Tag Archives: Flash Comics

Flash 104 – Hawkman, the Flash, Ghost Patrol, the Atom, and Black Canary end, as does Flash Comics

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Flash Comics comes to an end with issue 104 (Feb. 49), with a cover for the Broome and Kubert Hawkman story.

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Hawkman flies solo in this story, which involves criminals who have stolen an invention that projects realistic images.

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It’s a pretty simple and unremarkable tale, notable only for the art.

Hawkman continues to appear as a member of the Justice Society in All-Star Comics.

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The Flash gets an excellent villain in this Kanigher, Infantino and Giacoia story, which begins by re-capping Jay Garricks’s origin.  He faces a similarly garbed enemy, Rival, who Jay fears knows his identity.  Of course, looking back at the Flash’s earliest stories, he took no efforts to conceal it at that time, so his fears now are a bit odd.

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Rival is capable of running as fast as the Flash, but as the story progresses, it becomes clear that he can only do short bursts, which enables the Flash to defeat him.

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Flash unmasks Rival, who turns out to be a chemistry professor, Dr. Clariss, who overheard part of the experiment that created the Flash, but was unable to duplicate it exactly.

The Flash continues to appear as a member of the Justice Society, in All-Star Comics, but Joan Williams has to wait till the Silver Age for her return, in the first team-up of Jay Garrick and Barry Allen.  Rival does not return until around the Millenium, in the pages of Justice Society of America.

Professor Zoom, the Reverse-Flash, was very much an updated version of Rival.

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The Ghost Patrol get their final story to date here, with art by Infantino and Sachs.  Pedro, Slim and Fred come to the aid of a horse in this story who is concerned about his son-horse, which reveals that they are able to talk to animals – or at least dead ones.

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It’s pretty much the standard evil gambler plot, enlivened by the antics of the ghosts.

The Ghost Patrol do not return until after Crisis on Infinite Earths, and even then only make rare cameos.

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The final story of the Golden Age Atom, by Arthur Adler and Reinman, has Al Pratt and Mary James out fishing, when they see a lighthouse sink into the ground.  Mary then winds up getting kidnapped.

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It’s all part of a plot to steal oil from the government, and with such a visible giveaway, these guys would have got caught even if the Atom hadn’t come on the scene.  The death-trap is not bad.

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The Atom continues to appear as a member of the Justice Society, in the pages of All-Star Comics.  Mary James does not appear again until a DC Comics Presents story in the 80s.

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Black Canary’s final outing, by Kanigher, Infantino and Sachs, has a complicated plot, once again reminiscent of a film noir, in which Dinah Drake and Larry Lance come to the aid of a noted criminologist who may have been murdered while investigating an old case.

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But it turns out the criminologist is actually the killer.

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Black Canary continues to appear in All-Star Comics as part of the Justice Society of America.  Larry Lance does not return until a Brave an Bold story in the mid-60s, although chronologically his next appearance is in a previously unprinted Black Canary story in DC Special in the early 70s.

Flash Comics comes to an end here, but the numbering would be used for the Silver Age Flash comic.  Despite this, the latter Flash series is not really a continuation of this anthology book, but of All-Flash, his solo comic.

 

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Flash 103 – the timed robberies, and Hawkman takes a cruise with the Gentleman Ghost

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A dramatic, if misleading, cover on Flash Comics 103 (Jan. 49).

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The deadly sword only appears at the very top of the story, used like the Sword of Damocles, but only for a mob boss to impress on his gang the effect his crimes are intended to have on the population, making them fear the next crime wave, uncertain of when it will hit.

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Oh, should have mentioned that this story is by Broome, Infantino and Sachs.  Hoods throughout the city all pull their crimes at the same times, down to the minute, overwhelming both the police and the Flash.  It’s fairly clear that a radio show is being used to convey orders to the gang, though not how those orders are sent.  The Flash breaks the code, based on the initial letters of the radio plays, and intercepts the gang and the boss.

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The Ghost makes his final appearance in the Golden Age in this Kanigher and Kubert tale.

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To help a failing cruise line, Hawkman and Hawkgirl go on a promoted cruise.  The Ghost sees the coverage of this, and decides to join them.  The Ghost’s plan appears to be killing the Hawks, and then sinking the ship, presumably to kill all onboard.  Once again, there are fake Ghosts and deceptive tricks, which decoy the Hawks long enough for the Ghost to capture them, and try to kill them.

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And, once again, the Ghost appears to die at the end of this story.

The Gentleman Ghost returns in Atom and Hawkman in the late 60s.  This is also the last appearance of Hawkgirl for an awfully long time, until the All-Star Comics revival in the mid-70s.

Flash 102 – Hawkman and the big bubbles, and the Flash vs the Turtle

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I believe the cover story, Broome and Kubert, in Flash Comics 102 (Dec. 48) was also adapted for a Silver Age Hawkman story, but I might be wrong about that.

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Yet again Carter and Shiera are minding their own business when they see something impossible – in this case giant floating bubbles, one of which encases and steals an armored truck.

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The bubbles are made of “plasteel”, which I don’t think existed at the time, but are controlled by a radar machine that Carter Hall invented.  Exactly how radar is used to control them is far from clear.  The Hawks get encased in one of the bubbles, but break free and catch the bad guys.

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The Turtle, who had faced the Flash in All-Flash and Comic Cavalcade, makes his third and final appearance in this story, by Broome, Alex Toth and Joe Giella.  He wears the costume he had in his second appearance, but the story also adds the attribute that he speaks outrageously slowly.

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The Turtle escapes from prison during a talent show at the jail, and the best scene has him fleeing in a slow-moving wagon, which then becomes bait to lead the Flash off a cliff.  The remainder of the tale has him plotting and pulling off another robbery, exploiting lack of speed, and then getting caught by the Flash.

A Silver Age incarnation is one of the first villains that Barry Allen takes on,while the original returns in a back-up story, featuring Jay Garrick, in an issue of the Flash in the early 70s.

Flash 100 – Hawkman and the flying car

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Broome and Kubert pit Hawkman against the Human Fly Bandits in Flash Comics 100 (Oct. 48), a story which will get re-written in the Silver Age as an early Hawkman tale.

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Carter and Shiera see a car driving up the side of a wall, which is enough to get them into gear as Hawkman and Hawkgirl to investigate.  The car, and the man who invented it, have both been captured by villains who plot to exploit them.

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Some lovely Kubert art helps carry a very simple tale.  The Hawks get captured, and put into a giant thermometer as a death-trap, but escape and defeat the bad guys.

 

Flash 98 – Hawkman at the masquerade, the Ghost Patrol sing, the Atom changes his costume, and Black Canary jumps

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Hawkman changes to his least interesting headgear in Flash Comics 98 (Aug. 48), as Broome and Kubert send him and Shiera to a costume ball.

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The story begins as Carter worries that someone has figured out their identitaes, as he receives an invitation for Hawkman.  But in fact, he and Shiera are simply invited to a costume ball, by a real micro-manager, who tells the guests what to dress as.  Hawkgirl has also changed her headgear, although it doesn’t look nearly as bad as Hawkman’s.

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The host suggests that people act out the roles they are dressed as, which prompts men dressed as pirates to actually rob the guests.  Hawkman and Hawkgirl go into action, but this story remains pretty simple. It’s hardly a surprise that the host turns out to be mastermind.

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The Ghost Patrol get a more interesting story than usual, even if it does begin with them singing their own little theme song.  Infantino and Oskner are the artists on the story.

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Pedro spots a young woman walking on railroad tracks, and pulls her away before a train hits her.  She explains that her father has fallen into debut with people who run a gambling ship, the Clarissa.  Pedro alerts the other members of the Patrol by smashing a meteor into a glowing sign.

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The story plays out in a pretty standard way, with the Ghost Patrol tormenting the hoods and getting evidence against them.  But it ends with a kicker, as they, and we, find out that the girl herself is also a ghost.

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The Atom gets a new costume, and new powers, in this story by Kanigher, Infantino and Giacoia.  After so many years as a short, scrappy guy with a head covering that looked hot and uncomfortable, the Atom changes into a very super-hero looking outfit, and demonstrates a level of strength far beyond normal people, and beyond anything he had yet displayed.

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Non explanation whatsoever is given for the changes in this story, which sees the Atom take down saboteurs who are causing problems for a train line.  The Atom show himself strong enough to stop a speeding train with his bare hands, and later lifts the entire train.

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Kanigher, Infantino and Giella give another film noir opening to this Black Canary story.  Dinah Drake comes back to her flower shop, to find it has been turned into a grocery store in her absence. It’s being used as a trap for a millionaire, whose niece is plotting to have him killed.

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Larry Lance is more in the background of this story, with Canary handling the bulk of the action on her own.

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The death-trap that Black Canary gets put into makes one think of the Road Runner and Coyote, with a rock being dropped onto a board to fling Canary to her deaths.  But Black Canary does not stand around and wait to be killed, jumping off the board and taking down the bad guys.

Flash 96 – Hawkman takes on centaurs, the Thorn returns, and Black Canary rides the parachute

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Great image on the cover of Flash 96 (June 1948), which does correspond to a brief sequence in the Broome and Kubert Hawkman story.

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Carter and Shiera are out for a rode as the story begins, and run into a herd of centaurs.  Like the ones from Greek mythology, these are hostile and violent creatures, who have lived for centuries hidden inside a dormant volcano.

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The heroes change into Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and follow a strange flying machine invented by the centaurs, finding their hidden city.  That’s when they wind up in an underwater battle, in the lake in the core of the cone.

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The centaurs plan to kill the humans they have captured using the incendiary cloak created by Medea.  But the centaurs lose control of their own technology, which destroys their city.  The Hawks do manage to get the captives to freedom.

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The Thorn returns, in a more demure costume, in this Kanigher and Kubert story.

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Rose is back as well, having a moonlit walk with Jay Garrick.  The dialogue does not imply a romance, but the art sure does.  Jay tells Rose that there is no sign of Thorn, and that he believes she is dead.

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But as Rose is Thorn, Jay is clearly wrong.

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The Thorn creates a giant thorn-stalk in the middle of Keystone City, with explosive thorns.  The Flash gets involved, but there is less action than one might expect.  Once again, the Thorn appears to die, but then we see Rose.

This version of Rose and Thorn next appears in the Justice Society revival in the mid-70s, in All-Star Comics.

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Kanigher, Infantino and Giella give a very film noir opening to this tale, as Dinah Drake and Larry Lance find a dead body in a drugstore, which vanishes by the time the police show up (and Dinah has changed to Black Canary).  They spot a newspaper clipping left behind, about a topaz brooch, which leads them to a big charity circus-type event.

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The brooch does get stolen, and Black Canary spends the remainder of the story trying to get it back, and showing off her guts. First on a motorcycle, jumping through a flaming hoop.

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Later, she jumps from the wing of a plane, and rides a parachute down to the ground to catch the murderous thieves.  Larry follows behind, but you sure don’t get the feeling he would have done any of this on his own.

 

Flash 93 – the Fiddler returns, and the Black Canary and the crimson crystal

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The Fiddler, recently introduced in the pages of All-Flash, gets a big cover appearance on Flash Comics 93 (March 1948).

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The Fiddler’s hair has changed from brown to white now, so perhaps he found losing the the Flash really traumatic.  Kanigher and Elias being back his ability to control people through music, as well as his violin-car, but otherwise this story pales next to his original one.

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That’s largely because the Fiddler is off to the side for most of it.  The Flash winds up being upstaged by a number of citizens, who prove as effective at stopping crime as he is.  At Joan’s suggestion, Jay winds up giving up his Flash identity, as he feels he is no longer needed.

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But in fact all the people he saw “fighting crime” were really working for the Fiddler.  He simply wanted to get the Flash out of the way before his next crime spree.  And once the Flash hears that the Fiddler is back, he dons the costume again and takes him down.  It’s not a bad story,just not much for the Fiddler to do.

The Fiddler next appears in All-Star Comics as a member of the Injustice Society.

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The Black Canary story in this issue, by Kanigher, Infantino and Giacoia, was reprinted in a 100 page World’s Finest in the 70s, and was the very first Black Canary story I ever read.  It begins as a cloaked woman comes into Dinah Drake’s flower shop, and dies.

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She was carrying a glowing orb, called the crimson crystal (despite not being crimson, or a crystal).  Other members of the sect followed her, and kidnap Larry Lance while Dinah is changing costume.  The police are clearly not yet convinced that Black Canary is on their side, as they accuse her of murder.

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Canary seeks out the lair of the crimson crystal people, all women who have been deceived into thinking that they will gain eternal life from the crystal.  She reveals that it is a simple ornament with a lightbulb inside, and exposes the fraud leading the group.

A fairly simple story, but I just loved it.