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Flash 105
The Master of Mirrors

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND Published February-March 1959

Writer: John Broome
Artists: Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella

"Trapped in a strange house, the Flash - fastest man alive - has to conjure up new tricks of super-speed to battle the fantastic foes hurled at him by an amazing antagonist... The Master of Mirrors!"
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At the Central City bank, a customer wants to get change made for a $10 in singles. As Wilkins, the teller, carries out the transaction, the customer discreetly takes out a cigarette case that has a mirror in it. He points it at Wilkins, capturing the teller's reflection... and it stays on the mirror. When his business is done, the man walks off with his bills, commenting that he got the teller's reflection from every angle. Now he's off to his developing room.

Later, in a house outside the city, the man stands in a mirror-lined room clad in an orange jumpsuit and green mask. He thinks to himself that the world of science would be interested in his "camera mirror", which is capable of capturing and retaining images, but it's merely one of the tricks he can accomplish with mirrors. Placing the mirror in a machine, he remarks that he has no desire to help science or society. All society did for him was put him in jail.

The reflective rogue, named Sam Scudder, reminisces on his days as a convict working in the prison workshop. While working on a mirror one day, he was chided by the foreman Tyler for using the wrong chemical in the silvering copound. Taking the ruined mirror out to the trash, Scudder is stunned to notice that his face isn't reflected in the mirror... it's Tyler's face! Somehow, the error he made allowed the mirror to hold an image for minutes after something cast a reflection in it. Knowing he'd made an amazing discovery, Scudder hides the miror in his cell to examine later. But that was some time ago. Since his release, he's made countless more achievements with mirrors. Not only has he perfected the ability to capture images, but he can now "develop" them into three-dimensional figures. Scudder activates his machine, and a ray of light produces a remarkable life-sized replica of Wilkins, the bank teller. Scudder sits himself behind another machine, an image controller, and sends his holographic servant off to carry out the job it's been assigned.

Meanwhile, at the scientific laboratory in the Central City police station, Barry Allen ponders over a wave of mysterious bank robberies that have recently taken place. No one has a clue as to how the money is being stolen. Checking his watch, he remembers that he promised to take his girlfriend Iris West to lunch, and that he also has to cash a check. He heads for the bank right away, desperate to not keep Iris waiting. At the bank, Barry waits in line, agitated at how slow the teller is working. He spots the regular teller, Wilkins, passing by him, and assumes he's going to lunch. But Barry notices something different about Wilkins; his hair, which is normally parted on the left, is parted on the right. And his wedding ring is on his right hand instead of his left hand. Suspecting something strange, he decides to follow Wilkins.

Trailing the teller outside, Barry is stunned to see Wilkins pick up speed and run off. He needs to catch up with him, and can only do so as the Flash. Releasing his costume from the compartment on his ring and donning it, the Scarlet Speedster is soon racing after Wilkins. But incredibly, as fast as he moves, Wilkins is moving much more quickly. The Flash is actually being outrun. Reaching the outskirts of the city, Flash soon loses sight of Wilkins. Spying an old house, he assumes that his quarry went inside, and enters to search for him. In a secret chamber in the house, Scudder notices Flash's entrance through his hidden cameras. He comments that the only thing faster than the Flash is the speed of thought, and that is the weapon he'll use to eliminate the Crimson Lightning, the greatest threat to his criminal career.

As Flash darts through the house, he comes up empty handed. Luckily, he soon spots Wilkins standing in a doorway. Rushing into the next room, he sees multiple images of Wilkins reflected on the walls. He can't tell which is the real one and which is just an image. Quickly remembering he saw a can of black paint in one of the other rooms, he rushes back and grabs it, then returns to the "copy room." He smears the paint on every image of Wilkins he sees, blacking out the fakes until only the real one, or what he assumes to be the real one, remains. Flushed out, the teller runs off, and as Flash follows him into the next room, he sees that his target has disappeared again!

From his control room, Scudder compliments Flash on solving his puzzle, but is prepared with a new trick. Using his mastery of mirrors and image manipulation, he unleashes a hologram developed and enlarged by his machinery - a giant mosquito! Flash is shocked to see the enormous insect, swiftly rushing to avoid it's massive stinger, which could be fatal. Realizing that he can't keep running, Flash whirls around the bug at rapid speeds, soon breaking the speed of light... and also breaking the mosquito. The bug shatters into fragments and disappears, giving Flash another mystery to solve as he continues to search the strange house.

Passing through the walls with intense speed, Flash still comes up empty handed. He decides to check the basement, spinning around like a top and burrowing through the floor. He's met with another surprise upon landing - a minotaur! The bull-headed beast charges at him, but Flash pulls away and rushes behind it as it's ready to gore him. Grabbing a red tablecloth, Flash makes like a matador to keep the monster at bay. But the struggle begins to wear him down, while the minotaur remains as strong as ever. His muscles are weakening and his legs becoming heavier, and his ebbing strength has come at the worst time since the minotaur draws closer with every pass. Suddenly, an idea comes to the Flash. Recalling his encounter with the giant mosquito, he rushes towards the fuse box. If his hunch is right, then the battle with the beast should be over. If he's wrong, then his life will most likely be over...

Throwing the switch, the power is cut off throughout the house. Now plunged into darkness, the minotaur fades into nothingness. Now that his illusionary foes are beaten, Flash resumes his search of the house, eventually coming across Scudder in his control room. Scudder can't believe that the hero figured out the secret of his tricks, but Flash explains it as he escorts his foe back to the city prison. His first clue came when he noticed that Scudder's replica of Wilkins had its distinctive features reversed, much like a mirror image. Then, during his battle with the mosquito, he saw that it disappeared when he exceeded the speed of light. He pieced the puzzle together and realized he was fighting against creatures that relied on light. When he cast the house into darkness, they disappeared.

Later, at his lunch date with Iris, Barry's girlfriend is amazed to learn that the Flash caught the man responsible for the mystery bank robberies. She desperately wants to get the story, and Barry calms her by explaining that the Flash told him everything, and he'll fill her in on what happened...
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- First appearance of Sam Scudder, the Mirror Master, although he was not identified by that moniker until his second appearance in Flash #109.

- Scudder was killed during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. A Scottish assassin named Evan McCullough adopted the persona after Scudder's death and became the new Mirror Master.

- Mirror Master has appeared in other DC media adaptations. In "Superfriends, the Legendary Super Powers Show", he was voiced by Casey Kasem, who had also voiced Robin in the Superfriends series On the live action Flash TV series, Scudder was portrayed by David Cassidy [ed. why the casting director chose him I have no idea] as a criminal who used incredible holograms in his heists. In the Cartoon Network series "Justice League Unlimited", Mirror Master was voiced by Alexis Denisof. Most recently, he appeared on an episode of "The Batman" voiced by John Larroquette. In this incarnation, he had a background as a brilliant but morally corrupt optical physicist with a beautiful female assistant nicknamed smoke.

- Side-note: In issue #12 Justice League Unlimited tie-in comic series, the second Mirror Master (McCullough) faces off against Wally West and the original Flash, Jay Garrick.

- Personal fashion note: Orange and green? Scudder, next time you want to develop a costume, put some more effort into it and pick a color combination that isn't horrendous.