Art by Francis Manapul
Born to a drunken an abusive father, the only place young Leonard Snart felt safe was within the ice cream truck of his grandfather, whom would come to spend the day with his grandson from time-to-time. When he grew up, he turned to crime, and he was apprehended by the Flash, the hero of Central City. He learned of a device called the cyclotron, stole it, and used it to construct a freeze gun which he used against the Flash. Determined to be able to defend himself against the Flash, he became Captain Cold!
The next crime he attempted to perpetrate was the robbery of a $100,000 charity event, which was also assailed by the Trickster. The duo was stopped by two Flashes, Barry Allen and Jay Garrick.
He continued to clash with the Flash on many occasions, and he often teamed up with other crooks of Central City, such as Heatwave, Golden Glider, Weather Wizard, and Trickster, calling themselves the Rogues. He also joined up with the Injustice League from time-to-time, hoping the group could help him bring down the Flash.
He briefly took a hiatus from his criminal ways when he and his sister, the Golden Glider, started a business called Golden Snowball Recoveries. They worked to recover lost or stolen items for customers with a money back guarantee if they failed to do so. One notable accomplishment of Golden Snowball was aiding “Porcupine Man” (secretly Wally West, the third Flash) in the recovery of three boys who fell into a cave in Swainsville, New Mexico.
During the event known as Underworld Unleashed, the Rogues helped the criminal Abra Kadabra by setting off bombs of green hellfire in five different locations, forming a massive pentagram, summoning the demonic creature, Neron. The Rogues were killed in the flames; their souls were taken by lesser demons. Wally West and Linda Park were able to bargain with the demons to recover the souls of the Rogues and resurrect them. However, to do this, they had to sacrifice the bond of love they shared. After this ordeal, Snart attempted to lay low in Central City for a time, though he did help Wally West bring down a creature called Tar Pit, whom was attempting to steal a hockey trophy.
After a villain called Inertia robbed the Flash, who was actually Bart Allen at the time, of his speed abilities, the Rogues were able to, at last, kill their most hated foe. However, the consequences of this action were dire. The Rogues were hunted by the heroes for their crimes and were sent to a highly dangerous prison planet by Amanda Waller and Checkmate. They decided to quit the business after these events, but they still wanted revenge on Inertia for what had happened to them.
They were hounded in this goal by Libra and his Secret Society of Supervillains, who wanted the Rogues to join. The Rogues refused, and Libra sent another group called the “New Rogues” after them. This group attempted to use Captain Cold’s father as leverage against them. The original Rogues killed the New Rogues, and Snart had Heatwave kill his father. Inertia, being mentored by Hunter Zolomon aka Zoom, began working with Libra. The two captured and killed the son of Weather Wizard, Snart’s fellow Rogue. Inertia continued the crusade to get the Rogues to join the Secret Society, revealing that Barry Allen was back and active once again. The Rogues still refused and killed Inertia as a favor to the Flash. Captain Cold himself resolved to not retire, knowing that the Flash would never let him go.
In the world of the New 52, Cold and the other rogues used a device to make the powers of their weapons their own. This succeeded, but it had disastrous side effects for some of their members. Mirror Master was trapped inside the Mirror Realm, Heatwave had a furnace implanted in his chest and burns over the majority of his body, and Golden Glider was trapped in an astral form while her body remained in comatose with a brain tumor. This splintered the Rogues. Though they still often worked together, they had less faith in the leadership of Captain Cold.
After Flash accidentally caused an EMP that knocked the power out in Central City, Snart feared that his sister would die soon. Blaming the Flash, he went after him with the intent of killing him, which was against the new tenants of the Rogues. He failed, and the Flash actually saved his Lisa Snart’s life by giving power to the surgery laser that removed her brain tumor.
Lisa, still angry at Leanord, became the new leader of the Rogues, and they started a new series of ambitious heists. Cold turned to the Flash to help him bring in his former allies. The two were almost successful until Captain Cold turned on the Flash and rejoined the Rogues. However, Gorilla Grodd invaded soon after with an army, and the Rogues were forced to the help the Flash stop him. They eventually were able to send the attacking gorillas to the Mirror World.
After more failed heists, the Rogues were able to reunite after Cold apologized for forcing the powers upon them. They returned to the home of Central City to find it destroyed by the Crime Syndicate and Gorilla Grodd. The Rogues attempted to take the city back, but Captain Cold was separated from the other Rogues through the Mirror World. The Rogues were tracked the Syndicate and the Royal Flush Gang. This eventually led to the apparent death of Heatwave.
Captain Cold was found by Lex Luthor and recruited to his group of villains bent on bringing down the Crime Syndicate. These villains were able to free the Justice League and defeat the Crime Syndicate, with Cold himself killing Johnny Quick, their incarnation of the Flash.
Cold was then hired by Lex Luthor to work as a security agent. Snart was present when a metahuman virus broke out in Metropolis, and he helped the Justice League contain it.
After this, he returned to the Rogues, and the group were hired by Central City police to bring in the Flash. They were unsuccessful, but it heralded the return of the Rogues to their natural setting. They even found that Heatwave was still alive and being used as a battery by the Riddler, whom had decided to take on the Flash.
Leonard Snart is a villain who, while he is framed as a simple thief, has a complex and interesting moral code. He doesn’t kill when it’s unnecessary, and he never hurts women or children. He’s loyal to his city, and he won’t allow anyone to destroy it unless it is the Rogues and himself. He also has deep respect for the other rogues and genuinely cares about them. He is a great believer in honor among thieves. He knows he’s not a good person, but he refuses to be anything worse than a thief. He isn’t dumb either, and he has proven to be a capable leader in his time with the Rogues. He is a classical villain, but he has a complex personality. This is how Captain Cold has earned his place as my 9th Favorite DC Villain of all time.