Comics Review: Flash 246, All-Star Comics 64

Flash 246 coverWelcome to my reviews for Flash #246 and All-Star Comics #64. Nothing really jumps out with these comics; neither the art nor the story is what I’d call spectacular, but I always liked the JSA in general, so it’s fun to read these 70s stories about them. Of course, Roy Thomas has his own take on the JSA in All-Star Squadron, but that’s not until 1981.

Flash #246 – “Kill Me Flash…Faster…Faster” – (Cary Bates/Irv Novick/Frank McLaughlin)

This one starts out with Barry (Flash) Allen, his wife Iris, Stacy Conwell, the young student who lives with them, and Stacy’s new boyfriend, Chuck, all hanging out at a bowling alley. When Chuck takes his turn, the ball grows to huge proportions and smashes through the back wall of the alley.

giant bowling ball
Dammit, I’ll never pick up that spare now!

Barry changes to Flash and goes after it, smashing it to bits. He says that impossible phenomena have been happening around him since he was irradiated with some weird energy at his lab (in the previous issue). So he goes to the lab to figure out what might have caused it. I’m not sure why he didn’t do that before, instead of waiting. Anyway, he finds a strange glowing pyramid thingie and as soon as he touches it, he’s teleported away. He ends up in the future—the 64th century, to be precise—where he soon runs into his old foe, Abra Kadabra. After their last encounter, the 64th century authorities used some futuristic gizmo to analyze why Abra was committing crimes. Turns out, he just wanted adulation. So now, wherever he goes, he’s treated to empty applause from fawning “fans”, to feed his ego and stop him from engaging in mayhem … just like a reality TV star.

Abra adored
All this just for a couple of card tricks?

But also like a reality TV star, he soon realizes how empty his life is and wants out. He was the one who left the pyramid teleport trap for Flash, because he wants Flash to kill him and end his mundane existence. Flash says he can’t be hypnotized to do something against his nature, but Abra says he’s thinking of the old, boring, 20th century hypnotism; in the 64th century, hypnotism can make you do anything. So Flash tries to resist, but can’t and kills Abra Kadabra by dissipating his atoms at super speed. Flash is promptly arrested, his powers are nullified, and he’s told he’ll be standing trial for murder.

Flash kills Abra
That’s for ruining my spare!

Noticeable Things:

  • How many murder trials did Flash go through, anyway? I wonder if he had a card that got stamped each time … “the tenth murder accusation is free!”
  • There was a backup story in this issue, Green Lantern fighting Floronic Man, but I’m just doing the Flash stuff. I’ll get to GL in his own mag next month.

All-Star 64 coverAll-Star Comics #64 – “Yesterday Begins Today” – (Paul Levitz/Wally Wood)

We start with Superman (of Earth 2, natch), Hourman, Power Girl and Star-Spangled Kid hanging out at JSA HQ checking out Star-Spangled Kid’s new cosmic belt. Some more members show up (Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, and Shining Knight); Knight tells them history is being altered back in the days of Camelot and all of history is at stake. The others get ready to jaunt back in time using some gizmo Flash came up with. So, they head back in time and fight some asshole knights (you have to have a fight to warm up before the main event), and PG gives another feminist speech … everybody drink!Power Girl gets mad Hourman stays in the present feeling old and useless, which seems to be a running theme. I find that weird, since he’s basically the same age as the other JSAers. But Icicle busts in and freezes him, saying that his teammates never briefed him on their fancy new alarm system; probably never showed him how to use an ATM or program the VCR either. In Camelot, the team (back in their regular costumes for some reason) meets Arthur and Merlin, who send them out to face the invading Romans. We see Arthur and Merlin watching the fight on a big fancy computer screen, so obviously something weird is going on. The JSAers quickly figure out they’re fighting robots and head back to Camelot. In the present, Alan (Green Lantern) Scott is having business troubles. He also must be crazy, since his hot secretary basically offers to bang him and he treats her like crap.

GL and his secretary
Maybe he’s gay in this iteration too?

Back in Camelot the JSAers are storming the castle, which has all kinds of high-tech defenses. They bust in, but are subdued by Arthur and Merlin’s weapons. Arthur seems to know them (and doesn’t like them much). I guess it should be obvious who he is, since we’re dealing with time travel and high tech shit, but they’re all surprised to find out their opponent is really Vandal Savage.Vandal Savage Apparently, Flash stole his immortality from him and he’s going to get it back … by siphoning it from the JSAers. We’ll see how that goes next issue, but I’ll be back on Monday with Batman #284 (mystical fun with Dr. Tzin-Tzin) and Brave & the Bold #132 (co-starring Richard Dragon).

Noticeable Things:

  • SSK has turned Starman’s cosmic rod into a cosmic belt; next, a cosmic tie and a cosmic hat.
  • Power Girl says it’ll be nice to have someone else with super powers on the team, but if SSK is using the cosmic belt, that’s not really a super power, is it?
  • Power Girl gets mad and gives the Kid shit and later gets mad at Superman; I guess that’s what male writers thought feminism was in the 70s, lots of yelling about men and smashing stuff. I guess PG has a point about not wanting to be thought of as just a junior Superman with tits, but he already resigned to give her his spot in the JSA … she doesn’t have to try so hard.
  • I love how travelling back in time to Camelot is just a typical day for them. It’s so boring in fact, that GL decides to go back to his day job instead.
  • Their Camelot outfits look pretty goofy, and I’m not sure how Weird outfits in Camelothistorically accurate they are. Power Girl’s weird wimple-thing seems like it belongs in a much later era. Nobody’s gonna mistake her for a nun, that’s for sure.
  • I’m not exactly sure when this is all taking place, either. Usually Shining Knight is said to come from the 6th Century C. E, which would be consistent with the historical Arthur (or Artorius) if such a person ever actually existed. But Shining Knight says he knows history is fucked up because the Roman Empire is invading Britain and they shouldn’t know Britain exists. But the Romans colonized Britain way back in Julius Caesar’s time, so of course they knew it existed later. The Romans had withdrawn from Britain by that time and left it to the barbarians, so maybe Levitz thought that meant that Rome had literally forgotten Britain existed?

6 thoughts on “Comics Review: Flash 246, All-Star Comics 64”

  1. Holy cow! I totally had that issue of Flash – must of been one of the rare exceptions to pick up a superhero book during this period (probably couldn’t resist the awesome cover by Adams). However, what I remember most is the Green Lantern back-up story you mentioned: if that’s the one where GL is driven a bit crazy by some of the Floronic Man’s botanical machinations, and he has this little starfish-like pet or sidekick or something that sits on his shoulder…

    1. Yeah, the little starfish guy is called Itty; kind of reminds me of the Great Gazoo in the Flintstones, though I think everyone can see Itty. I’m not sure what the writers were thinking with that, but if you want to see Itty, he’ll be featured (briefly) when I get to my first Green Lantern review in a couple weeks.

  2. Angry Power Girl appeals more to me than a Power Girl who thinks that she is from Atlantis. Yes, that was years later, but I preferred this version of Kara. Then again this was the version I first knew.

    1. Yeah, the Crisis really screwed up Kara’s origin. I guess having her be Arion’s granddaughter was better than losing her altogether (like Supergirl), but it wasn’t the greatest solution. I kinda like what they did later, just hand-waved it: “Yeah, she’s an anomaly from that other Earth that never existed … deal with it.”

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