Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The real story here, is that deathtrap stretch of highway.

Even though I was 90% positive I had this issue, I still picked up another out of the quarter bin on the strength of the cover. Which is nice, but doesn't cover the holes in this one: from 1978, the Flash #265, "Shift the Earth Goodbye" Written by Cary Bates, pencils by Irv Novick, inks by Frank McLaughlin.

There's reference to some previous-issue shenanigans, but suffice to say Barry and Iris are driving to Mount Roanoke for a second honeymoon. Yes, driving: Barry offers to just run them there at super-speed, but Iris wants some time away from the Flash. Which might be understandable, but come on: if a ten-hour drive is boring to you, it must be murder on the Flash. Still, Barry goes along with it, even not telling her about a blowout that would've killed them, if he hadn't changed the tire at super-speed.

Still, Barry then has a sudden impulse, to turn down an unmarked road, to a "far better, more exclusive resort hotel," which they find hidden away: the Hideaway Hotel. Name a bit on the nose there...Although they didn't have reservations, the clerk still acts as if they were expected, but advises the couple "to wear their pendants where they can be seen!" In their room, Barry has to confess to Iris he doesn't know what compelled him to come there, nor does he have any idea what's going on. Taking off as Flash, he backtracks along their route and the surrounding area, looking for whatever couple was expected in their place, and finds them in a car covered by a rockslide. Leaving their bodies in a cave, Flash takes their glowing pendants back to Iris; once they put them on, they are compelled to go downstairs for a group meeting. And as was commonplace for pendant-wearers of the time, they were all aliens.

Head-pendant recaps how they've spent the last 400 days charging a "cosmictron power rod" as part of a plan to momentarily switch their other-dimensional homeworld with earth, so earth will pass through the tail of a comet instead of them. Before Barry can do anything about that, though, the couple from the car wreck show up: protected by "our invisible bio-shields" they were unharmed, but went into a hibernation to build up strength to dig themselves out, and instead woke up in a cave with their jewelry swiped. The alien Cetaceans "de-activate their inviso-auras" (man, lot of bold in here) and expose Barry and Iris as humans. They leave at super-speed, but are then confronted by weapons with invisible triggermen--no, just flying pistols, that Flash takes out in about a page.

Despite sending those after Flash, the Cetaceans weren't bad guys: passing through that comet's tail had given their people immunization against some lethal microbes from space, and they wanted to pass that benefit on to earth. Or so they say: taking them pretty much at their word that this was their plan, or that it would be beneficial to humans at all, Flash super-charges their cosmictrons, earth and Ceta swap places momentarily, and everyone on earth receives a quick vaccination against...space tetanus or something, I guess. Barry and Iris resume their second honeymoon, this time with Flash taking her to Mt. Roanoke at super-speed.

The Cetaceans do drop a reference I like, to the panic over the Martian Manhunter in Justice League of America #144: they probably correctly figured trying to explain their friendly intentions would've been more hassle than it was worth. The immunization is, as far as I know, never brought up again: you could figure it either didn't take, or it worked but humans just never realized. And Iris wanting to have some non-Flash time with Barry is somewhat understandable, but it's not like he was goofing off, either. On the other hand, a lot of situations that the Flash would run off to, could probably be dealt with just as easily later: Captain Cold, robbing a jewelry store? Flash shows up, it turns into a shoot-out. If Flash no-shows, what, Cold gets away with a few rocks, then gets busted later, probably with four other Rogues? Admittedly, that might be less exciting, but still.

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