The fourth volume of The Flash Archives delivers more examples of wonderous Silver Age classics. Once again we are treated to the graceful realistic-looking art of Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella and exciting stories by John Broome (with one issue scripted by Gardner Fox featuring the Golden Age Flash).
Issue #125 teams The Flash and Kid Flash in "The Conquerors of Time." In order to save the Earth's ability to generate atomic power to protect itself from alien invaders, the scarlet speedsters must travel to the past and future. This issue introduces the cosmic treadmill, which enables Flash to travel through time in an exact manner. Kid Flash travels back to 100,842,246 B.C., while Flash finds himself in 2287 A.D. This full-length story successfully blends action and science fiction and packs more plot and characterization in 25 pages than many of today's five-issue story lines.
Issue # 126 brings back one of The Flash's oldest foes, Mirror Master, in a tale in which his foe travels to and becomes a hero in the Mirror World. The other story, "Snare of the Headline Huntress," is a human interest story that introduces Barry "Flash" Allen's parents and his childhood sweetheart, Daphne Dean, who is now a Hollywood star. She pretends to be in love with Barry to garner headlines and ends up falling for him.
Issue #127 has yet another battle between Flash and Gorilla Grodd and a Kid Flash story that touches on racial prejudice.
Issue #128 introdcues Abra Kadabra, a magican from 6363 A.D. who goes back in time to use his era's advanced science to perform "magic tricks" and taunt The Flash. The second story explains why The Flash decided to wear a mask and keep his identity a secret.
Issue # 129, written by Gardner Fox, features the second team-up between the Silver Age Flash and the Golden Age Flash. The speedsters have to save both Earths and battle Captain Cold and The Trickster, all in 25 pages. This classic comic re-introduces the Justice Society of America, which Fox would soon team up with the Justice League of America.
Issue # 130 contains one of my favorite Flash yarns, "Who Doomed The Flash?" Flash barely escapes a death trap set by one of his foes by turning a temporary filling into a life-saving projectile. The second story pairs Kid Flash and The Elongated Man against The Weather Wizard.
Issue #131 features a full-length tale containing the second team-up of The Flash and Green Lantern in "Captives of the Csmic Ray!" Once again, the pair save the Earth from alien invaders.
Issue #132 has two stories not quite up to the standards of the others. "The Heaviest Man Alive!" pits The Flash against a TV producer from another dimension who creates disasters on Earth to generate high viewer ratings on his program featuring spectacles of Earth. "The Farewell Appearance of Daphne Dean" brings back The Flash's childhood sweetheart, who this time is after The Flash's affections.
In reading these stories, one gets the impression that all of The Flash's villians (with the exception of Grodd) enjoy sparring with The Flash. Although they try to humiliate and even kill him, you get the impression that they really don't want The Flash to die beause they would miss matching witts with him. These are stories you can read to a child without having to explain constant violence and killings. They don't write them like this any more. And that's a shame.