Everybody needs a flashlight. They're useful tools that can come in handy in any one of a thousand situations. Sometimes they can even save your life. However, right now we're faced with the question... does everyone need a Flash Lightning?
Lightning Comics sure hoped you did. Back in the early 1940s a lot of publishers were throwing everything against the wall and seeing if it stuck, and future comics legends and Bob Kane ghosts like Jim Mooney were cutting their teeth on those wall-stuck experiments! Here's an experiment you can try at home - tape your comic bags with the flap at the top instead of the bottom, like some comic shops I could mention were in the habit of doing, so when there's a flood you might avoid the water damage that afflicts this copy of what I'm told is a rare Golden Age book. Oh well. Anyway. Flash Lightning.
Young Billy Batson met the wizard Shazam, and... oops, wrong story. Studly, not-so-young Flash Lightning met "the old man of the pyramids" - which these days would be a drunk wandering around the Bass Pro Shop in Memphis - and that old wizard said, hey, your name is Flash Lightning, why don't I give you all the power of lightning? And then you could battle evil? Good thing his name wasn't Stinky Outhouse or Weak Feebly or something like that.
That old guy just drops in whenever he feels like it. I guess if you give somebody the power of lightning, you also get the right to make a pest of yourself.
Well, Prof. Vatz HAD forgotten how he used to be a super criminal called "The Mummy," until YOU brought it up, mister guard. Thanks. What happens next is all on you.
Glad to see the trend of "let the evil genius work in the prison laboratory, what's the worst that could happen" has a long and glorious past.
And it's time for The Mummy to once again rise from his Egyptian tomb... and... all right, it's time for Prof. Vatz to wrap himself in some handy bandages and smear radium paint all over his body, which he says will "safeguard me against injury!" If by that he means "poison me with radioactivity," then sure!
YOU WILL NEVER KNOW WHO I AM, but you can probably guess, how many convicts in this prison got sent up for dressing like a radioactive mummy and doing crimes?
Seems to me if you have a gun that shoots explosive nitro bullets, you don't need the whole "mummy" getup, but what do I know? I am not a professor.
"feed 'em plenty of lead" is some great hard boiled prison warden dialog. Too bad Vatz's radium paint makes him invulnerable to bullets! Just take our word for it.
Young Tom Gaines wants no part of this prison break led by what appears to be a reanimated North African corpse armed with a "nitro gun." And I don't blame him!
And it's off to be captured by a guy in red and green leotards and what appear to be... are those dance flats? Medieval leggings? I can't tell. Maybe the old man of the pyramids knows.
They have no time to waste - this means arranging a "happy get out of jail day" party for something like two thousand people!
In case you thought the "Karen" was a recent invention, think again. Here's 1941's Karen marching right up to a prison riot led by a glowing mummy, demanding to speak to their manager.
Deputy Clem enjoys his favorite hobby, standing in a hole in the middle of main street looking up at the world around him.
"Herd all the prisoners back into their cells which were blown open by my nitro gun, and we'll hope these visitors think blow-open jail doors are part of some new penological techniques."
Here at Prairie State Prison we don't rely on guards or staff, the warden just punches 'em until they fall into line. Sorry you had to see this unpleasantness.
Flash Lightning is, for some reason, still suspicious of the weirdly understaffed prison with the two-fisted warden!
You don't get to be an evil mummy-cosplaying genius without picking up some great torture ideas along the way! Meanwhile, Flash Lightning has jailbreak evidence rubbed right in his face, which is what it takes to get an idea through his thick skull, I guess.
Finally some exciting super hero action as Flash Lightning uses all his lightning power to... punch some guys.
Glad to see this comic ditching the insulting 1940s "blackface minstrel" stereotype in favor of... a 1980s "scary black convict" stereotype. This is progress?
Is this really a 'trick'? We saw how he did it, he wasn't even trying to misdirect us. Anyway, it sure looks like this is the end for our super guy and his pal. Gosh.
Look at that, our hero escaped and he's fine! It's like a Saturday morning adventure serial cliffhanger except we didn't have to wait a whole week and we didn't have to sit through a newsreel. And a western.
Professor Vatz has a PhD in mummyosis nitrogunology and an associate degree in lightning arrestophenalia!
"That's not fair" says the hapless ref as this literally turns into a wrestling match, complete with the chair shot.
(Sure, I could do the whole "wrestling announcer" thing, but I just did that a few weeks ago!)
Without ceremony our heroes are chucked into the gas chamber, which, since this is the 1940s, always has a fresh batch of hydrogen cyanide ready. I guess The Mummy doesn't need those hostages after all?
Well, I was worried they were all going to die but Flash Lightning's lightning powers come back in the nick of time. Not quite sure how Flash Lightning's brain and nervous system continued to function without electricity, which is an integral part of our bodies, but I'm sure the old man of the pyramids can answer that one.
The Third Act Arrester is taken out of the picture as Flash Lightning pounds Fake Warden Gunner (seen here doing the "Aunt Fritzi") and throws a girder at The Mummy. Prisons really need those suspended girders. Keeps the convicts happy.
Did you forget about The Mummy's Radium Coating protecting him from injury? Why not get a fresh coat of Radium on your car or home? Protect your investment with Radium!
(this has been a paid advertisement for Radium. So many uses!)
With a mighty blow The Mummy falls four stories and breaks his neck, just in time for a weird bit of dialog to confuse us all, because all those men had already given up ten pages ago, and just in time for this story to end. Don't miss a brand new Flash Lightning adventure in the next issue of Flash Comics! I mean LIGHTNING comics. That's what I meant.
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