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Flash Fridays – The Flash # 157 December 1965

posted on January 27, 2017

This issue features a brace of stories by Gardner Fox, the author  who occasionally shared the writing chores with on the Flash with John Broome. The first one touches bases with an earlier story of Fox’s from issue #145 in which the Flash met Dorilla Kon the girl from the super fast dimension and story of the same name. This time she’s on the trail of Korakar Lok a bad guy scientist who wants to become the fastest dude in Alkomar (the super fast dimension place) and become the ruler of his homeworld. However, he needs to steal the super speed of the Flash to help put him over the top. Disguised as the Flash, he comes to our dimension lure the real Flash into battle. Dorilla comes to Earth to warn the Flash and tells him that, while on Earth, Korakar’s speed will slowly ebb away. So the Flash draws him into a long drawn-out speed battle and eventually, after a struggle, defeats him. Once again it’s fun to see the writer touch bases with a non-villain character from an earlier story.

The second story features a return of the Top who now has a stolen serum that will age the Flash a hundred years. When the Top throws a grenade filled with the serum at the Flash, the Flash appear to age dramatically, but we learn that it’s actually theater make-up administered by Dexter Miles retired actor cum Flash Museum guide. The ruse works, the Top is captured and all is well. The oft used trope of a hero aging to a decrepit state seems to touch a nerve with comic book’s young readers. It was a peek at something we all knew would come some day, but that was still safely far off in the future. Like a fairy tale, it allowed us to process the grim tidings in advance of encountering it in the grim and gritty reality of… well, reality. The Flash acting it out somehow allowed us to act it out as well. A reassuring roadmap as it were that might allow us to greet advancing age with a certain amount of equanimity. A lesson I kept in mind when it was my turn to have my characters take the stage.