Flash Fridays – #201 November 1970

Jul 27, 2018

This issue sports a new running image of the Flash in the upper left corner, a terrific Infantino/Anderson cover, and a burst announcing a new Golden Age Flash story. Inside we find a Kanigher story about a star Latino basketball player who was crippled in an encounter with the Flash. Kanigher basically uses one of his standard templates from his war stories and superhero-imposes this Flash tale on top of it. So we get a story that starts in the middle and then jump cuts to a flashback (or in this case a Flash flashback) to set it up. In this telling we find a young man named Pablo in a wheelchair who blames the Flash for his condition. In the set-up we find that the Flash was giving him a super-speed trip to Puerto Rico to visit his parents. On the way the Flash spots a ship on fire and, when he stops to help the young man is pinned under a falling mast, the young man’s leg is paralyzed. The doctors say it’s psychological, but nothing can snap him out of it. This psychological struggle is an overused motif right out of Kanigher’s war stories where some extraordinary event has to snap a soldier, or in this case Pablo, back into action. Kanigher even doubles down with a mini motif where Iris has to snap the Flash out of the guilt trip the Flash as fallen into with histrionic dialog such as Iris yelling: “Flash! That car’s trying to run you down! Are you so blinded by guilt over that poor boy that you can’t see what’s happening? Don’t just stand there as if you were crippled!”, by which point the car would have hit him and backed over him six times. Then Kanigher proceeds to triple down by having the Flash become crippled. In the end, Pablo and the Flash both overcome their traumatic paralysis by having to save each other form a building fire. The Irv Novick/Anderson art does little to ameliorate things. This artistic duo, for whatever reason is not the best of artistic pairings. And then a miracle happens.

In the second story, Kanigher turns in a simply marvelous story of the Flash battling his old nemesis the Fiddler. Two things make the tale a perfect little gem. First, Kanigher introduces the fact the Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick, is starting to show his age. He finds himself huffing and puffing a lot more than he remembers having to do. As Jay’s wife has to point out that he’s getting a little older as we all do, you have to wonder if the aging Kanigher was injecting some personal experience into the work (or if your humble blogger saw some of himself in the story as he trains for this year’s Lisa’s Legacy Run). Whatever, the thoughtful touch enriches the piece with some true recognizable humanity, and the straight forward superhero/super-villain joust  is all the better for it.

The second reason the story shines is that it’s both pencilled and inked by Murphy Anderson who, when left to his own devices, turns in his usual stellar job. This story takes pride of place along side any of the early Silver Age Flash stories.

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