Somebody’s First Comic Book: Flash (1959 Series) #281
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TITLE: Deadly Games
Writer: Cary Bates
Pencils: Don Heck
Inks: Frank Chiaramonte
Letters: Ben Oda
Colors: Gene D’Angelo
Editor: Ross Andru
Cover Artist: Dick Giordano
Publisher: DC Comics
PRIOR KNOWLEDGE: The Flash is that guy who runs really fast, right? Either that or the dude that Queen asserts will “save every one of us.”
IMPRESSIONS: This comic book starts off with the Flash being told over the phone that someone named Yorkin didn’t kill someone named Iris. This is evidently shocking, but not as shocking as when people start shooting at the guy on the other line. The Flash shoots his costume out of a magic ring, then saves his informant, but lets the bad guys think they killed him for his own protection. As it turns out, this “Iris” they’re talking about is the Flash’s wife, and if Yorkin isn’t the one who murdered her (while she was, for some reason, wearing a Batgirl costume), who did? Call me crazy, I’m thinking this Professor Zoom character, the one who is wearing a reverse version of the Flash’s costume and seems to hate him for some reason, may have something to do with it.
I’m kind of surprised here. I’ve heard that recent comics have tended to get all dark and gritty, but I would have thought that back in 1979 when this was published it still would have mostly been lighthearted kids’s stuff. The idea of the Flash trying to avenge his wife’s death (which evidently happened just two issues ago, not back during his origin story or something) is much darker than I would have expected. We don’t see this Professor Zoom (who, it turns out, is a time-traveler) until the last few pages before the book races (get it?) into a cliffhanger, but he seems nasty enough to have killed the Flash’s wife. And now that I think of it, couldn’t someone from the 25th century have possibly found out historical facts about a hero from the 20th century and used that as a weapon against him, “secret identity” be damned?
It’s not a bad story, but the book seems to want to walk the line between serious issues and silly stuff like Zoom splitting in half, which is kind of goofy when you get right down to it. It’s not bad, but it’s not great.