Let me start by saying that gray is not what you’d normally want as the predominant color on your average comic book cover. True, this is not an average comic book cover, which is all the more reason to avoid such a dead color. That being said, the cover does everything else that you would want as it reunites the Flashes of Earth One and Earth Two doing battle with the Shade who we haven’t seen since the two speedsters met in the historic, folkloric and all that issue #123. The idea of the Golden Age continuity and the Silver age continuity crossing over never seemed to grow old, especially if, like me, you had missed out on the golden era.
The issue kicks off with the B story about Iris finally spotting the perfect engagement ring while she’s out shopping with Barry. No sooner does she find it than it’s stolen from sight by a black amorphous shape that cleans out everything valuable in the jewelry store. Barry tries to fight it, first as himself and then as the Flash to no avail. Nothing he does can even dent the black mass and others that show up as various animal silhouettes robbing valuables around the city. However, the Flash does recognize a certain vibration when he touches the black stuff and back in the lab as Barry he transfers the odd vibration from his fingertips to a computer punch card (don’t ask). He then compares it to a punch card containing the vibrations given off by the Shade (don’t even think about asking) and decides he has to vibrate his way to Earth Two to check it out (okay, we’re past the bumpy part). So the Flash heads off the the Community Center which is the nexus between the two dimensions (cool) and journeys to Earth Two to visit Jay Garrick, the the Flash of that dimension. When Barry arrives at Jay’s apartment and Jay’s wife Joan answers the door, the B plot bubble up briefly when she’s seen wearing the same engagement ring that Iris spotted, so there goes the idea of shopping for it on Earth Two.
Long book-length story short, the Shade has discovered a dark dimension between the two Earth’s and has been using it to pilfer Earth One to live it up on Earth Two. After a series of futile attempts to enter the dark dimension, the Flash “borrows” some gold from the US Mint to cover his body with gold foil so one of the black creatures will “steal” him and take him to the dark dimension… which oddly enough actually works. And so the Shade is captured, the loot restored and Iris gets the engagement ring she covets. It’s not a bad story even though it was a little leaky in a couple of areas. Again, seeing the two Flashes together more than made up for any holes in the story.
In an interesting move, the entire Flash Grams page was turned over to discussing “Doorway to the Unknown” with opinions being rather evenly split between those who only wanted to see science based stories in the Flash, and those who liked the fantasy aspect of that story. I have to say that that, having booted superstition (except whenI need the deck stacked a little) from my life, I fell in the former category. I preferred science, even slightly goofy science.