They say slow and steady wins the race. Well, during the Golden Age a slow moving villain sought to put that expression to the test. Created by Gardner Fox and Martin Naydel, the first Turtle made his debut appearance in All Flash #21 in 1941. While moving at a glacial pace, the Turtle deduced that the only way to combat the super-speed of Jay Garrick’s Flash was to move incredibly slowly. He determined that once the Flash was moving at full speed he was unable to slow down, turn, or stop quickly. Taking advantage of this presumed liability, the Turtle committed various crimes and tormented the Flash. While the Turtle’s antics initially caused the Flash much irritation, the speedster eventually succeeded in capturing the Turtle.
For some time, it seemed the Flash was free of the slow moving criminal. However, as Barry Allen took up the mantle of the Flash, another villain adopted the moniker of the Turtle. The second Turtle, created by Robert Kanigher and Carmine Infantino, made his first appearance in Showcase #4 in 1956. This issue not only introduced Allen’s first appearance as the Flash, but it also marked the first gimmicked rogue that this Flash would fight. Much like the original, this Turtle would use his natural slowness as a weapon in Central City. After being captured by the Flash and imprisoned, the Turtle found himself paroled and inheriting a massive fortune. Using this fortune, he devised and constructed advanced technology based on slowness.
In more recent years, the Golden Age Turtle resurfaced and began working alongside his “successor.” The pair attempted to take over Keystone City, which was under the care of the third Flash, Wally West. During this time, a lab accident left the Silver Age Turtle seriously crippled. When the speedy hands of the law were closing in, the original Turtle seemingly killed himself while the other Turtle was taken into custody. Years later, the Silver Age Turtle returned and appeared to be cured from his severe injuries. Along with no longer being crippled, the Turtle now possessed the ability to steal speed, slowing others around him to a crawl no matter how fast they were moving. This version of the character later used his speed-stealing abilities as part of Lex Luthor’s Secret Society of Super Villains.
While slow and steady didn’t always win the race, the Turtle definitely succeeded in slowing down the patience of not one but three Flashes. That is a feat in itself. Who knows what future plans the lead-footed villain has for the DC Universe, I’m sure he’ll get there eventually.