BHOC: FLASH #232

I owned two copies of this issue of THE FLASH, because I am an idiot. I came across the first one at the 7-11 as usual. At this point, I had a subscription to FLASH and I knew it worked–I had received two issues previous to this. But still I was worried–maybe I wouldn’t get this issue as part of my subscription because it was a 100-Page Spectacular. Could I really risk it? It turns out that no, I couldn’t. And several days later, another copy of the book showed up in my mailbox, folded in half. This is not a problem that’s gone away, I still do this from time to time with things I’ve ordered.

But for all of that non-drama, this was an issue that I loved a lot. It’s the very last 100-Page Spectacular that I would purchase new, the dying end of the format, which hereafter shrunk in size to the 80 Page Giant, and later the 64 Page Giant. Good–but not quite as good.

The lead story brings back the Myrmitons, old foes of the Flash and Green lantern who’ve decided to punish Earth for having bested them in the past by destroying it. For some reason, they seek out Kid Flash to deliver their ultimatum to, and he races to Central City to alert his uncle, the Flash. meanwhile, Barry and Iris Allen are taking in a new boarder, Stacy Conwell, the daughter of Barry’s old friend who was killed in one of the first FLASH stories that I read. She’d be a new supporting character for several months.

Wally tells Barry that the Myrmitons have unleashed Bio-X in Central City. Bio-X is an artificial life form who will grow from infant to child to adult to old man in twelve hours. And when he perishes, he will detonate and take the Earth with him. The two speedsters set out to scour the city in search of Bio-X.

But in encounter after encounter, the rapidly-aging Bio-X is able to turn their super-speed back on them, and slip away. And the clock is ticking, creeping closer and closer to the 12-Hour time limit.

At the end of the day, the elderly Bio-X is hitchhiking when he’s picked up by a man and a boy. This is Barry and Wally in civilian garb–the Flash has worked out that if they don’t use their speed, Bio-X will have no energies to reverse upon them. They attempt to destroy the artificial creature by exposing him to a jet of red-hot molten magma that apparently vents in Central Park at a prescribed time every day (which seems like a truly dangerous attraction.)

But even this fails, as Bio-X is more indestructible than that. In the very last seconds, Flash finally does the obvious thing, freezing Bio-X into a state of suspended animation, thus halting his fatal countdown. And so the Earth is saved.

There were a bevy of great reprints in this issue, beginning with the first team-up between the Flash and Green lantern, in which the seeds of their long friendship were initially planted. Returning from a mission in space, Green lantern crash-lands not on Earth but on the parallel world of Spectar. The Spectarns send him back to his home dimension, but programmed with a compulsion to seek out and capture the Flash.

This leads to a string of great battles between the two super heroes, in which the Flash time and again eludes his emerald pursuer. But in order to get to the bottom of things, Flash allows GL to get the drop on him, and he’s delivered to the Spectarns–who are preparing an invasion and need to duplicate his super-speed powers to get to our world. (Why they couldn’t just have Green lantern Power Ring them there is unanswered.). GL is send back to Earth with no memory of what has transpired

But GL is missing too much memory–he’s forgotten what’s happened over the past few days. Asking his Power Ring to recount what has happened, he learns of teh plot, returns to Spectar, frees the Flash, and together the two super heroes mop up the would-be invaders, installing their helpless drone workers as the new Spectarn leadership.Along the way, Barry has learned that GL is Hal Jordan, so he in return reveals his identity tot eh Emerald Crusader, and their friendship is sealed.

Following that is the sequel to the Golden Age Flash story that was printed in the last 100 Page Spectacular, in which it seems as though assassins from the Secret City are attempting to eliminate all those from the outside world who became aware of their hidden City and their secret powers. But really, it’s the work of a fellow scientist who covets their abilities for himself.

Then, what is probably my favorite Johnny Quick story. IN it, Johnny comes to the aid of the cartoonist of the popular Eighth Wonder comic book series after he is injured in a fire caused by crooks. Johnny not only writes, pencils, letters, inks and colors a whole comic book overnight, but he prints and distributes it as well, and shows how the whole process is done (at least how it was done in 1947.)

And the issue closes with a relatively-forgettable story in which a criminal strikes out at the Scarlet Speedster and the Jury that convicted him through the medium of television. Apparently, in Central City, most programs are broadcast live–and, in fairness, when this story was first published in 1961, there were still live TV programs that would have fit the bill. But it was a bit of an odd anachronism in 1974.

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