tina. Tina bemoans the fact that Jocelyn never knew her dead husband David or came to his funeral. Jocelyn said she was in the middle of something and Tina says Jocelyn was always in the middle of something and never had time for her. Barry tells Jocelyn to go after her but she refuses as she is busy. Barry tells her about the stress Tina is currently going thought and she could use her mothers support, Jocelyn almost takes his advise but she sees another piece of art is being sold and walks away from Barry. Stasia walks up to Barry and asks for his help. Barry knows helping Stasia will get him close to Scudder and the crystal.

Barry and Stasia arrive at a seedy bar. Barry is dressed quite differently to his normal attire. He is wearing a pair of dark shades, a long overcoat, a horrible shirt oh and he has spiked his hair. Barry is not thrilled by Stasia’s plan or choice of location. Stasia tells him he has to pretend to be Professor Zoom and convince Scudder that he can make him his own version of the Flash. Stasia leaves Barry at the bar while she finds Scudder. But before she finds him she calls Fletcher telling him she may have something that sparkles to sell him. Nearby Scudder hears Stasia’s conversation. As Barry chokes on a drink Julio and Sabrina see him and ask him if he is leading a double life or is he undercover. He tells them to scram so they won’t blow his cover.

Stasia grabs Barry and takes him to a private table. Scudder shows up and Barry er… Professor Zoom starts to talk with a bad German accent. He zooms off and brings some drinks from the bar at super speed. Both Scudder and Stasia are shocked by this. This was Zoom’s way of showing Scudder that he was legit. Zoom lays out the deal, the crystal for the secrets of the Flash. Zoom wants to see the crystal but Scudder wants to see the battery he thinks Stasia has sold to Zoom. Breaking his accent a confused Barry looks at Stasia and says “Battery?” She runs off and before Scudder can go after her Barry drops the act and tells Scudder that he is under arrest. Scudder projects a hologram of snakes on to Barry’s chest and feet. Barry freaks out and Scudder makes his escape. After the hologram fades Barry thinks he has caught up to Scudder but you’ve guessed it another hologram. As Barry rushes off to find Scudder he drops his invite to the art exhibition which Scudder finds.

Barry returns to the gallery looking for Tina as he can’t find her anywhere. Jocelyn informs him that Tina isn’t there and she starts talking about how well the exhibition went. Jocelyn then regrets how she acted around Tina so Barry suggests she talks to her. Before she can respond they see a priest who is admiring a painting. Barry walks over to him but he disappears and Scudder knocks Barry out from behind. Scudder takes Barry and Jocelyn to the hotel and ties them up. Scudder thinks Jocelyn is in on the deal with Stasia; Barry tries to explain that she is not but Scudder isn’t buying it. As usual the bad guy divulges his plan to a good guy. Scudder will catch Stasia at the train station so he will end up the battery and the crystal. He leaves Barry and Jocelyn a present, a laser cutter which is wired up to a timer and when the timer reaches zero the laser which cut right through Barry and Jocelyn.

Stasia grabs the battery in Barry’s apartment and is about to skip town until Tina walks in on her and demands to know where Barry and her mother are. Stasia pulls a gun on Tina but Barry’s dog Earl (who is a very good boy) jumps at Stasia and knocks her over. Tina grabs the gun. Stasia convinces Tina not to call the cops because if she does she will never find Barry or her mother. They go off to the train station as Stasia thinks Scudder will be there.

At the hotel Barry bites a button off his shirt and spits it at a lamp. The room goes dark and under that cover of darkness Barry frees himself and Jocelyn using his speed. She asks if this sort of thing happens to him a lot, he explains that Tina is usually about to help him. Barry asks her to call the police while he heads for the train station.

Stasia meets Fletcher at the station and Tina pulls the gun on them both. Scudder interjects and holds them all up. Tina is about to give him the battery but the Flash shows up and grabs the battery first. Scudder projects multiple copies of himself to confuse the Flash. Flash gives the battery to Tina who plugs it in to a small lighting rig. The light shines bright and all the Scudders apart from the real one fade away. The Flash quickly knocks him out and takes back the crystal. In all the action Stasia and Fletcher run outside and catch a cab. They talk about all the places they could run off to but the only place they are going is prison. The cab driver is Barry and it is surrounded by the police.

Tina and Jocelyn reconcile and decide to make an effort to see each other more often. Barry rushes in and tells them to stop being so cold to one another, Tina explains that they have sorted out their issues, they all smile and live happy ever after, well until the next episode at least.

This was yet another top episode. It had a strong B plot with Tina and her mother and we saw a different take on one of the Flash’s most well known rogues.

The Flash 90s – Ep18 – Twin Streaks Review

It looks like Central City has a case of double vision.

Doctor Jason Brassell and his associate Ted Whitcomb are seeing how fast their test subject can run. The test subject reaches a speed of 347 miles per hour and he evaporates into thin air. Ted is distraught at seeing the man disappear but Jason is only angry as his experiment was a failure. A few days later Ted tries to convince Jason to stop the experiments before they loose anyone else. Jason will not give his work up; he didn’t care about the test subject as it was a clone. He is determined to try again but with a test subject who can withstand high speeds, he decides that they need The Flash.

Tina is testing Barry’s mental speed, physical speed and heart rate. She asks him to place a few hundred books on to some shelves and put them in alphabetical order by author. Barry does it but he is 20% slower than last time, his heart rate is faster than normal and he made three mental errors (his first errors ever). Tina is worried that Barry is pushing himself too hard by responding to every little emergency that the police can deal with and she feels that he will burn himself out one day very soon. Barry dismisses the notion that he is working too hard. Before Tina can finish explaining the damage Barry is doing to his body he hears a police alert (thanks to an ear piece he is wearing) about a bomb warning at the Central City railway station and he runs off.

At the station The Flash searches everywhere but he finds no sign of any bomb. A small toy robot appears and rolls over to The Flash, he goes to touch it but the robot cuts him with a hidden blade and his hand starts to bleed badly. He picks the robot up and runs back to Tina. We see a small pool of his blood on the station floor; Dr Jason Brassell walks over and takes a sample of The Flash’s blood.

Jason puts the blood sample into a chamber and within a few minutes the blood is now a baby, a few minutes more a small child and just over an hour later a fully grown clone of Barry Allen/The Flash walks out of the chamber.

Tina has treated Barry’s hand and she notices that it is healing slower than normal. She finally tells him that he is suffering from stress and eventually it was cost him more than his ability to heal fast.

Jason and Ted have been teaching the clone to read and Jason notes that the clone is learning at a hundred times the speed of the previous clones. Ted is concerned that the clone has the mind of a child in the body of a powerful adult and it has no morality and no sense of right or wrong. Jason yet again doesn’t care about the ethical side of things as all he can see are dollars signs. Jason wants to create another thousand clones of The Flash and sell them to the highest bidder. Jason names the clone Pollux after a twin in Roman mythology. He asks Pollux to stack some blocks as fast as he can. Pollux struggles to do so and every time the blocks fall over he gets more and more frustrated. He starts to throw the blocks around Jason’s lab and he breaks a few windows. Calmly Ted walks over to Pollux and he asks him nicely to try and stack the blocks again. This time Pollux does it in seconds. Jason notices that Pollux skin is burning up from moving at high speed, so he decides to build him a protective suit.

Julio is try to calm a very annoyed Lt Garfield as it seems Barry has sent the wrong case files to an archive facility 20 miles away (due to stress). Garfield tears into Barry when he arrives but Barry hits back and if it were not for Julio and Tina Barry would have been looking at a very long suspension. Tina takes Barry for a walk.

Jason has made Pollux a blue version of The Flash’s costume with the logo of the lab instead of a lighting bolt. As Jason and Ted are discussing what to do with their creation Pollux escapes the lab. He finds a playground and starts to play on a roundabout. He is going so fast he causes a series of high winds which cause chaos on the Central City streets. Barry and Tina see the aforementioned chaos and Barry tries to stop the roundabout but he is knocked off. Pollux sees Tina and tries to play with her but she tells him no. Jason and Ted find Pollux but he refuses to go back to the lab with them. Jason shoots him in the back with a tranquilliser dart and he collapses.

Ted tries to convince Jason to destroy Pollux as he is too dangerous. Jason says no and is determined to make more versions of him. Pollux wants to know who he is, where is he from and who his parents are. Jason tells Pollux that he is nothing but an experiment. Pollux is about to leave the lab but before Ted can shoot him with another dart Pollux swings him round and throws him into some shelves killing Ted instantly. Shocked by this Pollux runs away from the lab.

Thanks to the logo on Pollux’s suit Tina locates the lab he came from and Barry goes to pay it a visit. Pollux is wondering the streets and steals some fancy clothes from a shop. Later he finds a newspaper with Tina’s picture on it. He seems infatuated with her and decides to get her flowers. Barry reaches the lab and finds Jason who is packing up his equipment. Jason is shocked as he thinks its Pollux at first but he quickly realises that the man standing in front of him is The Flash. Barry asks him a few questions but gets no real answer to any of them. Barry finds a bin with shredded files, he takes them home, puts them all back together again and starts to read the files.

Pollux turns up at S.T.A.R Labs with a lot of flowers for Tina. She quickly calls Barry to meet them. Barry has read all the files and knows everything about Pollux and all the failed experiments. Pollux sees Barry and realises that he came from Barry’s DNA. Barry shows him his police badge which Pollux takes along with Barry’s keys and wallet after he smashes a vase on Barry’s head. Pollux tells Tina that he is now Barry Allen.

At the station Pollux runs into Lt Garfield and immediately has an argument with him. Julio tells him to chill out and get some rest at home. Pollux goes to Barry’s apartment and looks though his photo album. A few hours later Barry and Tina arrive there but Pollux is gone, they deduce that he is going to his old lab to see Jason.

Pollux finds Jason who is trying to leave the lab for good. Jason tries to shoot Pollux (this time with a real gun) but Pollux catches the bullet and throws it back at high speed right into Jason’s heart. The Flash and Tina arrive and ask Pollux to come with them but Pollux refuses and starts to fight with The Flash. The fight is even until Jason with his last breath shoots his gun at The Flash in that moment Pollux jumps in front of the bullet and saves The Flash’s life. The Flash holds Pollux in his arms as he sees the clone fade away into nothingness, the only thing left is the suit. Tina believes that due to Pollux’s metabolic level accelerating so fast he literally burned himself out. Barry takes this as a sign and decides to take things a bit easier so he can de-stress and not burn out himself.

This is probably John Wesley Shipp’s best performance in The Flash. He played Pollux with such innocence and misplaced anger when the role demanded it. The emotion he conveyed as The Flash when he held the dying Pollux in his arms must also receive high praise.

The Flash 90s – Ep17 – Captain Cold Review

Central City is in the middle of a heatwave but there is someone who can cool things down, the only problem is his name is Captain Cold.

It’s a hot summer’s night in Central City and four of the city’s top crime bosses can’t take the heat. That’s probably because the air con is not working in the St Diogenes Social Club. Inside the club the bosses are worried about Jimmy Swain a crime boss who is muscling in on their turf. They are interrupted by a person claiming to be the air con repairman. They ask him to make it cool in the club he reassures them by saying cool is his speciality.

Barry is awoken by his phone, its Julio asking Barry to meet him as there’s been an incident at the social club. Once Barry arrives Julio shows him all four crime bosses frozen to death. Neither Julio or Barry know how this type of freezing could happen but as Lt Garfield reminds them, it’s their job to find out. Outside a journalist named Terri Kronenberg is trying to get the scoop on what happened in the club but officer Bellows isn’t letting her in. As soon as Bellows leaves her she crosses the police tape. Barry is getting some equipment out of the crime labs van and as he gets out he manages to step on Terri’s hand that just happens to be under the van. Terri tells him off so Barry decides to call over Bellows who gladly removes Terri from the crime scene as she leaves Terri stamps on Barry’s foot.

Jimmy Swain is extremely happy as his rival crime bosses are out of the picture. He gets some money out of his safe and gives it to the air con repairman who happens to be Leonard Wynters aka Captain Cold, a professional hitman with an icy demeanour. Swain has another job for Cold but he isn’t interested until Swain tells him that it will be a challenge, he wants Cold to put The Flash on ice. Cold gladly accepts the job.

At the police station Lt Garfield informs Julio and Barry that Terri has been assigned to the station by the Daily Clarion to write reports on how the police do their job. Barry isn’t thrilled with this and leaves to see Tina at S.T.A.R Labs. Barry asks Tina to look at a tissue sample from the crime scene and run it through the labs analysis equipment.

Back at the crime lab Terri apologises to Barry. She tells Barry that she has a theory about The Flash; she thinks he works at the police department. Terri thinks it could be anyone at the department apart from Barry as he doesn’t look physically strong enough to pull off being a superhero. Tina arrives with the results from the tissue analysis. Tina picked up some radiation on the tissue sample, she believes whatever froze those men was powered by a nuclear energy, Terri hears all this information. Barry hears a commotion outside, he meets Bellows who tells him that three bombs have been left around the city and they are due to explode in five minutes. If only they knew someone who was fast enough to stop all three bombs in time.

The Flash defuses all three bombs in time but all that rushing about has taken a toll on his body and he is feeling weak. Inside the shop where he found the third bomb an exhausted Flash is confronted by Captain Cold. Cold has some type of hi-tech gun and he tries to shoots The Flash but he is still too quick for the freeze gun. Unfortunately The Flash runs out of steam and his feet are frozen by the gun. Cold is about to finish the job but the sound of police sirens hasten his departure and he leaves The Flash in pain.

The next morning Barry is slowly recovering at S.T.A.R Labs and Tina has a lead on where the freeze gun comes from. The gun came from a company researching biological cryogenic and they had developed a portable freezing unit with a small nuclear battery to power it, but it was stolen six months ago. Tina warns Barry against taken Cold on as the gun could kill him. Barry won’t back down so Tina gives him a mini transmitter that will let her keep track of him just in case things get chilli again.

Barry’s contact Fosnight lets him know that Cold is working for Swain. Barry notices a story about a nuclear powered freeze weapon in The Inquisitor (a garbage newspaper) that only one reporter could have had knowledge of and that reporter was Terri. Barry confronts Terri and tells her that the Daily Clarion has never heard of her and she has lied to the police so she could get a story about the crime boss killings and The Flash. He gets Terri to tell Lt. Garfield the truth and just like that she is no longer welcome at the police station.

Swain is furious with Cold as he didn’t kill The Flash so he sacks him. Cold takes it well and before he leaves he gives Swain a snow globe as a gift. A few seconds after Cold has departed the globe explodes, freezing Swain to death. Cold re-enters Swain’s office and takes all the money from the safe. Julio tells Barry about Swain and about another frozen body at a warehouse, Julio goes to Swain’s office and Barry heads off to the warehouse.

As The Flash speeds through the city Cold sees him and tracks him with a device in his car. The Flash finds that the frozen body is just Terri made up to look like she was frozen. She handcuffs herself to him and demands an interview. As they argue Cold shows up. The Flash tries to escape with Terri but Cold freezes the floor; The Flash falls and knocks himself out. Terri unlocks the handcuffs and runs off leaving The Flash to face an icy demise. Cold freezes him stone cold solid. At S.T.A.R Labs Tina sees that The Flash’s life signs have slowed dramatically and she rushes off to find him.

When Tina makes it to the warehouse it is swarming with cops. They put The Flash’s body in the back of an ambulance which Tina promptly drives away in (seriously what would Barry do without her). In the meantime Cold tracks down Terri’s address as he does not want any witnesses. Tina thaws out Barry’s body and shocks him with a defibrillator until he regains consciousness. Barry is the only human on earth that could of survived being frozen that long. As soon as he gets his head together Barry remembers that Terri is in danger and he correctly deduces that Cold will track Terri to her apartment. Cold knocks on Terri’s door claiming to be a courier for a newspaper, Terri opens the door, and she screams at Cold and slams the door shut. Cold freezes the door and bursts in. Terri has hid but the only person Cold finds is The Flash who for once has the advantage of surprise on his side and he quickly knocks Cold out. The Flash gives Terri a dressing down for putting her and The Flash’s lives in danger and only caring about her career.

Garfield asks officer Murphy to put Cold in a cell. Murphy asks Cold for his glasses as he isn’t allowed to have anything in the cell with him. Cold takes them off revealing two pure white pupils; Murphy has second thoughts and let’s Cold keep them. When he is alone Cold removes two small balls from his shoe. He then removes a piece of his glasses and puts it in the lock of his cell door. The lock freezes and Cold kicks the door open. He throws the balls to the floor and they turn the inside of the station into a blizzard. In all the chaos Cold calmly walks out of the station.

Tina fits The Flash suit with a device that will warm The Flash up if he gets shot with the Freeze gun again but it only works once. Later at Barry’s apartment Julio tells him that Cold has frozen a bus with passengers inside and if The Flash does not meet him he will let them all freeze to death. Barry tells Julio that he will meet him there.

The Flash confronts Cold and gives him the run around but Cold catches him with a shot from his gun and The Flash flies into a shop. The Flash uses Tina’s heat device and thaws out. Cold is about to shoot him again but The Flash picks up a mirror from the shop and the freeze blast from the gun reflects off the mirrors surface and returns to Cold freezing him instantly. The Flash runs round the bus and heats it back up so the passengers can get out.  Garfield asks an officer to call the coroner so they take Cold’s body away.

Terri meets Barry at the crime lab for lunch; she tells him that thanks to The Flash and Barry she quit The Inquisitor and now works for the happy times greeting card company. Terri says she has figured out who The Flash really is and she thinks its Julio. As he walks in Barry asks him where has he been, Julio replies “Oh, you know. Just running around”.

This was a great episode with an interesting take on Captain Cold. The Arrowverse version of Cold was obviously still a criminal at heart but he had a code which made him more honourable. This version was basically a homicidal maniac who was obsessed with getting his target no matter the cost.