Funky Winkerbean logo

Flash Fridays – #199 August 1970

posted on July 13, 2018

The Gil Kane cover gracing this issue is a masterful piece of work. Even the fact that it’s another one of those gimmick covers that I’m not crazy about doesn’t dim the luster of this fine dramatic piece. Inside, Robert Kanigher does his workman-like job of turning the cover into a pretty goofy Flash tale. A Doctor Hollister has discovered a serum that slows life down to such a point that someone would only age one minute per year so that to all appearances  they would seem to be dead. Okay, stop skipping ahead on me here. Yes, the Flash is injected with the serum when he tries to break up a robbery at the good doctor’s lab by a crook who wants to steal the serum and wake up in the future with some vastly appreciated art that he’s stolen (hey, it’s a plan, don’t be so judgmental). Hollister thinks that he’s killed the Flash and in his guilt ridden depression goes to the Flash Museum where he finds a bereft Iris giving one of the Flash’s uniforms to Dexter Miles (the docent/curator) to display in the museum. Hollister steals the uniform and wears it around Central City in some sort of twisted atonement long enough to fall asleep on the park bench and justify the cover. With that bit of business out of the way, he steals Flash’s body from the graveyard (I just this very moment, for the first time in my life, realized that graveyard almost spells gravy-ard describing a somewhat depreciatory sense of gravy. I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who finds that interesting, but, hey, it’s my blog – no filters). So where was I? Oh yeah, Hollister steals the Flash’s body and takes it to his lab to try to bring him back to life. Now this is where things get weird (oh, this is where things get weird you say?). No lie, because a lightning bolt comes through the window (stay with me here), ricochets off the gun of the returned robber/art lover, strikes the Flash smack-dab in the middle of the lightning bolt symbol on his chest, and shocks his heart back to life. Now this would be a cheesy bit for any writer to try to pull off since it was a lightning bolt coming through a window that turned Barry into the Flash in the first place. It becomes a giant cheese wheel when it’s written by the guy who actually wrote the selfsame origin story. Kanigher tries to pave things over by having the Flash think that lightning does strike twice, but that does nothing to absolve him of his sin. The Flash takes down the the robber and then is reunited with Iris. When Iris thinks that it’s a dream, Kanigher sins one final time by breaking the fourth wall and having Barry pull off his mask to point out that he’s back in the scene. Huh, uh, this ain’t Deadpool folks.

In the second story, Barry is visited in his lab by a mysterious Colonel-K of the U.S. In-T Agency. Colonel K knows that Barry is the Flash and sends him to China to find a mysterious Y-missile base where a nuclear Y-missile is about to be launched against the United States. The Flash stops the missile just in time and when he returns to Barry’s lab he’s finds that the mysterious Col-K has written a note on Barry’s desk calendar thanking him on completing the assignment as if he knew what was going to happen in advance, leaving Barry to ponder over whether we’ll be seeing Colonel-K again. Hmmmm…

The wonderful Kane/Coletta art on both tales goes a long way towards excusing everything. Sweet stuff indeed.