Although the seventh series of Mattel's increasingly impressive line of DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS action figures isn't specifically Flash-themed, there's no shortage of participation in it on the part of Flash characters. Along with Flash and Kid Flash, longtime member of Flash's Rogues' Gallery, CAPTAIN COLD, is also part of the assortment.
Captain Cold has been one of the Flash's enemies for a very long time, over 50 years. He was first introduced in 1957 and was actually the second enemy that Barry Allen, the Silver Age Flash, ever faced. But his status as a die-hard, cold-to-the-bone villain is open to some interpretation:
Captain Cold, whose real name is Leonard Snart, is a comic book villain created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino and the archenemy of Flash for The Flash comic book. A fan favorite, Captain Cold has been the bitter enemy of the Silver-Age Flash, Barry Allen, both enemy and grudging friend to the modern-day Flash, Wally West, and part killer of the fourth Flash, Bart Allen. Cold was the second supervillain to face the Silver-Age Flash in Showcase #8. (February 1957).
Leonard Snart was raised by an abusive father and took refuge with his grandfather, who worked in an ice truck. When his grandfather died, Len grew tired of his father's abuse and set out to start a criminal career. Snart joined up with a group of small-time thieves and in planning out a robbery, each was issued a gun and a visor to protect their eyes against the flashes of gunfire. This visor design would later be adapted by Snart into his trademark costume. In recent years he has added a radio receiver to them which picks up the police band to monitor local law enforcement. Snart and the other thugs were captured by the Flash and imprisoned. Snart decided to go solo, but knew he had to do something about the local hero, the Flash.
Snart read an article that theorized that the energy emissions of a cyclotron could interfere with the Flash's speed. He designed a weapon to harness that power and broke into a cyclotron lab, intending to use the device to charge up his experimental gun. As he was finishing his experiment, a security guard surprised Snart. Intending to use his gun only to scare the guard, he inadvertently pulled the trigger and discovered that his weapon had been altered in a way he had never imagined. The moisture in the air around the guard froze. Intrigued by this twist of fate, Snart donned a parka and the aforementioned visor and declared himself to be Captain Cold - the man who mastered absolute zero. Snart then committed a series of non-lethal crimes. But after Barry Allen's death, during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Captain Cold became a bounty hunter with his sister Lisa, the Golden Glider.
During the events of Underworld Unleashed, Captain Cold lost his soul to Neron but Wally West brought it back to the land of the living. He soon returned to crime, this time a member of Wally's Rogues Gallery. The Golden Glider had abandoned her bounty hunter career and had started partnering with a series of thugs who she dressed in a costume, armed with a copy of Captain Cold's signature Cold Gun, and called Chillblaine. Already distraught over the death of her lover, the Top, it seemed that the supposed death of her brother pushed her over the edge. But the last Chillblaine was a little smarter and more vicious. He murdered the Golden Glider, prompting Captain Cold to hunt him down, torture him and kill him by freezing his outer layer of skin and then pushing him off a high rise building. Not long after that, Snart was framed by a new incarnation of Mister Element. He used his Element Gun to simulate Cold's gun, using ice and cold to murder several police officers before Captain Cold and the Flash discovered who was actually responsible.
With the death of his sister, and having killed Chillblaine and Mr. Element in vengeance, Cold has again become an unrepentant criminal. However, during a confrontation with Brother Grimm, Cold actually worked with Wally West to defeat the powerful magic user, although this was mainly because he and Mirror Master had been betrayed by Grimm and wanted revenge.
Most recently Captain Cold was declared the leader of the Flash's Rogue's Gallery. His skill and experience have made him a strong leader to the likes of the Weather Wizard, the new Trickster, the new Mirror Master, and the new Captain Boomerang. Len seems to have taken the young Captain Boomerang under his wing, after the elder Boomerang was recently killed. Tabloids rumored that Captain Cold's sister, the Golden Glider, was Boomerang's mother, making him Captain Cold's nephew. This turned out to be false, however.
Despite his more ruthless nature as of late, Captain Cold's heart isn't completely frozen... evidenced by having sent flowers to honor Sue Dibny, murdered wife of the Elongated Man.
Traditionally, Captain Cold is driven by three things: money, women, and the desire to beat Barry Allen. Although not the lech that Captain Boomerang was, Len Snart has an eye for the ladies, particularly models. When Barry Allen died, Captain Cold drifted for a while, jumping back and forth over the lines of crime and justice. He was captured by the Manhunter and served time in the Suicide Squad, worked with his sister as a bounty hunter (Golden Snowball Recoveries), and, with his longtime friend and sometimes nemesis Heat Wave, encountered Fire and Ice of the Justice League.
He has teamed up with various villains over the years other than the many Rogues... including Catwoman and the Secret Society of Super Villains. His favorite baseball team is the Chicago Cubs.
Cold takes his position as head of the Rogues very seriously. He employs a no-drugs rule (evidenced by his beating of Mirror Master for his cocaine habit), docks pay for senseless violence (a 90% payout cut for the new Trickster's antics with stray dogs and T-bombs), and will kill only on certain occasions (he killed the Top for setting the newer rogues against him and his set of rogues).
Captain Cold was not entirely as cold hearted as his name suggests. He deeply cared for his sister, aka the Golden Glider, and looked out for the well being of his fellow Rogues at all times, going so far as to arrange a secret funeral for Captain Boomerang. Even after killing the supervillain Chillblaine in revenge for his sister's murder, he was still sitting at his coffee table, lost in a bottle of brews and unable to even open the door for his usual prostitute, realizing, "My heart's not always made of ice."
One Year Later, he and several other Rogues are approached by Inertia with a plan to kill the Flash (then Bart Allen). Though Inertia was defeated, Captain Cold, Weather Wizard, and Heat Wave killed Bart with a combined barrage of their elemental weapons. He, Heat Wave, and Weather Wizard, seemed to express guilt, however, after learning the identity of the Flash and how young he was.
Since then, he was among the villains exiled to a distant planet in the "Salvation Run" storyline, although they made it back to Earth, and he also turned up during Final Crisis.
Captain Cold has appeared in other media, as well. On the animated series Challenge of the Super Friends, Captain Cold is one of two Flash villains (along with Grodd) that appear as members of Lex Luthor's Legion of Doom. Captain Cold has also appeared in live action form, in the CBS television series, The Flash . He was played by actor Michael Champion. Here Captain Cold (costumed in a trenchcoat) was an infamous albino hit man who used a nuclear-powered freeze weapon to kill his victims. Captain Cold appeared on an episode of the animated series Justice League Unlimited called "Flash and Substance" in February 2006, voiced by Lex Lang, where he teamed up with Captain Boomerang, the Trickster, and Mirror Master to defeat the Flash in the Flash Museum. He was defeated when Orion froze him with a water hose as he fired his ice gun.
Captain Cold has no super-powers of his own. His primary weapon is his cold-gun, which can project intense cold and condense large quantities of water from the air as ice.
It's also been reported that he absolutely hates being mistaken for longtime Batman foe Mr. Freeze...
So, how's the figure? Extremely impressive. Captain Cold's uniform has never been the standard skin-tight spandex common to a lot of super-heroes and super-villains. It's basically a stylized winter suit -- although it must be a pain to wear in the summer. Besides which, no one ever claimed that Len Snart was the muscular, athletic type anyway.
The Captain Cold figure is an entirely unique sculpt from head to toe. This is worth mentioning because a considerable percentage of figures in the DCUC line do share some common body parts, at least between the adult male figures. This is not something that I have any objection to. It creates a consistency to the overall line that I sincerely appreciate. At the same time, I don't mind when there's an entirely unique figure, either, when it's appropriate, which it certainly is in Captain Cold's case.
And, best of all, the figure is entirely properly assembled and has no structural problems. I seem to be able to say that more often with these DC Universe figures, and I sincerely hope it's a trend that grows and continues. That goes for the Masters of the Universe line, as well.
Captain Cold is dressed in what looks to be a somewhat padded winter suit, over what is probably a fairly slender frame. The costume is mostly a medium blue, and includes a hood with a pointy tip in the back, fur lined up front, as well as a jagged grey "shawl" over the shoulders that is designed to look like icicles. The costume is completed with grey boots and gloves, fur- tipped, and a yellow belt with a holster that holds his "Cold Gun".
Captain Cold's costume has stayed virtually the same over the last fifty years. Slight variants include: A white holster instead of the traditional yellow; A visor with a single eye slit rather than the traditional individual eye slits (during his work with the Suicide Squad); The white "frost" on his parka painted or sewn onto it, but some variants have it as an additional piece of white cloth that loosely sits over the top of the parka.
With regard to the figure, the belt and holster are distinctly yellow, which adds a little bit of color to what would've otherwise been a rather cool-colored and almost mono-chromatic figure. His visor distinctly has two eye-lenses. I'm trying to picture him with a single wide slit and it doesn't work. I think he'd get Cyclops on his case for ripping off his look. And the "frost" on his parka in indeed a separate piece here, clearly put in place during the assembly of the figure, probably just before the head was snapped on.
It's a nicely flexible piece, too. Mattel should make their capes out of this plastic type more often. If Mister Miracle's cape was any stiffer, he could pick it up and whack somebody over the head with it. Knock 'em flat out, guaranteed.
The gun holster actually has a flap that can be brought down and snapped shut. Mattel even went so far as to paint the snap metallic blue.
Detail-wise, the figure is excellent. Captain Cold's face has been molded in flesh-tone plastic and inserted into the hood-head. I was pleased to see this. The DC Universe Classics line seem to alternate between molding heads (unmasked ones, anyway) in flesh-tone plastic, and painting them in flesh-tone. Personally, I prefer they be molded in that color when possible. Lowers the risk of a paint glitch messing up someone's face. And in Captain Cold's case, it allows the hood to look sculpted particularly deeply, which is a nice touch.
Captain Cold has a nasty scowl on his face, and a well-detailed mouth, with teeth, and his eye-slit classes are nicely done.
The fur around his hood, boots, and gloves is very intricately detailed, and has been painted white with a little bit of grey detailing, that thankfully isn't extensive enough to look like weathering. His gloves and boots have been painted a somewhat glossy grey, which is an interesting choice. Perhaps the intent was to make them look like ice?
Quite likely the most amusing detail on the entire figure are the molded lace-ties for his hood. Nice touch, and a fairly intricate bit of detailing and molding.
Of course, the figure is superbly articulation. Captain Cold is fully poseable at the head, arms, upper arm swivel, elbows, wrists, mid-torso, waist, legs, swivel above the knee, knees, and ankles. It amazes me how well Mattel was able to work the mid-torso articulation into the design of the figure, since this one's not wearing tights. I was also pleased to see that there weren't any stuck parts -- or overly loose ones, either.
Captain Cold does come complete with his Cold Gun, of course. Interestingly, its traditional color is magenta, but the Cold Gun that comes with the figure is metallic silver, with a few metallic blue highlights. Honestly, I'm not complaining. Magenta might have looked a little too -- kiddie-toy-ish? Just ask some G.I. Joe collectors what they thought of some of the later accessories in the original Real American Hero line...
The gun also says "CHINA" on one side of it. Really, was this necessary to do this with the accessories? I checked Killer Moth's gun and his has the same thing.
Captain Cold is just a little shorter than the average DC Universe Classics figure. He's not as runty as Sinestro unfortunately turned out to be, but he's about 6-1/8" in height, compared to the more standard 6-1/2" of most of the figures. But, no one ever said Len Snart was all that tall, either. And mind you, that's with some pretty thickly-soled, treaded boots.
Captain Cold is part of a rather astounding series of figures that also includes Flash, Kid Flash, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Big Barda (my, we seem to have a lot of B's here), and a special version of Aquaman in a seldom- used but impressive costume that I think he wore all of once in a mini-series. I am honestly hopeful of obtaining all of these figures, and even the Collect-and-Connect figure in this assortment is interesting -- Atom Smasher.
Mattel has announced considerable plans for the DC Universe Classics line for 2009, and I sincerely hope that, as they are able to improve and maintain their quality control, that they all come to fruition. I also sincerely hope that I'll have the resources to bring a considerable portion of them into my collection. This is truly an amazing line with an astonishing amount of potential that I would very much like to see fulfilled.
So what's my final word on Captain Cold? Hey, this is a cool figure -- no pun intended. He's a prominent member of Flash's Rogue's Gallery, and I don't believe he's ever had a mainstream action figure before, despite being around for over half a century. And this is a good one. The sculpting is superb, the articulation is amazing, and it shows what can be accomplished when Mattel pays attention to the production.
The DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS CAPTAIN COLD definitely has my highest recommendation!