Time to delve into the DC Comics section of my comic vault. After digging around for a while, you know what happens when you start searching around in your comics, you end up reading a few dozen, but eventually I selected Flash # 155 from the vast array of comics for this week’s RETRO REVIEW.
And without further ado, here’s the cover to this Silver Age gem:
This terrific cover is the work of Carmine Infantino (the pencil artwork) and Murphy Anderson (the ink artwork). The two gentlemen make an excellent art team, no doubt about it!
The actual story between the covers is entitled; “The Gauntlet of Super-Villains!” and it is written by the excellent John Broome. The interior artwork is by the afore mentioned Carmine Infantino (pencils) and Joe Giella (inks). The story unfolds over twenty-four (24) pages.
As you can see by the cover, our hero, the Flash is having to face off against six of his greatest foes, at once! From the left, there is Captain Cold, The Mirror Master, the Pied Piper, The Top, Captain Boomerang and Heat Wave! And if you look closely at the cover, it promises yet one more villain/foe, possibly even greater than the combined might of the six villains shown on the cover!
If that doesn’t make you want to pick up and read this comic, I don’t know what would. I know, to my ten year old eyes back in the summer of 1965, it was a must buy and read. No question about it!
Things start off with a symbolic splash page showing the same six villains standing over a fallen Flash. But the actual story begins on page two, within Central City Penitentiary, where a guard discovers that Mirror Master’s cell contains a strange man and not the Mirror Master.
Immediately the scene shifts to where the Mirror Master is now outside the prison but he has no idea how or why. He doesn’t waste a moment hanging around, but makes himself scarce and quickly goes to the tailor to the super-villains, J. M. Leach, to get him to make him a new Mirror Master costume.
Once there he finds the other five super-villains from the cover, also getting new costumes, as they also were mysteriously freed from prison, where the Flash had put them all. The Mirror Master proposes that all the members of Flash’s rogues gallery team up to defeat the Flash once and for all.
Over the next six (6) pages the Flash goes up against each of the villains individually as they begin a crime spree, but just as he gains the upper hand, another one of the villains appears and helps the first villain to escape. At the end of the first chapter, we see all the combined villains using there weapons against the Flash all at once and we see the Flash disappear from view. Possibly disintegrated, as the villains all think.
But the reader sees what actually happens as we turn to chapter two. The Flash simply vibrated through the floor to the basement of the building they were in. Flash discovers a mysterious radiation that seems to be sapping his powers. He trails the radiation to the Central City Zoo, therefore he thinks that his foe, Gorilla Grodd, may be involved, the trail leads to a gorilla cage, but it’s not Grodd inside, but a male and a female gorilla, named Freddy and Pola.
The zookeeper explains that Freddy and Pola used to be “all lovey-dovey” but for the last week or so, Freddy wants nothing to do with Pola and simply stands looking over into space all day and night. Flash still suspects Grodd’s involvement, so races off the Gorilla City in Africa and checks on the captive Grodd. There he finds Grodd also in a seeming trance, like Freddy back in Central City.
Flash doesn’t know what is going on, until he receives a mental message from Solivar, the leader of Gorilla City, who explains that Grodd has switched his mind into the body of Freddy and it is he that has freed Flash’s rogues gallery.
Flash rushes back and finds Freddy gone, but using the female gorilla, Pola, they track down her mate Freddy. But Grodd/Freddy uses his mental powers to bring the six villain to where he is at and they attack the Flash in mass. Of course, he makes quick work of them, in three panels, though one was a full page spread, when he couldn’t over come them individually or in pairs, earlier in the story.
Then Flash battles Gorilla Grodd/Freddy in the final three (3) pages, beating him pretty easily. He returns to Africa, where Solivar returns Grodd’s mind from Freddy’s body to Grodd’s own body, still in captivity.
I liked the idea of the story and enjoyed it at ten, but in reading it fifty years later, I don’t think it holds up well. Too much was happening for a single issue, but then, back in 1965, DC Comics frowned on continued stories. Heck a lot of the time they ran two shorter stories in each issue, so I guess I shouldn’t complain about this full length story in Flash # 155.
Hope you enjoyed this review and come back next week for another Fabulous Find. Till then, don’t let anyone switch your mind or body! Be seeing you …