I’m on the record as saying that Kid Flash’s yellow-and-red costume is among the best in superhero history. But have you ever wondered where he got it? Your Major Spoilers Retro Review of The Flash #135 awaits!
Writer: John Broome
Penciler: Carmine Infantino
Inker: joe Giella
Letterer: Gaspar Saladino
Editor: Julius Schwartz
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: 12 Cents
Current Near-Mint Pricing:
Release Date: January 17, 1963
Previously in The Flash: After police scientist Barry Allen’s life was changed by a freak lightning bolt, even he admitted that it was a million-to-one accident, the kind that obviously would never happen again. So, of course, it happened again, because … comics. That second lightning bolt empowered his girlfriend’s nephew, Wally West, with the same super-speed powers that Barry himself enjoyed as The Flash, and the hero gave the boy an identical, smaller version of his suit, dubbing the lad Kid Flash. For many months, Kid Flash has been operating as a teen hero with his mentor, and alone in his small-town Nebraska home of Blue Valley, enjoying that oldest of superhero traditions: Lying to friends and loved ones.
The latest topic he’s hiding from his mom and dad is the strange voices in his head, which is more than a little bit disturbing. Of course, being a comic book, there’s a perfectly logical explanation for it all. See, this alien princess wants him to find three super-weapons and save the entire world, which… admittedly, still sounds bad? But this is totally for real, as alien princess Ryla becomes visible when he finally gets to the right vibrational frequency, explaining that the first item is in Central City.
Enter: The Flash!
Empowered by the strange alien object, Flash gestures to his sidekick to stay back, instead causing a bolt of energy to fly at the boy, transforming his mini-Flash togs into something much more stylish, including revealing Wally’s hair, which will cause years of nightmares for colorists who aren’t sure if it’s brown or red.
Translation: Using this appliance, science, science, science, breaking many physical laws, Kid Flash gets a whole new look. Sartorial concerns aside, though, there’s still the matter of an impending alien invasion to thwart. and it only takes a couple of panels for the speedsters to round up the other super-weapons. They’re able to use them to spy on the other dimension, only to have the invaders destroy them remotely. While his mentor goes to assemble Earth’s armies, Kid Flash vibrates into the other dimension to find more secret blah blah blah something McGuffin, here’s my cool new suit in action!
Ryla and Kid Flash are able to replace the lost super-weapons, just in time to move back into the Earth dimension and aid The Flash. The two speedsters rout the invading army, with a little help from Ryla’s mind-over-matter machine, not only routing the enemy militia, but allowing Ryla’s peaceful contingent to overthrow the Makryds, making sure that it never happens again.
Though Ryla and Wally promise to be “pen pals” at the end of the issue, she never returns to Earth-1, which frees up Wally to date Raven, Magenta, Lady Flash, Power Girl, Tina McGee, Donna Troy, and some girl named Angela before settling down to marry and have kids. As one of the first steps in Kid Flash’s literal life in comics, The Flash #135 has a lot going for it, including some great Infantino/Giella visuals, a fun (if utterly silly) mechanism for a new look, and an exciting climax that presages the “wide-screen” comics trend of later decades, earning 3 out of 5 stars overall. The story ends up being overly convoluted and very much forgettable, but you have to admire the creators’ commitment to not just going to the Supermen’s Warehouse for Wally’s new togs.
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THE FLASH #135
The story itself is a long walk for a short drink of water, but there's some fun bits of pseudo-science and some nice Carmine Infantino art to be had, as well as the debut of a classic look.