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[The Turtle, aged]
Real Names: Unknown
Occupation: Criminals
Base of Operations: Keystone City, Kansas
First Appearance: (I) All-Flash #21, January–February 1946; (II) Showcase #4, September–October, 1956
See Also: Sloe, Steddy, and Mr. Sprynt

[The original Turtle] The Turtle used the tactics of slowness against the original Flash. While the Flash sometimes fell for these tricks, the Turtle’s greatest weapon was slow, deliberate planning. Eventually the Turtle faded from view, taking his planning underground to begin building a criminal empire.

[The second Turtle, also known as Turtle Man] Years later, just after the second Flash debuted across the river in Central City, Turtle Man appeared. At first he simply used slowness as a weapon much in the same way the original did, but over time he began to invent devices that made use of slowness or had some sort of slow theme.

[The second Turtle, after his lab accident] The two Turtles met, and the original was so impressed with his successor’s scientific capabilities that he set up a lab for him. An explosion crippled the Turtle Man badly, and the original Turtle began taking over Keystone’s underground using his own strategy and his follower’s technology.

All this came to an end when the third Flash moved to Keystone City. The Turtle tried to discourage and eliminate his foe before he could be discovered, eventually kidnapping him. [The Original Turtle, scheming] However, a coalition of Wally’s friends and allies came after him and found the Turtle’s headquarters. The original Turtle, refusing to be captured, destroyed his headquarters (and apparently himself with it) as Turtle Man was taken into custody (Flash v.2 #35, 1990).

The Turtle survived the explosion, and was taken into custody. During his years in prison, he developed the ability to steal speed—an ability which he used to escape, then freeze everyone Keystone City before he was recaptured (Flash v.2 #213, 2004).

Prior to the speed-stealing escape, a Turtle appeared briefly, looking much like Turtle Man did in his prime. At the time, the Flash believed him to be the original. However, since time travel was involved, it is possible it could have been either villain from his early years.*

The Turtle, like his namesake, has an unusually long lifespan.

Text by Kelson Vibber. Do not copy without permission.

Top of Page Primary Sources

  • “Behold the Turtle!” - Flash v.2 #35 (February 1990), William Messner-Loebs

Art

  • Turtle at an advanced age: Flash v.2 #213 (October 2004) - Howard Porter and Livesay
  • Turtle climbing through door: Comic Cavalcade #24 (December–January 1948) - Lee Elias or Carmine Infantino**
  • Turtle Man with globe: Flash v.1 #220 (March 1973) - Irv Novick and Joe Giella
  • Turtle Man, Crippled Inventor: Flash v.2 #35 (February 1990) - Greg LaRocque and Larry Mahlstedt
  • Turtle, Criminal Mastermind: Who’s Who (loose-leaf edition) #8 (April 1991) - Mike Parobeck and José Marzan, Jr.
  • Turtle, pre-costume: All-Flash #21 (Winter 1945) - Martin Naydel
[The original Turtle, before he had a costume]

** The Greatest Flash Stories Ever Told credits Lee Elias as penciller, but the GCD entry credits Carmine Infantino.

Profiles

  • Who’s Who in the DC Universe #24 as Turtle Man (February 1987)
  • Who’s Who (loose-leaf edition) #8 (April 1991)

Significant Golden-Age Appearances (The Turtle)

  • All-Flash #21 (Winter 1945): “The Fastest Man Alive vs. the Slowest Man Alive”
  • Comic Cavalcade #24 (December–January 1948): “The Slow-Motion Crimes,” Robert Kanigher (reprint info)
  • Flash Comics #102 (December 1948): “Barrels of Crime”

Unlike the Silver and Modern Age lists, I have only a partial index of Golden-Age appearances. This list may be incomplete.

Significant Silver-Age Appearances (Turtle Man)***

  • Showcase #4 (October 1956): “Mystery of the Human Thunderbolt!” Robert Kanigher
  • (T1): Flash #201 (November 1970): “Finale for a Fiddler!” Robert Kanigher
  • Flash #220 (March 1973): “The Slowest Man on Earth,” Cary Bates
  • Flash Spectacular 1978: “Beyond the Super-Speed Barrier,” Cary Bates

*** “Finale for a Fiddler!” is an Earth-2 story and features the original Turtle.

Significant Legacy-Era Appearances

  • (T1, T2): Flash #32 (November 1989): “Welcome to Keystone City,” William Messner-Loebs
  • (T1, T2): Flash #33 (December 1989): “Joker’s Holiday,” William Messner-Loebs
  • (T1, T2): Flash #34 (January 1990): “White-Out,” William Messner-Loebs
  • (T1, T2): Flash #35 (February 1990): “Behold the Turtle!” William Messner-Loebs
  • (T2): Flash Secret Files #2 (November 1999): “The Stunning Secret of the Scarlet Speedster’s Super Slow-Down,” Brian Augustyn
  • (T2): Silver Age: Flash (July 2000): “The Flash’s Big Day,” Brian Augustyn
  • (?): Flash #163 (August 2000): “Heartbeat,” Pat McGreal*
  • (?): Flash #183 (April 2002): “Crossfire Prologue: Tricked,” Geoff Johns (cameo)
  • (T1): Flash #209 (June 2004): “Fast Friends,” Geoff Johns (cameo)
  • (T1): Flash #213 (October 2004): “Slow Motion,” Geoff Johns
  • (T1): Flash #217 (February 2005): “Post-Crisis,” Geoff Johns
  • (T1): Flash #219 (April 2005): “Truth or Dare, Part 1” Geoff Johns (cameo)
  • (T1): Flash #225 (October 2005): “Rogue War, Conclusion,” Geoff Johns (cameo)

Notes

* “Heartbeat” (Flash v.2 #163) features a Turtle who looks much like the Turtle Man before his accident. Presumably Pat McGreal didn’t research the character thoroughly and assumed he hadn’t been used since Barry’s series. This version also appeared in a cameo during “Crossfire,” but the Turtle in “Slow Motion” (Flash v.2 #213) appears to be the version from “Welcome to Keystone” (Flash v.2 #32–35). The prison guards remarked he had been raving about time travel, however, and the unknown Turtle had been stranded in the distant past.

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