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Flash 149
"Robberies By Magic!"


Story: Unknown Art: Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson

(Originally Reviewed On 09/26/01)

The Scarlet Speedster finds himself caught in the very whirlwind he sought to use to snare some crooks, while Abra Kadrabra tells him that his super-speed is no match for his magic! (Holy Beakman's World, Batman! His magic is actually super-science from the year 6363!)

The Flash is racing for the entrance to Central City after handling an out of town case (Maybe the untold tale where he met The Fantastic Four in their Central City, hmmm?) when he has a tingling sensation, then his attention turns to the fleeing characters emerging from The Crandall Shoe Factory with the payroll! (Holy Flash Fact, Batman! Does Barry have a Flash-Sense?) The Fastest Man Alive executes a 90 degree turn, intent on catching the getaway car, but the next moment finds him slipping on an oil slick, which wasn't there a moment ago! (Holy Exxon, Batman! Do people really do that?) Flash is unhurt, but his pride suffers from the fall, already on his feet and racing after the getaway car at super-speed!

The speeding car leaves dust and dirt in the air, which suddenly solidifies into a wall in front of The Flash's path, leaving him so flat-footed, that he doesn't have enough time to vibrate through it! A policeman asks him if he's okay, and upon arriving at headquarters, he learns about the latest "magical" getaway since Abra Kadabra made his escape from prison! (Holy Harry Potter, Batman!) He remembers how the futuristic magician made him disappear (Flash #128 "The Case of The Real-Gone Flash"), and in the year 6363, how he was changed into a puppet (Flash #133 "Plight Of The Puppet Flash!") and in the present, The Flash is unaware that Abra Kadabra is from the future or that his magic is actually that era's super-science, as he gets a letter from the special box kept at police headquarters...

The letter is from Kadabra himself, and was sent while he was out of town, and concerns the "one-a-day robberies-by-magic", complete with a list of the sites to be robbed! The desk sergeant tells Flash that four places have been robbed and the fifth is The House of Jade on The Square, which is to be robbed at ten o'clock tomorrow, a case which The Scarlet Speedster intends to handle by himself! (Holy Green Jeans, Batman! Sounds like a place for Green Lantern to handle.) In a hide-out, the three crooks are grateful for the aid that Abra Kadabra has given them, and are amazed that The Flash hasn't been able to catch them, nor will he as per Kadabra's guarantee. The futuristic magician asks only that a scroll be dropped at The House of Jade once it has been robbed, and his magic will continue to ensure their non-capture, and the following evening at The House of Jade finds The Flash watching the crooks take their leave...

The crooks watch as Flash races around them and wonder how the magic will prevent him from capturing them this time, while The Scarlet Speedster plans to draw them into a whirlwind bound for police headquarters, but it is The Fastest Man Alive who is caught in its grip, but by building air pressure beneath his feet, he escapes its grip, and ponders the nature of Abra Kadabra's magic. Flash's next plan is to hurricane the crooks ahead of him to headquarters, but a water fountain discharges a liquid sledgehammer to slam him down to the ground!

The police arrive, having followed his instructions to hang back, while Flash wonder how he can counteract Abra Kadabra's magic! A policeman hands the scroll to The Scarlet Speedster, who reads about a meeting with Kadabra at Hilltop Lodge, where he'll learn why he's failed to catch the crooks and how he will do so in the future. Racing away, Flash knows that Kadabra seems supremely confident and resolves to be prepared for any eventuality, but then finds his legs sinking into wet cement which was the ground he was running upon...

The Flash begins to rotate his body and rises into the air via centrifugal force, bursting free of the wet cement, but his upward motion is taken over by magic, and his falling form is sent towards Hilltop Lodge, where he crashes through a window and lands into the room where Kadabra is waiting for him. Rising quickly, Flash prepares to land several super-speed punches on Kadabra, but...

His super-speed fists do not even come close to striking the magician, while Kadabra is confident about being untouchable. (Holy Ness, Batman! Will Flash blow his stack?) From across the room, a vase shatters, as the force of the blow has been sent there, and The Flash falls off-balance, only to tumble across the room at super-speed, and Abra Kadabra seeks to convince him that he's not responsible for what's happening. Flash's head slams with the far wall, and learns from Kadabra that it is The Scarlet Speedster's own magic which has been the cause for his failures. The Fastest Man Alive is convinced that he has no magic, but Kadabra tells him that upon entering Central City limits, it was bestowed unto him by the magician, no doubt a tingling sensation was felt, as Kadabra is now an ordinary being.

The magic cannot be controlled and whenever Flash uses his super-speed, the magic would work to counteract his intentions, but Kadabra offers a deal for The Scarlet Speedster to give him his super-speed in exchange for mastery of the futuristic magic via a special platform with transference lenses, but The Flash refuses to make deals with crooks. The Flash is now gripped with bad luck and with the magic within him, The Scarlet Speedster is unable to catch another crook! (Holy Blade Runner, Batman! Abra is starting to sound like Edward James Olmos...) Flash remembers the incidents with magic and how it foiled his attempts to take down the crooks, but also remembers how the vase shattered when he threw a punch, and now at super-speed, The Flash is throwing punches all around the room, while Kadabra wonders if his foe has taken leave of his senses, but each inch of space in the room is being filled by blows designed to bring him or Kadabra down...

The Flash is brought down by a crimson fist, and when he wakes up, Flash sees that Kadabra has also fallen, and soon Barry Allen's police scientist' knowledge figures out how to work Kadabra's machine and the device is used to drive the magic from him and into a nearby tablelamp, which he wonders if somehow he could have a modern-day Aladdin's Lamp?

Impressive art by Infantino and Anderson, with Flash's fleet form brought down by whirlwind, oil slick, and walls of earth!

Via flashbacks, we see Abra Kadabra empty Flash's uniform, as well as turning The Fastest Man Alive into a puppet.

It is Abra Kadabra's scheme, yet he chooses to use a group of hoods to commit crimes and bring The Flash into the open, but The Scarlet Speedster proves that his fists are quicker than the eye for this futuristic magician.

No doubt, the reader of the tale's enthusiasm echoes the crooks' desire to see how Flash's attempt to catch them would be foiled and this tale does not disappoint.

One is tempted to say that Abra Kadabra has caught The Scarlet Speedster "Flash-Footed", but that honor belongs to The Mirror Master's Master Stroke in Flash #146.

What Abra Kadabra would want with Flash's super-speed is unknown, but perhaps he sought to humble The Flash in this ten page tale, which would be about ten issues nowadays, and would somehow involve Hypertime or some such thing. Such is the allure of The Silver Age, where every issue is filled with such linings by the likes of Infantino, Anderson, Fox, and Broome.

The device used resembles two magnifying glasses, a tv antenna, and dual platform.

Steve Chung
"Reviews By Magic!"