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Feelin’ Blue: The Tragic Story of Cobalt Blue

Captain Cold. Mirror Master. Gorilla Grodd. The Reverse Flash. Yeah. Them you know. But do you know the most underappreciated Flash villain of all? I’ll give you a hint. His name’s in the title. That’s right! Cobalt Blue! What? Who’s that?! Well let me educate you…..

(By the way, I was tempted to list “The Turtle” above just for laughs, but I held back for you Unspokenites. See. I can be serious sometimes.)

The scene unfolds in a cemetery. Wally West, the third man to carry the heroic name of the Flash, lies in utter anguish. Every part of his body feels as if it’s been broken simultaneously. He had meant to use his super-speed to vibrate his very molecules, allowing him to pass harmlessly through the nearest headstone. Instead, his powers were torn from him while he was halfway through by the maniac that currently looms over his shattered body! This action also caused the tombstone to explode! The Flash looks to the name still present on the grave marker. This was his predecessor’s grave, Barry Allen! The man who now appears to be standing, quite alive, before him! (Damn! Talk about being in utter pain! I mean, that’s gotta be worse than hemorrhoids!)

Barely able to even crawl, Wally remarks that this can’t be the man that he admired. To this the villain replies, with a menacing sneer, that he isn’t Barry Allen at all. With a strange, blue energy flowing all over his body, he seems suddenly lost in thought as he thinks back. (Great! It’s monologue-style origin story time. Ugh! The most horrific power in a villain’s arsenal! That monster!) Flashback to many years earlier. He is a little boy named Malcolm Thawne and his father has just stopped near a house where an elderly woman works on her garden out front of her home. He tells his father that he doesn’t want to do what’s expected of him. The man mutters through gritted teeth to leave the car and go earn his keep. Malcolm approaches the lady and stops. He looks to her shakey hands and remarks that his dad could cure the arthritis she’s suffering from. His father then walks up. He scolds the child to leave this nice woman in peace. She replies that the boy was simply remarking about the pain in her hands. Malcolm begs his father to help her. With a sigh, he takes her hands in his and applies a strange salve that he carries upon his person. It glows with an eerie blue flame for a moment and, before you know it, the pain is nonexistent!

The father remarks that this was a power that he was granted from birth to help people who suffer. She will be without pain for a few days. Amazed, she asks in wonder if this power could possibly heal her pain permanently. The boy pauses and his dad shoots him a warning look. Malcolm then says that it can with a full jar of salve. He then pleads that his father give her a sample. He does so and she insists to pay for this miracle cure. At first he replies that he couldn’t possibly take payment for his gift. He finally relents when she persists. Soon, all of her elderly friends are purchasing jars. Later that night, in a motel room, Malcolm’s mother asks how the boy did. His father then says with obvious rage that the kid about missed his mark. Not to worry though, this won’t happen again. He pulls off his belt and approaches the terrified child! (Guys…..I’m sympathizing with the villain here! His plan is working! Help! Must…..resist……sad story!)

The Flash tries to taunt his attacker, buying himself time. Thawne simply kneels and pushes hard on the hero’s ribs, causing mind-blowing pain. He then continues. The secret of the healing was in the blue flame. The salve was a fake. The family all seemed to be able to conjure it at will. All except for Malcolm. (I’m guessing more Taco Bell is needed in his regular diet.) He would beg his father and siblings to teach him the power, but he was denied at every turn. Finally, his mother blurted out that the reason he couldn’t do it was because he was adopted! His dad struck her and scolded her that he was needed for the con as Malcolm ran away in tears.

Now obsessed to find his true family, his search would lead him at last to a Dr. Gilmore of a small town called Fallville. Gilmore turned as the young man entered his office door. He would exclaim, “Barry?” Malcolm immediately demands to know who this Barry is. Does this man know who he truly is? Gilmore would finally tell the truth. That night was the night of a dangerous storm. Two pregnant ladies would hastily come in his door that night, ready to give birth immediately. One had the last name Thawne, the other was Allen. The doctor had been drinking heavily that night. Using poor judgement, he would accept both patients. (Excellent idea, doc. Who could ever see this situation going wrong? It’s not like this can be done while drunk. It’s not like a prostate exam!)

First he attempted to birth the Thawne child. The birth was a tricky one, however, and with Gilmore intoxicated and the sudden power outage due to the storm, he couldn’t save the baby. He quickly ran in near-darkness to the Allens’ room. He birthed what ended being twin boys into the world. But before anyone noticed, he would cover one child’s mouth and carry him to the Thawne couple. The Allens were later told that one of their twins had been stillborn. As the loving couple clutched their newborn and sobbed quietly, the others would take their “child” and leave town that night. With the story now ended, an outraged, Thawne would raise his fists and beat the elderly doctor until the breath left his body for the final time! (That’s what I’d like to do when my doctor keeps me waiting for over an hour in the waiting room. What? So I’m a tad impatient.)

Wally continues to goad the villain, forcing him to speak onward while he flexes his muscles secretly, trying to heal and regain his super speed. It works famously. With blood-soaked hands, Malcolm Thawne made his way to the Allen home. He left streaks of crimson on the windows as he peered inward. Inside he saw his twin brother and his parents at dinner. They were laughing and smiling. They were happy. It was too much to bear. He ran back into the cold night. Years passed until Malcolm felt comfortable enough to approach his brother, Barry, again. He would confess the murder and all of the bad things he had done since. That’s when he saw that Barry had become a police officer. (Well, scratch that idea. Cops are notorious blabber-mouths. They could never keep a secret of murder to save their souls. Sad really.)

While Barry worked diligently as an officer of the law, Malcolm grew to secretly despise him. Why should his twin have so much in life when he had been given nothing but misery? He kept an eye on him nonetheless, even working maintenance within the police station. But on that fateful night, when lightning had struck the chemicals his brother was working with, Malcolm witnessed the incredible! Barry had been granted super speed! He had been reborn as the new Flash! That was enough! Thawne left the station and searched out his “father’s” mother. It was rumored within the family that she knew the secrets of the blue flame. (It’s on now! I sense that Cobalt Blue is about to be born! No need to thank me for pointing that out for you. I don’t mind helping out my numerous fans.)

The old woman had little love for her offspring it seemed, so she was happy to teach Malcolm. As it turned out, the flame did more than just heal. It gave you the power that you craved just as long as you had the passion within to wield it. Malcolm had plenty of passion. Unfortunately, that passion was in his hatred for his twin sibling. Under the old woman’s tutelage, his mastering of the blue flame became so strong, that he was given an amulet to contain it. It was a cobalt blue gem. (See! His name makes total sense now, huh? You already figured that out for yourselves? Well, you know what? I curse you all to be forced to watch the later seasons of “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” on repeat forever! That’s right. I know you’re sorry.)

With the gem came a prophecy. The old woman said that the fire would burn for one thousand years and consume two Flashes before claiming the life of his enemy, Barry Allen! Thawne left the old woman behind as her house burned down around her that night, ready to make his dream of vengeance a reality! He fashioned a costume for himself and wasted no time in confronting the Flash and his young partner, Kid Flash. But when he knew he was about to face defeat, he made his enemies believe he had become the victim of the very fire he manipulated! In truth, he healed and waited.(I…..hehehe…..um…..love…..hahaha…..cough…..his first costume. Seriously! I do! HAHAHAHA! I apologize. Moving on…..snicker.)

Cobalt Blue looks off as he finishes his tale. He states that he’s already dealt with the first Flash, and now that he has Wally within his grasp….He’s interrupted as the Flash tells him that this was all for nothing, Barry Allen is already dead! As he looks down to his foe in disbelief, he notices that the Flash is no longer beneath his feet! That’s when an uppercut at blinding speed catches him under the chin, propelling him through the air! Almost before he lands, the super speedster pulls the blue gem from Cobalt Blue’s chest! The villain falls, defeated. He murmurs how this can’t be, the prophecy can’t be false. Wally replies that he never put much stock in prophecies. That’s when he looks down at the gem within his hand……and sees the dark future to come. A future engulfed in a blue inferno!

End.

Avenging Hero…..in a Tutu

What’s hideously deformed, smells of toxic waste, and wears a ragged pink tutu? Yo mama! Ha! I kill myself sometimes! Ahem. Seriously though. If you answered, “The Toxic Avenger”, you’d be right on the money. The Toxic Avenger was created in 1984 as a black comedy/horror/superhero film for Troma Entertainment. Though the movie was low-budget and highly ignored upon it’s release the following year, it is now considered to be a cult classic. It spawned three sequels, a comic series by Marvel, and even a cartoon series, “The Toxic Crusaders”. That’s just to name a few of it’s major accomplishments. I first saw Toxie at home, on a rented VHS tape, when I was just a little boy. (And I turned out to be a completely well-adjusted individual. Kinda.) I’ve watched and re-watched it over and over again since and a large movie poster even adorned my bedroom wall. He was a large part of my childhood and is thusly held in high regard in my heart to this very day. That said, on with the story…..

Carrying only a mop, the creature crawls through the disgusting refuse of the barren junkyard. Confusion taints his every thought. Where is he? Who is he? All he remembers with clarity is excruciating pain. He happens upon a beaten-up, old car. Looking at his reflection in the vehicle’s broken window, he sees a grotesque monster looking back at him! He lets loose an unearthly roar that echoes throughout the garbage dump! Not far away, a trio of street thugs jump at the frightening sound. Leaving the warmth of their flaming barrel, they check their guns and go to investigate. The monster’s body is suddenly bombarded with an intense tingling. He somehow knows that evil approaches. (I get that buzzing feeling too. It’s usually caused by too much caffeine and followed by a sugar crash that involves me snoring away for hours. The only evil that follows is a stomachache and a mad dash to the bathroom.)

The punks round the corner and spy a humanoid form in the shadows. They waste no time in leaping from their hiding place and firing semi-automatic rounds into their intended prey! The three slowly approach their bullet-ridden target. It’s then that they realize that it was only a discarded mannequin. They question one another as to who cried out then. Their answer comes from a monstrous growl from behind them. The creature stands there revealed, spinning his mop like a weapon! (I totally did this move with a broom once. No lie! I mean, I quit after I nailed myself in the junk and went up a whole octave, but I did it!)

With a swift swipe of the mop, the trio are simultaneously disarmed! Another swipe takes all three off of their feet! The nameless monster lifts one of the thugs effortlessly over his head and shoves him into a nearby stack of tires! He then kicks the screaming man off of the peak of the junk pile, sending him crashing below! He’s then seemingly crushed to death by the tons of hastily stacked trash that topple down from the force of the impact! Seizing this moment as an opportunity to attack, another of the punks breaks a large chunk of wood over the creature’s head! He quickly turns, completely unharmed and now slightly irritated. The thug is thrown down into a festering pool of toxic waste! The man-beast then runs toward the bubbling chemicals (Probably 7-up. Hate that stuff unless I’m sick. Great! There goes my sponsor!) and reaches in to finish the fight. What he pulls out is nothing more than a charred and smoking skeleton! The monster turns then to see the last of his attackers run off, screaming into the night!

The evildoer leaps into a car and speeds off! The monster, in hot pursuit, runs after the car and into traffic! The creature then hails a passing cab. The driver pulls over, takes one look at his prospective passenger, and exits from the vehicle’s opposite door as fast as his body allows! The beast gets into the driver’s seat and floors the gas! He follows the thug’s car throughout the busy city streets until the creature hits a ramp at such a high speed, that he sails through the air until the cab crashes onto the roof of a nearby shop! (Man! That’s really hard to do! I only did it once or twice as a teen. Yep. Pretty rare.) The monster crawls, unharmed, from the wreckage. It then hears the terrified cries of the people down below. They’re scared of him. He leaps down from the roof, roaring in outrage! The concrete shatters where his feet impacted the ground! The people run away in a panic! Confused and frightened himself, he runs too.

We now shift our attention elsewhere. The scene is the Tromaville Home for the Blind. A scantily clad young woman with spiked hair and white facepaint covering half of her features speaks to the owner of the building. She asks him, with an obvious lack of tact, if he’ll sell the building to her boss for the purpose of tearing it down to make room for a toxic waste dump. Understandably angry at this, he orders her to leave the premises immediately. Amused, she does so. When she gets outside, she gives a loud whistle. Trucks full of gasoline begin driving in! (Awww! She’s sorry. She’s going to make up for her bad attitude by throwing a large barbecue! Oh! I do hope there’s weenies!)

Men exit the trucks, attach hoses, and begin dousing the entire building with gas! When it’s sufficiently drenched, the girl lights a match and tosses it onto the walkway to the entrance! There’s a large explosion as the Home for the Blind is engulfed in a firey inferno! (Okay. Everyone be calm. It does now appear that there will be no weenies.) The drivers then pull out guns and begin picking off the survivors that run from the burning facility! A load roar is then heard! One of the gasoline trucks is suddenly lifted and hurled at the shocked gunmen! The monster walks through the fire, towards an armed survivor of his awesome attack! The man panics and grabs the nearest fleeing blind person. He holds a sawed-off shotgun to her temple, threatening to take her life if he isn’t allowed safe passage out of here!

The creature implores him to let the poor girl go. Touched by this show of chivalry, the blind girl introduces herself as Claire. But before the man-beast can reply, she ducks down and rams her elbow into the henchman’s ribcage! He drops the gun! The monster seizes this opportunity. He punches a hole nearly clean through the villain’s head! (Umm. Call it a hunch, but I don’t think the guy in the picture above is gonna make it. I mean, I’m no doctor…..) The monstrous hero suddenly feels something strike him in the head. He turns and sees that the city’s denizens are pelting him with stones. Scooping up Claire in his powerful arms, he flees the scene as quickly as he can.

While this is going on, a sinister businessman orders his henchmen to dump more toxic waste into the filtration system of the pools at the Tromaville Health Club. When one of these goons dares to question why, the man replies that he wasnts to impress his uncle when he arrives. Meanwhile, the strange monster and Claire sit at the city dump. Things seem to move rather quickly between the two as she suddenly professes her love for her hero and desire to live with him. Overjoyed, he decides that his appearance and current encounters with the people of this city will unfortunately force him to reside right where the two lovebirds currently sit. Claire surprisingly agrees and the man-beast begins the hasty construction of a makeshift shelter. (Wow! Chicks. You show women the slightest bit of interest, and they immediately want to move in together. Am I right, fellas? Sheesh! Oh, if you happen to be a female that’s reading this, I immediately recant my previous statement. )

The two new lovers hold one another in the confines of their junkyard shack. Claire suddenly kisses her man. It’s then that he springs to his feet as his memories all suddenly flood in at once! His name is Melvin Junko! (Whew! Thank God! I was getting so sick of trying to find synonyms for the word “monster” and then alternating them! Though calling this huge guy “Melvin” isn’t much better!) Claire is understandably concerned. She asks Melvin if he’s okay. He replies that he is and that he now remembers how all of this happened to him. She begs that he tell her. He agrees and begins his tale.

Melvin Junko was your average, nerdy, ninety-eight pound weakling. He was the local janitor at the Tromaville Health Club, a place where only the beautiful and popular would congregate to show off ther perfect bodies. Needless to say, Melvin stuck out like a sore thumb. There was a girl that frequented the club that had always caught Melvin’s eye. Her name was Linda. Linda was living proof that beauty on the outside could definitely mask pure ugliness within. One day, as poor Melvin was mopping up around the pool area, the owner watched him with obvious disgust. He called Linda to his office and a nefarious plot to humiliate Melvin was concocted. (Man! That’s messed up! As an obsessive comic book fan, I call to all of the nerds of the world to rise up against our popular oppressors! The time for retribution is nigh! Or we could just complain the injustice of it all a bit and then play our Dungeons & Dragons in defiance. Dibs on the Drow elf!)

Linda approached Melvin that afternoon. Acting apologetic about her past dealings with him and aroused by his mere presence, she asked him to meet her in a back room later to be romantic. Overjoyed, Melvin agrees. There’s one catch however, it seems she’s only turned on when men kiss her in pink ballerina outfits. Too excited to question this strange request further, Melvin speeds off to change while she waits. (One might question Melvin here. Did he not suspect a practical joke? Need I remind you that she’s a sexy blonde, sporting a bikini, and he’s your average dumb man? I thought that might clear things up.) A few fumbling moments later, and with his prized mop in hand, he emerges to find the girl of his dreams waiting for him. Grabbing his pile of clothes suddenly, she runs out into the common area of the health club! A very panicked Melvin Junko gives chase! But what he finds when he exits the door is the laughing faces of literally everyone in the club! Even his boss chuckled and pointed!

Poor Melvin did the only thing his embarrassed and horrified mind could think of. He ran away. Unfortunately for him, the amassed bulky bullies gave chase until Melvin jumped from the nearest window! The fall wasn’t too bad height-wise. It was what he landed in. A truck that was hauling toxic waste had stopped directly underneath that very window! A bolt of lightning then struck the very barrel he was inside! Moments later, the young man slowly tried to crawl from the industrial byproduct! His flesh burned and bubbled as he did so! His hair ignited and fell out as his muscles grew and swelled with each painful step! No-one tried to help. What could they possibly do even if thry had been that compassionate? The monstrous form that was once Melvin Junko then sought refuge in the only place he could, the garbage dump. (The flashback has now ended. I now return you to your regularly scheduled movie adaption comic, already in progress.)

The monster now turns to Claire and announces that Melvin Junko died that night. From this day forward, he would be known as the Toxic Avenger! With this dramatic proclamation, he suddenly feels his body quake like it did earlier! Evil is near! That’s when a tank, driven by the punk that escaped him earlier, busts through the shack wall! Well, that’s the end of issue numero uno. If you were intrigued by my narrative and wish to find out what happens next, go buy a copy of issue two yourself! (I can’t do everything for you after all! Ha!)

Some items that I, your humble Symbifan, possess: (A Toxic Avenger novel signed by his creator, Lloyd Kaufman, and a figure of Toxie that my son just presented me with tonight, bought with his very first paycheck.)

Long Live the King! (part 2)

Gather around, my fellow Unspokenites, and let me tell you a tale! A tale of one of the coolest, yet frequently forgotten, characters in all of the Aquaman mythos! I speak of course of King Noble, ruler of the underdwelling people, the Lurkers. When I last left you, Aquaman and Noble had gotten into a fierce fight. A fight that Aquaman ultimately won. But when the sea king attempted to make the defeated Noble swear allegiance to him, the surrounding Lurkers pulled their weapons and took aim at the King of Atlantis!

Aquaman mentally commands Mera to strike now and strike hard! Mera musters all of her might and commands the very water within the Lurker ships to expand, exploding several vessels in their armada! Next, Tempest is let loose on the unsuspecting Lurker soldiers! First he tries to freeze the water around their bodies, but this does little as these creatures are used to the frigid depths of the ocean! He then changes strategy and blasts flame from his hands at them! That has the desired effect! This attack defeats several of the Lurker warriors! (And people thought Aqualad was lame. Well, the little boy has grown up to become a badass! It’s gotta be the facial tattoo. It makes Mike Tyson look stupid, but on Tempest, it just works!)

Finally, Aquaman gives the command for the Atlantean army to attack the Lurker soldiers! While the battle commences, King Noble gives a rallying speech to his people. There will be no surrender. (This part really reminded me of “Braveheart”. Minus Mel Gibson’s superior acting skills. You know, back when he had an acting career?) Noble turns and orders one of his people’s large war machines to open fire upon an Atlantean structure! The mighty spire collapses from the blast! Sharpened rubble propels downwards, toward a petrified Atlantean child! Surprisingly, Noble pulls the youth to safety at the last moment!

This action doesn’t go unnoticed. Mera, witnessing the whole thing, questions Noble. Why would one who brings war to Atlantis, save an Atlantean? He merely replies that the young one was innocent in all of this and does not deserve to become a victim in this fight. Mera, obviously shocked by this, attempts to reply. This is however cut short as a mentally-commanded whale slams into the King of the Lurkers with all of its tremendous bulk! Aquaman orders Mera to flee to safety, thanking her for this “distraction”. She opens her mouth to protest just as an enraged King Noble bursts back onto the scene! He roars about cowardice and deception! (I’ve gotta agree with the King here. Talk about a cheap move! Waiting until Aquaman was busy elsewhere in order to show off to his woman! How distasteful!)

King Noble hurls himself at Aquaman with unfathomable ferocity! The two udersea kings seem to shake the very foundations of the city around them as they trade mighty blows! That is until Aquaman makes the mistake of calling himself the king of all that resides below the water! Noble had not heard this boast until this very moment! He is now noticeably even more angry! How dare this man claim to be a king of something that he himself has ruled underneath of for the entirety of his life? He turns with a look of unbridled fury! (It’s really on now, folks! Aquaman’s in for the fight of a lifetime! And I mean a fight more difficult to win than the fight to tame that wild, long hair while it’s sopping wet!)

The fight continues. It rages from one end of the kingdom to the other! Neither of them holding anything back! Finally, while King Noble is distracted by a living wall of commanded fish, Aquaman leads the fight to his bed chambers. When Noble comes crashing through the wall, he finds his opponent armed with a new, seemingly cybernetic, golden hand! (Groovy! Did you youngins out there get that “Army of Darkness” quote? Let’s pretend you did so I don’t weep over how ancient I’ve become. Deal?) The King of Atlantis strikes the King of the Lurkers with such force, that he actually momentarily stuns him! He then uses this opportunity to begin forcing Noble towards the surface world above!

Mera ponders out loud, what could the Sea King’s ultimate goal be? Tempest answers that it appears as though his mentor means to see how Noble handles a serious case of the bends! Noble howls in pain as he clutches his skull, in agony from the sudden change in pressure! It’s then that Aquaman stops. Instead of killing this powerful enemy, he talks sense into him! They both obviously care a great deal for their respective people, but this pointless fight needs to end. Noble seems utterly shocked as his foe lowers him back to Atlantis. (Awww! Makes you feel warm all over, doesn’t it? Unless someone just peed in all of this water…..)

A short time passes. Both kings shake hands. Aquaman declares that not only will Noble continue to lead the Lurkers, he is making him his right hand! Shocked but touched by this sign of respect and friendship, he accepts. Well, that’s it. Who’s to say that comic books can’t have a happy ending? And I’m sure that the two undersea kings’ friendship will be a strong and lasting thing for years to come. In fact, let’s peek ahead at a cover of Aquaman just a few months later……

Well crap! Until next time, Symbifan out!