Flash Fridays – The Flash #173 September 1967
posted on July 21, 2017
By 1967 I was careening towards adulthood and plotting how I was going to go to New York to make my stand in a few short years, so my focus was elsewhere. Which means that this issue fell outside of my golden hour, that halcyon period when this comic book was impacting me like a meteor strike and I had all the time I needed to absorb it. So it’s fun to encounter this particular issue down the road apiece and rediscover its wonder. Had this book shown up during the aforementioned golden period, it would have completely blown me away. If seeing all three Flashes on the same cover wasn’t enough to make your geek flag fly, the story and art inside certainly would.
The tale opens with Jay Garrick and his wife Joan of Earth Two coming to visit Barry Allen on Earth One because Joan wants to tell Barry that he should let his wife Iris know that he’s the Flash. When they arrive at the Allen’s apartment, only Iris is there. She explains that Barry and her nephew Wally have gone out to a movie. Later, Wally shows up alone and tells Jay in private that Barry disappeared when they were trying to capture the Domino (not to be confused with the pizza franchise of the future) Gang. When they don their Flash uniforms to track Barry down, the same fate befalls Kid Flash. We then learn that the Flash and Kid Flash have been transported to the planet Vorvan in the Andromeda Galaxy where a mutant called the Golden Man resides as the only highly evolved humanoid on a planet of barbarians. GM want to bring the barbarians up to his level so that ruling over his fellow Vorvans will be more meaningful and fun. He’s developed an evolutionary machine to do just that but he needs the Flash’s speed energy to power. Eventually all three of the Flash’s come under his thrall and are about to overcome him when he turns on the evolving machine to bring the other Vorvans up to his speed to help him battle the three Flash’s. But instead of evolving the other Vorvans, it boomerangs and devolves him to the barbarians level. Bummer. As if we needed it, yet another example of the “be careful what you wish for” SF trope.
Later, before Jay and Joan return home, Joan extracts from Barry a promise to tell Iris that he’s the Flash and he agrees to do that on their anniversary which is next month. In an editorial aside, we’re told that will happen next month. So stay tuned.