Friday, September 04, 2009

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Flash #192

Flash #192 (On Sale: September 4, 1969) has a cover by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson.

"The Day the Flash Failed" is by Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. This is one of those rather convoluted Kanigher stories, but I found it compelling. The real interesting thing in this story is the reason Flash fails on the "Day the Flash Failed." I don't think this was ever done in a comic before or maybe since and for 1969 it is pretty progressive of ol' DC. The Flash fails because he is late getting to the launch of a Navy submarine because he was busy, uh, servicing his wife Iris. I kid you not. Check out the page below if you don't believe me. I will say as a horny teenager this subtle reference to Iris's carnal needs totally slipped by me.

So as we can see by page 2 here, the Flash is running late for a meeting with a Navy submarine that he was supposed to be aboard. We have to forget for a moment that the Flash can swim at super speed and can vibrate through walls and could easily "catch up" to the submarine because to remember that would just ruin the whole story.
Anyway, the sub disappears and Flash does do some super speed swimming and can't locate it and everyone blames him for the sub going missing and his life is hell, yada, yada, yada. Did I say I found this compelling?

Iris wants to get Barry out of the house and get his mind off of, you know, him being a failure and all, and so they go and visit a friend, Phil Anderson, at a lighthouse. There is a storm and the helicopter Barry is piloting is hit by lightning and Barry has to turn into the Flash to save them and Phil is a mess and his wife is missing and his heart is giving out and geeze, do the coincidences just keep a comin'!

It seems Phil and his wife went on a super-secret mission for the CIA, where they pretended to be a couple on their second honeymoon crossing the Atlantic in a small sailboat, but were actually looking for enemy nuclear subs lurking off the Greenland shelf, which just happens to be where Flash's sub went missing. Anyway Phil and his wife, Phyllis, get knocked overboard in a storm and picked up by a, you guessed it, enemy nuclear sub.

After being captured Phil and Phyllis escape through the sub but are trapped in the torpedo room, which is being filled with poisonous gas and Phyllis stays behind while Phil is ejected through the torpedo tube and eventually picked up by an American fishing boat. Phil is now waiting for Phyllis to come walking back across the water and into his arms because she promised she would.

OK, so the Flash goes looking for Phyllis and of course finds the underwater lair where the "enemy nuclear sub" is hiding with Phyllis and the missing sub that the Flash lost while he was busy "getting some" from the missus. Flash rescues everyone, but Phyllis was exposed to too much of the poison gas back in the torpedo room and is dying and the Flash super-speeds her to Phil, but she dies along the way and Flash sees her ghost walk across the water to meet Phil's ghost (his heart gave out at the same time). The end!

I have to give Robert Kanigher credit for the Flash gets laid and is late plot idea, proving that Barry is not "The Fastest Man Alive!" in all regards, but man, did this thing go south quickly.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

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