This Flash issue kicks off with one of the less inspiring covers in the series, but, as cartoonist Rog Bollen of Animal Crackers, Catfish and Funny Business fame once told me when I visited him seeking advice on how to break into newspaper comics, they can’t all be blockbusters. Not the most inspiring advice, but I do get how he was trying to help me avoid a pressure filled trap that he apparently saw awaiting me down the road. And, as was my won’t, I pretty much ignored it as I did with most of the good advice I received at that time. Ah, the ignorance and arrogance of youth. Anyway, probably the most egregious thing about the cover is the fact that the boy on the cover has the opposite color hair and hat from the boy in the story inside. Maybe they can’t all be blockbusters, but they can all be proofread.
The Cary Bates story inside was hamstrung just a bit by have to pretzel things around to fit the no doubt Julie Schwartz, inspired, suggested, shoved-down-your throat cover idea. But Bates made up for it by bringing back the 64th century villain/magician Abra Kadabra. Points not only for that, but also to Irv Novick and Dick Giordano for their rendition of the malevolent master of magic (I know it’s really super advanced science and not magic, but let’s play along) who never looked better. The contrived plot has the Flash being dragged into a kids cartoon show on television. The hokeyest part is where AK impales the Flash with rods designed to dampen his speed much like the rods do in a nuclear reactor. One rod travels through the top of the Flash’s head and out his groin which makes it uncomfortable to look at in the extreme. Bates stays in hokey mode for the manner in which the Flash escapes which involves a rubber bullet shot by the boy bouncing all over to Betsy and back before finally hitting him and breaking the spell. Why it would do this is mystifying at best, but, in the words of the great Rog Bollen…
The Elongated Man story is another tight little mystery story, this time scribed by Len Wein and masterfully illustrated by Giordano. The Elongated Man story, as it has in recent issues, is really the standout in the book (If I may, if you’ve not seen the wonderful DC Showcase collection of EM’s solo stories, I would definitely recommend tracking a copy down. You’ll thank me) (Trust me, you will).
The reprint story is The Snare of the Headline Huntress from issue #126 which I covered earlier in this blog (See somewhere earlier in the blog… the tags will help) and it only serves to remind me once again why I fell in love with this character in the first place lo those many years ago.