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Random Retro Comic Review

Posted by bnwadmin On February - 4 - 2010

For the latest chapter of Random Retro Comic Review, I asked Lane to select an issue from the Brave New Worlds back issue comic vault and out he pulled Flash #205 from April 1971.  Turns out this was a reprint issue that contained four stories, one of which had never been published.

Flash #205 was a Giant-Size issue and for just a quarter readers received an issue that included The Flash, The “Golden Age” Flash, Kid Flash and Johnny Quick.  The Jay Garrick story really stood out above the rest as both the story and art were outstanding.  This was also the only “new” story of the issue, having been written and illustrated in the 1940’s but never before printed.

Visually the issue was stunning with Carmine Infantino supplying the pencils and Bernard Sachs finishing.  In a couple of panels, Garrick looks like he could have jumped off the pages of Will Eisner’s The Spirit, the drawing styles being so similar.

No story credit is given and that is a shame because the story really flowed.  As with all of the features in this issue, the main nemesis was speed itself as a farmer created a way to speed everything up.  It was up to Jay Garrick to slow it all down.  Might not sound that exciting, but the execution was flawless for that time period.

Also included in the issue was Flash #139 from September 1963 when Barry Allen faced the Reverse Flash for the very first time.  It was an interesting time travel story by John Broome with art by Infantino and Joe Giella.  Turns out that Barry ended up inadvertently giving Professor Zoom his costume through a time capsule and history was made.  The original issue was the first appearance and origin story for the Reverse Flash.

It is interesting to see how much Infantino’s style changed from his Golden Age Flash story.  Some artists go through a huge transformation in drawing styles over the years (take a look at John Romita Jr.’s first issues) while others remain basically the same (John Byrne comes to mind).  For my money, I preferred Infantino’s early works.

Also reprinted was Flash #116 from November 1960 when Wally West thwarted a bank robbery attempt while also aiding his Dad in winning a rally car race.  Three issues later would see the very first Flash-Kid Flash team up.  The final installment was reprinted from Adventure Comics #189 from June 1953 and was a Johnny Quick feature.  Issue #189 of Adventure was actually had both Black & White and Color pages, which was different for that time.

The Golden Age Flash story was by far the best one of the bunch, but it was interesting to read the first-ever appearance of Zoom and how he came to become Reverse Flash.  It was a soundly-written origin story.

The issue also featured a ton of editor’s notes, explaining how it was possible for the Flash to run into the future, vibrate through walls and run on water.  Giving the actions a more realistic treatment.

The story telling is a bit dated in the other stories but not a terrible read.  But the issue is definitely worth it for the Jay Garrick story.  Overstreet lists Flash #205 at $75 for a 9.0.  The copy in the store is just about a 6.0 and sells for $18.

Until next time …

Issue Skinny

The Flash #205 (Volume 1)

Cover – Dick Giordano (p), Carmine Infantino (f)

Released: April, 1971

Collected: None

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