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CSBG Archive

Five Goofiest Moments in Flash #122-126

Every week, I’ll examine the five goofiest moments from a five-issue stretch of a particular comic book series. Here is a list of the moments featured so far.

This week, we look at Flash #122-126, written by John Broome (#122, 124-126) and drawn by Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella (Gardner Fox wrote the classic #123, but no moments from that story appear on this list).

As always, this is all in good fun. I don’t mean any of this as a serious criticism of the comics in question. Not only were these writers certainly never imagining people still reading these comics decades after they were written, great comics often have goofy moments (Kirby/Lee’s Fantastic Four is one of the best comic book runs of all-time and there were TONS of goofy stuff in those 100 plus issues!).


One of the recurring themes in Julie Schwartz comics of the era is an over-reliance on over-explaining things. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure he figured if he did not spell everything out explicitly, he’d get hate mail from kids, but still, when page one says “memory turns to fantasy”…

and then he still finds the need to explain that it was a dream on the next page? Even going so far as to make a big deal about it?

Pretty funny.

I think it would be pretty awesome if someone did recognize Barry as the Flash if he wore, like, a domino mask…

“That lower jaw! That’s the Flash’s lower jaw!!”

One of the recurring bits in the Silver Age, at both Marvel and DC, is people’s disbelief over costumed villains being, you know, costumed villains. “I know we’ve been attacked by costumed villains repeatedly the last couple of years, but come on, this guy must be just advertising stuff!”

On the one hand, I should not make fun of this singer’s plan as it worked, but wow, talk about a long shot – emphasizing various words and hoping people will not only notice but write them all down?

Later, when Kid Flash saves him, he remarks that he was hoping Kid Flash would get his message. It was not even established that he’d know Kid Flash would be at the concert!!

John Broome delivers some pointed commentary about the vanity of women…

Yes, he is basically their king for allowing them to look at themselves in mirrors. Ouch, John Broome. Ouch.

Mirror Master, though, tires of the special treatment. His explanation for why is great…

“Man, no one appreciates the drive of criminals!”

5. I’m a forensic scientist, but I also build COSMIC-POWERED TIME-TRAVEL TREADMILLS!

The description above describes it pretty well…

4. Tops make you smart!

The origin of the Top is awesome. First that it even occurs to him to use TOPS, of all things, to help him commit crimes…

but even more so, the fact that spinning like a top makes you smarter!

3. This is very well thought-out

So bear in mind that we’ve established that the Top is now super-smart. So he still thinks it is reasonable to blow up HALF THE EARTH and he’ll be fine because he’ll be on the other half!!!


2. Captain Boomerang: Renaissance Man, Part the First

So Captain Boomerang, the dude who basically is just a guy who is good at throwing boomerangs, created a boomerang that would put the Flash into orbit around the Earth…

and that is not even the goofiest bit about the good Captain!

1. Captain Boomerang: Renaissance Man, Part the Second

Dude builds time-traveling boomerangs in PRISON!!!

Seriously, John Broome? Seriously?


Is it established that spinning ACTUALLY makes The Top smarter, or is it possible that maybe it just makes him deluded into thinking he’s smarter…?

Well, he was just some random crook before he started spinning and now he can make an atomic grenade that can explode half the world, so I presume he’s actually increased in intelligence. Just not enough to realize that said explosion would not make life on the other half of the Earth particularly hospitable.

If a few goofy moments are the price we pay for the stupendous creativity comics showed during this era, I’m all for them. :)

And I wish we had MORE stuff like bystanders mistaking supervillains for being advertisers. Too many writers today tend to forget that these are supposed to be extraordinary, unusual occurances. If the stories become mundane for the characters, they quickly become mundane for the readers, as well.

Yeah, the Top’s spinning did make him smarter somehow. Eventually it even gave him mind-over-matter powers. (I am not making this up.)

The Top did become smarter — after a lifetime of failure, his first supervillain stunt was to build a spinning nuke after all — but he’s also kind of insane. It’s pretty much telegraphed by that wild-eyed “Why be a hunted criminal in the world when I can run the whole world — which is itself a gigantic top!” There’s also a panel not included here, in which he declares on worldwide TV “And unless all the people on Earth recognize me as their ruler at once, I shall destroy half the Earth — by means of a secret device I have constructed, based on the inner principle of tops!!” and a random viewer declares “Great scott! Is he mad?”

Suddenly his strange lapse in logic makes sense :)

The Flash’s Rogues tended to get an awful lot done in prison. You can make fun of Arkham all you want, but Iron Heights (or whatever its antecedent in Barry Allen’s era was) effectively served as a criminal research lab.

If a few goofy moments are the price we pay for the stupendous creativity comics showed during this era, I’m all for them.

Ehh, I dunno, the creativity is actually pretty awful in my opinion. The villain’s gimmicks (a top, a mirror, a boomerang), their motivations, the plots, the dialogue, the characterization, the science…I can appreciate what Julius Schwartz and Carmine Infantino contributed, but John Broome really just falls under “just goofy” more than “occasionally goofy yet also brilliant” like Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Gardner Fox did.

Brian – “Gardner Fox wrote the classic #123, but no moments from that story appear on this list”

So climbing a rope & vibrating to a parallel earth doesn’t count as goofy? ;-)

Wally over-analyzing how a singer sings his song… aren’t there websites devoted to that? ;-)

The Orinocos have never seen a man & yet the reason why Mirror Master wants to leave is… theft frustration… yeah…

As for the Flash’s Rogues I wonder why they just haven’t been declared to be members of the DCU’s specialized elementals: Mirror Master is the mirror elemental; The Top is the spinning elemental; Captain Boomerang is the boomerang elemental, etc., etc. ;-)

These columns definitely make me happy to have grown up after that era…except for the ’90s. Great grimacing pouches!

The Top’s mask are shaped like tops.
If comics weren’t a little goofy, we’d never read them.

The story with the women and mirrors is not the only time Broome showed less than enlightened views on women. In a story reprinted in the old Mysteries in Space trade, women take over society, screw things up badly, and then, having learned their lesson, put the men back in charge.

I did like that even during that era, Captain Boomerang was always the Flash’s cheekiest opponent, even going to far as to have other criminals pose as family members to make him seem like a decent guy.


February 28, 2012 at 12:38 pm

For some reason the goofy stuff in old Flash’s never made me cringe as much as the stuff in old Superman or Justice Leagues, not sure I can even really explain why. And I may be totally immature but the use of “before you accuse us of pulling a prize boner” in the second image will always make me laugh.

What, no Herbie the Fat Fury?
Perhaps all the spinning caused increased blood flow to his brain. Just saying. Anyway, I much prefer silver age goofiness to heroes girlfriends found dead stuffed in refrigerators. Would you really just let your kids read anything off the rack today? You know you’re better off with these DC reprints. Plus look at that gorgeous Infantino art.

always found it hilerious that no matter what he wanted to do mirror master wound up having the ladies hand him his loot . the top found it interesting that he would try to destroy the world with a giant grenade trying to spin it like a top for he is another flash roque that one has to wonder what dc was thinking to create him along side captain boomerang.

Worth reading, if only to hear the phrase “pulling a prize boner”. LOL. This was a great article.

Just because the Top is now more intelligent does not mean that he’s smarter, there’s a difference.

What’s even more amazing about spinning like a top making him smarter?
It does not even make him dizzy!
These silly silver age comics are so farfetched sometimes!

“You wore a green sweater”. You know, if I were a colorist and I wanted to show my boss that I was really bringing my “A” game to the table, I’d watch for words like “green” or “not colorless” in dialogue balloons. Unless I were in some kind of a colorists union. In which case, screw it, I already rinsed out my green brush, it’s beer o’clock.

Barry isn’t walking in his sleep. I’ve made a study of posturesomatics, a real science that isn’t at all made up to suit the narrative requirements of a short illustrated story. What is being depicted is plainly the hunger for human flesh…specifically brains, delicious brains.

The Top’s origin make me both relieved and kind of regretful that he was not snooping in his mother’s nightstand that fateful day. “What are these? I’ve never seen anything like them before!” And in that frame of mind, when Barry shouts that Captain Boomerang hasn’t licked him yet, I took it as more of a complaint than bravado.

So Mirror Master is bored because his telepathic slavegirls do all his stealing before he even has to ask, but Captain Boomerang is content to sit on his big fat receding hairline and let an inanimate object “carry out its stealing operation”? I guess the rogues aren’t just cookie-cutter versions of each other…OH SNAP! Cookie Cutter would make a GREAT Flash villain!

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