The book opens with Barry and Iris at a political rally where Iris says: “Isn’t it wonderful, Barry? Your co-worker and old friend, Charlie Conwell, running for district attorney!” Now I can remember at least two prior occasions where we heard Barry refer to one of his co-workers by name. The first was very early in the run (I’m thinking one of the Showcase issues here) when Barry referred to his fellow lab rat as Stan. When it happened a second time, the scientist sidekick had a different name and I’m fairly sure it was Charlie. Now this blog is just for fun and isn’t meant to be homework, and I really don’t have the time to go back through all of those issues and make sure, but, given how Cary Bates is so reverentially restoring the Flash mythos at this point in the run, I’m willing to bet that he did. Which the comic book geek in me finds very cool indeed.
When the Flash is unable to save Charlie from an assassin’s bullet, he vows to do what his friend what planning to do as district attorney and wipe out the Maxel Mob. As he does this, the Flash gets a little bit of ghostly help from Charlie beyond the grave. It’s Bates’s attempt to write another Doorway to the Unknown a la John Broome, but, unlike that former story, it fails to make as much of an impression. What does make an impression is the Irv Novick/Dick Giordano art which just seems to get better with each succeeding issue.
What makes an even bigger impression is the Denny O’Neil Green Lantern tale, again aided by the terrific Dick Giordano art. In this story, O’Neil makes quiet the new loud as he pens a very introspective story about a super hero dealing with a crisis of confidence. It’s beautifully done and is by far the better story in this issue. I remember when I read it at the time, it provided a nice bit of inspiration when I was going through a mild power outage of my own. Periodically throughout my life a comic book would show up at just the right moment to uplift, inspire, or teach me something when I needed it. It’s funny how comic books always seemed to have the ability to do what superheroes are supposed to do. Be there for you.