16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
I've always been partial to the heroes of National Periodicals sister company, All-American Comics. Characters like Green Lantern, Doctor Midnite, The Spectre, Hawkman, and, of course, the Flash. The original Flash is Jay Garrick and made his debut in Flash Comics #1 in 1940. Garrick was a college student who, as a result of inhaling chemical vapors, found that he was imbued with superhuman speed and reflexes. Garrick soon took on the name of The Flash to battle crime in Keystone City and was one of the founding members of the Justice Society. Thanks to various anti-aging treatments, Garrick is still active today even though he is technically in his 80's. The second volume in the Golden Age Flash Archives reprints issue numbers 18 - 24 of Flash Comics as well as All-Flash Quarterly #1 & 2.
I had always thought the Flash's ability to vibrate his body so fast as to become virtually invisible was a more modern idea but writer Gardner Fox was already employing this ability way back in the early 1940's. Fox is one of the most prolific comic book writers ever and he handles the writing chores on all of the stories in this volume that features are by first Hal Sharp and then E.E. Hibbard. The Flash's adventures often bordered on the slapstick as he would as often love to embarrass the bad guys as much as beat them up. We'll see baddies get pies in the face, pants pulled down, and dandling from telephone poles...all part of Garrick's acerbic sense of humor. The Flash was certainly a far cry from Batman, The Spectre, or even Hawkman in that regard.
Throughout most of the stories Garrick is accompanied by his girlfriend Joan who was aware of his secret identity. In the opening story, The Flash has to come to the aid of Joan's friend who is being pressured by local thugs to pay into a protection racket for her restaurant. Fox's Flash stories could often be a bit on the silly side. In "Adventure of the Auctioned Utility Company" from Flash # 18, Joan attends an auction and buys the deed to a utility company for just $2. The auction company brags(!) that they just sold her a useless utility company. I guess $2 must have been a princely sum in those days. When Jay and Joan go to see the building, the name on the outside is "Useless Utility Company"! See what I mean by silly...At any rate, the Flash decides to investigate why the building was sold so cheaply and finds a young man who was bilked out of his inheritance, including the utility company, by his uncle.
From All-Flash #1 we get a story called "Menace of the Racket King". Jay's friend buys a pro hockey team and hopes to get them to win the "Manley Cup" and then use the profits from the championship for an operation on his daughter who is crippled. But some local mobsters have other ideas. They intimidate the players by threatening their families so they will throw the game and the Flash has to don ice skates to save the day. Another fun story is "Hatchet Cult" from Flash #22. The Flash discovers that a brilliant doctor is being force by a Chinatown Tong to perform surgery on white men to make them look Chinese!
The Flash stories are fun and the threats he faces are pretty mundane, especially compared to the more gritty stories of Hawkman who co-starred in Flash Comics and was also written by Gardner Fox. Clearly Fox was setting different moods between the two characters. The one area where The Flash suffered was in the art. Sharp and Hibbard will never be confused with other golden age greats like Kirby, Schomburg, Moldoff, or Kubert. Their art is rather unrefined and bland. Backgrounds quite often are just a drab, solid color like yellow or orange and the characters seem stiff and posed. Contrast that to Shelly Moldoff who did the Hawkman stories. The Flash alternated with Hawkman on the covers of Flash Comics and the Moldoff covers are vastly superior to Hibbard's. That aside, the book presents the Flash as a bit of a prankster, not unlike that of Wally West today. It's great fun!
Reviewed by Tim Janson
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2013
Sadly they didn't reprint flash comics , instead they seperated the heroes and we only get the golden age flash in this volume. and they then gave up on that even. Flash comics had alot of great stories in it. So each issue was sixty pages of several high grade heroes. At least after a while! at first it was 'the whip' and other standard stories. But the flash stories are all well drawn and mostly involve clever anticrime stories , but supervillians are absent here and strangely D.C. only rarely did war stories of their heroes during the war!. Marvel and most of the other companies were monthly fighting the nazis etc , while d.c barely had the flash battle anyone but spies etc. Still these are fun stories and it's a cheaper way to get to read these now very vintage comic book stories. This came out before d.c. stopped restoring their comics too. So it's not faded pages reprinted from a old comic book, instead it looks great here.
on February 7, 2014
This selection of Golden Age Flash stories collect tales featuring Jay Garrick's Flash from Flash Comics 18-24 and the All Flash Quarterly 1 and 2.
This book was just a lot of fun. The Flash doesn't have any legendary opponents in this book but the stories done with a lot of humor and style. There are protection racket gangsters who harass a restaurant and are made to eat their just desserts, there's the Flash building a brick wall around criminals harassing a group of bricklayers, and the book concludes with the Flash battling the Spider-men from Mars in Flash #24.
While Flash Comics contained multiple features, All Flash Comics was the Flash's own Quarterly magazine. Issue #1 of All Flash noted Flash's departure from the Justice Society under the rules that if a character got his own magazine he had to leave. Issue #2 is a full-fledged book length saga of revenge following a criminal's twisted path to revenge as it poisons him and puts everyone around him at risk. This story like most of the other Flash stories in this book feature a solid moral.
The book is delightful and represent a huge step forward from Volume 1, and it's too bad that there's not likely to be a Volume 3.