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Flash Fridays – The Flash #189 June 1969

posted on February 23, 2018

I have to start by standing in line for this terrific cover by Joe Kubert. Julie Schwartz wanted his covers to grab you and this one certainly does that. Joe Kubert’s work hasn’t appeared in a Flash book since the Flash’s inaugural Silver Age appearance and no one is quite sure how that even happened. Joe once posited that he probably happened to simply be in the office when Julie needed an inker for that first book. The editors at DC had for much of the sixties a clearly demarcated stable of writers and artists who they mostly worked with exclusively. However, with the ascendance of Carmine Infantino to Editorial Director, things were starting to break down as evidenced  by this issue’s cover. If I may be allowed a slight digression, I once wrote to Julie suggesting that he try artist Alex Toth on The Flash. I would later discover not only the situation that I described above, but also the fact that there was considerable animus between Alex and Julie on top of it. Needless to say, the letter never got published. One last word on the cover is that I also like the standing Flash that made it appearance beneath the DC logo. Carmine’s art or Joes’s? My guess would be Joe. Whichever, it certainly works for me.

The story inside is another John Broom tale where, once again, there’s a tiny grabber at the start. Iris, along with barry and her nephew Wally are going for a vacation in Blue Valley, Wally’s hometown. Once there, Iris sends the guys for some firewood and they both deploy their uniform rings. I may have missed something here, but I don’t recall Iris finding out that Wally was Kid Flash and, yet, here, it’s a sine qua non given. Okay, fine. Maybe it was revealed between books. Back to the story, it seems the trio is camping on an area that has been used by blue lizard-like aliens form another dimension for a refueling station, which, of course causes it to give off a blue radiation. At one point when the Flash “accidentally” runs through Iris she starts to age dramatically and Barry thinks he’s killed her, hence the cover depiction as he forsakes being the Flash. Turns out it was the blue radiation that was the culprit, and Broome later feeds this back into the story when the radiation causes Kid Flash to age to adulthood just in time to help the Flash defeat the aliens (at one point, in order to fly the alien space ship, the Flash and Kid Flash have to try every possible combination of instruments on the ship to make that happen, which is a very clever and fair extrapolation of their speed powers). The pair extracts an antidote form the aliens along with a promise to never return to Earth. The antidote is given to Iris and Wally, and, to use Broome’s words from and earlier Flash story, everything once again falls serenely back into place.