Friday, February 12, 2010

Flash #196

Flash #196 (On Sale: February 12, 1970) has a cover by Murphy Anderson.

This issue begins "The Mightiest Punch of All Time" reprinted from Flash #153 and created by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella. Professor Zoom is released from prison in the 25th century when he fools the officials and passes an electronic psychological examination. Zoom returns to his lab where he perfects a machine that will enhance a person's tendency towards evil. Zoom tries to use the machine across the centuries to affect Al Desmond and force him to become Mr. Element again. Al contacts the Flash for help.

Zoom's machine fails to function properly when used from the 25th century, so he constructs his own cosmic treadmill and returns to the 20th century. A side-effect of the machine gives Professor Zoom temporary control over the residents of Central City. He forces the Municipal Council to pass a law which forbids the use of super speed within Central City. Flash is unable to use his own powers legally to battle Zoom. He tries to leave town, but Zoom captures him.

Zoom then brings Mr. Element to his hide-out to kill the Flash. Before returning to his criminal ways, Desmond has hypnotized himself. When he sees the Flash, the he succumbs to the hypnotic suggestion to release his foe. Once free of Zoom's trap, Flash punches Zoom. The punch counteracts the effects of Zoom's cosmic treadmill sending the villain back to the 25th century where he is again incarcerated. Desmond however has returned to his criminal ways, so Flash takes him to the future where scientists are able to rehabilitate him.

Next we have "The Speed of Doom" from Flash #108 by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Frank Giacoia. Responding to Dr. Hirach’s offer to time his speed, Flash takes part in an experiment. However the experiment is actually a trap designed by an alien criminal. Flash is trapped on a treadmill and forced to run himself to death. He manages to escape by speeding up and surpassing light speed.

The alien criminal is a Mohru named Kee Feleg. The gang of criminals have been taking fulgramites from Earth which give them amazing speed. Flash follows the trail of one of his foes, when the Mohru disappears into the side of a hill. Another Mohru vanishes at the same spot. Flash runs into that spot and discovers it is a dimensional gateway to the Mohru’s world. Flash captures the gang and turns them over to the Mohru authorities.

That is followed by "The Origin of Flash's Masked Identity" from Flash #128 and created by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella. In the early days of the Flash’s career, Barry Allen wore a mask-less uniform. He did so on his first couple of cases and was not seen. While deciding whether or not to include a mask with his costume, he has a dream.

In the dream, Barry announces his identity publicly. People are skeptical at first, but when he stops a tornado the people believe him. Crowds flock to police headquarters to see him and get autographs. When a burglary occurs across town, Barry has a difficult time making his way through the crowds to get to the scene. When Flash arrives, the thieves have left. Flash is able to catch the getaway car and catch them.

Waking from his dream, Barry realizes that the delay from the crowd almost prevented him from catching the crooks. He decides it would be better to wear a mask and keep his identity secret.

We end with "The Mirror Master's Invincible Bodyguards" from Flash #136 and also the work of John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella. Mirror Master, upset with being slighted by the criminal fraternity in a recent poll, breaks jail and begins a new robbery spree. To avoid capture by his nemesis the Flash, Mirror Master designs two mirror bodyguards which protect him from the Flash.

At the scene of his first crime the bodyguards stop Flash in his tracks, and the villain escapes with the loot. Mirror Master’s scheme has landed him as the top criminal in a new poll.

Flash tracks down his foe by tracing the radiation given off by the bodyguards. He locates Mirror Master’s hideout. Using his amazing speed abilities, Flash is able to create two-dimensional duplicates of himself that defeat the bodyguards. With the bodyguards pacified, Flash easily captures their master. The quick defeat lands a dejected Mirror Master at the bottom of yet another criminal poll.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

1 comment:

MarkGelbart said...

I remember seeing this comic book advertised in another comic when I was about 8. I've often looked for it in comic book shops but never found it until recently.

Unfortunately, it's selling for $345, far above what I'd ever pay for a comic book.