Friday, January 22, 2010

Flash #195

Flash #195 (On Sale: January 22, 1970) has a cover by Neal Adams.

This issue begins with "Fugitive from Blind Justice" by Robert Kanigher, Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson. I think I have said enough times in this blog how much I loved this art team. It's one that you never hear mentioned, but one that clicked on so many levels. This story has an interesting beginning, the Flash is at the Jerry Lewis Telethon and is signing autographs at super-speed for three of the most prolific letter-writers of the time: Irene Vartanoff, Peter Sanderson and soon to be famous writer Mark Evanier. This was a neat touch with which to open the story.

On the way home from the telethon, Flash meets a couple in Central Park and the woman wants a picture taken with the Flash. He complies, but the flash of the camera is blindingly bright and Flash is set upon by a gang of killers out to get him. He tries to fight them, but keeps stumbling over things (why he didn't just vibrate in place until he could see again is beyond me), and if finally saved by a dog who shows up and attacks the gunmen, then scampers off, though not before Flash sees the dog in his returning eyesight.

The next day the headlines in the paper are of millionaire Philip Bentley being killed by his dog Lightning. Barry recognizes the dog as the one who saved his life and doesn't believe that he could have turned killer. At the animal detention center, Bentley's brother is relating the story of how he saw the dog attack his brother. Flash says how he doesn't believe it and arranges for a 24-hour stay of Lightning's execution. However, he searched in vain for any of the killers or the couple who set him up. The next morning the Flash dog-naps Lighting before he can be executed and uses Lightning's nose to try and locate the gang, to no avail, but they do rescue a blind man who had fallen into the water.

Flash leaves Lightning with the blind man and heads to the Bentley estate to see if he can pick up any clues there. There in the greenhouse Flash encounters Bentley's brother and mobster Vic Torrence in an argument. Flash also recognizes Vic's voice as being one of the gang that tried to kill him. Flash gets disoriented by the fumes of a noxious plant and is once again saved by Lightning.

Later at the reading of Bentley's will his entire estate is given to Lightning to be administered by someone of Lightning's choosing. He chooses Barry Allen who sets up an annuity to provide for Lightning and gives the rest of the estate to the Jerry Lewis Telethon.

The back-up story is "I Open My Mouth... But I Can't Scream" by Harlan Ellison fan Mike Friedrich, Gil Kane and Vince Colletta. The less said about the abysmal inks on this one, the better. This is a strange little tale of Barry Allen on a roller coaster and him being paralyzed with fear. Barry relates how his first date in high school had been to a carnival and the girl had talked him into riding the coaster and how frightened of it he was and still was years later when he and wife Iris chaperoned the police athletic league champs to a carnival and the kids wanted to ride the coaster. Once on the coaster Barry sees that the track is damaged but is frozen with fear, but after a gut-wrenching scream he Flashes down the track and repairs it before any tragedy can occur. Barry believes it was the scream that "set him free" from his fear and now can't wait to go back for another ride.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

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