The cover of The Flash #133 is is almost diabolically brilliant. In a beautiful example of Infantino/Giella art, as we see the Flash chasing the Trickster as the Trickster escapes by running off a cliff and straight towards the reader. The Trickster is a new villain wearing a gaudy circus outfit as he runs in the air! Who in their right minds wouldn’t want to know what’s going on there? Again, had I seen this cover on any spinner rack anytime anywhere, I would have begged, borrowed or stolen it to take it home with me.
The story Danger in the Air opens with the Trickster robbing an airliner in mid-air which leads eventually to an encounter with the Flash who he bests by reprising the cover and running away from the Flash in the air. It’s a case of beautiful over-the-top bravura story telling by Broome who then dives right in to the villain’s backstory of being a circus aerialist who invents a pair of jet shoes to aid him in his family’s act. The Flash deduces the circus background and then wraps things up by capturing the Trickster at the circus and adding still another villain to his rogues gallery. For whatever reason and as formulaic as these stories were, these conflicts with the colorful villains were the Flash stories that appealed to me most. Perhaps as I work my way through these issues, I’ll be able to put a finger on just what was so magical about them. We’ll learn together.
The second story in this issue is a fairly pedestrian dance with the Roman gods. As fresh and exciting as the Trickster story was, was this latter story moldy and ancient to young me. The best thing about it was Broome continuing the use of Dr. Wiley Summers as a romantic rival for fickle Iris. It was this kind of low-key continuity that added weight and appeal to these stories. Superman and Batman didn’t do much of this thing, and it was a precursor to the sort of writing that Stan Lee over at Marvel would shortly begin taking to the bank. There was also one interesting aspect about this story which would catch my attention a couple of issues down the road, but I’ll save that story for later, alligators… along what was so amazing, cool and totally freaking mind-blowing about the Trickster’s second appearance in The Flash.