WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Justice League #4 by Scott Snyder, Jorge Jimenez, Alejandro Sanchez and Tom Napolitano, in stores now.
Barry Allen has had a very long and extensive career as a superhero. Over the years, he has fought many of the world’s biggest villains, from his very own Rogues to the Justice League’s main foes, each more dangerous and deadly than the last.
But after all the Flash has been through, after all the battles and the trips through time and the massive cosmic events, it’s still important to remember where it all started. The first villain Barry Allen ever faced as DC’s Scarlet Speedster was different from the rest. He didn’t have super-speed, nor was he a colorful and energetic rogue — quite the contrary, in fact. Barry’s first case saw him going up against the Slowest Man on Earth: the Turtle Man, aka the Turtle.
The super-villain, who debuted in 1956 in Showcase #4 at the same time as Barry Allen, was somewhat of an antithesis to the Flash, in that he was the counter-balance to the hero’s speed. The Turtle planned a bank robbery, but he was ultimately defeated by The Fastest Man Alive. Now, more than 60 years later, the super-villain finally gets his revenge on the Scarlet Speedster, by effectively becoming the most dangerous and powerful ever — sort of.
Ever since Scott Snyder and Jorge Jimenez’s Justice League title started, we’ve heard numerous mentions of the Still Force, the antithesis of the Speed Force, and the effects it’s been having on the Flash, interfering with his super-speed. In Justice League #4, we discover the source of the Still Force, and it comes from the last place you’d ever expect: a baby, who is strapped to a bjorn on Gorilla Grodd’s chest. With the power of this baby, Grodd can put the Justice League to a standstill without breaking a sweat, a unleash a devastating wave of power. But who is this baby?
Grodd explains that the child is actually the fourth descendant of the Turtle. We come to learn that, all those times that Barry battled the Turtle, the villain actually learned more and more about the Speed Force and, incidentally, the Still Force. He experimented with it over time, but these trials led to his unnatural aging. The Still Force was a part of him, but not fully. Now, his fourth generation descendant is perfectly in tune with the power of the Still Force. It may have taken the Turtle a very long time, but he eventually managed to defeat the Flash by creating the perfect descendant.
With the baby, Grodd is able to unleash unimaginable power on the Justice League, potentially altering the course of reality itself. The Turtle may not have been directly the one to defeat the Flash, but like his namesake, slow and steady truly allowed him to win the race. He just went so slowly that he wasn’t the one to cross the finish line — instead, it was the fourth branch of his family tree.
KEEP READING: Flash War Epilogue Teases a DC Speedster’s Retirement
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