First Appearance (SHOWCASE vol. 1 #8, 1957, “The Coldest Man on Earth!”)
In Captain Cold’s first appearance, readers were introduced to Len Snart as a down-on-his-luck criminal who—after reading a science article in the newspaper—struck upon the idea of using a cyclotron to perfect a weapon he was inventing. Taking the name Captain Cold and using his newly minted cold gun to create mirages, he managed to confuse the Flash, but not enough to defeat him. This original interpretation of Captain Cold, as a bank robber with a cool gimmick, was how the character was portrayed throughout most of the Silver and Bronze Ages of Comics.
Making New Frenemies (THE FLASH vol. 2, issue #19, 1988, “A Meeting of Rogues”)
After the death of the Barry Allen Flash during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Captain Cold and his sister Lisa Snart decided to give up crime and start the bounty-hunting company Golden Snowball Recovery. They did, however, attend a “Rogues Reunion” party, which the newly minted Wally West version of the Flash found himself attending. Despite these criminals being his uncle and mentor’s mortal enemies, Wally found himself more or less getting along with them, especially Captain Cold and Golden Glider.
While Wally would never completely bury the hatchet with the Rogues, he did enjoy a “frenemy” relationship with them that his uncle Barry never had. The Wally West era of the Flash was the beginning of the more sympathetic portrayals of Captain Cold that we continue to see today.
A New Origin (THE FLASH vol. 2 #182, 2002, “Absolute Zero”)
Despite the fact that he was a high-profile Super-Villain for over 40 years, Captain Cold had never been given a proper backstory—until THE FLASH (vol. 2) #182. In this issue, readers learned all about Len Snart’s childhood, his abuse at the hands of his father, his bond with his sister Lisa and the events that drove him to embracing a life of crime in the first place.
Revenge Is a Dish Best Served Cold (FINAL CRISIS: ROGUES’ REVENGE #1-3, 2008)
After they were tricked into killing the fourth iteration of the Flash, Bart Allen, by the speedster Inertia, Captain Cold and the Rogues were dismayed at having broken their own sacred rule. Cold decided to break up the Rogues for good. But not before doing one last job—taking down Inertia, who was then under the mentorship of the evil speedster Zoom. Although Cold managed to exact his vengeance, his plans to retire were changed when it was revealed that Barry Allen had returned from the dead.
Becoming a Hero (FOREVER EVIL: ROGUES REBELLION #1-6, 2013-2014)
In the New 52 continuity, Snart had undergone enhancements that made him a metahuman, with the ability to generate cold internally, and so no longer needed a gun. But when the Crime Syndicate of Earth-3 invaded the Prime Earth and banished the Justice League, Cold and the other Rogues very quickly learned they disliked living under tyranny, and they rebelled against the invaders. They were instrumental in saving the world, although Snart lost his metahuman abilities in the process. Cold turned over a new leaf and became a member of the Justice League. Alas, the partnership didn’t last very long.
A Leonard Doesn’t Change His Spots (THE FLASH vol. 5 #14-17, 2017, “Rogues Reloaded”)
Despite going legit and joining the Justice League, Snart still found a life of crime more appealing. After the changes wrought upon the DC Universe in DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH #1, Captain Cold went back to his criminal ways. From within Iron Heights Penitentiary, Cold began running a criminal empire and set himself up as its kingpin. But one of the other criminals in Iron Heights, Turbine, threatened to expose his new operation, and Cold snapped his neck and killed him. When the murder was exposed, he was transferred to the high-security Belle Reve Penitentiary.