Flash #11. Once again, Hawkman is the cover feature so Flash is the last, not the first, story in the book. Once again, no Joan. Jay has brown-ish hair again.
This time the speedster comes upon the kidnapping of town "glamour girl" Natalie Nixon. He soon thwarts the criminals, rescues Miss Nixon, and strongarms the crooks into revealing their boss' identity. The boss temporarily repels the Flash with the aid of special glasses which slow down the speed of anything with rotating lenses, and a machine gun. After the Fastest Man Alive hits the science books at the local library, he overpowers the boss (and his glasses), and takes the whole gang in.
Flash has sped up since last issue; apparently he can now reach "the speed of light" according to a caption.
FLASH COMICS #12 It's another no-Joan episode, as Flash answers a call from the presumably Ruritanian-style country of Kurtavia, which has been annexed by its larger neighbour Nural. Flash sets to work right away, removing army resources from Nural to give to the beleaguered underdog, Kurtavia, covering submarine periscopes about to fire on helpless ships with bags and rubber bands; and generally using his great speed to be a "gremlin" in the eyes of Nural. Is it any wonder that the high command of Nural declare peace, much to the joy of the general populace of both countries? And then Flash is away, declaring that he stands for peace. All throughout the story, indeed, Flash shows great humanity, not injuring even the most unscrupulous soldier of Nural, preferring to derail their activities in a largely non-violent manner. And interesting and foreward thinking story from a time when global war was just around the corner.
Flash #13. And yet another friend of Jay Garrick - this time Jim Carter, who owns a silver mine. When he goes to visit it, he's shot in the back by a couple of desperados after the mine. News of his wounding reaches the newpapers and Jay, who heads down there as the Crimson Comet to investigate. He mines everything from Jim's inheritance to help Jim and pay for his hospital bills, and soon runs afoul (and defeats) the two gunmen. Hauling them off to jail, we find out (but Flash doesn't) that the sheriff is crooked, and he soon lets them go. Soon the lawless lawman is trying every alternative to defeat the Flash - a swiftly outdrawn quick draw gunman, followed by an outlaw gang, followed by a last-ditch attempt by the two original yeggs. All meet with failure, and soon Flash takes in the sheriff, too, leaving Jim free to heal, then reap the benefits of his inheritence. And for the score keepers - it's a no Joan episode.
In contrast, #14 has quite a bit of Joan in. She's on a tourist outing down a mine(!) when it collapses, due to sabotage! Jay - in civvies - saves everyone, and asks Joan not to call him Flash, to protect his identity(!!). Joan tells him to visit the head of the mine construction company, John Rimal, who is sitting in his house in despair. Rimal is a mayoral candidate, but his rival Joe Donly, is craftily sabotaging Rimal's businesses to make it seem like he's cutting corners safety-wise. The Scarlet Speedster visits Donly, but the crook attempts to fob him off with a lie. When Flash doesn't fall for it, Donly tries unsuccessfully to shoot him. Then Flash is off again, preventing more mine sabotage, doing herculean amounts of work to help Rimal too. Meanwhile, impetuous Joan attempts to get some evidence on Donly, but Donly captures her and threatens to throw her into his basement acid pit(!!!), where many a person or piece of evidence has previously disappeared. Of course Flash arrives in the nick of time, and spins the defeated Donly around so Jay has some privacy while he claims a kiss from Joan. Ah, young love!
Also: Jay has brown hair in both issues.
Flash #15 has Joan in it, and Jay has brown hair, presumably for good now. The story is another light-hearted, typical Flash tale, with Jay and Joan taking in the circus and noticing a young girl being kidnapped, for ransom. After saving her - by appearing at super-speed in the would-be kidnappers' car - Jay learns that the girl, Nellie, is the ringmaster's daughter, and that the circus has fallen on hard times. With that in mind, Jay agrees to perform and does some amazing circus style tricks, even including the crooks in his act as the saddest of sad clowns. All's well that ends well, and the thugs even get to like honest work - and applause! Good old Flash.
The best moment in the story is definitely Flash taking the kidnappers' car apart while it's driving along the road - a cool Flash stunt of the type that still plays today.
On to Flash Comics #16, and Jay is blackjacked, and Joan kidnapped at the docks, as they bid goodbye to their friend Jim Dane, who is travelling to South America to mine for silver. It's the work of rebel / stereotype Jose Salvez, who wants the silver for himself of course, but who soon runs afoul of the Scarlet Speedster, who, after locating Joan and reassuring her, starts pranking the bandido - pulling his moustaches etc. Jay is never a vindictive sort, after all, more a trickster type. After Jim is kidnapped too, he and Joan are put in the bull ring, but of course Flash appears in time to dizzy the bull and save his friends. After another bout of Flash-pranks, Salvez vows to go straight - and to remove his mustachios! Eventually Jay and Joan read in the 'paper that he has replaced the rather incompetent local sherriff; a move Salvez attributes to his fear of the Flash. Ay yi yi!
Interestingly, in this issue, Jim doesn't recognise The Flash as Jay. Is Jim blind, stupid or is this an unspoken first appearance of the Flash vibrating his face to appear unrecognised? Since Jim doesn't seem to be a dummy, I'll go with the latter. And finally, Jay is taking a little more care with his secret identity...
Flash's good nature shows itself once again in #17, as a crooked baseball team owner is given a chance to go straight rather than jailed. Mobster Black Ben Bogue, an associate of the owner, however, is not so lucky; he gets the regular, prankish Flash treatment. We also see Joan attempt a half-hearted secret identity protection; by claiming "Jay is almost as fast as the famous Flash!" What's it all about? A baseball team who are ordered to throw games becaue their owner has bet on the other team; of course Jay signs up for the team, wows them and hits the pitch. Jay's a bit of a baseball buff; at the beginning of the story we see him playing a game by himself, taking the roles of a whole team. Joan is in detective mode; she knows the crooked owner, and at dinner at a restaurant, charms him for information while a jealous Jay pulls invisible tricks on him. Flash also pulls a cool super-speed trick by dismantling a gun pointed at him in seconds. Nice!
In #18, we meet yet another friend of Joan's - Brenda (Joan and Jay are the most popular people in town!), who inherited some restaurants from his father, but is now trying to keep the afloat in the face of a protection racket. Jay doesn't seem too concerned, but soon gets nagged (yes!) good naturedly into helping Brenda. Arriving at a restaurant already being visited by mobsters, he soon starts a somewhat one-sided slapstick cake fight, causing the crooks to retreat. We meet Brenda's business manager, Mr Devries, and Flash goes on the trail of the mysterious boss, Morgan. Jay initiates another food fight and forces the crooks to eat far too much food, but it all turns serious when it's discovered that Devries has been murdered and burned to death.
Psyche!, since Devries IS the mysterious Morgan, having faked his own death. Joan nearly blows Flash's seret identity in front of Brenda, and Brenda herself falls for the Flash. Women! Of course, Devries / Morgan's attempt at playing both ends in the middle is foiled, and all is well once more.
#19 features an old faithful plot - the accident / insurance fakers; Jay is plunged into it when a man claims to be injured after Garrick "hits" him with his car on his way to meet Joan. Jay's pal, a lawyer, explains the scam to him and soon the Flash is hurtling toward the hospital and the so-called injured party, who is being briefed by a lawyer. After dispensing a little super-speed justice to the faker, Flash tracks down the mastermind, the wonderfully-named Gypper Zilich, and strongarms him into giving Flash a list of places where his hirelings are going to initiate some more insurance scams. Soon Flash is doing his thing again at each venue - such as restaurant - giving out with some prankish Flash type justice, and depositing each conman or woman (including a dude who looks a little like Charles McNider's older brother; blond hair, shades, sharp-ish features) at Zilich's office.
Then he summons the police, impatiently helping them on their way at speed and burning up the tyres so that the confidence ring don't get away! Then it's back home, where Jay receives a call from his pal informing him that the Flash has bought the whole ring to book. Jay is clearly learning the benefits of a secret identity by this point.
In-joke corner: The guy who tries to scam Jay at the outset of the story is named "Hubbard"; just one vowel away from the name of Flash's artist, E. E. Hibbard.
Was Gardner Fox having a laugh at his colleague's expense? Who knows, at this late
Joan mistakenly buys a utilities company at auction(!) by talking at the wrong time. It's only two dollars, so she says "what the hey!" and goes along to look at it, accompanied by Jay, of course. The previous owner, Jim Coleman, hands over the keys then leaves. Turns out his own uncle has gypped him out of everything, and so Jim attempts suicide, but is, of course, saved by the Scarlet Speedster. After dealing with some roughnecks hired by the unscrupulous uncle in Jay's typically tricksterish way, The Flash attempts to talk the crooked old man into helping his nephew. After some more super-speed persuasion of the irritating kind, the uncle sees the light and reforms. The roughnecks get honest jobs there, and Joan hands the keys back over to Jim. A typically Flash-y result, since Jay is always probably the most kind hearted mystery man of the 1940s; he'll never jail someone while there's a chance they'll reform, and never beat someone up when he can have a little super-speed fun at their expense.
The story ends with Jay and Joan hitting another auction, and this time, Joan accidentally buying... a stuffed whale. Exit an exasperated Jay!