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Flash 146
"The Mirror Master's Master Stroke!"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND August, 1964

Story: Unknown Art: Carmine Infantino

(Originally Reviewed On 08/29/01)

On the cover, The Mirror Master is leading The Scarlet Speedster a merry chase, as dollar bills fall from his grasp, and why hasn't The Flash caught up to this Rogue? The Mirror Master has switched legs with him! (Holy Family Jewels, Batman! I hope that's the only thing that they switched!)

On the splash page, having taken the very legs from The Fastest Man Alive (Wally? Feh!), The Flash is forced to run on his hands in order to keep up with The Mirror Master! (Holy Legs Diamond, Batman! What a foot race!)

On the week-end, Barry Allen prepares to leave his apartment and is eager to attend the final class of Professor Dobrill's success course, which he only enrolled in to please Iris, who doesn't believe that Barry is particularly ambitious! Iris is unaware that Barry already has fame and success as The Scarlet Speedster, but he naturally can't tell her, as he heads out to attend what is to be his graduation day! (Holy Back To School, Batman! You mean Barry doesn't get respect, either?) Outside the school, Iris tells Barry that she expects him to graduate at the top of his class, and Barry stutters, reminding her that there are eight other students in all. They make a lunch date, where he is to show her his diploma (among other things no doubt, but that's for dessert!) He watches her take her leave, and knows that Iris believes this course to be foremost on his mind, but Barry is preoccupied about The Mirror Master being on the loose!

Even as The Fastest Man Alive, The Flash wasn't able to stop him from committing a spectacular mirror stunt on him! Barry knows that he is out in the city somewhere, while in the desk next to him, a fellow student also has thoughts about overcoming the difficulty to boast to the class about his latest success without their learning that he is The Mirror Master, having enrolled in the course to foil The Flash! With Professor Dobrill's unwitting aid, Sam Scudder has been able to outwit The Scarlet Speedster, and as the class begins, The Mirror Master acts by shining his glasses, which act as mirrors...

The others are soon in a trance, while The Mirror Master talks about his latest crime to a mesmerized audience and how he succeeded in overcoming The Flash. Scudder grinds a cigarette in an ashtray, as he tells of the events from last night, where The Mirror Master used the heat of his mirrors to break into a finance company's safe!

Having followed Dobrill's advice about paying attention to his surroundings and use every opportunity to his advantage, The Mirror Master hears a guard approaching, then falls to the ground as he fires, and uses a beam from one of his many mirror-weapons to knock out the guard with solid-light!

The alarm had sounded, and no sooner does The Mirror Master exit the building, does he see the approach of The Flash, and in using his success-factor, he uses a device to deal with The Scarlet Speedster's speed, the one thing which has caused his imprisonment on many occasions! It was tested on two different chairs, with each of the legs switched with the other, and as The Flash closes in, he is temporarily blinded by the light!

When their sight returns, The Flash is startled to see that he and The Mirror Master have swapped legs, with M.M. getting a leg-up in the speed department! The now-slow Flash is surrounded by The Mirror Master, who runs rings around him, while the hero of Central City falls over his feet!

While his lower torso is hampered by the slow legs of The Mirror Master, Flash's upper torso still functions at super-speed, enabling him to pursue The Mirror Master by running on his hands, then circling him and causing a whirlpool of air to knock him out, but...

The Mirror Master is able to flee from the trap, then punches out The Flash, who doesn't notice that the felon had escaped! Now unconscious, The Flash receives his legs once again, especially since The Mirror Master knows that The Scarlet Speedster could somehow pursue the super-fast vibrations of his legs and find him in the hide-out, and since The Mirror Master can steal his legs at any time, he activates the device, restoring their legs. The disguised Mirror Master ends his speech to the class, who agree enthusiastically that he succeeded, and once seated, Scudder activates his glasses, snapping the others out of their trance!

None have any memory of the past hour, while Barry uses his police scientist mind to analyze the situation, noticing that the student next to him typically smokes four cigarettes an hour, but the ashtray next to him is empty, while the ashtray at the front of the room now contains four cigarettes, while the professor smokes a pipe! (Holy Sherlock Selegue, Batman! Will Barry figure it out?) Barry sneaks a glance at his classmate, noticing that without the glasses and a different hairstyle and color, this student can be none other than Sam Scudder, aka The Mirror Master! (Holy Spectacle, Batman! And Lois never figured this out? Probably because she's a nosy reporter and not a police scientist!)

Barry notices the unusual nature of the man's glasses, then theorizes that they were all place into a trance, as well as the fact that while The Flash has been searching Central City for The Mirror Master, he has been right at Barry's side in class! Knowing that he must unmask The Mirror Master and that he mustn't endanger his secret identity, Barry's hand moves at invisible super-speed to place the class in a trance by manipulating the glasses, and by vibrating at super-speed, he can resist the hypnotic rays, while Scudder is also immune, as he is wearing the glasses!

The mirror-glasses shoot beams at Barry, who speedily dodges them, then outdistances the rays, circling behind them, and delivering a solid punch to Scudder's jaw, then use the glasses to return the class to consciousness! Once the felon has been taken away by the police, Barry is congratulated by the professor, for having figured out the mystery of their trance, and for capturing The Mirror Master, demonstrating two of the professor's precepts for success...

Awareness of his surroundings, having spotted the cigarette butts in the ashtray, then noticing the crook seated next to him, and in doing so, has earned the highest marks in the class, which elicits a "Gosh, thanks" from a humble Barry Allen. At lunch, Iris is in disbelief, as she holds the framed diploma, and a smiling Barry tells her that she mustn't underestimate him, as well as how capable he can be, thinking to himself that it should be what The Fastest Man Alive is capable of, while Iris pines for the humility of Barry Allen.

A most intriguing and eye-catching cover. The youngsters would enjoy it, while the adults would no doubt be wincing.

The Flash shows ample dexterity in pursuing The Mirror Master not on foot, but by hand!

We get an indication of Barry's personality and how others perceive him, as when Iris has him enrolled in the success course, presenting a most unassuming man, who is seated right next to the crook he seeks!

Sam Scudder is sporting glasses which must have been manufactured by Andru and Esposito, and which would be admired by Mirror Man, Angle Man, and Doc Ock for their style.

Interesting that Mirror Master doesn't kill the guard, just knocks him cold with the solid light beam.

Barry has a chance to use his fine police scientist's mind on observing his surroundings and uncovering the culprit, while Carmine Infantino excels in presenting the art of speed for both Flash and Mirror Master in this one.

If they made a movie of The Flash at this time, I'd like to have seen someone like Jack Lemmon play Barry Allen, someone who can carry the drama and the humor of the character and series.

The last classroom story which amused me was an issue of JLA Europe, where both The Justice League and Injustice League are enrolled in a course to learn French, with the heroes intent on learning to better communicate with those whom they are protecting, while the crooks wish to be able to say "This is a hold-up" in Francais.

Grade A work in The Silver Age.

This Review Is Dedicated To Professor Jack Selegue

Steve Chung
"The Mirror Master's Master Review!"