The fall finales of “The Flash” and “Arrow” are distant memories now. Christmas is in the rear view mirror and all of my New Years resolutions have been kicked to the snow banks. So long best intentions to lead a more active lifestyle, hello comfy confines of my favorite arm chair just in time for the premiers of our favorite superhero shows! Of course this also means it’s time to scrape off the ice and snow from our “Who Is …?” series.
The Turtle makes his debut this evening on The Flash. Yeah, you read that right, The Turtle.
The Flash has one of the most eclectic rogue galleries of any hero in the DCU. In their colorful costumes and on-the-nose aliases like Captain Cold, the Trickster, the Weather Wizard, Mirror Master, and the Top (his power is exactly what you think it is), the Flash’s rogues stand out like a clown troupe at a funeral, and yet, there is one among them that leaves the rest in his corny lame wake, and that villain is the Turtle.
Who Is The Turtle?
The Turtle is actually one of the oldest rogues in the gallery. Created in 1945 and debuting in All Flash Comics #21 he used his keen mind to strategize obstacles to slow down Golden Age Flash Jay Garrick. No amount of justification can redeem this character. Sometimes, no matter how much you love this genre of story telling, you just have to admit that something is lame and love it anyway. Such is the case with the Turtle. I do think it’s important to keep in mind that the character was created during a period of “anything goes” for the industry which was still in its infancy, and what passed for characterization was cursory at best.
When Jay Garrick gave way to Barry Allan and the Silver Age a new Turtle appeared in Central City. The new Turtle made gadgets to use against the Flash to slow him down. Even though his tactics were updated and given a technological boost his success rate was as bad as the original.
The version of the Turtle set to appear on this evening’s episode of The Flash isn’t going to be so physically absurd as the character is in the comics. Nor is it likely that he will rely on strategy or gadgets to “slow time”, it’s almost certain that he’ll have some meta-ability to control the flow of time. So far The Flash has done a really good job of updating some pretty lame comic concepts, the Rainbox Raider from the first season being one of them. Let’s hope that magic extends to Allan Ferguson’s portrayal of The Turtle.
The Turtle in Action
In twenty plus years of reading and collecting comics I’ve come across exactly two stories that have featured the Turtle. They were both from The Flash, vol. 2.
The first arc I came across only a couple of years ago when I was going through a Flash thing and buying up a lot of back issues from the early part of the volume when William Messner-Loebs was scripting the series. The store I was rummaging through at the time had a complete run of the series from the first issue to the fiftieth and being a completest I couldn’t leave with only a portion. I successfully haggled with the owner and secured the lot for 40 Canadian loonies and a Double-Double (coffee, two cream, two sugar for my American readers) from Tim Horton’s which I offered to pick up for him and return to the store.
Within these fifty issues was a four issue arc from later 1989/early 1990 (issues 32-35 to be exact) that featured both the Golden Age and Silver Age Turtle’s as the villains. The two have created a partnership lending each other their particular skill set in an effort to create a criminal empire in Keystone City, Central City’s sister city across the river. When Wally West suddenly relocates to Keystone City the Turtles fear that this Flash will undo all of their plans like Jay Garrick and Barry Allan had done before. Of course they are right. By the end of the arc the original Turtle appears to have killed himself in a massive explosion, while the second generation Turtle is carted off to prison.
To the best of my knowledge that is the last time the Turtle would appear in any DC comic until Geoff Johns put a spotlight on the character in a 2004’s issue #213. This issue brings back the original Turtle, the one that had apparently being blown apart in the warehouse but apparently, somehow survived and has since been incarcerated at Blackgate Prision. During his absence and incarceration the Turtle developed the meta-human ability to absorb momentum from people and things, including the Flash’s connection to the speed force. As I said, I’m not aware of any stories that featured the Turtle between 1990 and 2004, but perhaps someone out there can full me in as to what I’m missing here. The only possible explanation I can come up with is that perhaps he got an update to his powers during the Underworld Unleashed event when Neron updated the powers of a whole bunch of villains in the DCU. I’m really just spitting in the wind here, I have no idea, but if you do let me know in the comments section below!
Enjoy the show!
Well, that’s it everyone. You are now officially up to date on who the Turtle is in the DCU. Nothing left for you to do know but sit back and enjoy the show! Check back tomorrow for the next installment of “Who Is …? I’ll be putting the spotlight on Anarky.