43 years ago - Leonard Snart is born into a criminal family.
31 years ago - 12-year-old Leonard first invents the radio devices worn by his families gang.
24 years ago - 19-year-old Leonard's sister Lisa Snart starts dating Roscoe Dillon, nemisis of Johnny Quick. Leonard starts designing tool he'd use to beat a speedster.
23 years ago - 20-year-old Leonard's sister Lisa has her son Owen Mercer, who is placed into foster care.
20 years ago - 23-year-old Leonard starts his own gang using his own inventions, including his sister Lisa Snart & Mick Rory.
18 years ago - 25-year-old Leonard begins working on his speedster-trapping designs again when the Flash first appears.
17 years ago - 26-year-old Leonard steals a miniature cyclotron and completes his first cold gun. He first tangles with the Flash as Captain Cold.
16 years ago - 27-year-old Leonard helps his sister Lisa Snart tap her latend hypervelocity powers, becoming the Golden Glider & challenging the Flash.
15 years ago - 28-year-old Leonard learns Barry Allen's secret identity and strikes a deal with him to allow for leiniency as long as he keeps his crimes non-violent. He first forms the Rogues, creating a fire harness device for Mick Rory to become Heat Wave . Roscoe Dillon tries to take control, but Leonard quickly shuts him down.
13 years ago - 30-year-old Leonard must team up with Barry Allen & Wally West to stop Eobard Thawne when he begins his takeover of the Rogues by killing his sister Lisa Snart & Sam Scudder.
11 years ago - 32-year-old Leonard & the Rogues ally with Gorilla Grodd until his plans become evident. They then help Barry Allen & Wally West stop him.
7 years ago - 36-year-old Leonard's deal with Barry Allen is ended by Wally West, who holds them responsible for the fall of Frankie Kane. The Rogues are sent to prison.
6 years ago - 37-year-old Leonard breaks out of prison with Mick Rory and begins the work or re-establishing the Rogues.
3 years ago - 40-year-old Leonard makes a new deal with Wally West to help him stop Clifford Devoe's new, more lethal team of Rogues.
Captain Cold serves as a really good litmus test for just how immersed in comic culture a person is. He's not such a deep cut that a person has to be a career nerd to have heard of him, but it actually takes a little familiarity with the world of the Flash to really understand Captain Cold's place in it. On the surface, he's just another holdover from the 50's era comics, written largely for children, with a comically gimicky premise and an overly simple motivation. A more familiar reader, however, knows right away what a huge role Cold plays in the mythology of the Flash. As the longtime leader of the Rogues, he is effectively in charge of one of the best organized groups of comic-book baddies in DC, and has played that role so interestingly he's become a vital part of that story.
Captain Cold's Comic History
Captain Cold appeared for the first time in 1957 in Showcase #8. He was a pretty standard Flash baddie created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, two legends in the industry who almost certainly had no concept whatsoever that the one-off single-gimic villain they invented would be considered one of the greatest enemies of one of the most fameous comic book characters in history.
From the very beginning, Snart was never meant to be defined by his powers. What made him stand out was the fact that the Flash's villains were ALL kind of weirdly gimicy, and they were a weirdly social bunch. Snart became the defacto leader of the Rogues and that role came to define him. His place in the story grew organically, and the character almost by default became both a terrifying villain and, occasionally, an almost supporting character in the larger book. While he was an unmitigated enemy of Barry Allen, when Mark Waid and Geoff Johns wildly expanded the world of Wally West, Snart's relationship with the hero became wonderfully complicated.
That high profile has led to quite a bit of screen time over the years, some of it positively wacky. Snart was even played in the CW Flash series by TV heartthrob Wentworth Miller where he's often depicted as a sort of pseudo-antihero. That's awesome, but Captain Cold is definitely a villain through and through.
Our Captain Cold Story
If you want to get Leonard Snart's story just right, it needs to be built on three distinct ideas; the first is his relationship with his sister Lisa Snart, the second is his relationship with Barry Allen and Wally West, and third (and probably most importantly) is his relationship with the Rogues. This is a character defined by his relationships with people. We've even reinforced this idea by making his childhood all about the criminal gangs he grew up around, and about his natural ability with gadgets. One small change we made was to give him a good long time working on the problem of how to stop a speedster, starting even before the Flash ever shows up. The character's use of Cold as a weapon is actually pretty incidental; he has no particular love of cold, other than the fact that it's an ideal weapon to use against his particular nemesis. The innovation to use a cyclotron to generate beams of absolute freezing is totally his.
From there, You can really chart his characterization based on the story elements that effect the Rogues. He's the driving force that keeps them together and the reason they're held to a standard of cooperation. Every outside influence or attempt to usurp control of ther Rogues is essentially an attack on him personally. The fact that he's continued to be so effective a character shows just how good a leader he is.
Captain Cold's Future
While Captain Cold's past history with several generations of the Flash and with the Rogues is well established, what happens next for him is actually a little bit unclear. His story was caught up in the New 52 when he, along with the rest of the Rogues, had their gimicks and weapons actually built into their bodies as honest-to-god superpowers. He was then a player in the Justice League crossover story Forever Evil that ended with him actually joining the Justice League along with Lex Luthor.
So clearly, we're not using any of that.
What's IS happening is that Snart is in the middle of securing the Rogues. In the last several years, they've been dealing with the incredible effectiveness of Wally as the new Flash, who has been very sucessful in sending their members to prison, several of whom have wound up in the Suicide Squad. With Wally now a member of the new Watchtower it's likely only a matter of time before they all come together and present a brand new threat to their long-time nemesis.