A Tribute to the of

Last time we looked at the debut of the Flash from the Golden Age.  For some reason, the character has been on my mind, so if you'll allow me, I'm going to follow it up with an issue from the Silver Age as we take a peek at Flash #130 from August of 1962 with a John Broome penned story that asks the rhetorical question, "Who Doomed the Flash?"

As you can see from that minimalist but intriguing cover by Carmine Infantino & Joe Giella, some of the Crimson Comet's most deadly foes are in attendance:  The Trickster, Captain Cold, The Top, Captain Boomerang and the Mirror Master.  This could be pretty interesting.  The splash page further tantalizes with a profile of The Fastest Man Alive, uncharacteristically stock still beneath what appear to be ceiling mounted floodlights and a shadow appearing in the background, obviously being cast from some point out of sight of the reader.  Flash's thoughts set the scene:  "So now I know which of my five foes put me here!  I've got to defeat the cunning villain—but how can I, when the slightest move I make against him will mean my instant destruction?!"

The first panel of the story, as we turn the page, gives us a rather unusual look at the routine world of an off-duty super-hero.  Barry Allen is in that most dreaded of places, the dentist's chair, receiving a temporary filling.  As he prepares to depart, the nearby radio erupts with a special bulletin, announcing that the Mirror Master has been spotted in downtown Central City.  Outside the dentist's office in an empty corridor, the Police Scientist fingers the ring that holds his highly compressed uniform, deploying it into the air where it expands on contact.  Soon the Flash is moving at high speed for the State Penitentiary to see if he can glean any clues about the escape of the Mirror Master.  The warden, however, escorts our hero to Sam Scudder's prison cell where the Mirror Master's alter ego is still very much incarcerated.  Flash leaves the prison, thinking that perhaps someone is impersonating the Mirror Master, when he then spots another foe, The Trickster, who promptly fires a toy gun at him, releasing a spring-loaded boxing glove and bearing a banner with "The Trickster" on it.  The glove finds its target and knocks the Fastest Man Alive down for a few moments.  When the Flash recovers, he finds the Trickster has melted away.  Our hero returns again to the pen, only to find James Jesse (I think…) under lock and key.

The mystery deepens during the course of the next few days as Captain Cold, The Top and Captain Boomerang are spotted in Central City, despite the fact that each of them is in jail, too.  A thoroughly baffled Barry Allen decides to try to unravel things with the one common link among his foes, who are seemingly in two places at once, and that is by visiting their common, court-appointed defense attorney, Paul Barrett.  The mouthpiece is less than cooperative, though, citing attorney-client privilege and non-chalantly lighting up a pipe, causing the Flash to begin to depart for some fresh air when he is abruptly overcome and collapses to the floor.  Barrett wastes no time in moving the unconscious figure out of his office, thinking that it's a good thing he prepared ahead of time by ingesting the antidote to the smoke that his pipe produced.  He then is seen opening a closet that contains a series of familiar, colorful uniforms.  The five costumes of the villains have already been used and served their purpose and now he reaches for a duplicate of the Flash's uniform.  Donning the suit, "The Flash" makes yet another appearance in the warden's office, this time to request a private interview with the Mirror Master.  Soon he is greeted by a smiling Sam Scudder.  "At last I have reached my destination!  I have come to report, Mirror Master…everything that you have ordered has been done!"  A pleased Scudder recounts mentally the events that led to this meeting.  He had managed to hide tiny mirrors on his person so that when he appeared in court he was able to use them to hypnotize the attorney, placing Barrett under his control.  He is able, in fact, to mentally direct the lawyer, who begins to follow the Mirror Master's lead in disrobing so that they can exchange clothing.

Using the uniform of his arch-foe, the Mirror Master simply walks out of the penitentiary, savoring the irony.  It isn't long until he arrives at Barrett's law office where he retrieves his green and gold uniform from the closet in preparation for his next move, ending Chapter I of the tale.

Chapter II opens with a triumphant Mirror Master entering the rear room of the law office to see his nemesis, The Flash, rigidly standing beneath the flood lamps as we'd seen on the splash page.  Flash states the obvious, that it was the Mirror Master behind all the strange appearances and the bizarre behavior of Barrett.  Scudder gloats that the Scarlet Speedster is doomed.  He cautions that if he vibrates or moves any part of his body, even a fraction of an inch, he'll interrupt the light bathing his body and activate an electric eye, which in turn will detonate a powerful explosive that will destroy him.  The Mirror Master then reveals that after one more job, he plans to retire somewhere south of the border and safely out of the reach of the law.  His parting shot is that while the Sultan of Speed is physically strong, he cannot maintain this posture indefinitely.  Sooner or later he'll weaken and slump or change position and seal his fate.  At that moment, a moth appears, drawn to the powerful light.  The Flash worries that it will set off the charge, but the Mirror Master explains that the apparatus is rigged so that only a part of his body moving can trigger the charge.  The criminal then smugly departs.

The Crimson Comet, his mind racing furiously, tries to think of a way out of this seemingly impossible predicament.  He glances to his left, noting the cable and pilot light mounted to the wall that is powering the apparatus.  If he could only break the current…  Then, inspiration strikes:  "If I could break that light without moving from here!  It seems impossible—and yet there's a chance!  The moth gave me a clue!"  We now see our hero, still frozen in place, working his tongue inside his mouth to try and dislodge the temporary filling he'd received earlier in the day.  After a while he is successful and prepares to take his one and only shot by spitting the filling from the side of his mouth at the pilot light.  He successfully shatters the bulb, eliminating the power source and freeing him from its grip.  "I figured that the filling wouldn't trigger the explosive—if the moth didn't—and I was right!  The current is off—and I'm free!"

Racing away, the Crimson Comet ponders how to find the Mirror Master and heads back yet again to the Pen to visit the warden's office with the newly released attorney, Barrett.  The Flash says that for days he'd been subject to the mental commands of the Mirror Master, to the point that their minds were virtually linked.  Can he recall any sort of plan the criminal may have had?  Barrett struggles to recall and then says that he has a glimmer of a memory involving a robbery of the Dagon Payroll Company.

A change of scenes finds the Mirror Master hard at work cracking a burglar proof safe with the aid of his specialized mirrors.  Just as he's about to make off with his ill-gotten gains, though, a familiar red streak arrives.  Wasting no time, the Monarch of Motion grabs his foe by the ankles and swiftly swings him around, causing numerous mirrors to fly free from his form and shatter against the surface of the floor.  Flinging the crook over his shoulder, the Flash provides a super-speed escort back to prison.  The warden assures the Flash that they've gone over Scudder with a fine-toothed comb for any concealed mirrors and he's clean.  The reference to a tooth reminds Barry that he has one unfinished bit of business and the story ends as it began, with Barry Allen in the dentist's chair, getting another temporary filling, but grateful that the earlier one successfully saved his life.

The first reprint of this story is included in DC Special #8 dated September. 1970.

I don't usually fool with backup stories, but I'm going to make an exception this time as it seems to be a rather unusual one, involving yet another Flash villain, so let's see what's in store for Barry's nephew and protégé, Kid Flash when "Kid Flash Meets the Elongated Man!" Story and art are again courtesy of Broome, Infantino and Giella.

Things begin in the home of Wally West in Blue Valley.  Wally is in his room when he feels a sort of wind eddy and in the next moment, the Flash appears, explaining he has a situation and needs his nephew's help.  It seems that Barry and Iris are going on vacation to the Pacific Coast (Julius Schwartz, via an editor's note, suggests we check out the results of that vacation in "Duel of the Super-Heroes!" in the June 1962 edition of Green Lantern. We here at the Silver Lantern have dubbed it Silver Age Sage review #101.), but he'd received a note care of the Central City Police Department from Ralph Dibney, otherwise known as the Elongated Man.  Dibney has uncovered a mystery and has requested the help of the Flash to investigate, but since he has a conflict, he suggests that perhaps Wally could go.  His nephew delightedly accepts and after Allen departs he takes advantage of his plans to spend the weekend with a friend, so far as his parents are aware, and dons his copy-cat crimson uniform and is soon speeding off into the night, headed northwest to where Ralph is staying in Goldville, Wyoming.

In mere minutes he covers the 2,000 miles to the motel where the Elongated Man is staying, introducing himself and offering his services in his uncle's stead.  Ralph soon explains what he's investigating.  Apparently there in Oakley County, the region is not only refusing to change seasons to spring, but is experiencing an intensifying of winter conditions.  Roads are blocked by ice and snow and even airplanes cannot land in the conditions.  They county is effectively cut off from the rest of the world.  With that, the duo departs to investigate.

Once they reach the edge of the county, they leave the Elongated Man's car parked at the edge of the area where it goes from normal to polar, as if a line had been drawn.  They continue their journey on foot and soon come to a chasm where the Oakley Canyon Bridge is out.  Dibney calls upon his stretchability to provide a path for Kid Flash and then draws his legs back to him across the other side.

Meanwhile, we see some of the residents of Goldville looking at a publicly posted message from the Weather Wizard on the Town Hall:  "If you want spring to come this year, you'll have to pay for it!  So far I've received only $25,000!  I want another $75,000 by six o'clock tonight…or the weather will get a lot worse!" (signed) The Weather Wizard.

Not far away we see the villain himself, resplendent in his green uniform with matching mask that might look at home on the face of the Green Hornet, standing on an overlook in front of his weather control station.  This current plot, we learn, is a stepping stone to greater things as he intends to use the extorted money to build an even bigger weather control station.  Just to hedge his bets, part of the Weather Wizard's gang is robbing the bank in Goldville as well. 

Back to our heroes, who have split up to cover more ground.  Ralph has happened across the bank robbery and as the getaway car speeds away, the weather is working with them.  A punishing hailstorm has sprung up, but the vehicle is in a clear zone.  This doesn't deter the ductile detective as he stretches forth and nabs one of the crooks from the convertible.  The crook reveals he's working for the Weather Wizard and once he's safely behind bars, Ralph goes off in search of his partner, hoping he reaches him before Wally encounters the dangerous criminal on his own.  The townspeople have revealed that the Wizard's hideout is somewhere north of the village and Dibney is on his way.

Unfortunately, his fears are well-founded as Kid Flash has discovered the Weather Wizard's hideout and sprung in on him.  The wily criminal is a formidable adversary, though, and before he knows it, Wally is subjected to one of the Weather Wizard's gimmicks, a small, hand-held reflector that emits bilious black clouds, enabling the villain to knock the young hero senseless.

Outside, the Elongated Man has arrived at the base of the cliff below the weather control station.  Having neither the time nor the desire to scale the cliff, he merely str-e-t-c-h-e-s up and through the window, to take on his foe.  The Weather Wizard's disc is soon brought into play again, however, and the Elongated Man finds himself paralyzed by the lightning like emanations.  The fiend explains that the lightning shot stops his circulation, immobilizing him.  Unseen behind him, however, Kid Flash is reviving and rushes forth to render aid, grasping the stretchable sleuth from behind and propelling him forward at super speed while Dibney extends a stretched arm to kayo the Weather Wizard, combining talents and forces for a mighty blow that soon lands the criminal behind bars.

Now that justice has been served, the long-awaited spring thaw returns to Oakley County and the successful team of Kid Flash and the Elongated Man depart.

So, we had two pretty good stories in one issue, featuring a plethora of members from Flash's Rogues Gallery, though the majority was imposters and a total of three familiar heroes, all for the princely sum of 12 cents.  The Flash had to find a creative way out of a very tight spot and we witnessed the first meeting of Kid Flash and the Elongated Man, who had previously met the Flash in an adventure awhile back, which will one day be reviewed here as well since I have access to a reprint of that tale, waiting in the wings.  Overall, pretty good stuff, but nothing terribly above and beyond the normal adventures of The Fastest Man Alive, so I'll give this one a rating of 7 on the 10-point scale.

Join us again in the usual two week time frame when we explore another offering from the finest period in the history of DC super-hero titles.  While you're waiting, feel free to drop me a line with whatever may be on your mind at professor_the@hotmail.com.

Long live the Silver Age!

© 2000-2005 by B.D.S.

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