WANTED: Earth-Two's Most Dangerous Super-Villains

The Turtle

Personal information

Real Name Unknown


Residence: Usually Mobile 
Occupation: Professional Criminal 
First Appearance (Golden Age): All-Flash #21 (Winter 1945) 
First Appearance (Post-Golden Age): Flash #201 (November 1970)

Character History

 The history of the Turtle is shrouded in confusion.  The first criminal known as "The Turtle" appeared in 1943, where he engaged Robotman after stealing an experimental robot that he used to commit robberies (Star-Spangled Comics #17).  He lacked a slow motion motif to his activities, suggesting he was not the later known Turtle or he had yet to develop that theme. 

    The criminal best known as the Turtle first came to attention in in Keystone City in the winter of 1945.  A relatively plains-clothes criminal, he hit on the idea that be slow and unsuspecting would be a natural antidote to the hyper-speed justice dispensed by the Flash.  Convincing his gang to try it, he staged a robbery at the local botanical garden during the opening of the slow-blooming century plant.  Leaving a trail of molasses from the garden to a nearby zoo, he released several large bears which caused a sufficient commotion for them to clean out the garden’s office safe.  The safe was guarded but the Turtle and his crew moved so slowly, the guards assumed they were from the bank and let them walk away with the contents.  As it happens, Jay Garrick was in attendance and after switching to his identity to the Flash, scattered the bears and made haste after the Turtle.  While the Turtle advised slowness to counter the Flash’s speed, his henchmen panic and run, making easy marks for the Speedster while the Turtle slowly disappears into a crowd with his ill-gotten gains.

Gathering another gang, the Turtle targeted a subway used by a bank courier he has been slowly stalking.  Again his gang created a distraction robbing everyone and the Turtle counseled them to go slow and act non-chalant and the crowd would cover their escape.  Again, his gang panicked, attracting the attention of the Flash and while the Turtle initially slipped away, the Flash was sufficiently wise to catch up with him.  To get him moving, the Flash used an acetylene torch to make him run, right into the arms of the law (All-Flash #21).

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The activities of the Turtle in the next two years are largely unknown.  Another obscurity is that in November of 1947, the Green Arrow and Speedy also faced down a criminal known as the Turtle, operating a sub to rob ships in Danger Channel.  This Turtle appears briefly in a shell costume similar to the one use by the criminal who battled the Flash.  Whether this criminal was the well-known Turtle in a transitional phase is not clear.

The Flash's next recorded encounter with the Turtle was 2 years later in December of 1947 and by that point, he had significantly up-scaled his modus operandi to include a costumed identity, custom armor based on turtle design and a new armament of slow-motion tactical gear.  In late 1947, he was shown to be regaling henchmen with films of his exploits against the Flash in his new armor but no records of these encounters exist.  Thus, casework exists in the 1945-1947 time frame in which the Turtle debuts his new ID.  The 1947 case involves the Turtle’s attempts to engage in a series of bizarre thefts.  It starts with his theft of rare plants and kidnapping the attending botanist aboard the Century Limited.  Unknown to the Turtle the Flash is a passenger on the train and attempts to stop the theft, only to be slowed down by the Turtle’s new “slow gas”, allowing the criminal to escape.

Shortly thereafter, the Turtle plotted to rob a dog race, moving slowly along the dogs so that the police could not shoot at him for fear of hitting the hounds.  With the Turtle creating a slow-motion distraction, his henchmen robbed the race office.  The Flash arrives on the scene only to see the Turtle take off in a slow-moving air balloon.  Hitching a ride on a stunt plane, the Flash jumped onto the balloon without looking, only to miss the Turtle floating away in a parachute with  the now-damaged balloon sinking to the ground.  Finding the Flash unconscious, the criminals bind him over a fire and leave him to a slow death.  Flash used fast motion to create smoke signals that would be recognized by a member of the Junior Justice Society, a junior benevolence operation operated by the American super-team.  As luck would have it, a local farm boy was a member and saved the speedster.

Days later, the Turtle got wind of a process of slowly making artificial diamonds perfected by Professor H. Salf.  Arriving to steal the jewels, the Turtle realized too slowy that the professor’s name spelled backwards was Flash and that he and his men had walked into a trap.  The professor unmasked, revealing the Flash who promptly sent the Turtle back to prison (Comic Cavalcade #24).

The history of the Turtle at this point becomes unclear. Someone saying they are Turtle re-appeared roughly a year later in December of 1948, where he appeared in a Turtle uniform during a parole board meeting.  This Turtle had been reported been in jail for 5 years and a model prisoner, raising the question of whether this was the same individual as the Turtle’s entire career up to that point would have occurred while this individual was in jail.  Since none of the Turtle’s cases have resulted in his being identified, it is possible this is a new individual stealing the original identity, especially as the costume appears different than previously seen. Alternatively, this is a tale set in the early 1950’s and 5 years had actually lapsed.

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Whether original or new, this Turtle also made a bee-line for slow-motion crime. He claimed to be doing a magic show for the parole board but in reality had created a set over a tunnel he had been digging for some time.  His “disappearing act” was him actually dropping through the floor and slipping away slowly, hidden in a farm wagon.  Alerted to his escape, the Flash quickly arrived and surmised that the wagon likely contained his quarry.  Unknown to the speedster, the Turtle had laid a wire trap that sent him tumbling and easily captured by the Turtle’s gang.  The bound hero was dumped into the wagon and the horse spooked enough to run over a cliff into a nearby lake.  The Flash survived and took the time to rescue the entangled horse, by which point the Turtle was long gone.

The Turtle laid low for over a week but then robbed an armored car, sending Flash again tumbling by in his trail of marbles as he fled through the sewer.  A week later, the Turtle re-appeared at a tobacco auction where he robbed the safe and hid behind some barrels in case the Flash arrived.  When the hero dutifully appeared, the started a tumble of dozens of rolling barrels.  The Flash deftly bounced among them, surprising the Turtle’s gang and quickly nabbed the crooks (Flash Comics #102).

The activities of the Turtle are largely unknown for the next 20 years.  He is known to have survived (or at least produced an inheritor) that appeared in the 1970 in a brief altercation with the Flash (The Flash #201). The ultimate fate of the Turtle of Earth-Two remains unrevealed.

Powers and Abilities

The Turtle is an above average tactician with a devious intellect. He has invested some of the success of his ill-gotten gains in new technology which has increased his arsenal of crime to include things like slow gases or rays.  His Turtle armor is bulletproof and shields him against blunt force injury in general.

Weaknesses and Limitations

Without his weapons or his tricks, The Turtle is an ordinary mortal.

Multiversity Villains



The Turtle of the previous Earth-One was also a foe of this world's Flash, Barry Allen.  Indeed, the Turtle was the first named adversary encountered by the Flash.  (Showcase #4). While it is not clear they are full counterparts, the Turtle of Earth=One had many similarities to his Earth-Two counterpart: his true identity has never been revealed, he was alternatively called "The Turtle" and  "Turtle Man" and his crimes and personal demeanor focused on being very slow and assuming the Flash's speed could be used against him.   He engaged the Flash infrequently (The Flash #220, DC Special Series #11) and likely outlived his nemesis who perished in the Crisis on Infinite Earths.  His ultimate fate is unrevealed.

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Prior Earth-0

On the prime Earth produced by the Crisis, the history of the Golden Age Turtle is thought to be largely similar to his Earth-Two counterpart.  On this Earth, the Turtle lived to a ripe old age and when Jay Garrick joined  the Justice Society  to fend of Ragnarok, the Turtle developed an extensive underground empire of crime.  A younger Turtle, now known as Turtle Man exclusively, was a fan of the original and when they met, became partners in Crime.  Eventually, their activities brought them the attention of the current Flash Wally West, who defeated their operations.  The elder Turtle destroyed their headquarters and was thought killed  (Flash Vol. 2 #32-35).   He later appeared in a series of minor roles during the Rogue War, revealing his survival of the explosion.

Current Earth-0

 The Turtle of the currently dominant timeline is  a vastly more successful individual that his counterparts.  Likewise unnamed, the Turtle was a scientist who tapped into the counter balance to the Speed Force called the Still Force.  The Turtle tapped into and eventually became a conduit for the Still Force, allowing Grodd of the Legion of Doom to even slow down the expansion of the Universe (Justice League of America Vol. 4 #2-6).




Reprinted in

All-Flash #21

1st appearance, vs. the Golden Age Flash

Comic Cavalcade #24

vs. the Golden Age Flash

The Greatest Flash Stories Ever Told

Flash Comics #102

vs. The Golden Age Flash

Flash #201

1st SA appearance, vs. The Golden Age Flash

JSA Super-Spectacular (2000)