In many ways, this issue of The Flash comes as close to being the perfect comic book as I’ve ever seen. Granted, this is totally subjective and dependent on a book landing in your wheelhouse at a moment when you’re at your most receptive, and that’s what this one did. I’d already committed both heart and mind to the idea that this was the medium where I wanted to live out my future, and it was this book that sealed the deal. It starts with an Infantino/Anderson cover so elegant that I’m sure it took me at least a half an hour before I even opened the book to read it. I’d later learn how Anderson’s fine line had antecedents in Lou Fine’s, Reed Crandall’s, and Alex Raymond’s exquisite work, but, at the time, all I knew was that I loved it. I loved it so much that, knowing what size the originals were, I got ahold of some bristol board and spent a good chunk of that Spring of ’62 making a full sized copy for myself
The first story, Who Doomed The Flash, is one of story spinner John Broome’s better efforts. The story opens with Barry Allen in a dentist’s chair having a temporary filling put in, and, as we all know, a filling that goes in in the first act, comes back to bite somebody in the third. As he’s leaving he hears on the radio that the Mirror Master is on the loose. When the Flash goes to the state penitentiary to see what happen he finds the Mirror Master still locked up. The same scenario is played out with the Trickster, Captain Cold, the Top, and Captain Boomerang. The Flash is stumped and decides to visit the court appointed lawyer who defended all of the above. At the lawyer’s office, the Flash is hit with a knockout gas and locked up by the attorney who then opens a closet to reveal that he was the one impersonating the villains. The lawyer then goes to visit the Mirror Master in the lockup where it’s revealed that Scudder had used tiny mirrors to take control of his lawyer’s mind. The Mirror Master then takes the Flash uniform and escapes.
As the last chapter opens, we see the MM has overhead lights to imprison the Flash in a room. If the Flash even twitches, it will interrupt the light reaching the floor and he’ll be blown to kingdom come. After MM finishes his expository dialog the Flash is alone facing his doom when he comes up with the idea to loosen his temporary filling and shoot it at a circuit breaker to shut off the lights (see?). He does and it works and this is why the story is only close to perfect. The MM clearly stated that the Flash would go ka-blooy if the light was interrupted from hitting the ka-blooy stuff in the floor, and it seems to me that turning off the lights would certainly qualify as an interruption. Whatever. The Flash then goes on to catch MM and the story closes with Barry back in the dentist’s chair getting a permanent filling. I don’t know about you, but I for one am not going to let a hole in the story that you could shove a planet through ruin the moment for me. Like I said, this caught me at just the right time.
The second story in that issue has the Elongated Man investigating why a small town has remained in Winter while Spring has arrived everywhere else, and he does it with Kid Flash making it one of the best Kid Flash stories so far. The cause for the snow anomaly is of course the Weather Wizard, one of the Flash’s sadly underused villains. I always thought he was a great Flash foe and this story is a fine example of why. Back-up stories always tended to be a bit lame, but not this one. The Elongated Man’s and Kid Flash’s battle with WW is the reason why this book is so close to being perfect. Although, frankly, I would have just settled for the cover.