Flash of Two Worlds was published during September of 1961 in the now iconic issue of The Flash, number 123. Not only is it one of the most respected Flash stories of all time, Flash of Two Worlds did what very few comics could do before it…meld two worlds and universes together.
As the first few pages unfold the reader sees Iris West hosting a charity event for the Picture News Orphan Fund Group. An event likes this usually comes with a little bit of stress attached to it. For Iris, this was no different. Everything appeared to be running smoothly until she realized that the magician who was to perform for the children didn’t show up.
As luck would have it and as you may or may not know, she has been involved with The Fastest Man Alive, The Flash. Barry, known for his quick entrances, shows up just in time for Iris to explain what has happened. Without missing a step, Barry puts on his Flash costume and steps in for the missing magician.
The Flash spends time dazzling the children with various tricks that require the use of his super speed. For his last trick, he begins to vibrate his hands at super speed. Without notice, a length of rope appears and through his speed, Barry begins to levitate above the ground and like the great magicians of the past, he disappeared from the stage.
As Barry re-emerges he quickly realizes that he has no idea where he is. After a little investigation, he comes to understand that he is not in his home city of Central City. He picks up a nearby newspaper and discovers that he is in Keystone City or the city of fictional comic book hero Jay Garrick.
He comes to realize that as he vibrates at super speed, a dimensional barrier had opened up and he wound up in the past. Or, as you and I know it as, the Golden Age of Comics. Now fully aware where he was, Barry sought out the comic book hero of the era.
The Flash reaches the Garrick house and to his disbelief, he meets an older version of Jay Garrick. Barry explains that he is the New Age version of The Flash and that because of who he is, he knows who Jay is.
Jay confesses to Barry that he was contemplating coming out of retirement. This was primarily due to the recent wave of crimes that were transpiring in Keystone City. After hearing this, Barry offers to help his counterpart solve the crimes. It wouldn’t take long for the reader to find out that the three behind the deeds were The Thinker, The Fiddler, and The Shade. For anyone who doesn’t know, The Thinker uses a hypnotic thinking cap, The Fiddler uses a violin that sends destructive sound waves, and The Shade conveniently creates layers of darkness that cover his actions.
Now working together, the two separate and the reader follows the exploits of The Thinker. The Thinker has arrived at the Jarvis estate in an attempt to steal the valuable Neptune Cup. Upon his arrival, he uses his thinking cap to force the guard dogs to tell Jay of his arrival, should Jay arrive. He then hypnotizes the Butler of the estate to hand over the Cup.
Jay Garrick arrives at the scene and is, in fact, told that The Thinker is on the estate grounds stealing the Neptune Cup. He quickly rushes around the corner only to find that The Thinker has once again used his cap. This time, instead of uses its powers of persuasion, he has used it to make it appear that there is more than one of him. Eventually, Jay figures out which of The Thinker’s is not a decoy and speeds after him. Unfortunately, The Thinker creates a wall of energy and Jay runs right into it.
Not knowing that Jay Garrick had been rendered unconscious, Barry Allen continues to give chase to The Shade. His chases takes him to some nearby docks. As he arrives, he sees that there is a cloud of black smoke rising from a distant Yacht.
At the docks, Barry looks to foil The Shade, who at this point, believes him to be Jay Garrick in a different costume. Knowing of the way in which past encounters have turned out for him, The Shade wants no part of The Flash. Instead of putting up a fight, he jumps in a speedboat and covers his trail with a thick, black and slippery oil slick. Now, having the same level of success as Jay, Barry makes his way to the Jarvis Estate where he meets up with Garrick.
As The Fiddler rode through the streets of Keystone City, the sounds waves from his playing violin caused the windows of the buildings to shatter. As a by-product of the shattering, a steel girder began to tip and fall from its perch. Just as a street-level man was about to become flattened by the girder, Jay Garrick arrived and pulled him out of the way. While Jay was removing the man from harm, Barry deflected the girder.
Like his accomplices, The Fiddler escapes the mayhem and together they turn their attention to the Keystone City Museum.
The two Flashes track down their enemies and, like the three times before, they look to have been beaten when they are looked to have been hypnotized. Under hypnosis, the Flashes are forced to dance and steal the precious jewels the museum held.
Just as the three criminals look to collect their treasure, the Flashes awaken and put a stop to them. When asked how they were able to get away from the hypnosis, Jay explains that while they were asked to steal and dance, there was no instruction that prevented them from escaping. More than that, while robbing the jewels, the two smartly plugged their ears with some jewels that somewhat distorted the effects of the hypnosis.
The story ends with the crooks apprehended and the two Flashes saying goodbye to one another.
Flash of Two Worlds
Flash of Two Worlds is yet another great Flash story. Not only does the story pay homage and service to the Flash and its fans of the past, it does a great job of melding both the present and past. If you haven’t read Flash of Two Worlds, I strongly suggest that you do.