Friday, June 5, 2009

Flash #190

Flash #190 (On Sale: June 5, 1969) has another brilliant cover by Joe Kubert. This is the second of Kubert's three-issue run on the cover of the Flash. What I like about these Kubert covers is three-fold: 1) they are technically excellent, 2) they are dramatic as all get out, and 3) the scenes depicted actually occur inside.

We begin with "Super-Speed Agent of the Flash" by John Broome, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. A tornado is heading for a trailer park on the outskirts of Central City. Flash creates his own countering tornado to nullify the real tornado. As the two whirlwinds meet Flash is sucked up between the vortexes and knocked unconscious. When he awakens he finds his leg is broken and, like on the cover, is told he will never run again.

Barry Allen returns home, leg in a cast and begins to mope about in his wheelchair. As the days drag on and the crime rate in Central City begins to rise, Barry comes up with a plan. Barry has Iris up the openings in his uniform while he works at super-speed to create a series of radio-controlled miniature transistor circuits which he places at different points in his costume. After inflating his costume with air Barry has created a Flash automaton.

By vibrating at super-speed Barry in his wheelchair is able to invisibly follow his Flash automaton through Central City. In this manner Flash is able to bring down the Muscle Men gang. The next day Flash visits the doctor only to find out that some mysterious vibrations (Barry vibrating to invisibility) has healed his broken leg.

Our back-up story is "Ten Years to Live -- One Second to Die" also by John Broome, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. After the previous episode, Flash takes his wheelchair, cast and crutches to Dexter Myles at The Flash Museum. While there Dexter relates how his young assistant, Joel Travis, had been bragging to his friends, a group called the Far-Outers (oh, don't you just love 60's DC hipness?), what good friends he was with the Flash and promised to get the Flash to come to one of their meetings. Not really knowing Flash, Joel attempted to "borrow" one of the Flash uniforms from the museum, but was caught by Dexter and promised to not do it again. However, a uniform is missing ans so is Joel.

Flash goes to find Joel to convince him how dangerous it is to pretend to be the Flash, but when he gets to the Far-Outers' place, he finds they have trapped Joel in a cell and gassed him and are talking about the million dollars they are going to make off of this. Vibrating at invisibility, Flash replaces himself for Joel and pretends to be knocked out in order to find the big boss behind the million-dollar payoff.

They take him to the home of "Blue-Chip" Chipman, a thief who specialized in negotiable stocks and bonds and who has recently finished a 10-year stretch in the slammer. He plans on keeping the Flash locked up in a cell in his house for the same amount of time he spent in the joint. Chipman has planted 10 bombs in 10 busy locations in Central City and if the Flash tried to leave his cell his very absence will automatically set off the blasts, killing hundreds or thousands of innocent people. Chipman demonstrates the threat is for real by blowing up and abandoned hotel behind his mansion.

Flash timed the detonation of the hotel and realizes there is a one-second spurt of high-frequency energy between the time the detonator was pushed the detonation. Flash jumps from his cell and then follows the detonator energy spurts to each of the ten locations, disarming each bomb before it can explode. Flash punches out Chipman and reprimands Joel for his impersonation act, but lets him keep his job at The Flash Museum.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.


Dave Potts said...

Keller said:
"Barry has Iris up the openings in his uniform..."

I'm surprised they showed that sort of thing in a comics-code-approved comic!

-Keller said...

Do you want me to correct that Potts, or just leave it as is?