The Flash #172: "The Machine-Made Robbery!"

The Flash #172
"The Machine-Made Robbery!"
August, 1967

Story: John Broome
Art: Carmine Infantino and Sid Greene

How would criminals be able to escape from the Scarlet Speedster?  With
information gleaned from Professor Ira West's computer, their crime could
not go wrong.  What does the scientist have to do with such a caper?  No
so much, but thanks to the absent-minded professor, the crooks have just
committed..."The Machine-Made Robbery!"  On the splash page, the Flash is
unable to control his super-speed, crashing through objects, and narrowly
avoiding the pedestrians on Main Street.  The crooks in the purple
getaway car laugh that the Fastest Man Alive is catching everyone, but

In the waiting room of the offices of Professor Ira West, three men are
waiting for their appointment with the scientist.  They are here to use
the professor's new computer to plan crimes, but Ira West believes that
he is meeting three businessmen from the Associate Associates of America.
Claiming that they have a million dollar deal on the line, they want to
know if they should pursue it.  Intrigued by the question, the professor
shows them in, and gives them a demonstration.  He asks the computer who
is the man best suited to marry his daughter.

They are aware that Iris is married to Barry Allen, but attribute this to
the professor's absent-mindedness.  CLICK  WHRR  GROAN  With the
information placed on magnetic spool, the computer sifts through the
data.  POP!  ZIP!  Professor Ira West reads the card and tells his guests
that Iris West is to marry the Flash.  The "businessmen" humor him and
say that the Scarlet Speedster will never marry.  They leave a deposit
with the professor, then take the computer along with them.  An hour
later, Ira West realizes that he neglected to mention an important
adjustment to the machine after every use.  With it, the device will give
out wrong information.

When he decides to get in touch with the three men, the professor sees
that there's no address on their business card.  (Holy Out of Business,
Batman!)  Professor Ira West decides to contact the Flash, and heads for
police headquarters.  The officers send out a general alarm, which is
overheard by Barry Allen in his laboratory.  After the other lab
technicians have gone to lunch, the police scientist presses a button on
his ring, and watches as the crimson costume begins to expand upon
contact with the air.  The Fastest Man On Earth greets Professor West,
and speaks with him.

The two men eat lunch at a restaurant, where the professor tells the
Flash that he wants him to find the businessmen before they can use the
computer.  Without names and addresses, the Scarlet Speedster asks for
descriptions of each man.  After describing two of the men, the professor
glances over, and sees the third man entering a building across the
street.  (Holy Harry Lime, Batman!)  The Flash dashes off to find out if
this is one of the men, and sees that an elevator has begun to go up.
The Fastest Man On Earth uses his super-speed to race up the side of the
building, and begin his search from the roof on down.

The Flash searches each floor for the man with a mustache and derby.
Inside, the gang have just broken into a vault containing a fortune in
foreign currency.  Hard Hat is holding the elevator for his cohorts, as
part of the plan of the machine-made robbery.  The Scarlet Speedster
races towards the thieves, who begin firing at him.

He now knows that he is not dealing with honest businessmen.  As the
elevator heads downward, the Flash vibrates his body at super-speed, and
passes through the floor to the lobby below.  Two of the men are kicked
in the head, but Hard Hat manages to land a blow with his cane before
Flash can land on his feet.  The three crooks decide to run before the
hero can recover.

As the Scarlet Speedster steps outside, he sees the getaway car, and
decides to give chase.  PWANG  In his dazed state, the Flash runs into a
lamppost, then bumps into some startled pedestrians.  KA-POWW!  The
Fastest Man Alive is now a rudderless runner, who has just smashed his
way through a brick wall.  The Flash manages to keep sight of the car,
even though his movements are making him twist and turn.  (Holy Chubby
Checker, Batman!)

Now passing the getaway car, the Scarlet Speedster brakes to a stop, with
the crooks eager to run into him.  SKROWWCH!  The car runs into a tree,
with the occupants making a run for it, but the Flash slides under them
at super-speed.  The three hoods each land on their head, and will awaken
in jail after one-and-a-half seconds.

After the machine has been returned to the professor, he has the chance
to ask the Flash about what he saw on the card.  The computer had shown
the Scarlet Speedster as the best man to marry Iris West, but the Fastest
Man Alive reminds him that she's already married to Barry Allen.
Realizing this, Ira West knows that the police scientist is the right man
for Iris, not the Flash.  The professor concludes that his new computer
has made a mistake, but the hero is pleased with its conclusions.

Seeing how Flash loses control of his super-speed in this issue, I'm glad
to see that Barry Allen never drank and ran as the Scarlet Speedster.

Hard Hat resembles Oliver Hardy, while one of his cronies looks like Stan

Professor Ira West's new computer looks like an old fashioned typewriter.

It's nice to see that the Flash has a chance to have lunch at a nice
restaurant in Central City.  The other patrons don't seem to have a
problem with it, and give him some privacy.  My, how times have changed.

We learn in this story that super-speed can't help if you never reach
where you're going to.

One caption in the story refers to Flash as the Man of Steel, as he makes
a quick slide along the ground.  Let's hope that Barry Allen had a
cast-iron stomach after such a maneuver.

Professor Ira West's new invention is not so much a predictor as much as
a love detector.  (Holy Love, American Style, Batman!)

How else to explain the magnetic attraction between Barry Allen and Iris

Steve Chung
"The Machine-Made Review!"