Tuesday, April 12, 2016
In 2004, DC Comics had a eight issue "fifth week" event celebrating the legacy of editor Julie Schwartz. Over the years, we've checked out Adam Strange and the Atom's issues, and today we have the Flash! DC Comics Presents: the Flash #1, featuring stories by Denny O'Neil and Geoff Loeb, with art by Ed McGuinness and Dexter Vines and Doug Mahnke and Mark Farmer.
Loeb and McGuinness's story is a fairly traditional story, with Barry Allen testifying in court against a mob boss who hires Deadshot to kill him. Barry fakes being on life support (using Martian Manhunter to help keep Iris calm) and then takes down Deadshot...as well as Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang, and the Trickster on his way. But it's his forensic knowledge that clenches the case, as he finds Deadshot's bullet embedded in a stack of Flash comics at a newsstand.
O'Neil and Mahnke's tale is more old-school yet more inventive: Flash stops by to visit his pal Julie Schwartz, who's about to get zapped by an alien! Flash gets zapped, and the alien explains he's a "peace officer from another dimension," and thought Julie was a wanted criminal. The zap Flash took will cause his molecules to slow down and fall apart inside of fifteen minutes, unless he can make a hundred and sixty-eight people aware of his plight in that time, while heeding two languages simultaneously. (The alien admits the laws of his reality are "odd-ish.")
Julie had moved the Cosmic Treadmill to a storage closet, and grabs a convenient artist for the Flash to take back in time two weeks and draw up a new cover. Flash then runs it over to the printing plant, switches out the cover, then returns to the present where the new issues are just about to hit the stands. Flash then gives out 168 issues, saving himself. (I'm not sure why 168--I had thought it referred to the issue number the cover homages, but that was #163.)