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Flash Fridays – The Flash #166 December 1966

posted on May 12, 2017

Once a team always a team must have been one of Julie Schwartz’s mottos because instead of a solo return for either Captain Cold or Heat Wave, they’re back again as the temperature twins. The story opens with the Flash tooling along in the Central City lab mobile and pondering whether or not he should tell his bride Iris that he’s the Flash when he suddenly spots a warehouse fire. He changes to the Flash and rushes in to save a man and woman trapped inside. As he’s about to get then out, the floor collapses beneath them and the Flash sprains his ankle as he saves the couple. Medics attend to the Flash and he hobbles away on some crutches, but not before a newspaper photographer gets a picture. The Flash is concerned that when Barry shows up at home on crutches just like the Flash, the jig will be up with Iris. Luckily he’s attacked by the thermal thieves who turn out to be a quasi team of physical therapists. They attack the Flash with alternating waves of heat and cold and actually help heal his swollen ankle. More Advil than adversaries at that point the titans of temperature get themselves captured and rushed off to the police station. As Barry gives Iris a happy one month anniversary kiss he thinks: “My secret identity is still safe… but for how long? Only time will tell!”

Interestingly, in the book’s other story, Barry’s dilemma plays a central role in an even more psychologically telling way. Barry is working on a truth serum in the lab and tries it on himself. As he’s walking home, he encounters a robbery. In the midst of of capturing the crooks as the Flash, he feels compelled to rush of and tell Iris that he’s the Flash. Iris turns out to be on deadline and, when she puts him  off, the moment passes.  When this same thing happens a second time, Barry realizes that it’s the truth serum causing the problem and he gives himself the antidote. Obviously his guilt over not telling Iris about his alter ego is playing havoc in his inner world, but the story nevertheless ends with: “I still haven’t told her I’m the Flash! *sigh* I suppose one of these days she’ll have to know. I won’t be able to keep my secret forever… or will I?”  It appears that Barry’s decision was not only haunting him, but writers Broome and Fox as well. This little stall also gives the readers more time to weigh-in on things.

Speaking of readers, as if more evidence was needed that the Flash and Julie inspired and spawned a plethora of future comics talent, the Flash-Grams letters page features letters from two future pros: Marvin  (Marv) Wolfman and Stephan (Steve) Leialoha. Even as it was beginning to be eclipsed by Marvel, the Flash was still ground zero for future comics pros.