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Flash Fridays – The Flash #158 February 1966

posted on February 17, 2017

Never the biggest fan of this cover. I just seemed to find something off-putting about it… maybe it was the purple color again or the a-little-too-cute-gimmicky aspect about it. Or maybe I just didn’t like it and who cares why. The daunting task of trying to turn this cover into something fell to Gardner Fox who had picked up the majority of the story writing chores on The Flash for a period. Much like John Broome, Fox’s forte was science fiction and thus the story opens with mysterious machines arriving from outer space. The machines, which have landed around the globe, have a bad habit of shooting out rays that make people disappear. The Flash  is able to dismantle a number of the weapons which invokes the ire of Zedubon Zarr an alien gun-runner who promptly captures the Flash so we can get several panels of alien villain expository dialog explaining what’s going on. And what’s going on is this: Zedubon had snatched some weapons from the weapon world of Xorcer (a brief aside here about Fox’s alien names… next to the Flash, my favorite character was Adam Strange who would journey to the planet Rann which I would always mentally pronounce “ran”. Somewhere along the way I read something about Fox in which he said it was pronounced “ron”. The interviewer was flabbergasted and so was I. Had I know that when I was young it would have crushed me even more than it did when I later read that interview. The point of this divertissement being that I have no clue as to how to pronounce Zedubon, Zarr or Xorcer for that matter. If I’ve mentioned this before, I apologize. It just shows how scarred I was) (where were we?) oh yeah, and so the Xorcers tricked up the weapons so that in the event that they were ever stolen they would spring into action at some point and take out the thief. So, lets call him Zed, dumps the weapons onto the Earth and let’s them wreak havoc there instead of in his spaceship. The Flash defeats Zed by squeezing his hair until he’s unconscious (really) and then waits for the Xorcers to show up and claim Zed along with their weapons. The story ends with a brief MOS (moment of shit) as the Xorcer commander delivers a speech about how the universe will eventually live in peace. Look, if the universe itself is ready to take you out at a moments notice, I doubt that it cares much about what it’s life forms do to each other. Just saying’.

The second story is about how the Flash stops various crimes after each time being turned into a different member of the Justice League. We get to see Barry as all of the various members of the Justice League (except for Wonder Woman because… well just because) as drawn by Carmine Infantino. Which is incredibly cool and why, for my money, it should have been the cover story.