Monday, April 11, 2011

Kid Flash Meets the Elongated Man!

Ok, time for a new post. In this case one that is long overdue:
Flash # 130, "Kid Flash Meets the Elongated Man!" (Aug 1962).
Title: "Kid Flash Meets the Elongated Man!"
Issue: The Flash No. 130
Date: August 1962
Format: 11-page second feature.
Editor: Julius Schwartz
Writer: John Broome
Penciller:Carmine Infantino
Inker: Joe Giella
Main characters: The Elongated Man (5th appearance, last seen in The Flash #124), Kid Flash (10th appearance, last seen in The Flash #127).
Supporting Characters: The Flash (last seen in The Flash #130/1).
Villains: The Weather Wizard (2nd appearance, last seen in The Flash #110).
Setting: Goldville in Oakley County (Norwest USA), Blue Valley.
Stolen Item: The spring of Oakley County.
Mystery: Why is it winter in Oakley County?
Method: Exploring the place. 
This is the first time:
  • The Elongated Man meets and team up with Kid Flash.
  • The Elongated Man has an adventure without the Flash.
If the title is not explicit enough about the content of the story, lets see if the teaser splash does the trick:
Get it? It's Kid Flash teaming up with the Elongated Man against the Weather Wizard in a story titled "Kid Flash Meets the Elongated Man!", which might or might not involve a super punch.

It's funny how the silver age writer's concept of mystery was using the word "mystery" in the title. Ok, to be fair, in many there's mystery or the protagonists, but the story gives it all away for the readers. I mean, instead of using the image of the Weather Wizard to try to make the teaser attractive, they could have done a cold opener; and instead of Flash assigning the mission to Wally, they could have shocked the kid with a creepy stretchy guy showing up in his house saying he knows he's the Kid Flash. Anyways... I'm digressing.

Back on track: this story is the 5th appearance of the Elongated Man (the second story if his fighting Flash's rogues era), the 10th of Kid Flash and the second of the Weather Wizard. Flash only appears in the introduction. I'm getting the impression writers started shuffling characters as a mean to avoid monotony. Given the title, it's needless to say this is the first time Wally and Ralph team-up; their friendship is revisited during the JLE era.

Flash goes to Blue Valley to recruit Kid Flash to join the Elongated Man on a mission. Mark Waid will establish in the post-Crisis continuity that Blue Valley is in NE, just as Waymore, the city that, at some point (I do not know in which issue, do you?), is established as the birthplace and childhood hometown of Ralph. Anyway, the story starts with a very creepy introduction.
Good thinking, Barry! A grown man wearing skin tight spandex probably shouldn't be seen along with a child in his bedroom.
But as the story starts looking like a "very special episode" of Blossom, Flash elaborates.
"The Celebrated Elongated Man"; both Flash's comment and the caption in this story reinforce the fame that the Elongated Man has within the DCU. Note how Ralph sings his regular name in the letter. Newspapers published that Sue married the Elongated Man in  Flash #119, but the status of his secret identity won't be specified until the issue after this one.
So Flash doesn't want to molest the incredibly young Wally West, he just wants to send the child in his place to fight thugs with an Elongated Man. Somewhat better. If I was Wally I'd prefer the negligence to the abuse.
Nothing like some great 60s parenting. It's remarkable how that's not negligent at all.
Anyway, Kid Flash goes to the hotel room of another grown man in spandex, to see what "aroused his curiosity".
Check out the "Ace Hight Hotel"! I love Carmine's sense of architectural design!
I have to admit that in 18 years of reading comics I never noticed that Kid Flash first uniform was equal to that of his mentor. So, in the end, Flash: Rebirth is not the first time that we have two Flashes wearing the same uniform.

By the nature of the case (which wasn't a big deal), and what Ralph has done so far to solve it (he didn't even explore the area), it's clear that he was just recruiting help to share the adventure. Then again, there's a reason cops work with partners.

They cross the frozen surroundings. Basically nothing they couldn't do alone.
 And there goes the mystery, not like the Weather Wizard in the cover wasn't a dead giveaway. So, yadda, yadda, yadda...
Once we learn the villain is just pulling a racketeering scheme, it's just a matter of a couple of pages before the villain is behind bars.

The story, as all the previous, authored by Broome, is pretty much going from A to B. Shuffling characters was a good idea, but it's not enough. Personally, I think it could have used a twist or a McGuffin. Compare it with The Space-Boomerang Trap!, for instance. One good thing I can say about the plot is that it reminds me a bit of Superman: The Animated Series' episode Speed Demons, which is a great thing. Infantino and Giella's art is flawless as always.

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