BHOC: FLASH #240

When it first showed up, I honestly thought it was a mistake of some kind. It was a change in something that I considered a “fact”, and so wasn’t ready for a change. When this issue of FLASH turned up in my mailbox, without warning, it hadn’t been sent folded in half, but rather was mailed flat. I did honestly think that this had been an error of some kind, that perhaps two of the brown paper wrappers had gotten stuck together, causing this aberration. It wasn’t until my next issue of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA arrived that I would confirm the truth.

This issue also has one of my least favorite covers of this era. It’s just bad. Both figures are awkward and strange, all of that black space isn’t composed effectively, the cover copy is positioned so as to ruin the composition, and the reproduction is muddy. It’s a mess. The insides were better, with FLASH mainstay Irv Novick providing the penciling. Unfortunately, the issue was inked by Tex Blaisdell, a competent cartoonist but an inker whose scratchy, unfinished style was never to my liking.

The story brings the running subplot about the Allens’ young boarder Stacy Conwell to a close. The issue opens with Iris, Barry and Wally concerned about Stacy’s recent behavior, but unable to get any answers out of her about it. At the same time, a woman who is the mirror image of Stacy appears at the site of an accident across town, and is photographed at the scene. When Barry happens to see this picture at the Crime Lab the next day, he is mystified.

Arriving at home, barry discovers that Iris has found some torn pages from Stacy’s diary that “fell out” of the trash–nice one, Iris! The pages are incomplete, so Kid Flash races to the city dump and rescues some others before they can be completely incinerated, learning from them that Stacy believes that the other girl is the ghost of her dead twin sister, who is haunting her. The Flashes decide to tail Stacy in order to get to the bottom of all this. 

Kid Flash is injured teh next night while he and Flash prevent the crash of a massive car-carrier to which Stacy has been drawn, but their stake-out has proven that it is Stacy herself who is appearing at these accidents. Probing her mind with hypnosis, Barry discovers that the cause of Stacy’s strange behavior is, of course, a crashed flying saucer that she happened to see plummet to the Earth. As the saucer detects impending disasters, it telepathically compels Stacy to the scene, in order to prevent them.

The Flash seeks out the saucer, and is struck by its energies, himself becoming attuned to its early-warning system. Compelled to the scene of a few disasters, he uses super-speed to prevent them. But the final disaster is that the Saucer itself is about to explode. Flash is able to drill down, sinking it deep into the Earth so that its detonation won’t cause any great harm, and now that it has been eliminated, Stacy is back to normal. If I’m not mistaken, she disappears from the FLASH series at this point without explanation, and it will be decades before we see her again.

Green Lantern returns this issue as well after the previous issue’s book-length Flash tale. He’s still on the trail of the biblically-inspired Ravagers of Olys, accompanied by his tiny alien starfish sidekick Itty. This time out, they’re attempting to flood an inhabited world, and prepare a trap for the Emerald Crusader as well. But Itty helps Hal see through the trap, and they use the gigantic mirror that was a part of it to somehow repel the Comet-molecules that were causing the high tides, eliminating the floods. So it all works out just fine.

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